I'm going to answer here so I can share with everyone. I've posted a lot here about airbrushed toys. Use the search to find them.
Unless I say otherwise, I'm talking about painting with a brush.
1. What do you use if any for a base coat?
I've tried about everything including automotive primer. If you want to seal it first, its very hard to beat shellac. It will seal and stick to most any surface. It cures very fast so that if you have several toys to work on you can go nonstop until your done. Provided the weather cooperates. Zinsser BIN Shellac-Base Primer is white so if you need a white base you might want to try this. I have some wood that polyurethane will not cure on uhlessyou bake it in the oven. Shelac works great on it.
My favorite coat is no base coat. I like use paint that do not require a sealer/primer. House paint works good. I use Behr brand from Home Depot, usually Oops paint. For a base under colors that do not cover well (yellow and orange) I use white paint or primer. I prefer paint. I buy acrylic ceaft paint at WalMart for this or the pure white base they use for mixing house paint.
You can spray shellac right from the can with an air brush,
2. What type of paint do you use (style)? I have been using acrylic. looks terrible.
Acrylic craft paint I buy at. WalMart. It costs as little as $0.50 for the small bottles.
Behr house paint from Home Depot. Thes usually do not need any primer or base coat. I add a bit of FloeTrol to the paint. it helps to smooth brush marks and when spraying it reduces tip dry and clogging.
I've used and do use Krylon rattle can paint. This stuff absolutely needs to be sprayed outdoors or in a spray booth. Therefore I avoid it. It wastes a lot of paint. Especially on small items.
3. How many coats do you use?
As many as it needs. Lighter colors like yellow need a lot of coats with the first ones being white. The white makes the light color pop.
4. Do you paint assembled, or parts?
I finish before assembly. Some toys this can be a bit tricky. so get together. without messing them up. I try to stay away from anything that has a lot of colors.
5. Do you take painted show to festivals, etc to sell.
I have an Etsy store. I don't go to shows. The startup cost is to high for me and the food shows in my area are few and far between.
6. Which sells better: painted or unpainted?
This is a tough question. Kids go for the colors every time when given the choice. Adults will picj the more natural looking finishes like shellac. The toy in my shop that gets the most hits is made of pine with amber shellac on the wheels and painted hubs.
7. Do you sand between coats.
Every coat. You need to spend more time sanding than anything else. If you don't like sanding you should do something else. In any kind of finishing surface preparation is the name of the game.
8. What are the most frequently used woods?
Pine, MDF and Poplar with a bit of Oak once in a while. Not because they are my favorites. It's what is readily available to me. If you want a gloosy smooth finish MDF works best. However, my customers tell me they like the "rustic" look where they can see the wood grain showing through.
9. On the small cars recently posted, what was the price range?
My store is Odin's Toy Factory http://odinstoyfactory.com.
I try not to have anything that sells for less than $25. I find that it's hard to sell a $5 toy when the shipping cost is $6 but a $35 toy that has $6 shipping isn't such a hard sell. My Hot Rod Freaky Fords are $35 each unless I perceive them to be slightly defective in someway. Seconds if you will.
A few days ago I sold five of my Play Pal Monster trucks. foure were sold for $25 and one for $30.
If you are wanting to sell toys you should know that there is a steep learning curve and it may take years before you make a profit. I sell some toys but I have never made a profit. Yet.
10. Do you use a web site, or other craft spots ?
11. If you go to festivals, how do you display toys?
I don't and don't plan to any time soon. You need lots of stock to mae this worth the effort and it's expensive.
12. What is average booth fees in your area?
Free to $200
13. Do you brush or spray? color and finish.
Both. I have to spray out doors. Spraying requires certain humidity and temperature ranges.
14. Do you have a special place in shop for painting?
No but I would love to have a spray booth. I have plans to build one.
15. Do you have dust collector set up in shop?
I have a small Delta dust collector and a shop vac with and expensive filter in it plus a home built air cleaner the works but not as good as I would like. I have a blower from a whole house air handler I plan to make an air filter from.