Thanks for all the compliments everyone. To me, this paint job was a lot simpler than the one I did on my bug. That was a really ellaborate wet paint looking thing.. this one, was easy in comparison.
Anyway, to answer a few questions.
#1. I have seen as many painting techniques as there are people who do it. All I can say, is to experiment and find a technique that you like to do, and gives you the result you like.
#2 Common prep things to do before painting. Wash the plastic pieces with dish soap first. Sand down with a 300 grit wet paper, until the surfance is smooth. Wash again with dishsoap to get all the sanded material off from the piece. Paint with primer, let dry and sand any irregular surfaces, hit with primer again, and sand until everything is smooth, and covered with primer.
#3 Most important thing to do with spray paint, is to spray lightly and at a distance of no more and no less than a foot away. avoid puddling at all possible. Also, the propelant in spray paint, is also a thinner and will eat through primer if you puddle the paint. It will all bubble up and look nasty.
#4. I personally don't like to sand the painted surface after I paint. I like to keep it in it's natural bumpy state. After the paint dries, I take a wet towel and basically polish it down, or I will take a wax buffer and buff the paint down, without using sand paper. The little bumps in the paint (flecks, or whatever you want to call them), cause the finished product to have more areas for light to bounce off from, kind of gives it more of a sparkly look. this is personal preference... professional spray guns come out looking even 90% of the time, but spray paint has it's own little qwirks.
#5 If I want to have colors blend, as I did with the white and yellow on the engine covers, I apply the main coat/color, and then while it is still wet, I spray the second coat/color, from the heaviest point to the lightest point of mixture. I have found this to give you better control over quantity of mix.
#6. Another personal preference. I like to put the 1st gloss coat on extra heavy. In many ways, I have to do this, to fill in the voids from the flecks of color paint. Once this dries, I sand the first gloss coat down, starting out with a 250-300 grit paper, depending on the roughness of the surface, then i work it with a 600 wet grit paper (all sand paper used on paint should be wet sand paper). After it is all sanded smooth, I hit it with as many gloss coats as I feel is necessary to make it shine.
#7. After the final coat, I will take a random orbital waxer, and put a buffing compond on it (very very very small amount), and buff the heck out of the piece.
anyway, as I said this all how I do it. A good friend of mine has his own techniques that vary from mine, and his results are very nice as well.
I have completely different techniques for painting on metal.
and, as a side note, the engine covers should not get hot enough to require high heat paint. the plastic isn't touching anything in the engine. If it required high heat paint, it wouldn't be made out of plastic in the first place. Plastic will melt at about the same temperature as the paint. If you paint anything metal in the engine compartment, or your brake calipers, use high heat paint.