View Full Version : Paint questions

July 16, 2013, 2:19 AM
So I've scoured YouTube and looked in the airbrushing central but haven't quite found the answers I'm looking for. When it comes to airbrushing what paints do you prefer, enamel or acrylic? I can acquire either here locally with ease. The testors enamel paints, which come in many colors runs about 1.79 each and the acrylics can be bought just about anywhere for like $1-$2. I have one hobby shop close by and they only carry Tamiya clears, and Testors enamels. I know if I go the enamel route i must have proper ventilation and a respirator, plus to thin the paint I would use enamel thinner. But would you use the enamel thinner to clean the airbrush as well. Acrylic seems like it wont give you the same results but I like that you can use water to reduce and clean, and if needed alcohol. Any suggestions ans examples are welcome :)

July 16, 2013, 7:38 AM
I don't have my airbrush set up going yet, but I have done a lot research into this. And Tamiya makes a large assortment of really nice acrylic paints. And they have made it rather simple to thin them for airbrush use. So I'll be making the switch to acrylics when I start using my airbrush. I'll mainly use enamels for hand painted metallics and detail painting.

Focke Wulf
July 16, 2013, 10:03 AM
Let me ask you this: whats stopping you from buying paints online?

July 16, 2013, 10:43 AM
From my experience (and most of it is with Tamiya acrylics), you're fine using either one, but acrylics are way more easier to clean up and less likely to gunk up an AB. Appearance-wise, I honestly didn't see a huge improvement between the two. Enamels look a bit better and that's it. I've tested four enamel paints with my AB (mostly the metallics) and they haven't convinced me enough so here I am, still finding a use for acrylics. It's nothing like comparing Tamiya acrylic to Mr. Color lacquers for example where it's very obvious that lacquers have better looks, especially with metallics.

You can use enamel thinner to clean up, but it gets expensive. The most cost-effective option while still being just as functional as enamel thinner is to use mineral spirits.

In the end, since you'll be worrying about fumes and all that when working with enamel, might as well take the slightly easier route and just add lacquer paints to your selection (which are all easy to purchase from online stores) along with acrylics. Easier to work with, easier to clean, and for the lacquers, tougher and looks better. Thwalker13's method of using enamels for details is an excellent idea, though. When it comes to handpainting, enamels are incredible.

July 16, 2013, 11:38 AM
I agree with what thwalker13 and Dlinker are saying. I use Mr. Color and Tamiya paints thinned with Mr. Hobby lacquer thinner with my AB. I get a gallon of generic lacquer thinner at the hardware store just for clean up. I then use hand painted enamels to do the detail work. I have used enamel a little bit with my AB but I like the lacquer thinned acrylics more because they dry much faster and sand down nicely once dry.
I have used Tamiya thinned with isopropyl (or the Tamiya alcohol based thinner) which works OK, I just like how it works with lacquer thinner better. I think the lacquer based paint tends to adhere to the plastic better.
I can get Tamiya locally but I will order a lot of Mr. Color from Hobbywave when I need it. As far as I know they are the only place in the US that sells the whole range of colors. They have a flat 12$ shipping rate so I order a lot at the same time to make it worth the purchase. Anybody get Mr. Color from anywhere else? I like Mr. Color because it's the paint Bandai uses for the color mixes spec'd in the Gundam Manual. You get the exact colors the Gundam is supposed to be if you like original colors.
If you are painting indoors without some type of paint booth you will get over spray which is annoying. I had to get a spray booth not so much because of fumes but because everything in the basement was getting a lot of dust from the over spray. It can get messy especially if you share the workspace with someone. I had some finished models in my work space that got really dirty.

July 16, 2013, 11:50 AM
So ill use Enamels for hand painting small details and Ill look into purchasing acrylics. So let me make sure I understand, you guys thin out the acrylic paint with generic thinner and not water. And you recommend Mr Hobby and Tamiya Acrylics? Ill try to find out hobby shops locally to see if they carry those brands of paint but I think ill have to be ordering online

July 16, 2013, 12:15 PM
Tamiya acrylics can be thinned with acrylic thinner or even lacquer thinner. Tamiya makes their own thinner which is a bit weaker than normal lacquer thinner. You can use that as well. But that is basically what I'll be doing. Using Tamiya Acrylics thinned with lacquer thinner. Just like Brotzmann.

July 16, 2013, 1:09 PM
@Brotzmann, I get my Mr. Color paint from either modelgrade.net (primary), Gundam Planet, or Sprue Brothers. I'm currently just using the brand for the gloss black, primer, and thinner. Because modelgrade.net is close to where I live, I always use them first due to stupidly fast shipping.

For thinning Tamiya, using either their brand of acrylic thinner or lacquer thinner (hobby-grade, not industrial-grade) works best. Anything else tends to add variables that can be a pain to narrow down. I always use their acrylic thinner; thin everything at 1:2 or 1:1 ratio (paint:thinner) and it always sprays beautifully and self-levels. For clean-up, I use Windex because it eats right through Tamiya in seconds.

So to answer your question, the recommendations are indeed Tamiya Acrylics and Mr. Hobby/Mr. Color.

July 16, 2013, 1:46 PM
Thanks you guys you really have helped me out with some of these questions... I must have watched about 2 hours worth of youtube videos looking for answers. I keep watching Vegeta289's stuff since his paint jobs always come out real nice

July 16, 2013, 2:33 PM
Vegeta8259 is a really good modeler. I like watching his videos as well. Especially his tutorial videos.

July 16, 2013, 6:46 PM
I used to use Tamiya Acrylic as it's available at the local hobby shop. But I getting a lot of Mr. Color Lacquer recently. The main reason is that ALL the Bandai kits uses Mr. Color mixes for all the color guide. By using the translate chart here:


and then following some of their translated kit manual here:


You can mix the exact color meant for the varies kits. I get my Mr Color supplies from here:


July 17, 2013, 7:23 PM
OK after a little digging I found out I can get tamiya acrylics for about 3.55 each shipped and Mr. Color for about 5.00 shipped on eBay. If I go through hobby wave it would be about $3-4 each for the Mr.hobby but about $10 s&h. I'm leaning more towards Mr hobby since they have the official colors but what do you think?

edit: After looking at the sites wiz recommended there is a lot of paints involved just to get certain colors. I might just get the basic colors I need and build up from there

July 17, 2013, 9:09 PM
I get it through Hobbywave. Since they have 12$ flat rate shipping I stock up on colors for a few projects to make it worth paying that much for postage.

July 18, 2013, 3:24 PM
Yea buying from Hobbyware requires some planning. Don't buy 1 kit at a time. When I started. I took a look at the color guides on the kits I plan on building in the near future and bought paints for all of them. On top of that, you'll probably want to get a couple bottles of Mr Surfacer 1000 in both gray and white to use as primer. at least a bottle of Mr Color leveling thinner (which have a retarding agent to keep paint from drying too fast when using an airbrush).

I also printed out the Mech9 color chart and mark the color as I bought them so I won't accidentally repeat order on ones I already have when I get paints for new kits.

July 18, 2013, 5:11 PM
Thanks Wiz, you've been a big help...everyone has

July 29, 2013, 3:35 AM
I prefer acrylics because they are easier to thin and clean up. Since all paints are polymer based (to my knowledge- and in layman's terms: they contain plastic molecules) you should have proper ventilation regardless unless you are water-color painting. Enamels are nice for weathering, washing and painting- and they are more durable- but I find it a pain running paint thinner through all the time, so I use acrylics. Just a personal choice.

I use testors acrylics because they are widely more available. I have used Tamiya acrylics and they are great.