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ross1562

Enamels v Acrylics!

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Hi,

 

Forgive me, I’m new to all this and I have a funny feeling this question is like Airbus v Boeing! 

 

Ive just started building my first Airfix model as an adult. It’s a Gloster Metoer kit and I bought a number of humbrol enamels to accompany it.

Ive become immersed in it and I am

cracking on with it fine at the minute.

 

Whats dawned on me is that most tutorial videos etc.... are using Acrylics paints.

 

Before i I start collecting a palephrer of enamel paints, is acrylic the way forward? 

Do most use acrylics these days? 

 

 

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If you are not planning on getting an airbrush for a while I'd stick with Humbrol enamels as they brush paint very nicely. The entire enamel vs acrylic vs lacquer debate will cause the next world war!!! They all have pluses and minuses. Acrylic may be the most popular paint sold these days, but I rarely use acrylic paint because most acrylic brands have substantial airbrushing issues (such as tip dry on the airbrush) and they can be very fussy to airbrush. 

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Thank you.

 

I have got an airbrush but have been doing most by brush. 

 

Having had previous experience with different forums for different hobbies, I had a funny feeling whilst writing this post that the debate would have been raised previously. 

 

What paints do you use or do you not stick to one particular brand? 

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Yes, paints are a topic. I suggest you read this thread and others, and then try some out to see how they work for you. An important factor is availability. What paints are readily available you? It would be nice if a readily available brand worked for you so you're not at the mercy on an interweb retailer to get paint shipped to you.

 

I tried some of the more popular acrylics. Didn't like Vallejo Air at all due to tip drying, poor adhesion, and a way too thick paint layer. Tamiya sprays nicely and produces a thinner layer, but you're going to do a lot of mixing.

 

I primarily airbrush paint, reserving brushing for small detail, I'm actually quite fond of Vallejo for this.

 

My goto airbrush paint is Mr Color, which is a lacquer-based acrylic. Used in concert with their Mr Color Leveling Thinner, this paint produces an amazingly thin,  smooth, and very robust coat. While they don't have the issues noted above, they demand good airbrushing technique, which means proper thinning (to consistency of 1% milk) and spraying from about 1/4 to 1.5 inches away. Spray too far away, and the paint dries in the air, with the result you're dusting the model with powder.

 

I have used Model Master enamels in the past, as well as some Humbrol. I have no experience with Mr Paint, Mission Models, or the other recent lacquer-based paints.

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That’s superb, thank you very much.

I suppose I have got a little worried as most videos etc... at the minute concentrate on acrylics.

I personally think I’m getting good results but just starting to doubt slightly. 

I suppose it’s like everything though, trial

and error and test what’s more comfortable to you.

 

 

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I'm a big fan of acrylic lacquers (since most of my paint work is done via airbrush), and Mr Color is by far my most used brand of paint. I also use MRP (Mr Paint) and Akan acrylic lacquers when Mr Color does not have the specific color I'm looking for. For brush painting, I'm a big fan of Humbrol enamels, and to a lesser extent Vallejo acrylics.  

 

53 minutes ago, ross1562 said:

Thank you.

 

I have got an airbrush but have been doing most by brush. 

 

Having had previous experience with different forums for different hobbies, I had a funny feeling whilst writing this post that the debate would have been raised previously. 

 

What paints do you use or do you not stick to one particular brand? 

 

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Depends on what is readily available in your area. I'm an enamel man myself but I've found it increasingly harder to find a supplier in the UK that is willing to post them as standard mail which now results in sky high courier prices. This has had a knock on effect where shops no longer sell as much enamels as they once did therefore they have began the process to stop stocking them . I'm now forced to get my paints from Germany, funny thing is it now costs less in postage than what I was getting charge within the UK.

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I mostly use Tamiya acrylic for non-metal colours, but thinned with their Lacquer thinner (yellow cap) rather than their Acrylic thinner (blue cap).  Their acrylics are lacquer based & I find their lacquer thinner gives a smoother result, and less tip drying in the airbrush than using their acrylic thinner.

 

But for metal finishes (which your Meteor might be - mine was), I just love Alclad.  No thinning, shake the bottle (but not too hard or the little balls inside will smash it - how do I know this :doh:), straight into the airbrush and spray several light coats over Tamiya primer, or flat/gloss Tamiya acrylic over the primer to give a darker shade of bare metal.

 

I've tried Model Master enamels thry my airbrush (using Tamiya enamel thinnner) and had drying and adhesion problems. Maybe it would be OK if I used the Testors enamel thinner?

 

Here's my Airfix Meteor that my daughters bought me a few years back, finished with Alclad.  I used different shades of Alclad to highlight different panels.  It was a great little kit to build, no dramas at all.

 

erYXj43.jpg

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That’s brilliant, thanks guys. Superb model Thommo.

 

I think I was getting bogged down in the thought of having just one particular brand as such but I’ve realised the options are available and I suppose it’s going to be trial and error until I find the right brand at a particular job that suits the job at hand. 

 

Thank you all, your help is invaluable. 

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Maybe you should get a few enamel paints as well as a few acrylics and do some testing of your own? Spray or brush on a test model to see how you like the results. After all, it's your model.

 

 

 

Steven:wave:

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You didn't say if you have a vented paint booth?  When using the lacquers and enamels you have to be aware of the fumes that are created.  Some of the lacquers do give a really nice finish, but I think you can do very well with the acrylics as well.

 

I have a paint booth that I do vent outside, but I use acrylics almost exclusively - Model Master at first, now Vallejo.  Like dnl42 above, I had some issues with tip drying and clogging till I watched some Vallejo video's on YouTube and learned how to properly thin and mix the paint.  No more tip trying issues (I also use Vallejo's Flow Improver) and much more consistent performance.


There is a learning curve with any airbrushed paint.  Agree with the advice above: what is easy for you to acquire, in the colors you want to paint?  Not to mention, at the price you want to pay.  Paint runs anywhere from Two dollars and change a bottle, to five dollars a bottle.  I use on average 5-7 colors per plane (but have been known to use 10-12 colors too) so paint can get pricy.  Not to mention, thinner, and retarder/Flow Improver and cleaner.  Lots of opinions on home-mixes but go with what works for you.

 

My suggestion is to find a cheap model to practice on, not something you put a lot of time into.  Then practice, practice practice!

 

Chris

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Cheers guys.

Yeah, I think I’m going to finish the current model in Enamels and then experiment with Acrylics.

Ive just been given an old Italeri 1:48 Tornado so I’ll experiment with that.

 

Thanks for all of your help. 

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On 9/18/2018 at 2:35 PM, modelingbob said:

I rarely use acrylic paint because most acrylic brands have substantial airbrushing issues (such as tip dry on the airbrush) and they can be very fussy to airbrush. 

 

I would replace "most acrylic brands" with "some acrylic brands".  I have zero issue airbrushing acrylics.  In fact, I can spray acrylics much better than enamels.  Modern acrylics do not tend to exhibit tip dry.

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On 9/29/2018 at 3:32 PM, Sebastijan said:

Lacquers! They are best of both worlds. But you'll need an airbrush.

 

Yes, but what brands do you use/like the most, Seb?

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Acrylics are easy to spray and dont smell as bad as enamels or lacquers do, they are not as easy to brush paint as enamels but once you figure out how to they are not really any different to humbrol enamels.

Humbrol enamels are easy to find in shops here and can be thinned for airbrushing with Halfords cellulose thinners or Mr Hobby levelling thinners. They are easy to brush paint and they have enough colours to make you way through most paint schemes (if not look to Hannants and their xtracolour range of enamels)

Lacquers are good but compared to the others are hard to brush as they are so thin, They work best with an airbrush but give some good results once you know how to work with them.

 

Pick a brand like Vallejo, Tamiya or Mr Colour for acrylics and you wont go wrong.
Enamels in the UK is Hunbrol and Xtracolour. I think enamels is where most of us start because they go hand in glove with Airfix, its like fish n chips.

Lacquers is a whole other place so I think if you are just getting started roll with those above and see how you like them.

 

Get the cheapest kit you can find on ebay, £2 kinda kit, build it and use it to practice your painting on. then do it again. Dont test on a nice model... £20-30 quid should be you playing with some paints to see what you like.

Edited by ElectroSoldier

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Just to confuse things a bit more, Tamiya acrylics are actually lacquer based, and I find they spray better with the Tamiya lacquer (yellow cap) thinner than with the Tamiya acrylic (blue cap) thinner - less tip drying with the lacquer thinner.

 

As for enamels, in general I think they spray better than any acrylic, but they are way more smelly.  Following my last post above about problems spraying Model Master enamels mixed with Tamiya enamel thinner, I tried them with the Testors enamel thinner recently and hey presto, problem solved, they spray beautifully.

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58 minutes ago, Thommo said:

Tamiya acrylics are actually lacquer based

 

Alcohol based lacquer, I believe. Once I found out they airbrush better with Mr. Color Leveling thinner or Tamiya lacquer thinner too, it opened a whole new door for me. I've airbrushed water based acrylics with limited success, but prefer lacquers and enamels. I have yet to try something like Mission Models acrylics. I hear they are very good, but I'm hooked on lacquers like Mr Color, MRP and AKAN solvent based lacquer (they make a water based acrylic one too). I use Vallejo for brush painting details. One nice thing about AKAN paints is that you can get the same color in lacquer and water based paint. I spray with the lacquer based and touch up or paint small parts using a brush with the water based paint of the same color.

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Somebody new to the hobby...

Sounds like you are trying to blind him with science there when there really isnt any point.

 

ross1562 what paints do you have readily available to you? 

I know for instance Mr Color is rare here in the UK and Model Master acrylics and Enamels even more so.

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4 hours ago, ElectroSoldier said:

ross1562 what paints do you have readily available to you? 

I agree, this is one of the more important questions.

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On 1/21/2020 at 10:14 PM, Hubbie Marsten said:

 

Yes, but what brands do you use/like the most, Seb?

 

Mr.Paint. Gunze (now Mr.Hobby) are very good as well and I've heard of good things about Hataka and Akan lacquers. But Mr.Paint for the huge selection of paints, ease of use and excellent properties, are no.1 on my list.

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Can you use cellulose thinners to thin Tamiya acrylics? Or is that best used as a cleaner afterwards because its so hot?

 

Ive never tried it myseelf but Ive just seen some in Lidl for £3.99

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Use that non-hobby stuff for cleaning your airbrush. It's great for that, cheap and strong.

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On 2/4/2020 at 5:44 PM, ElectroSoldier said:

Can you use cellulose thinners to thin Tamiya acrylics? Or is that best used as a cleaner afterwards because its so hot?

 

Ive never tried it myseelf but Ive just seen some in Lidl for £3.99

 

I use Mr Color Leveling thinner, which is a mild lacquer thinner with a retarding agent added, or Tamiya Lacquer thinner for Tamiya acrylics. Airbrushes beautifully. I use the hardware store variety cheap lacquer thinner for cleaning afterwards. The cheap stuff is too hot for spraying Tamiya paints. Could craze the plastic if your not careful, though in a pinch, it would probably work if your careful. I just wouldn't take the chance and Leveling thinner works SO well.

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