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Viper88

Model Master Enamels

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I am getting back into jet modelling after a 8 year break. I use to use Gunze paints but now they are hard to find as most stores here in Canada don't carry them as they can't order them in. Most of my LHS carry Tamiya (limited color selection for FS matches) and Model Master. I know enamel is different from acrylics but is Model Master a good paint? Looks like the color selection is great for jet FS colors. I was concerned with the paint finish being so flat, Gunze was nice as it had a semi gloss finish and gloss coat was easy to apply. I find Gunze colors a bit light also compared to the Model Master colors.

Any feedback would be much appreciated.

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I only use MM enamel paint and have been for many, many years. I've tried other brands, but I always went back to MM enamels. As you said, their flats are indeed flat, but I can't find anything else to match the quality and choice of colors. The negative, in my opinion, is I have to use Testors airbrush thinners for enamels to thin MM paints. It can be expensive, but the results can't be beat.

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Testors Model Master enamels are excellent. They hand brush and airbrush very nicely. Easy cleanup of your brushes and tools with mineral spirits or lacquer thinner.

The negative, in my opinion, is I have to use Testors airbrush thinners for enamels to thin MM paints. It can be expensive, but the results can't be beat.

I use hardware store mineral spirits (Using Klean Strip brand right now) to thin my Model master enamels, for hand brushing and airbrushing. I always have.

I live on the east coast though. Maybe mineral spirits is formulated different in Cali? I know you guys have stricter environmental regs over there.

Edited by dmk0210

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I've been using a gallon of ACE hardware paint thinner for years now. When I get a new bottle of MM paint, I drop in three bb'sand fill the bottle to just below the rim with thinner and shake. Sprays well (15 to 20 psi) and will brush well at that ratio.

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Model Master enamels appear to be okay, if you want the bother of using an enamel. If you go with MM, enamels are the better choice.

Model Master acrylics are the bottom of the barrel, as far as acrylics go.

Tamiya and Gunze are good acrylics, though most if not all other brands compare favorably with MM.

Bear in mind, some people use MM acrylics and like them. I find them inconsistent from bottle to bottle, they have poor adhesion (unlike good acrylics), and appear more finicky to get good results.

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The reason I ask is 90% of the build reviews I have seen and I have seen a lot, they use Gunze, Mr. Color or Tamiya paints. There must be a reason for this popularity.

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The reason I ask is 90% of the build reviews I have seen and I have seen a lot, they use Gunze, Mr. Color or Tamiya paints. There must be a reason for this popularity.

See my post, above. Read between the lines.

Tamiya and Gunze, whether acrylic or enamel, are some of the finest paints it has ever been my pleasure to test or use.

Don't let Tamiya's color selection throw you off. Paints are made to match a colorâ€â€within a reasonable degree. No two batches of even the best brand of paints are likely to be exact matches in color. Mil-spec paints are often somewhat worse in this regard, especially pre-modern era (WW I, interwar, WW II, Korea, and even Viet Nam, to some extent.) Even if the color matches spec exactly when it leaves the factory, it begins to change from that moment on, accelerating on exposure to sunlight and atmosphere.

What this means is that if the color looks right to your eye, you can almost certainly find a real aircraft that matches it. So don't ever let any so-called expert tell you your aircraft is the wrong color, unless it's pink when it should be green (note that some browns weather to a pink in desert and tropical environments.) The only exceptions are aircraft demonstration aircraft. The Blue Angels and Thunderbirds are very picky about their aircrafts' appearance.

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MM enamels have always been my weapon of choice. I used to thin them with their brand thinner, but have switched to lacquer thinner and haven't looked back. I do use some Tamiya paints: 1. clear colors for lights 2. smoke for tinting canopies 3. flat base to mix with Future for final clear coat

I also use Alclad II for metallic painting. I also use MM metallic lacquers (until I run out of them, then I will stay with Alclad products.) I have never used Hawkeye's metallic products, but may give them a try. I have heard nothing but good about them.

Note: As Triarius mentions, MM acrylics are the bottom of the barrel as far as acrylics.

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I mainly build modern jets, so my paint collection would be several shades of grey colors. I modelled for 25 years, got out of it about 8 years ago. At that time I had several local model stores in my city (Kitchener, Ontario, Canada) and now they are all closed up. Returning to the hobby I had a hard time locating Gunze paint, found a store about 1.5 hours away (it is a Japan miniature store Gundam minatures) emailed them and they carry Gunze and Mr. Color so will have to make a trip. All other stores around 30 mins or so from my city all carry Tamiya and Model Master paint and that is it. Funny how things change in 8 years.

I used Model Master for a long time, I have a model room in the house and now concerned about the fumes in the house so I was thinking of switching to Tamiya and Gunze, I know they still have fumes but not enamel or lacquer based fumes. I do wear a mask but don't have a paint booth with a exhaust fan. Also, with Model Master jet colors they are dead flat, so it is so much harder to get a good gloss coat for decals and weathering where Gunze is semi-gloss and Tamiya you can add some Tamiya Clear to the colors and they spray nice and the finish is so nice.

Thanks for all the feedback and advice, much appreciated.

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I only use MM enamel paint and have been for many, many years. I've tried other brands, but I always went back to MM enamels. As you said, their flats are indeed flat, but I can't find anything else to match the quality and choice of colors. The negative, in my opinion, is I have to use Testors airbrush thinners for enamels to thin MM paints. It can be expensive, but the results can't be beat.

Really? I've been thinning MM enamels with mineral spirits without any problem, what problems have you run into with a generic thinner?

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Tip: to make those matte MM enamels into semi-gloss you just mix in some of their 'Metalizer Sealer', thinnning as normal - adjust to get the sheen you prefer. Then buff w/ a tee shirt before coating with your favorite gloss coat - the point being that with the base paint already somewhat gloss you can get a better result with your top gloss... :thumbsup:

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Wow, great tip, never heard that one. That sounds worth trying I have 2 large bottles of that sealer. Thanks!

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I have a model room in the house and now concerned about the fumes in the house so I was thinking of switching to Tamiya and Gunze, I know they still have fumes but not enamel or lacquer based fumes. I do wear a mask but don't have a paint booth with a exhaust fan.

Pardon me for shouting:

GET THEE A SPRAY BOOTH!!!!:cop::soapbox::foof:

They are more than worth the money. Not only do they make your life more pleasant, they may also make it longer and MUCH less expensive. If you share your living space with anyone (significant other, children, or pets) you are all being exposed to things you really don't want. The mask only protects you (and protects you less than you might imagine.)

Some of the longer participants in this forum have heard my diatribe on this before. To those who think it will never happen to them, you're probably right. The odds are small. However, they are not small enough. I was "mostly careful" most of my life, and I have lived long enough to regret not being extremely careful all of it.

You can listen to the "voice of experience," or if you are lucky (or unlucky) enough to survive, you can become that voice. Experience: nasty uncomfortable thing that can make you late for the rest of your life.

<Further deponent sayeth not.>

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I hear ya loud and clear. Where can I get a paint booth? I have never seen any for sale anywhere or where can I get instructions on how to make one?

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Really? I've been thinning MM enamels with mineral spirits without any problem, what problems have you run into with a generic thinner?

Likewise, except I thin my MM enamels with lacquer thinner. It works great. The Testor's airbrush thinner that you are using works fine. It has something added so the paint can grab onto the plastic. However, give lacquer thinner a try.

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Pardon me for shouting:

GET THEE A SPRAY BOOTH!!!!:cop::soapbox::foof:

They are more than worth the money. Not only do they make your life more pleasant, they may also make it longer and MUCH less expensive. If you share your living space with anyone (significant other, children, or pets) you are all being exposed to things you really don't want. The mask only protects you (and protects you less than you might imagine.)

Some of the longer participants in this forum have heard my diatribe on this before. To those who think it will never happen to them, you're probably right. The odds are small. However, they are not small enough. I was "mostly careful" most of my life, and I have lived long enough to regret not being extremely careful all of it.

You can listen to the "voice of experience," or if you are lucky (or unlucky) enough to survive, you can become that voice. Experience: nasty uncomfortable thing that can make you late for the rest of your life.

<Further deponent sayeth not.>

Listen to Triarius. A really good paint booth will cost you less than $500. You can make your own for much less. Without a paint booth, you are flirting with the health of everyone in the house. You are also flirting with the house itself. Much of the stuff you are using is FLAMMABLE! $500 (tops) is much less than a fist full of medical bills and a new house. Granted, that's a worst case scenario, but bad things happen to good people.

Edited by balls47

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I personally use MM paints and the small square testors bottles exclusively. I can't find any other paint here so I'm stuck with my option. I tried Acrylics and will never use them again. When I thin them I use the Strip Klean thinner bought at walmart for like 5 bucks. That can is big enough to last at least 2 years with clean up as well as thinning paints. The reason I use it over the testor thinner is not only because of cost but because its a hotter thinner and the paint gets a better bond to the plastic your working with.

I hate when paint comes of when I am peeling tape off of a model so thats why I use enamels. You simply can not make an acrylic paint a hotter paint with a thinner. The MM line has a great selection of colors and when I am faced with a color that I cant find I go to the Hardware store and buy big cans of spray paint. You will find that a little ingenuity and patience will yield excellent results by mixing paints by hand rather than trying to find the exact color your looking for.

I am in the process of camouflaging an EA-6B Prowler and an A6-E Intruder. None of the paints I have looked at even online look correct to me. So I went to walmart and picked a couple of colors in spray cans, decanted them and mixed them to a color that more represents what I need. Not to mention the spray cans yield way more paint for the money.

When I mix my paints I start with the color of choice and darken it with black, or lighten it with white. When its close to the shade I want I use a medium gray to get the tint I need to correct the color. I just got done mixing three desert colors needed for both aircraft mentioned above and to me looks like the colors will match the decals spot on.

On a side note when using a hot thinner like the Strip Klean thin to about the consistency of milk and reduce your airbrush pressure to 10 - 15 psi. Reason being is the thinner will dry the paint before it reaches the surface of the model and you will be facing very bad over spray in places the air will circulate like where wings meet the fuselage. Dropping pressure will give the paint more time to get to the model before it dries. Also when you decant a spray can you don't need to thin it. Its already the right consistency. I also think the MM line has very good color choices. I love the metalizers and the buffing metalizers you can do a lot of really neat things with those paints. Hope this helps. JOSH

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As for a paint booth you can make one for about 60 bucks tops. I use a cardboard box with an exhaust fan from a bathroom and some flexible duct from a dryer vent. If you have space to build one on a table and can cut a hole in the table to rout the ducting you can make a down draft spray booth. With a down draft the paint is already traveling in a downward motion anyways so having the fan on the bottom of the booth helps get the paint down on the model quicker. Also it alleviates the over spray that lingers around and settles on the model as well.

Here is a drawing of a spray booth I built that uses all of the above and a 120mm fan from a computer to blow down. Like I said this can be built for around 60 bucks.

spraybooth.jpg

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As for a paint booth you can make one for about 60 bucks tops. I use a cardboard box with an exhaust fan from a bathroom and some flexible duct from a dryer vent. If you have space to build one on a table and can cut a hole in the table to rout the ducting you can make a down draft spray booth. With a down draft the paint is already traveling in a downward motion anyways so having the fan on the bottom of the booth helps get the paint down on the model quicker. Also it alleviates the over spray that lingers around and settles on the model as well.

Here is a drawing of a spray booth I built that uses all of the above and a 120mm fan from a computer to blow down. Like I said this can be built for around 60 bucks.

That might be okay for acrylics, though they do contain flammable components, especially (Tamiya, Gunze, others), and any finely divided aerosol is potentially flammable to explosive. As for enamels, this is right out, period.

In other words, this is a recipe for disaster, a fire or explosion waiting to happen.

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I personally prefer Humbrol Enamel to MM.

i do Use MM for certain colors. i.e white(flat,semi-gloss,gloss) and airbraft interior black(no available in humbroll) and Semigloss black(since for some odd reason the Humbrol one always dries out in the tin)

Has fro spay booth i use a plastic bin with a autobody booth filter and a batthroom fan(cage style) i know there not explosion proof but with the filter+mosquitscree backing+fan cover the particles seem not to get in that much has my fan does not have paint residue on it like the rest of the listed components. the setup is less than ideal and even with a 120cfm is dosent pull enouph

Edited by Neo

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Really? I've been thinning MM enamels with mineral spirits without any problem, what problems have you run into with a generic thinner?

I've tried regular paint thinner (mineral type)and lacquer thinner. The regular thinner works, but to me, it cures too slowly for my tastes. The lacquer thinner works fine to, but it can be too hot for some plastics. I don't know what Testors recipe is in their airbrush thinner, but it has the right combination I seek. I try to save every speck ofpaint I can. I can thin some MM paint, spray what I need of it and pour it back into the MM jar to use again. I know, to some, that's a no-no, but It's been working for me for years. I do this knowing I'll have to use that jar, mixed with the thinned paint, rather quickly. If I wait too long, the rest of the paint in that jar will be useless. I can't do all that with regular thinner or lacquer thinner. The paint in the jar will ruin too quickly. It may be I don't know of a cheaper thinner that's as good as Testors and I'm open for suggestions myself. I'm one of those die-hard types, when I find something that works I stick with it. Like I said, the average price for a can of Testors airbrush thinner is about $5-$6. I'll use it only for thinning the paint. I clean my airbrush with lacquer thinner which is a lot cheaper.

Edited by sting

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You can also use Gunze Mr. Color Thinner and Mr. Leveling Thinner. You will get beautiful results out of your Model Master Enamels if you use those, especially if you live somewhere where it isn't 75 and sunny all year round. (Today it was 109 in California). I also use straight hardware store lacquer thinner, and have never had an issue. Not all Model Master paints are dead flat, their Luftwaffe colors are actually semi-gloss, which is accurate, and the rest will be labeled on the bottle, look for an FS code of "2" for semi-gloss, and "1" for gloss colors

I use my Paasche Millennium, and have never had a problem spraying any kind of camo with MM enamels, going from one color grey schemes to Luftwaffe mottled stuff, and everything in between..

Hope this can help out! :woot.gif:

Matt

Edited by scvrobeson

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That might be okay for acrylics, though they do contain flammable components, especially (Tamiya, Gunze, others), and any finely divided aerosol is potentially flammable to explosive. As for enamels, this is right out, period.

In other words, this is a recipe for disaster, a fire or explosion waiting to happen.

If you do decide to build one, make sure that there is nothing inside that could ignite anything. Go to an armature works supply store and get a squirrel cage fan, in other words, something where the motor is on the outside and the fumes are exhausted without getting near the motor. Make sure that the CFM (cubic feet per minute) rating is appropriate for the size of your paint booth. I built mine out of wood and sealed it up well. I use 3 to 4 inch flexible dryer exhaust hose, and vent it out the basement window. The end of the hose is well outside in the yard. Have a fire extinguisher nearby. Make sure that you check it periodically for holes, leaks, etc. This may sound like overkill, but I worked hard for my home and love my family, and I'm sure you do too.

Edited by balls47

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Testors "Model Master" line is an outgrowth of their decades-long production of oil-based enamels in the little square jars. Older guys in the USA often instinctively defend them because it's the stuff (and smell) they grew up with. It's really the USA's "home-team" paint line, much as Humbrol is Great Britain's. I've used them all my life, and while I've gradually shifted most of my modeling to acrylics, I occasionally use Testors/MM enamels for certain builds. Although they may have changed the formula over the years, I find they still give a great, reliable finish airbrushed, and provide decent results with a bristle-brush. I, too, use hardware/DIY store paint thinner (My current is Klean Strip's plainly-labeled "Paint Thinner"). Yes, a major complaint is that out of the bottle, the FS colors are flat. But for the same reasons Triarius lists above, you can mix their gloss colors to about any shade you want to replicate. Those who insist that hobby paint companies do produce historically "accurate" colors have had complaints with many of MM's labeled shades. Not being persuaded that there are truly standardized historic colors, I mix them frequently, but also occasionally use their FS flats and simply gloss things up with Testors' lacquer varnishes, GlossCote and Dullcote. While they are harsh-smelling, I find they're easy to use, and less temperamental toward variations in atmospheric temperature and humidity, or compressor air pressure.

Edited by Fishwelding

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