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Any advice on painting MDF terrain?


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I hope it's not a wrong forum to ask this question... If it is, I apologize.

I have a few terrain pieces made of laser-cut MDF (buildings etc.). Most of the stuff I own is pre-painted, so it's something you just need to glue together. But I have some pieces that came unpainted...

Question: do you guys happen to know how to paint such MDF terrain? I've read that you cannot do this the same way you paint miniatures or plastic terrain, as MDF soaks up the ordinary paints and primers (it's wood, after all). So, what stuff to use? I've heard all kinds of advice, including priming the MDF with automotive primers... Still, I'm quite lost.

Did any of you guys paint this kind of terrain?

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MDF does ideally need to be sealed in some manner else, as you correctly say, it just soaks up whatever you paint on it.

The quick and dirty way is thinned down PVA glue (roughly 50/50 with water).  The biggest downside is that it will "pull the grain up" so you'll likely need to sand it down afterwards else it'll be rough (which sometimes can be good, but often not the effect you're looking for).  You can then prime it and paint it like normal - my own preference is Plastikote sprays, they're 60% the cost of regular GW sprays and last a lot longer.

There are official MDF sealers out there, intended for larger scale things (e.g. furniture), which could be a good option if you have a lot of terrain to paint.

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21 hours ago, PiotrW said:

How about spraying the MDF with a universal enamel paint? Do you think it'd be work as a sealant / primer?

Not a clue if I'm honest.  In theory it should work, but would likely try it on a test piece first.  Would certainly want to spray it outdoors!  With a mask 😃

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