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echolmberg

Enamel paint recommendations?

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Howdy folks!  My "go to" paint has always been Model Master enamels.  However, as Testors has been doing away with the MM line, my selection of MM paints in my local hobby shop has been seriously shrinking.  My favorite subjects are U.S. planes ranging from WW2 to modern.  With all that in mind, what other brand of enamel paints would you recommend?  Thanks!  I know that there are several "new" manufacturers out there but, as long as I had my MM paints, I never really paid attention to what else was available.  I think I have no other choice other than to order my paints from now on rather than buying them locally.

 

Eric

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Like you I have been using MM enamels for decades and I have around a hundred little bottles.  My wife is concerned with the vapors from spraying them indoors.  So to appease her fears I have tried Mission Models paints and I just got some Vallejo paints.  Both are acrylics.  They are very fine pigments and they are fairly thin so they spray easily with a little thinner.  I have been impressed with them so far.  I don't know of any company that produces "oil based" enamels although there are some that make acrylic lacquers. Perhaps someone else might know of some other enamels.  I am at a loss with what to do with all my mm paints.  Some are multiple decades old and still good.  My only annoyance with mm paints is the cap gets stuck after while and you have to destroy it to get it off, no matter how diligent you are about clean the bottle rim.  I have found the vallejo paints clean up easily with windex which is nice.  The Mission Models paints are a little more temperamental and need there specific thinner for cleaning.

 

Hope this helps

 

Geoff M

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4 hours ago, echolmberg said:

Howdy folks!  My "go to" paint has always been Model Master enamels.  However, as Testors has been doing away with the MM line, my selection of MM paints in my local hobby shop has been seriously shrinking.  My favorite subjects are U.S. planes ranging from WW2 to modern.  With all that in mind, what other brand of enamel paints would you recommend?  Thanks!  I know that there are several "new" manufacturers out there but, as long as I had my MM paints, I never really paid attention to what else was available.  I think I have no other choice other than to order my paints from now on rather than buying them locally.

 

Eric

I'm in the same boat. I hear Hataka Hobby Orange Line Lacquer Paints are good. I haven't tried them yet since I still have a stock pile of MM but I will get a few to try the next time I order from SprueBrothers.

 

I'm not a fan of acrylics since I've heard they have a tendency to pull up/off when you put masking over them then go to remove the masking.

 

http://store.spruebrothers.com/category_s/2720.htm

49 minutes ago, Geoff M said:

Like you I have been using MM enamels for decades and I have around a hundred little bottles.  My wife is concerned with the vapors from spraying them indoors.  So to appease her fears I have tried Mission Models paints and I just got some Vallejo paints.  Both are acrylics.  They are very fine pigments and they are fairly thin so they spray easily with a little thinner.  I have been impressed with them so far.  I don't know of any company that produces "oil based" enamels although there are some that make acrylic lacquers. Perhaps someone else might know of some other enamels.  I am at a loss with what to do with all my mm paints.  Some are multiple decades old and still good.  My only annoyance with mm paints is the cap gets stuck after while and you have to destroy it to get it off, no matter how diligent you are about clean the bottle rim.  I have found the vallejo paints clean up easily with windex which is nice.  The Mission Models paints are a little more temperamental and need there specific thinner for cleaning.

 

Hope this helps

 

Geoff M

Here's a trick when a bottle top gets stuck, to turn the bottle upside down and drop some thinner into the top and let is soak for several minutes. It will help soften up the dried paint and after a while you should be able to just twist off the top. If yo u can't twist the top off, repeat again with the thinner.

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I found myself in a similar situation. In 2013 or so I started using Mr Color lacquers. They spray even better than MM and dry much faster.  I have yet to find paint that brushes like MM enamel, but I have also gotten to the point where I do not brush paint very much. Mr. Color Lacquers are available from Sprue Brothers, Scalehobbyist and spraygunner. The price per bottle is not much different than Model Master.  Sprue Brothers also has a line of paint called Gaia Notes, which is a lacquer from what I can tell, I tried it only briefly but it looks like it has promise as well. 

 

If you specifically want to stick with Enamel, You can use Humbrol. There is also a company called "True North" which markets a line of Enamel paint, but I have not tried them.

 

I use Acrylics sometimes too, I have been satisfied with Ammo of Mig and Valejo Model air. I use Tamiya sometimes as well, I use acrylics if there is a color I need which is not available elsewhere. 

 

So I guess what I am trying to say is that if you are currently using enamel and have no problem with the smell and the fumes, then try lacquer. 

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Yes I’m in a similar position. I find the MM enamels spray well and don’t leave a big mess which makes cleaning a simple Paasche H series airbrush easier to do. 
 

since they discontinued the Russian colors first, I’m running out of options. 
 

I have read many horror stories about acrylic, so I’m wary of it. 

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13 hours ago, Kurt H. said:

I found myself in a similar situation. In 2013 or so I started using Mr Color lacquers. They spray even better than MM and dry much faster.  I have yet to find paint that brushes like MM enamel, but I have also gotten to the point where I do not brush paint very much. Mr. Color Lacquers are available from Sprue Brothers, Scalehobbyist and spraygunner. The price per bottle is not much different than Model Master.  Sprue Brothers also has a line of paint called Gaia Notes, which is a lacquer from what I can tell, I tried it only briefly but it looks like it has promise as well. 

 

If you specifically want to stick with Enamel, You can use Humbrol. There is also a company called "True North" which markets a line of Enamel paint, but I have not tried them.

 

I use Acrylics sometimes too, I have been satisfied with Ammo of Mig and Valejo Model air. I use Tamiya sometimes as well, I use acrylics if there is a color I need which is not available elsewhere. 

 

So I guess what I am trying to say is that if you are currently using enamel and have no problem with the smell and the fumes, then try lacquer. 

 

Thanks to all who chimed in.  I was surprised to see others in the same boat as I.  I think Kurt pretty much summarized my predicaments/sentiments the most because I really do like my enamels but I also use acrylics sometimes.  I mainly like to use them for smaller spaces like cockpit details and wheel wells where I don't have to worry about masking.  I have yet to paint an entire aircraft with them because, as GW noted, I, too, have heard stories of how acrylics tend to pull up when masked.  If the day comes where an acrylic is made that really bites into the plastic, takes masking, doesn't dry out on the airbrush nozzle and is reasonably priced, I'll be in line to get me some!

 

Eric

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Ditched Model Master years ago after seeing a Mr Color demo at the Columbus nationals.  I was blown away by how sheer Mr Color lays, and most of their colors are semi-gloss - this makes a difference along with how much more refined the grain is vs Model Master.  When MM came on the scene in the 80s I bought a ton and used them almost exclusively, but times changed and MM's comparatively coarser grain has been surpassed.  Your models will benefit from the sheerer layer which doesn't obscure as much detail, and can be buffed in between coats to get an incredibly smooth surface ripe for decals and weathering.   Advances in paint now show how 'mediocre' MM enamels really were, but I'll still fondly remember them for being the biggest thing at the time.

 

I count the switch from MM to Mr Color (primarily, a few MRP here and there) as the key improvement to what I was producing, plus bringing in paint-buffing and vigilant surface prep during assembly.   Cheers and good luck

Edited by metroman

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Metroman, thanks for the great info!  Is the Mr. Color line an enamel?  Lacquer?  Acrylic?

 

Thanks!

 

Eric

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Mr Color is a truly wonderful paint. It sprays on a thin and beautifully smooth coat. So smooth that I don't usually use a clear-coat before decals anymore.

 

But, it's a lacquer. You need good surface prep given the thin coat. I prime with thinned Mr Surfacer 1200 or 1500. It dries quite fast, so I don't find it suitable for brushing. Thin with Mr Leveling Thinner to 1% milk consistency, spray close-in, say 5mm to 45mm. Make sure it hits the surface slightly wet. Build coverage with thin coats.

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Thanks Metro!  I just got done reading Doog's link that you attached.  Good info indeed!

 

DNL42 (and others who have recommended the Mr. Color line of paints), I really think I'm going to pull the (airbrush) trigger and give this line of paints a try.  Since I've never ordered this or any other brand of paints on-line before, is there a good on-line retailer you could recommend?

 

Thank you!

 

Eric

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Mr Color can be found at Sprue Brothers, or Hobbyworld USA - be sure to order Gunze 'Self-Leveling Thinner', or you'll be shooting cobwebs; with Mr Color go for about 1:1 ratio paint/self-leveling thinner (It should be skim milk consistency)  My compressors at about 15-18 psi, and my Harder & Steenbeck Evolution airbrush has the .2mm tip with the paint flow set at 50% to start then I dial down to the width I want.  Build up coats, it goes on sheer but you should consider learning 'paint-buffing' if you already don't.  Mr Color also has excellent clear coats to choose from; most colors are semi-gloss which is what I prefer.   Lots of instructional videos out there - best to test shoot old kits as cardboard gives deceptive results.  Good luck.

 

EDIT - one more thing, I count switching to Mr Color and doing Paint Buffing as the biggest jump in what I was turning out.  And wear basic nitrile gloves when handling your model.  And keep your work in a sealed box when away - dust is the enemy.  Cheers

Edited by metroman

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I always try my LHS first. After that, I've ordered Mr Color from Spruebrothers, and 2 Ebay sellers: animetropolis and jackrabbit9820. Good experiences with all.

 

@metroman gave excellent advice. Pay attention to technique and Mr Color will provide an excellent finish. The finish is so smooth, I don't usually clear-coat before applying decals over Mr Color or Alclad.

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I can't thank you guys enough for the awesome info.  Seriously.  I'm going to place an order this weekend.  I think I have one last question before I do.  I have a large can of hardware store lacquer thinner that I use to thin my MM enamels for airbrushing.  Can I use the same stuff for the Mr. Color paints?  MM is funny...I use the lacquer thinner for ALL the colors EXCEPT for MM gloss black.  For some reason, MM gloss black turns gummy when I mix the lacquer thinner in it.  I ended up buyiing a small can of the proprietary MM paint thinner in the red can that I use only for the gloss black.

 

Thanks!

 

Eric

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I strongly suggest you stick with Mr Leveling Thinner.

 

Use that hardware store stuff for cleaning the airbrush.

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I will also voice my support for Mr Leveling Thinner- it is incredible!   I will even mix it with Tamiya Acrylics when spraying 👍🏻👍🏻

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My support as well. Mr Color Leveling Thinner has pixie dust and unicorn farts in it. It cuts Tamiya acrylics beautifully.

 

I am getting ready to jump on the Mr Color lacquer bandwagon myself.

 

Vern

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You can also try Xtracolor from Hannants (UK). I have been using this brand for many years now and it always gives me good results. Plus, all the colors' range is gloss so there is no need to spray a clear gloss coat afterwards.

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If you are intent on staying with an enamel vs the various lacquers like Mr Color or MRP (AKA Mr Paint). Here is a company that is basically making an enamel replacement for the Model Master line. I bought a few of their paints, but haven't tried them yet. Might be worth checking out:

 

https://www.truenorthpaints.com/home

 

Another VERY good line of enamel paints is Colourcoats, which are made in England. Excellent paint for spraying or brushing. Satin finish. I've used them a lot in the past (I've moved to Mr Color and MRP for the most part). They come in the same tins as Humbrol and Xtracolor paints. You can get them in the US from H & B Hobbies:

 

https://www.hbhobbies.com/

Edited by Mstor

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5 hours ago, SERNAK said:

You can also try Xtracolor from Hannants (UK). I have been using this brand for many years now and it always gives me good results. Plus, all the colors' range is gloss so there is no need to spray a clear gloss coat afterwards.

 

Hannants won't ship Xtracolor enamels to the US. You can get them here in the US from Kitlinx.

https://www.kitlinx.com/cgi/search.cgi?terms=Paints::Paints_Enamels::Xtracolor_Enamel&category=Paints+:+Paints_Enamels

I've used Xtracolor enamels before and they are very nice. They airbrush beautifully and as SERNAK said they are gloss. My only problem with them was a long drying time which allowed dust particles to settle on the finish.

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If you go with the Mr Color, thin to what you think it needs to be thinned to...and then thin it more! Be aware that if you get an older bottle it may be thick and gloopy (or even solid). Don't worry - it can be revived perfectly fine with Mr Color Leveling Thinners (MLT). I've got bottles that have been unused for 12 years - just add a lot of MLT, mix well and you're good to go. I also return unused thinned paint to the bottle without adverse effect. (Well, I've had no adverse effect since I first started using this paint in 2006.)

 

Jon

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Just a tip for all the MM users with stuck bottle caps  --  get an electric heat gun type paint remover.  Here's one from AMAZON

 

5 - 10 seconds of heat, then use a pair of pliers because the metal lids will be hot, and the lid comes right off.  Been doing it for years.  Also works with Alclad II plastic lids, just use heat for shorter tie period.

 

Ed

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19 hours ago, Mstor said:

If you are intent on staying with an enamel vs the various lacquers like Mr Color or MRP (AKA Mr Paint). Here is a company that is basically making an enamel replacement for the Model Master line. I bought a few of their paints, but haven't tried them yet. Might be worth checking out:

 

They have Canadian Voodoo Gray! I was stressing a bit about that for my TOS Enterprise. They also have naval colors. I will have to place an order.

 

Vern

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1 hour ago, admiralcag said:

 

They have Canadian Voodoo Gray! I was stressing a bit about that for my TOS Enterprise. They also have naval colors. I will have to place an order.

 

Vern

 

That's one of the colors I bought too :thumbsup:. Like I said, I haven't tried them yet.

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