Paint first or build first?

When building AFV's is there a consensus on building first or painting the
parts a base dark color, and then assembling (pre-shading)?
While building first might be easier, it might be harder to get paint into
all the nooks and crannies while possibly getting paint runs in other spots.
Any preferences?
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This is totally a personal preference. I know *many* armor guys who assemble everything first, including the running gear and tracks...and *then* do all the painting. Any overspray will be compensated for in the shading, highlighting,and weathering stages. And just remember... painting after the thing is 100% assembled is not so bizarre; as figure painters have done it that way for decades!
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Greg Heilers
Well, when I actually get from the assembly to paint stage I assemble then paint.
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My preference is:
- assemble large parts first and attach all detail patts to them as long as they are easily accessed (hull, turret, cuppola, gun, ) - paint this assembly - paint small parts still on sprue - I find it MUCH easier to paint wheels, tracks this way - cut small parts out, paint their 'cutting points' - assemble - finish painting, weathering, etc
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I haven't built armour in years, but in general for plastic kits it is never all one way or the other. That is, some assemblies are best painted as assemblies, others as individual parts. It all depends on what parts are what colors, where color dividing lines are, what the seams are like, etc. One of the skills one acquires by experience is knowing what parts to paint when.
Sometimes some parts have to be painted more than once. For instance, I often paint small parts on sprue. However, these parts need touching up later where the gates were snipped.
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Don Stauffer
and an exception to the rule...the emhar male. best paint when assembly completed but before the tracks are installed. decal in there, too.
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