Marvel Legends Hulkbuster Repaint Tutorial

This is a repaint of the Marvel Legends build a figure Hulkbuster. This figure is amazing but the huge obvious problem is how bad the paint application is.  Nothing about the paint app is good, it just looks like a big plastic low quality toy.

Thanks for checking out Action Figure Toronto and reading my tutorial, let me know what you think and if you have any questions feel free to ask. I don’t keep secrets!

Check out the final figure here!

Here we go!


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The first thing I did was prep the figure for the base coat. I cleaned up all the mold lines, filled in the peg holes on the legs and then washed the figure with soapy water.


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The base coat is done with a metallic silver. The whole figure is covered in it but for whatever reason I didnt take a picture of the legs. This base coat is super important to the metallic look. Its going to be the reason the red looks metallic.


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So this was the worst part of the whole project. The red parts of the model have to be applied from a rattle can or a airbrush to make them look smooth. If you try to apply this sort of layer with a brush it just ends up looking rough and uneven. That means I had to mask off every area I didn’t want to be red on every part of the figure.

This was such a pain that there is no way I would ever tackle another project with this much masking. It was really tedious and seriously made me almost forget about the project.


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For the red I used Tamiya’s Clear Red. This is basically a acrylic gloss coat that tints whatever it covers red. So this clear red glossy top coat over our metallic base gives us an amazing hot rod metallic red.

This photo doesnt really do the paint job justice but when it was done I felt like all the masking was worth it.


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The I used a Vallejo metallic gold on the areas I wanted gold.

I used a brush for most of this but ended up spraying the larger areas like the face and arm guards to make the paint application as smooth as possible.


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Up next I used a few different washes to fill in some of the recessed areas.

I used a slightly different colour wash for each area which was just whatever that colour was but very dark.

I also took some time and cleaned up the general paint application mistakes from the mask and other general clean up.


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This last step is always the most fun step. Weathering and effects!

I wanted my hulkbuster to be a bit beat up but not to look completely trashed.

For all the weathering I apply it with a piece of foam. I use a dry brush technique which means I dab the foam into the paint then dab the foam onto a piece of paper towl till 90% of the paint is gone, then I apply it to the model.

Really any foam is ok but something not a lot of people think about with this sort of thing is scale. The more dense the piece of foam the smaller the specs will be. You need to pick a piece of foam that will give you a spec size that makes sense for your project.

The first layer of weathering was a dirt/mud layer. If you look at the first photo you can see it clearly on the shoulder pad, chest, and the feet. This is a dark brown/red and I just apply it generally and into areas that would get more dirt on them.

Second layer is the silver chipping. Applied the same way with a metallic silver paint. I do a bit of general chips but most of the focus is on edges and places that it makes sense that chips would be.

Last layer for this is a darker silver chip. This is applied with a brush and I use it to give depth to the lighter silver chips. Most times I try to apply it to the top of the lighter chips but sometimes you just do whatever looks good.

Last thing is the glows. This are applied with an airbrush but you can 100% do this was a brush. Its just a lot harder.

Glows are done in two layers. First layer is a light light blue then you just paint over top of that with a dot of white.


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Finally assembled! I ended up adding more white to the glows here but thats not important.

This project was a bit of a struggle at points but I couldn’t be happier with the final results. I just keep staring at it and smiling.

If you have any questions feel free to ask!

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  • Show Comments

  • Rene

    Wow!!!

    Your passion, pride, and attention to detail show through on this piece of art.

    Bravo!

    Rene in TX

  • Robert

    I can’t wait to do this to my Hulkbuster! What brand of silver paint did you use? Is a primer base not needed?

    • WilliamTink

      The silver is actually the primer! It was army painters Plate Mail Metal primer.

  • Derek

    Did you do any sanding to the joints (knees/elbows/shoulders) to avoid paint rub? If no, has paint rub been an issue?

    • ActionFigureToronto

      I did this project pretty early in my customizing life and dont think I did any joint sanding but I have had an issue with the rotation on the elbow joint rubbing. If I was to do this again I would 100% sand down the elbow joint and the overhang top part of the arm.

      None of the other joints need any sanding though.

  • Matt Lockhart

    Clearly an amazing difference. Well worth the masking pain. This looks like an achievable project for someone interested in getting into customizing. To this end could the paint be done with just spray cans or “rattlers” as I think you called them or would a airbrush provide a better result? A f er questions. the foam you mentioned for the weathering do you mean a sponge or styrofoam? What brand is the masking tape you’ve used and the brand of washes please. Thanks again for such comprehensive tutorials

    • ActionFigureToronto

      An airbrush is for sure better but you could do this whole project with spray cans. I mean like “sponge” foam. I think mine came from the packaging from some headphones.

      The masking tape is tamiya tape and I mix my own washes using Future Floor Wax and 3-4 parts water then however much paint you want to use. The more paint you add the heavier the wash.

  • Daniel Max Shaw

    Great job! I have a question about disassembling the figure though. I assembled my figure and for some reason the top part of the chest is not perfectly lined up with the Torso making him look like he’s kind of turn to the side but I can’t turn him back. How do I take him apart without cracking apart the chest and damaging your figure?

    • ActionFigureToronto

      The torso should be able to move all the way around as well as backwards and forwards a bit. I heard a bunch of people have this problem with the lower torso joint on this guy and you have to be really careful getting it to loosen up because you can break it. The two methods I use to loosen stiff joints is to heat them up a bit then try to move the joint or using dish soap with a bit of water and putting that into the joint.

      If its already assembled it may be a bit difficult to get to the joint but those are your best options. You may be able to still separate the two sides of the up upper torso though because they dont actually click in and lock but that might be a bit dangerous.

      Good luck!

  • Schmidt

    I’ve never tried any painting, but I just got all the parts for my Hulkbuster and I’m very tempted to give this a try.

    Did you have the figure broken down further when actually doing the painting? Like, do the feet come off, for example? If so, is it just a matter of carefully heating things to pull it apart, if not, how do you do the painting for joints? Just apply a layer, wait a bit, move the joint, and apply again?

    Awesome project!

    • ActionFigureToronto

      Thanks! I didnt break it down anymore than what you see here and I basically did what you said. I move the joint to one end of the articulation, paint it then move it to the other end.

      Some of these parts you may be able to pop apart after heating but iv never tried it with this BAF and its probably going to be more trouble than its worth.

      • Schmidt

        Cool, thanks. One other question, a little outside the scope of this tutorial, but is there anything specific you’d recommend if I end up shopping for an airbrush? Good brands, or features to pay attention to?

        • ActionFigureToronto

          Im going to eventually do a write up on airbrushes but I have an Iwata eclipse which was recommend to me as a great starting airbrush. The quality is very good and gives you tons of room to grow into for around $150ish. Its the only airbrush iv ever used but its super easy to work with and clean so I have no complaints about it.

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