Help! Alternative to Rust-Oleum spray paint


New member
Hi everyone! Looking aroud to find what to use to do the quick paint job on the FT water resistant FB builds... it seems to reveal that “everyone” advise to use Rust-Oleum spray can. But what if your local HW shops doesnt offer this brand (my situation)? What would be the best alternative?

Can you desribe what kind of spray can is Rust-Oleum so we can find some alternative in our country (anybody here from Czech Rep.)?

The search at our local hardware stores brings some questions on my mind...
  • I assume that Rusr-Oleum you use is acrylic spray paint?
  • Is it water based or something else?
  • Does it have some activators?
  • Can it eat the foam if you spray too much?
  • How does it stay on FT water resistant FB - did you prep it in some way?
  • Any other important characteristic?
Thanks for the info!


Elite member
You don’t need a specific brand at all.
Seal the exposed foam edges with PVA glue, apply with a brush. Thin a bit with water. You can also radius all the exposed edges with an iron, that seals them and looks great.
Then prep the surface, use a 400-600 grit auto paper or better still a medium Scotchbrite pad like this one. They are flexible and get into corners better plus won’t cut through the paper as easily if you are a bit vigorous in sanding.
Then paint with whatever spray you like. Use thin coats, don’t try to cover it all like car painting, it needs a slightly dry finish on the lower coats to adhere.
I have used no brand car paint, Army Painter coloured primers and full 2k auto paint out of a gun. No melted foam.
I am in Europe too.
7A9442D9-30CD-43F9-AF00-60BE83263940.jpeg D0647E1E-888C-4BD8-BD70-CF791A586982.jpeg
Last edited:


Elite member
I use Krylon Colormaster spraypaint, which is an alkyd enamel paint + primer in one (so not acrylic nor water-based). It is relatively expensive though at $5 a can, so painting a plane almost always costs more than the materials needed to make it. One can covers a whole mini with some left over, or almost does an good job at covering a full sized FT design.

Due to the cost and the fact that my planes were only lasting a few weeks anyway, I just started using minwax quick-dry polyurethane to coat the whole plane to keep the moisture out (my field is always always wet). Wipe it on with a paper towel then wipe off the excess with a clean paper towel before it can dry. It protects the plane but makes it sort of yellow. Detail can be laid on as tape or stickers before coating. It's cheap at $6 a can and I've done probably 5 or 6 planes with it so far and I've got enough for 1 or 2 more in the can. I've also tried to dye it but that didn't go so well.

I also use the iron on the edges as well. It's probably the #1 tip I can give to increase the strength of the edges, give the part a little more stiffness, and also it looks a lot better than a square edge.
  • Like
Reactions: FDS


Elite member
Both those products are not commonly available in Europe. There are minwax alternatives but they cost a lot more than budget paint cans. Polyurethane varnish in cans is available for brushing onto wood etc, is that what you used?
Ironed edges are always cool!


Knower of useless information
I used an oil based polyurethane (do not use a water based version!) on my Sea Duck to put a waterproofing of sorts, and then took some regular acrylic paint (I think it was Master's Touch, a common brand for doing canvas painting) from the local hobby store and brushed it on afterwards.

Rustoleum is recommended only because it tends not to eat the foam when sprayed. If you're wanting to use spray paint, I would recommend testing whatever you want to use on a scrap piece of foam before you apply it to your model - it'll save you heartache and headache if it melts your plane when applying.

Another alternative, if you have one, is to use an airbrush, and spray the plane that way. I wouldn't necessarily recommend it for a large plane, like the Sea Duck; when I did it, I kept having to apply paint to my paint cup and it felt like I went through 3/4 of a bottle of paint. But, it IS an option.

As for prep work, if you're painting on the white foamboard (not the water resistant stuff) then you need to do one of two things when painting: 1) apply a thin coat of polyurethane to the foamboard so that it seals it, thus preventing the foam from soaking up a ton of the paint and having the paper peel up, or 2) spray it from a distance, applying very thin, very light coats. If you're doing the water resistant foamboard, you don't need to apply the polyurethane, but doing a light sanding of the surface you plan to paint will help the paint adhere. You can either hit it with a fine grade sandpaper or even one of those Scotch Brite kitchen scrubbing pads - just something to scuff the surface a bit so the paint will stick.
  • Like
Reactions: FDS


New member
I should say that I do not own an air brush (thought about getting one, but then you need a compressor too..).
1st time hearing about using an iron on the FB.. I only scratch build (no laser cut pieces), but sounds interesting. Maybe I give it a try with our clothes iron.

Basically I wanted to find an easiest way to bring more life to my planes. Right now I am using only color packing tape and its time to do it nicer.

Salesman at my local hobby shop advised me to use just any cheap acrylic spray can - specifically water based - even when I said that I am using FT water resistant FB. So he said "clean it with a little soapy water". That does not make much sense to me...

So I think I will try the soft sanding method and spray it lightly afterwards. Doing that do you think I will be able to use water based acrylic paint or you advice me to use something else?

...or maybe someone experienced will come up with some better idea?

Anyway thank you for some tips given already!


Elite member
Water based paint won’t stick to Flite Test board. Use an auto type spray paint. Both the pictured planes were painted with car paint, light coats to seal the board, PVA exposed foam and light sanding to key the surface are what you need to get good results. The surface of the board should be flat looking, with no shine, before you paint. Not visibly scratched or abraded.
I have been painting everything from cars to bikes and Nerf blasters for nearly 30 years. I still Test new ideas on scrap material first. Same with edge ironing.
Washing with soapy water removes silicone, not much of that on Foamboard!