I'm still convinced that these ladders, made from zip-ties, are going to look great; however, they could have looked great with a lot less effort if I was a bit smarter about things. Instead of building and then painting, I really should have painted and then built.
I cut my ties and glued them onto the structure, and that forced me to hand paint each of these little devils. That took a really long time. I should have painted them matte-black and then glued them to the walls, it would have meant an extra five minutes to prime them separately from the tower, but would have saved me the four hours of hand painting. It also would have meant a lot less black smearing around the edges of the ladder.
There is a fix for the smearing. I just have to mix my acrylic paint to the exact same shade as the tan primer, and then spend more time carefully edging the ladders to cover the smears. It's not perfect, and it takes time out from other projects, but at least it's a solution.