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Tips & Tricks
Ask about and post about tips and tricks you use while modelling.
painting copper wire
Illinois, United States
Joined: July 27, 2015
KitMaker: 282 posts
RailRoad Modeling: 2 posts
Posted: Tuesday, June 30, 2020 - 11:32 AM UTC

My Bronco KV-85 came with copper wire to make the tow cables. Seems to be easy to work with. I primed it (mr surfacer), let it dry overnight, and then painted with Tamiya paint. The paint seems to be coming off easily down through the primer. Is this fixable, short of stripping it and priming with something else?

Washington, United States
Joined: March 15, 2009
KitMaker: 3,524 posts
RailRoad Modeling: 6 posts
Posted: Tuesday, June 30, 2020 - 02:21 PM UTC
Try “Blacken It”. It’s a chemical blackener designed for hobby applications. But you only need to let it sit in the solution for a few minutes, when it reaches the desired patina, remove it and immediately rinse in clean water. You can leave it “as is” with a coat of clear flat, or you can paint it with your chosen paint, which will have no problem bonding to the surface. Make sure you thoroughly rinse, or the blacken it will continue to etch the wire. If you don’t overcoat with clear flat, you may see some green corrosion over time. I think there are other versions of this product from other manufacturers too. It can be found on line, in model RR shops, or at the various hobby stores like Michaels and Hobby Lobby.
VR, Russ
Staff MemberAssociate Editor
Rhode Island, United States
Joined: March 05, 2014
KitMaker: 2,859 posts
RailRoad Modeling: 2 posts
Posted: Tuesday, June 30, 2020 - 11:47 PM UTC
Agree that patina is probably your best bet. Something as flexible as copper wire I doubt you'll find any paint that will not crack and peel when bent. Perhaps an etching primer might help, but I think really if you want to paint it, you're going to have to first get it to the shape you want it before painting and avoid handling it as much as possible after painting.

My $0.02...

Staff MemberAssociate Editor
England - East Anglia, United Kingdom
Joined: June 20, 2008
KitMaker: 3,834 posts
RailRoad Modeling: 0 posts
Posted: Thursday, July 02, 2020 - 12:02 AM UTC
I use copper picture-hanging wire for cables, and find it best to bend & fix the wire to the vehicle before spraying the whole thing with spray primer - then the paint stays on because the wire is not being flexed. Beware using washes though, as they tend to run down between the wire strands like water through a storm grate!