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Acrylic Thinners


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G'day,

I was wandering if there is anyone in Australia/Brisbane who knows if there is a generic thinner available in hardware stores for airbrushing acrylics? I currently use the Tamiya X-20A stuff but it's way expensive for such a small amount, and I wanted to know if there's a suitable cheaper 'bulk-buy' replacement you can get in a supermarket or hardware store. I have already looked in Bunnings, but with the thinners they have I am too scared to run through my airbrush and use with acrylic paints as I don't know what exact type of suitable replacement is available.

Please help as I'm sure they're out there but I just don't know where to look..

Thanks,

Muppet :whistle:

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I've had a bit of experience with this, being a cheapskate myself, and living in Melbourne, I can give you an Aussie perspective too.

Firstly, Tamiya acrylics can be successfully thinned for airbrushing with metho (methylated spirits), which is a great substitute for X-20A. It's definitely not as good as X-20A, but an adequate (and much cheaper) substitute. Having said that, I still use X-20A for most of my acrylic paint thinning, as it works just as effectively with Gunze acrylics.

The other product that seems to work well with Tamiya acrylics is Windex, but I haven't experimented extensively with this. Whatever you do, DON'T use Windex with Gunze acrylics; it makes the finished coat extremely soft and fragile, and they don't ever seem to dry fully.

As I said, I tend to stick with X-20A most of the time, as it really does give the best results, but I will use the others appropriately at a pinch. The alternatives are also great for cleaning your airbrush (or paint brushes), and I definitely use them for that - much more cost-effective!

HTH

Kev

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For Tamiya paint, use ONLY Tamiya thinner, in my expereince anything else just does not work as well. Plain tap water works just fine for Vallejo, and Gunze. For clean up Windex works great.

Not true. Tamiya thins beautifully with IPA( rubbing alcohol ) which can be bought in bulk v cheaply.

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Testor's MM Acryl Thinner works excellent for me with Tamiya and Gunz. It has a small bit of retarder in it which prevents clogging of your airbrush. It comes in a squirt bottle and is more economical than Tamiya thinner.

I too use Windex for cleaning.

I have used rubbing alchohol in the past, but it can dry way too fast and clog your airbrush.

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I do not recommend using Windex as a thinner or reducer because it contains ammonia—the reason it cleans most acrylics so well!

Isopropyl alcohol, 90% is what I recommend as a bulk alternative, with a drop of acrylic retarder. You can get a lifetime supply of acrylic retarder anyplace that sells artist's supplies for about $8-10 US. Tamiya thinner is essentially 90% isopropyl with an integral retarder.

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Just a quick clarification guys - the OP is in Australia, and as a fellow Aussie I can tell you that things like rubbing alcohol, denatured alcohol, isopropyl alcohol, etc, are not readily available in Australia, at least not to the consumer. I've seen isopropyl alcohol in our largest hardware chain (Bunnings), but at prices that don't really make it an attractive alternative. Besides, if I'm going to ditch the proprietary thinners, then I'll just use metho or Windex anyway.

Also, the latest crop of rumours suggests that the ammonia content has been removed from Windex, but that remains unconfirmed.

Kev

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You guys are great. Thanks for all your input. As Kev said, the availability of some products you all mention are somewhat hard to get here in Oz, but the advice is priceless. I'll go do the rounds at an artist supplier around the corner from me and I'll check the hardware stores again...and hope I hit gold. Thanks heaps fellas,

Muppet

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Also, the latest crop of rumours suggests that the ammonia content has been removed from Windex, but that remains unconfirmed.

Kev

Might be true. I don't think it cleans as well as it used to.

I use Tamiya's X-20A thinner for all acrylics, and in my book it's worth every penny. I get consistent results with it.

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I don't understand this 'on the cheap' idea. If you have spent $20-40 for the kit (plus any aftermarket stuff), why quibble over the 5-10 drops of X20A used thin the paint used to airbrush a color on the model - definitely use an alternative for cleanup, but why not use the thinner that was designed for the paint?

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I don't understand this 'on the cheap' idea. If you have spent $20-40 for the kit (plus any aftermarket stuff), why quibble over the 5-10 drops of X20A used thin the paint used to airbrush a color on the model - definitely use an alternative for cleanup, but why not use the thinner that was designed for the paint?

I agree with you in principle- don't skimp on the thinner. However Tamiya thinner can be difficult to get. Nothing wrong with searching for alternatives if the alternatives provide adequate performance. :bandhead2:

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Thanks fellas,

I know I may sound like I'm 'penny-pinching' but it's always good to look out for good cheap alternatives. I mean, who thought that a domestic grade floor wax would end up being a major component to seal and finish models...and fishing line and toothbrush fillaments for static discharges, etc etc. Having said that, if all that there is that works best is the 'company product' then I'm all for using that too.

Cheers lads,

Muppet

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I use Gunze acrylics and use Isopropyl Alcohol (90% - not the lighter concentrations) most of the year but switch to Denatured Alcohol in the winter months as it seems to help cure acrylics slightly faster.

Regards,

Greg

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…but switch to Denatured Alcohol in the winter months as it seems to help cure acrylics slightly faster.

Actually, what it does is evaporate faster, allowing curing to start sooner. Curing begins when the ratio of solvent to binder falls below a certain limit, and accellerates until the solvent is gone and it levels off to a more or less constant rate (varies with the polymer).

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