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I'm getting ready to build one of the Laserkit 30' Burlington Wood Cabooses. The instructions recommend pre-painting both sides of the wood parts prior to assembly.

Does anyone know why this is a recommended approach?

I usually assemble first, then air brush, sometimes painting sub assemblies prior to their final placement.

I should think wood glue would work better on non painted surfaces.



Master Mechanic
The reasons for painting both sides first is to prevent warpage of the wood parts. I've assembled probably 100's of wood kits and have never had a problem with warpage, and I never prepainted.


This will be the first wood model I have painted with acrylic paint. I wonder if the water base will be an issue that didn't exist with Floquil lacquer paints.

I've been away from modeling for 10 years and I'm having to learn some new things, such as working with water based paints.


Well-Known Member
One of the reasons for prestaining (e.g. using an india ink wash to "age" the wood) is that glue can interfere with the coloring of the wood. Another reason is if you use a water-based wood glue, water-based paints/stains (and alcohol-based) can soften the glue and cause the kit to fall apart. I will use either approach depending on what I'm trying to accomplish, but if assembling prior to painting I will use a non water-based glue very sparingly.


Well-Known Member
The last few craftsman kits I've done, I have prepainted the components, then built the model.

Some things to consider:

Neatness. For things like windows & mullions, it's easier to paint these separately first, then assemble. For cars with different side, end and roof colors, painting these before assembly will save you a ton of work masking.

They are saying paint both sides to prevent warping. I sometimes paint both sides, and sometimes paint one, and let it dry under a weight so that the part dries flat without warping. It depends on the kit, the thickness of the parts, and my mood that day :D

Water based paints will warp wood parts much more so than solvent based paints, in my experience. YMMV.

Wood is porous. Unless you paint so heavily that you seal the grain, a good glue will still stick everything together. If you do seal the wood, there is always good old ACC!


I heard from American Model Builders (Laserkits), and they agree, there is need to prepaint a car model. They feel it is more important with structures. I can see that need with larger surfaces.

This caboose is so tightly glued together, there will not be any warping.

I will spray some sub assemblies prior to placement to avoid the masking.

This is my first laser cut model and I'm duly impressed with how well the parts fit together. Very precise. Very neat.

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