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MG Midget and Sprite Technical - Celly paint

Question for all those who spray at home? Who/where do you get your paint mixed? I'm after some good quality cellulose in carmine red and leyland white.

C L Carter

Autopaint, Brighton - do mail order.
David Smith

I've used Autopaint before as well. Good service.
Mike Howlett

the boys at colour weld are the business, IIRC 17 plus vat a litre for HMG branded paint, they are also quick, reliable and efficient.

find them here

dont ask me how i know, but Patricia who answers the phone generally likes Mince Pies !!!
p bentley

Jawel in Brum get my vote. think I got mine next day.

M McAndrew

I've heard good things about Jawel...

Do they, or the others - mix to paint codes? How close to original colour are they or are people getting paint for a full respray so don't care?

C L Carter

Colour weld look very cheap... is it good stuff? 5 litres for 60 is good value I think.

On a different note, for those who have resprayed a full car how much paint have you got through (and how many coats) - I've been told 2.5l is enough, but I feel I would get through that pretty quick - especially as I like to put 4 coats on.

C L Carter

2.5lts will be plenty for a "top" respray. If you're doing the underside as well you'll need the full 5lts.

Four coats is not a lot and you would be better doing 6 or more but with a lot of thinners in the last two. Approx 75% thinners in the final coats will help shine it up and cut down of the flatting a polishing.

Best of....

M McAndrew

just done a bgt with 2.5 litres of black mixed at about 40:60 (thinners)looked pretty good to me, see attached, its a pic from a camera phone so quality is a little out.

I take the view with regards to coats that the more the better, surely your only given the metal better protection ? the by product of which also means should you in time pick up a scratch, some CAREFUL rubbing with 2000 stage wet and dry and then compound will do the job.

plan to polish after a further week of it being allowed to go off

p bentley

So thats colourweld then paul? It looks good - how many coats?

My view on coats is more the better too - I will flat down the top coat with a 1200 with liberal amounts of water and fairy liquid... then poslish it out - so I end up taking off nearly a full coat anyway.

That said, if you put too many coats on you will encourage crazing I think.

2.5 just seems a little short... although I suppose you can always get another 2.5l halfway through the job - if you're doing full coats it doesn't really matter if its a slightly different colour.

C L Carter

Yes colour weld. . . .

I think, although i am not sure that you will only get crazing and other issues if you put coats on before the previous one has not properly dried. . . .the thinner the mix of course the faster it dries.

I bought 5 litres of paint, as its cost is so reasonable. . .plus, if you spray knowing your running close to the bottom of the tin so to speak it may start to make your spraying arm wobble !!

2000 stage grit on an air fed DA is what i used to fltten the paint, peel sadly is virtually inevitable, but being careful after the paint has gone off will ensure a top shine when you come to compound it.
p bentley

cool - good to know! Thanks Paul.

Have you been able to cut you peel out with 2000 and compound?

Any reccomendations on what compounds to use?
C L Carter

A couple of things from my experience. The climate in your garage / spray area needs to be warm and dry. If the weather is cold and the air damp you will never achieve a good finish. Second, leave the paint as long as you can before attempting to flatten it. Celly tends to shrink with drying and the process can take several days, if not longer. Again it is temperature dependent.

I found striking the balance between putting the paint on uber-thin and getting a powdery effect, or putting too much on so that it sags and runs on the vertical surfaces, was very tricky. I certainly always got some peel effect and a few sags, but these can be flattened once the paint is good and dry.

As for cutting compound I like Farecla G3.
Mike Howlett

Another vote for G3.
Dave O'Neill2

I've been very happy with my results using farecla g3 followed by G10 then a final going over with farecla Glaze but I would imagine any proprietory system would work just as well. You'll also find it's a lot easier to flatten the peel if you use a range of grits starting with 800 then moving up through 1200, 1500, 200 and even as far as 2500 - another good reason why 6 coats are better than 4 :-) Might sound like overkill but the results are well worth the effort.

graeme jackson

i found the farecla finishing compound to be a good compromise, especially when getting nervous around the edges of the MGBGT i was working on. . . i also experimented with the regulator and found that my spraying technique was best suited to a higher PSI. . . .i guess this creates better atomisation and therefore the shine appears to be instantly better, and anything to cut down on flatting has to be good !
i also upgraded to a FLG5 Devilbiss gun, which has a much better fan width than my previous gun FLG3 . . . be interested to know other set ups people are running. . .top colour Graeme. . .nice job
p bentley

meant to add, 3M fast cut is pretty good but i always use a drop of water with it, which whilst it evens out the liquid nicely it does get thrown everywhere when the rotary polisher spins up. . . so far as compounds, Bodyline (brown brothers) do their own version and this is milder and quite good. . .their finishing glaze is also very good.

The weave of the polishing pad is also significant, the waffle style compound pads shift alot of paint, so consequently you need to be aware of it. . .the polishing pads (blue generally) are nice and soft, but as with most things its trial and error. The best advice i can give is start as mild as you can and be careful of the edges !! rubbing through is a pain, but some careful airbrush work after then a re polish can often be your saviour ! well it has been for me !!!
p bentley

you mentioned red and white in your original post, going two tone ? explain please
p bentley

Thanks for the advice on polishing - lots to be aware of it seems.

Red and White - My car is carmine red, but my friend josh has a leyland white. Nothing special!
C L Carter

Well we're going to learn to paint starting this weekend.

I've bought myself a HVLP system, been down to Autopaint and had a chat with the nice man there who advised me on what to get and how to go about it.

So this weekend's project is to strip down the black works hardtop for the midget, flat it down to get rid of the micro blisters and then have a go at getting it into primer before attempting to do the gloss black.

No doubt it will all go horribly wrong, but we've got a BGT to do next so I want to get some practice on the smaller area thing before tackling a BGT :-)

If we get the BGT decent, then who knows, we may even try to sort the Magnette out ourselves :-)

Andrew McGee

Andrew, your garage sounds a bit like mine...
2 x BGT's (1 x fast one ;0), Magnette, two B's and me mates Midget...
Midget's painted, GT's next, B's will have to wait their turn and the poor Magnette just sits in the container in the sulk....

M McAndrew


Ours is 2 Race Midgets, 1 Road Midget, 2 BGT's and the Magnette and I don't count the numerous others that have been stripped for parts and are nicely tucked away in the sheds.

My Wife thinks I'm addicted to buying Classic MG's.... well she buys enough shoes and handbags!

Sorry for the thread creep!
Andrew McGee

Someone mentioned Jawel in Brum, are they any good?

I bought some GN29 from them mixed to their computer method.

It was not the "expected" blueish GN29, more yellow in it to my eye so I took it back, in the car so they could look and see what I was moaning about.

He agreed it was yellower so having used the computer then, he delved back into its files and found that GN29 came up with two formulae.

Guess what happened when he remixed top the "other" one?

Perfect replacement GN29 for the sdgpm, so it pays to take care with them but they get it right at the end.

Reminds me, maybe time to repaint in a different colour. I quite fancy MG Rover's Pearlescent BRG, looks lovely on my spare "boot rack" boot lid.

I had some Inca yellow from Jawell and it was nothing like. Didn't want to know!

Got some from Autopaint in Cov - when they were there - and it was very close. Took it back and they added some white tint and gave me some more tint in case it wasn't right.
Dave O'Neill2

did you get painting at the weekend Andrew ?? new toys and all that !
p bentley

Just had a play this morning as it was too cold at the weekend and I managed to convince myself that I ought to "treat" myself to a InfraRed Heater.... boy does that work!

So the weekend was spent removing the trim and side windows, I chickened out of removing the rear window as the rubber seal was showing signs of cracking and I don't think spares are readily available for the works hardtops anymore (please feel free to correct me if I am wrong).

So we masked it up yesterday ready to start with the painting today.

I was up early and in the garage before 8am keen to set to it. The heater certainly warmed the garage up nicely and I got suited and masked up myself.

Autopaint had recommended the primer and I mixed it as they suggested and tried the gravity cup supplied with the paint system and sure enough it was exactly the right ratio to drop through the cup at the advised length of time (4:1 primer to thinners and 18 seconds through the cup for those interested).

Oh the needle is 1.3mm as standard with the HVLP gun supplied.

So I had an inch of mix in the paint pot (yes I realise that was far too little) and set to. One thing I'm learning is actually how much primer to mix up, it actually took 400ml and 100ml thinners to do the hardtop. HOWEVER, I did follow the distance advice for the gun to the hardtop and probably because of the heat from the Infra Red Heater I ended up with quite a sandy primer coat.

That has just been flatted back to smooth and is fine.

So now I'm pondering whether to spray closer to the surface or to turn the heater down to one bar instead of two.

Top coat next, but that may have to be tomorrow as I really ought to get some work done.

Andrew McGee

Andrew, what HVLP gun are you using? Oh and what about that heater? I'm looking to spray my MGB and was going to wait for the spring. I'd be interested in how things turn out and if I can get away with painting before Christmas.
Steve Church

Steve, I've also been reading your thread on the B pages. I'm also hoping to get my BGT into colour before Christmas hence the heater.

I've got myself this paint system.

The heater is one of these

I'll let you know how it goes. Bear in mind if I get decent results then you'll likely get brilliant results as all my previous attempts at painting (with aerosols) have ended up looking pants, whereas mates of mine can get decent looking results from aerosols!

Andrew McGee

I would turn off the IR heater whilst you are painting. sounds like it's drying the paint mid air!
d cusworth

Thanks Andrew. I have the plastic (cheaper) version of the Apollo which I bought ages ago. I did do some spraying with it but didn't like the constant flow of air from the fan shaping nozzles. You could only turn the paint flow on and off, not the air. How much space around the car do you have. Have you plastic lined the garage?
Steve Church

i have always used a 50:50 mix on celly primer, not saying i am right, but if its going on 'sandy' then i would be tempted to tweak the fluid control valve to allow more paint at the mix you have, or to alter the mix. . .just an opinion
p bentley

I'd second the 50-50 mix for celly.
Steve Church

I thought the mix was to get the right fluid consistency through the nozzle. The gravity cup information has lots of differing flow rates for the various types of "paint chemistry" that can be put through the gun.

There's also 4 differing needle sizes for the differing types of "paints".

"P" (sorry don't know your first name), I was reading that I ought to wind back the amount of paint I was applying to a fine spray as the "sandy" bits were quite coarse.

Steve, when we do the car I'll be emptying the garage of it's various metal cupboards, when emptying it's full width could get two midgets side by side but with handles touching the walls and each other. Nope and I haven't lined the garage either, after this mornings priming there's grey on the floor where the handtop was sat on a trestle, but not much overspray on anything else. I'm sure there will be some when I take a really close look but it does seem to be contained within a very close proximity to where I was working.

Danny, thanks for that, I'll try it with the heater off when I'm actually painting. The heather does a great job of warming up the top fairly quickly so hopefully there will be some latent heat held in the top whilst it's being painted and then I'll put it back on again when I've done it. Probably a bit too late to do it now, but then again I may just do so as I know I'm not going to get chance to do so until Thursday if I don't tonight.... I'm trying not to be impatient! :-)

Andrew McGee

P is for Peter . . . the fluid tip at 1.3 is the right one so far as i use in any case. . . if i understand paint correctly (remember i am self taught, or should that be self guess) if the paint is dry then you need more thinners. .or at least you would be wise to alter the mix. Also if the pressure is to low then the paint will not atomise properly giving you the finish you describe. . .I would turn it up by 10 PSI and see if that makes a difference, the down side of a wetter mix and a higher pressure will mean that you need to move the gun more quickly. . .if you dont then runs will occur as you putting paint over paint so to speak before the gun moves along the panel.

I would encourage that you try these suggestions before you get to using the paint, as otherwise all you will be doing is changing the colour of the dry finish. . .

is your spray gun adjustble for 'fan width' and fluid flow ?
p bentley

I think you need a 1.8 for primer and a 1.3 for gloss - thats what i've learned, but a 1.8 would only disperese your paint more.

Another vote on 50 50 mix on celly - but that is for a HP gun... you are using a HVLP gun, so everything is very different in terms of pressures, volumes and fan adjustment. I would reccommend some practise with different settings and fluid mixes... Everyone I know sprays with a HP gun when using celly so I can't help.

one thing I would say is, make sure the pressure you are spraying with as per your instructions is correct.... the pressure at the tip of the gun is different to the pressure at the entrance to the gun which is different again to the pressure coming out of your compressor... I imagine your pressures are given as "tip" pressures... which will be about half of that entering the gun, so if you have a small reg on the end of the gun like I do - you might have to effectively double your pressures.

Hope that helps
C L Carter

Thanks Chris and Peter.

The Apollo system I have is self contained, the only adjustablity is the paint flow rate, the pressure is set at the air pump. It should be simplicity itself.

I jumped in feet first as I normally do and got on with the black gloss this evening. It's better than I've previously got (with aerosols), though I'm still not happy with it, but that's why I'm doing the hardtop first and not the BGT.

I dropped the heater down to one bar and moved it at least 6 foot away from the hardtop.

The paint/thinners mix was 50/50 and I used quarter a litre of each to paint the top.

There's no sandiness this time, altho I must admit that I can see the coarseness of the spray pattern so it hasn't gone on mirror finish at all. I did increase the paint flow over previous which coarsens the spray pattern, maybe I should have left that as it was and with the 50/50 mix and setting the heater back that may have been the better option.

So I think tomorrow evening I'll nib it back a bit with 1200 paper and see what it looks like then and maybe put another few coats on it.

Either way it's a 100% improvement on what it looked like before I stripped it down at the weekend (microblisters, scratches and chips!).

It's all a learning curve and you're never too old to have a go and learn.

Andrew McGee

I have had good results by spraying the last two coats very thinned down - almost pure thinners by comparison to your 50:50 mix. Two quick light coats of thinners sprayed over the last colour coat before it has dried seem to re-dissolve the paint in situ, allowing it to flow almost and even out the sandyness. When you get this right it results in a very good gloss finish "straight from the gun" with almost no need for cutting back or polishing at a later date
Guy W

Guy, that worked.

A nice shiny gloss black appearence to the hard top now.

Though I did get my feet caught up in the cable to the light stand and ended up stumbling before I could release the paint trigger so I've got a nice run on the roof to flat out when its dried. :-(

It's all good fun though.

I'm sure with practice and lots of sandpaper and paint the BGT will be passable if certainly not concours. It's going to be my everyday runabout so it doesn't need to be immaculate by any means.

Andrew McGee

sounds like progress is being made, well done. I still maintain that through my now (almost complete) rebuild the paintwork was the most satisfying job to do. . .and as you practice and find your form you will instinctively improve.
p bentley

I did that too Guy, not because I was clever though, but because I was so short of paint, and wanted to get another coat on. Also had a really cheap and cheeful low pressure spray gun, and the paint had to be that thin to get through it. I was amazed how much of a shine I got on the bonnet and the boot lid. Not so good on the verticals though. In fact not so good at all. lol.
Lawrence Slater


I've had a reaction!

Another lesson learnt though.

I'd taken it back to the fibreglass of the hardtop in 95% of the case, but left a couple of areas on purpose as a test to see what would happen so that I knew how far we had to take the BGT back.

There wasn't any reaction until the last light coats of the extremely thinned paint went on. It did bring the shine up and knocked back the stipling a bit, but in a couple of places where the existing paint was present I've got crazing appeared now.

I think if I flat it back then it'll all crack back to the primer, so I may leave it for the meanwhile as it's not that bad (but I can see it and it will eventually annoy me to the point of sorting it).

There's the run to sort out, which I'll do next week once it's all cured off solid as opposed to being potentially soft right now.

Overall I'll give myself a 6 out of 10 and that's miles better than my previous 2 out of 10's.

Andrew McGee

i've had problems with fibreglass reacting. . .read somewhere that its an idea to lacquer it first !! but not tried that technique. . . i assume there is a tir in between thin coats and the reaction. . .perhaps its best to build up the thicker coats before going for the shiny thinner coats. . .but as ever its a guess
p bentley

Peter, it reacted where the paint had been left on, all the grp areas are free from crazing.

Pic is attached of the Hartop done (for the moment) with the side glass back in, ouch that hurt my fingers - 90 minutes of struggling to get the rubber and glass to seat right and then do the chrome trim inserts. I kept the rear glass in as I knew that would be a right pain.

So onwards and upwards.


Andrew McGee

I've been reading a lot about GRP cars as I have an Elan to rebuild. I don't think you can put an aggressive thinner like cellulose directly on to the gel coat. You will soften it. Some sort of inoffensive primer must be used. I sprayed my Midget works hardtop with a couple of cans out of Halfords. It's not the best finish but it will do for me. Because I left the original red paint intact, just gave it a light rubbing down, I had no reactions.
Mike Howlett


In my experience with cellulose and GRP you won't soften it but some solvent does penetrate into the GRP and it can take longer to fully harden. You'll also want to be putting an etch primer straight on the GRP anyway.
David Billington

I've found with my Apollo HVLP that you need to thin the paint quite a lot to get it out of the gun with spitting.

I also bought some cheap polythene dustsheets from the pound shop to make a 'curtain' around the spraying area.

Dave O'Neill2

With unknown or incompatible paints you take a gamble as cellulose will often react in this way. Once the hardtop has been surfaced it's a good precaution to apply an alcohol based isolator like Barcoat to seal the substrate. This will stop any reactions, but you need to leave it for at least a couple of days gently warming through before you apply any primers and colour coats. Ideally you should only paint cellulose above 15 Degrees C and below 50% humidity, so it will be worth getting a wall clock with thermometer and barometer gauges to hang in the garage. The last time we had these combinations was back in early August. Microblistering is down to moisture trapped in the primers and filler - which being hygroscopic readily absorb water, but is then topcoated before the water has been force dried or evaporated out. So after a few months or in direct sunlight, the panel heats up and the pressure of the trapped moisture pops the surface.
F Pollock

with all the requirements to get things right concerning celly paint you can see why people take a view of getting an expert to do it, the right equipment, temperature, surroundings, skill and experience all add up to a proper result. . . .generally !

that said, its still great fun and very rewarding to have a go yourself.. . .and it cuts down on the spiders in your garage if my experience is anything to go by !
p bentley

We've taken the plunge and are making a start on the BGT now.

I've started to flatten the roof down due to that having some mircoblisters that had popped and become rusty. So the intention is to sand the paint off the roof completely and then start from there.

We're going to the Classic Car show tomorrow so I'll be shopping for etch primer, bar coat, rust inhibitor etc there.

Hopefully by end of Sunday the roof will be back under cover of some primer.

Looking forward to the journey :-)

Andrew McGee


Hows it going? What products did you buy? I am wondering about humidity? I bought a humidity meter recently and in my (separate) garage the humidity is around 80%. Will warming it up reduce the humidity?
Steve Church


We're still stripping the exiting paint of and taking the whole exterior down to bare metal, the front wings must have seen use on several other cars if the number of different colours that we've revealed are anything to go by. The main shell is cutting back nicely.

We bought some Rustbuster rust converter and Phospherous liquid to treat the black spots that removing the microblisters has revealed.

As for humidity, I think we are that far above sea level we bypass humidity and go straight to frost!

I think we're a couple of weekends away from putting the primer down so I'll let you know how it goes then.

Andrew McGee

" and it cuts down on the spiders in your garage if my experience is anything to go by ! "

That'll be those rare British Racing Green spiders I guess !
M J Chapman

spiders of any shape and size are not welcome in my garage. . . and those goes for colour too !
p bentley


Did you get your paint yet? I'm trying to remember the exact colour of your Midget. Was it maroon, or carmine red? What is the correct BMC name for that colour?
Lawrence Slater

I found the thread you we're looking for Andrew, been away for a while and have found time to work on the Midget, so now going to tack the suspension and get this painted, before I put things into storage as no doubt it will take time to restore the midget, even to a race spec.

MJ Jones

So you did, no wonder I couldn't find it in the "General" section.

Michael, you can't be far away in West Yorkshire so if you want to chat and have a look at our race Midgets then you're welcome to do so.

Andrew McGee

This thread was discussed between 21/10/2012 and 22/12/2012

MG Midget and Sprite Technical index

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