Cheap decoys + cheap paint =

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Cheap decoys + cheap paint =

Postby Mean Gene » Fri Jan 30, 2015 10:13 am

I've been looking for some lightweight decoys that didn't cost an arm and a leg: something where I could throw a couple dozen into a bag and carry them in to hunt. I have no desire anymore to bust my ass humping in 50 lbs of gear to try and kill some stupid duck, but there's times when a mile walk is necessary. This week I had to fill a prescription at Walmart, and while I was there I found some cheapo Flambeaus on the clearance rack. There was 2 dozen there for a cost of $40, so I picked them up. Figured if I ended up never using them it still wouldn't be a big deal. The drakes weren't actually too bad, as far as paint goes: plenty good enough for a duck. Then hens had the typical horrible paint job though. No big deal, I'm in the shop painting anyway, so I might as well add a few to the mix. Here's a couple pictures of the before any work, colors blocked in, and finished product progression. As you can see it's possible to take an ugly duckling and turn it into something acceptable.

So, what's the point? The point is YOU can do the same thing if you're willing to put in some time and effort. I see guys every year spending hundreds, or thousands of dollars on new decoys. If you will simply learn to paint your own decoys you can save a few bucks in that area and apply them somewhere else. Money doesn't grow on trees.

You don't think you can put in all the cool details? You don't have to. You can kill ducks just fine with much simpler pant jobs than this one. And, if you learn to use an airbrush you can get through birds pretty quickly. I blocked in the base colors first, then airbrushing the details on this hen took me less than 15 minutes per bird. You can use a brush to do the same thing, it'll just take a little longer. BUT, the bottom line is for the vast majority of your hunting you don't need a super fancy paint job. Put your decoy down on the ground ad back off 30 yards and see how much detail you can still see. I do the detail work because I think they look cool, not because I think I have to have it.

If you buy better quality decoys to start, then learn how to paint, that's even better. Learn to paint and touch up birds and never again will chipping pant be much of a concern to you. :tu

This bird was done...except for the orange on the bill...totally with Rustoleum flat white, black and brown. The orange is a flat marine enamel from Lock Stock and Barrel (orange #20). There is MAYBE 75 cents into the paint. Maybe.




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Re: Cheap decoys + cheap paint =

Postby Darren » Fri Jan 30, 2015 10:43 am

No way I'm going to do that because I'm pretty certain I can't, but that looks really good! Makes you wonder if the highly detailed, and thus $$$, dekes these days are getting full commitment from ducks or hunters? That said, I put out the highest quality, most realistic decoys I can get my hands on without selling my truck. Nice work! :beer:
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Re: Cheap decoys + cheap paint =

Postby Rick » Fri Jan 30, 2015 11:11 am

Always an inspiration. (But I think what I'm really needing to get started is a kick in the butt...)
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Re: Cheap decoys + cheap paint =

Postby Olly » Fri Jan 30, 2015 11:17 am

That's so awesome. I have some of those exact decoys.
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Re: Cheap decoys + cheap paint =

Postby Flightstopper » Fri Jan 30, 2015 11:21 am

Thanks for the write up Gene. I always envy you guys that do your own decoys but a plain touch up of the decoys I already own like this is exactly what I need to do.
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Re: Cheap decoys + cheap paint =

Postby Woody » Fri Jan 30, 2015 11:26 am

You best not take me hunting... There's about a 95% chance I mistake those for real ducks and you're pack home is a little lighter.
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Re: Cheap decoys + cheap paint =

Postby The Duck Hammer » Fri Jan 30, 2015 1:02 pm

If I saw those on the water there's no way I'd think they were flambeaus. Nice work Gene.
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Re: Cheap decoys + cheap paint =

Postby Flightstopper » Fri Jan 30, 2015 1:44 pm

You use a clear coat?
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Re: Cheap decoys + cheap paint =

Postby Mean Gene » Fri Jan 30, 2015 2:43 pm

Flightstopper wrote:You use a clear coat?


I will, but I'll let the paint cure for a couple weeks before I put it on. 1-2 coats of Krylon flat. Light coats. :thumbsup:
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Re: Cheap decoys + cheap paint =

Postby banknote » Fri Jan 30, 2015 2:49 pm

I do a fair amount of touch-up, and enjoy it, but I mostly just use black and white acrylic paint with a brush to punch up the contrast and add a bit of shading where needed.

My first decoys were 3 dozen water keel Flambeau mallards I bought used from a guy for $60, rigged and in a bag. I don't know where they came from, but they were super basic paint jobs. The only white on the drakes was the neck ring and the hens were one shade of brown with solid orange bills. Using mostly just the white and black paint, and with some real birds I had on hand for reference, as well as pics from the web, I spent a few evenings making them look a lot more like real ducks (though nowhere near as well as Gene has) and they worked great. I still use them mixed with newer, "nicer" decoys I've bought since. The only real downside on their own is that they all have the same active pose.

Did the same thing with my dad's old Herters magnum foam bodied mallards. Their paint was very dull and lacked any sharp contrast between the whites and blacks. They've been working well for me since, and will probably be even better if I go ahead and flock the heads.
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Re: Cheap decoys + cheap paint =

Postby Mean Gene » Fri Jan 30, 2015 3:39 pm

Yep...contrast, that's the key. :thumbsup: I try and make them look like real ducks just to see if I can. I don't think it's a cure-all by any means. But, if I'm gonna do it I want to try and make them look as good as I can. SOme days the decoys is all that's around to look at. :lol: :lol:
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Re: Cheap decoys + cheap paint =

Postby sws002 » Fri Jan 30, 2015 4:12 pm

F'n A Gene, you got mad skills!
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Re: Cheap decoys + cheap paint =

Postby blockmaker » Fri Jan 30, 2015 4:23 pm

Saw this on Facebook. Looks awesome!
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Re: Cheap decoys + cheap paint =

Postby Mean Gene » Tue Feb 03, 2015 2:33 pm

Finished the drakes, but a gunner drake mallard is pretty much a gunner drake mallard. But the objective was met...I have a couple dozen lightweight decoys that look like ducks that I can pack in for a mile and not die.




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Re: Cheap decoys + cheap paint =

Postby Flightstopper » Tue Feb 03, 2015 3:18 pm

What colors used on drake?
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Re: Cheap decoys + cheap paint =

Postby Olly » Tue Feb 03, 2015 3:37 pm

Amazing. I don't have an artistic bone in my body.
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Re: Cheap decoys + cheap paint =

Postby Mean Gene » Tue Feb 03, 2015 5:26 pm

Flightstopper wrote:What colors used on drake?




The green head is Ronan's Superfine Japan Colors C.P. Green Dark. When it's dry you mist a light coat of Rustoleum clear matte over it and it darkens up to exactly the color I want. The chest is Ronan's Superfine Japan Colors burnt umber. It's a prefect color right out of the can for both mallards and wood ducks. The rest is Rustoleum. Gray is 10-1 flat white to flat black, dark brown is 2-1 flat brown to flat black. Black is Rustoleum flat black, white is Rustoleum flat white.
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Re: Cheap decoys + cheap paint =

Postby Flightstopper » Tue Feb 03, 2015 5:37 pm

Thanks!
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Re: Cheap decoys + cheap paint =

Postby Soxhunter » Wed Oct 14, 2015 4:49 pm

This is awesome. I'm a fairly new duck hunter, been deer hunting all my life. I just got hold of 2-3 dozen old, basic paint job mallards and want to do the same " enhancements". Anyone else have before and after photos and if you could give colors you used, that would really help. Can I just use basic acrylics from Michaels? Do you have to use a primer coat or just start with the base of brown? Any other tips would be great!
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Re: Cheap decoys + cheap paint =

Postby Soxhunter » Wed Oct 14, 2015 4:54 pm

I'm hunting NE Florida I already have some coots as confidence decoys. Should I repainted these mallards as another type of duck to go with mallards, teal that I already have? Will be hunting marsh, the river and shallow lake.
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Re: Cheap decoys + cheap paint =

Postby Deltaman » Fri Oct 16, 2015 8:32 am

Soxhunter wrote:I'm hunting NE Florida I already have some coots as confidence decoys. Should I repainted these mallards as another type of duck to go with mallards, teal that I already have? Will be hunting marsh, the river and shallow lake.


Most any duck will decoy to mallards........ but most everybody has Mallard decoys, so always nice to have something that is not so vanilla. I would do as fishermen do, and match the hatch........as in what kind of ducks are you seeing in your marsh?
We get mostly gadwalls here, so most of my decoys are gadwall, or repurposed old Mallard decoys, converted to gadwalls with rattle can paint (tan, brown, black and white), a little masking tape, and a speculum size cardboard cutout for the wing patch, easy peasy ;) See what you have in your area during the season and convert accordingly.
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Re: Cheap decoys + cheap paint =

Postby Soxhunter » Wed Oct 21, 2015 9:58 pm

First go at it....
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Re: Cheap decoys + cheap paint =

Postby The Duck Hammer » Thu Oct 22, 2015 8:37 am

Damn those look pretty good.
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