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Choosing Paints, Again

July 20, 2010

Back when I was getting this whole modeling show up and running, I went through this whole decision process to decide what type of paint I was going to go with. I even wrote a blog post about it.

At the time, I went with the paint I’d used growing up, good old Testors Model Master enamel. Why? A few reasons:

  1. It came out of the airbrush far better than the Model Master Acryl acrylics I tried
  2. Despite all the toxic chemicals involved, enamels can be cleaned up even years later (as proven by the removal of all the paint crud in my Paasche airbrush)
  3. Acrylics have a reputation for drying very quickly, even in the airbrush, which struck me as bad considering two young children and the inevitable interruptions they entail

Since that time, I’ve run into some problems thinning the enamels. Laquer thinner is way too hot, and pretty much useful only for cleanup. Mineral spirits work, but they’re touchy. I’ve had a lot of problems with the paint being either too thin and runny, or too thick and spattery. Rarely in between, even with sure bet colors like black.

I’ve also run into problems cleaning up enamels. Instead of flushing the paint straight out, laquer thinner and mineral spirits seem to smear it around. I’ve had to break down both the Paasche and the Iwata after spraying just one color. A simple flush doesn’t do the trick. And all this means more really toxic chemicals on my hands. Toxic chemicals that are a pain to wash off.

Through all this, though, I had never actually sprayed the third player – Tamiya acrylics – through either airbrush. I’d given up after the terrible experience with the Model Master Acryls.

That changed tonight. After spraying the Mustang’s spinner, cowl, and wheels Insignia Red and enduring the arduous cleanup that followed, I decided to go ahead and spray the tires black. Since I wasn’t looking forward to yet another involved cleanup, I figured I’d give my bottle of Tamiya Flat Black a try. I thinned it with some denatured alcohol, transferred the mixture to the Iwata, and OH MY GOD.

The Tamiya paint sprayed like silk. Soft, smooth and perfect. None of the too thin/too thick business I’ve been enduring with the enamels. I didn’t have any problems with the Tamiya paint drying too fast, either, though I’m guessing with the central Texas humidity that won’t be a problem, well, ever.

The final revelation came with cleanup. A single swipe of a paper towel through the paint cup, and a single flush rinse with straight denatured alcohol and the Iwata was spraying clear, with no trace of black visible anywhere.

That was enough to convince me. Tomorrow, I’m switching paint. Good thing I’m only one model in, and haven’t built up too monstrous of a paint inventory yet…

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One Comment leave one →
  1. July 28, 2010 9:18 am

    I haven’t used Tamiya through my airbrush, but they flow really nice on a bristle brush. After looking at Japanese modeling magazines for decades (that’s a LOT of Gundam model impressions BTW) I decided that the Tamiya paint must have some kind of special sauce in it. Indeed it does. If I ever manage to get a new CO2 tank for my airbrush, I will try the Tamiya through it.

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