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Painting a console?

Started by systemsonic14, Nov 18, 2018, 07:36 pm

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I have recently been filling up my notebook with plans for a TARDIS Console which I'll be building out of MDF some time soon (as soon as I've got the measurements all figured out). One thing that I have been somewhat unsure of, however, is the paint. I'd like it to have a metallic kind of look, similar to that of the Smith/Capaldi console, but I'm no expert in this field so I thought I'd ask: what do you all reccomend paint-wise for the console?

Cardinal Hordriss

For my console I went shopping at Halfords for car paint. I went with a gunmetal sort of colour and matt lacquer to take the glossy shine off. I can't remember the precise name of the colour but there was a range of similar shades.
I speak to you from the final days of Gallifrey. I am the past you have forgotten. You are the future I will not live to see...


Nov 19, 2018, 08:45 am #2 Last Edit: Nov 19, 2018, 08:46 am by russellsuthern
I agree.
The best finish will come from using metallic car spray paint.
These can be expensive, so I tend to use spray paints from the pound shop. (You can often get silver or grey, but one can doesn't last too long!)

A couple of other things to consider:

You need to make sure your surface is sanded as smooth as possible as every lump or scratch will show through.
A good undercoat will enhance the overall effect.
Spray paint can scratch or rub off pretty easily, so if you are going to be playing with your console a lot, or taking it to shows, you might consider varnishing or laquering it to protect the paint

Good luck,



Something I've seen done to good effect is to layer a brighter metal layer under a darker metal layer, and then scratch and scuff the top layer to reveal the lower layer.
Another thing I've seen is people rubbing a dirty wash of paint into the corners and against any ridges and raised edges. Sometimes they then scratch through the dirty wash, and sometimes they scratch through the wash and the top layer of paint. It's about building up a story.

I'm pretty sure you can see all those techniques on the Smith/Capaldi console.


Fully agreed with everyone up here! I really enjoy the process of painting, and whilst I'm not going to say anything that others haven't, here's exactly how I'd tackle the Capaldi metal finish (I just did the same finish on some War Machine armour, soooooo...)

1) Sand completely smooth, even one errant rough patch will ruin the illusion. Keep adding layers of polyfilla and primer, sanding every time, and you'll eventually get the finish you want.
2) Undercoat in a grey primer, I'd recommend Halfords. One large can would probably do it, two certainly would.
3) Main paint layer: a gunmetal colour, as Cardinal Hordriss says, would be perfect, and Halfords do the best stuff. 'Ford Polaris Grey' was the one I colour matched before, but there's probably a better match out there if you look hard enough. If you want to do it more cheaply, there are certainly ways around it, however. Poundland do metallic silver paint for £1 a can which would certainly work, you'd just need to do a heck more weathering on it, though!
4) Weathering: depending how much the paint needs to be dulled will determine how much you need. Water down some black acrylic paint, or use liquid black shoe polish, and liberally apply it over a section, not leaving out any nook or cranny. Then take a damp towel and wipe most of it off, leaving it mainly in the cracks and a wash of it over the silver. This is what will give it that dulled, aged effect that can't really be achieved with just one layer of paint.
5) Highlight. Take one black pot of paint, a tiny amount, and one silver. In all the deepest and most inaccessible places, paint in the black grunge to your satisfaction, perhaps in areas where the wash might have missed. Then, in all the sharpest and most exposed edges, do the same, adding hints of silver. This is where it will really 'come alive', because it will look like the only cleaning it's received is The Doctor polishing it with his coat, when he leans over it to pull a lever.

Sorry for the ramble! As I say, the other guys already said all of that, but hopefully the order helps! :) Good luck!
Isn't it how ironic that we have to think of solutions out of the box, in order to build our boxes a lot of the time?


Thanks for all the help guys!

I've got a local Halfords and as everybody seems to be recommending their paint I'll definitely check it out. Like I said, I'm no expert but these posts have really helped me out  ;D


And do remember to wear a mask when spray painting. And indeed when cutting MDF. Your future self will thank you.