Author Topic: Upgrading my standard of paint.  (Read 1617 times)

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Online TheChronicOne

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Upgrading my standard of paint.
« on: January 07, 2018, 03:13:44 pm »
Salutations!!!

I've been using craft paint(acrylic) the last year and a half and I'm realizing that if I were to upgrade to a quality (actual for... ) model paint that I could get better results.

To that end... I'm wondering what would be the best brand to go with?

I'm in the United States... so needs to be something I can get here easily either off eBay, another online retailer, or in a pinch Hobby Lobby.   Secondly, I'm not trying to spend a whole lot. This goes without saying but if there is a brand that is only MARGINALLY better than another, yet, costs double, for instance, then I'm not really enthusiastic about it. Diminishing returns and all that...   

Also, bear in mind that all the "FS" and PMS and LMNOP numbers and and stuff do nothing for me. That type of thing doesn't work well in my brain thanks to certain maladies like ADD and a touch of tourettes and them stuffs that makes letters and numbers jumble.  :o ;D  All that stuff just confuses me. I'm willing to try to learn it but I need the brand/ number system that is most common I guess? I can't try to have 5 different brands all using different coding.. it'll never work. Eventually, yeah, after I learn one brand and one system, I can try to add and figure out more.

So, I'm just looking for suggestions on what type of paints I should start buying so I can continue to hairy brush my acrylics. Looking for: easy to acquire, not too expensive yet w/good quality, referencing system that I can wrap my mind around, and... well I guess that's it.

Also... things like SETS of paints would be nice if the prefered company puts them out. For instance, if there is a set of common aircraft interior colors or one for common camo or just some of the most used in general ones. I could buy a "set" or two at first to save a bit of money then start from there filling in gaps in my arsenal with the lesser used colors.

In short... HELP!!  ;D

Thanks..
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Offline scooter

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Re: Upgrading my standard of paint.
« Reply #1 on: January 07, 2018, 04:11:30 pm »
Tamiya and ModelMaster I've worked with and you can get just about anywhere.  Vallejo I've not worked with, but heard good things (on here) about them; Squadron usually carries them.
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Offline sandiego89

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Re: Upgrading my standard of paint.
« Reply #2 on: January 07, 2018, 04:26:48 pm »
It is really tough to beat Testors in the USA in terms of availability and price- you can get it at most craft stores such as hobby lobby or Michaels in the standard basic colors, or a more expanded colors at hobby shops or online.

Comes in the smaller square bottles (red below) and the round ones in the Model Master series (aluminum round bottle below). I do find most my paints get old before I use the up.  So some waste.  Cleaning the top of the bottle before you rethread the cap on helps a lot.   

I do prefer the Testors "Model Master" series as it comes in the colors common to military vehicles and aircraft, and goes on well via brush or airbrush.

The Federal Standard color codes on many in the Model Master series does help when you are trying to match a specific color of your subject.

   

 
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Offline DogfighterZen

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Re: Upgrading my standard of paint.
« Reply #3 on: January 07, 2018, 05:05:16 pm »
I was going to say Tamiya or Vallejo but Sandiego's right, Testor's are probably the choice in the US, but i imagine that Tamiya isn't that expensive over there. But Tamiya can be tricky to use with the hairy stick...
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Online TheChronicOne

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Re: Upgrading my standard of paint.
« Reply #4 on: January 07, 2018, 05:34:33 pm »
Thanks, fellers!

I am familiar with the Testors .5 ouncers and even have about 30 of them. Some are enamels some are acrylic. These are left-overs from days of old but I've whittled them down to the ones that are still "good."

I've always been sort of "put-off" by the amount though. Thing is, I never thinned these back in the day and I've not used any since for anything other than very small bits of painting but if I were to say.. try to paint an entire 1/72 B-17 in wrap around olive drab... how much mileage can I get out of .5 ounce paint? They are supposed to be thinned and thus I can get "more" paint than what it seems, yeah?   :mellow:

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Offline DogfighterZen

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Re: Upgrading my standard of paint.
« Reply #5 on: January 07, 2018, 06:09:58 pm »
Well, if you thin them, they'll obviously cover more but from my experience, the amount of paint one has to use to get good coverage with the hairy stick, is way more than what you'll need on an airbrush. You can get good coverage with much less paint and because the layers will always be thinner, the finish will look smoother and more even throughout.
If you wanna keep using the hairy stick, you'll have to get your thinning ratios right, and it should help to write down the percentages on the lids or labels so you don't forget them. That's what i'd do if i didn't use an airbrush. It made things way easier for me cause i'm a slacker and i was just too lazy to do separate thinning of the colors for every painting session so, i just mix it up in the airbrush's cup. Some say you shouldn't do it like that but i've had no issues so far, just test the flow as i go and if needed, pour some more thinner in the cup, mix with an old brush, test the flow again and i'm good to go.
Anyway, what works for me may not work for you so, i hope you find a solution that suits you. :thumbsup:
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Online TheChronicOne

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Re: Upgrading my standard of paint.
« Reply #6 on: January 07, 2018, 06:21:42 pm »
The plan, as it sits now, is to utilize both. Some things I can do wit' me brushes (cockpit interior, wheels, etc.) and other things with airbrush (fuselages, wings, etc). I need to get back to my airbrush project which ground to a halt when I found my air-tank to be a leaking misfit.

I'll get it all lined out eventually but I know I'm at the point now where it would be nice to "upgrade" in some capacity as I think my actual "applying paint with a brush" skills are about all they can be so any improvements to be made now will be with materials and equipment.

Or I can just start using crayons...   :unsure: ;) ;D
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Offline Old Wombat

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Re: Upgrading my standard of paint.
« Reply #7 on: January 07, 2018, 06:27:42 pm »
I don't know about Model Master paints, I mostly use Tamiya or Lifecolor (with a few MIG), but I thin the Tamiya paints with either Tamiya's A-20 acrylic thinner or methylated spirits at about a 1:1 ratio. Lifecolor & MIG are a little different (I'm still having trouble figuring what to thin them with) but distilled water seems to work OK at a paint:water ratio of about 2:1.

The real bonus with airbrushing is that you use significantly less paint to get a smooth, even finish that more often than not looks better than the best painted finishes.

A B-36 will take a lot of paint no matter which method you use but airbrushing will give you a better finish for less paint & you'll still have all the fine detail that can be lost under the thick coats rattle cans (& brushes) often apply.

Just remember, thin coats! More coats of a thinner mix will give you better results than less coats of a thicker mix ... & also remember, 1st coat should start with a mist-coat or two followed by the proper coat (this assists the paint gripping the primer (Oh, yeah! Use a decent primer!)), after which you need to let each coat dry between applications.



Oh, and while you're learning, you'll use up a bit more paint as you try to work out the best mix ratio for your airbrush & style of painting. You just have to bite the bullet on that while you develop the skills.
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Offline Old Wombat

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Re: Upgrading my standard of paint.
« Reply #8 on: January 07, 2018, 06:39:29 pm »
NOTE: Aaron Skinner from Fine Scale Modeler is a bit of a gun airbrush painter & shares quite a few tips, many of which are available in magazine form (which you can buy individually) if you don't want to subscribe to the FSM mag. (I don't anymore.)
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Offline sandiego89

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Re: Upgrading my standard of paint.
« Reply #9 on: January 07, 2018, 06:44:00 pm »
Don't be shy of cheap rattle spray paint cans, especially if your model is one main color, or a few colors.  Especially great for white, yellow and aluminum/natural metal, which can be very tough to paint with brushes.  I have used plenty of cheap spray paint cans from Home Depot, Lowes and the like, and cheap seems to work just as well as expensive. These can be much cheaper than the small spray cans at hobby shops, but may be more generic colors, but hey you said you really don't care about precise shades- and if you are painting white or gray it really does not matter.  Apparently only Mrs. Sandiego89 can tell the difference between eggshell, soft white and lace.... anyhow  ;D

You could likely paint 8 or so typical 1/72 models with one cheap can ($3.50) of spray paint.  This can be less intimidating than learning to airbrush.  Biggest tip is to move fairly quickly to avoid runs, and to finish the pass off the model.  A few thin passes is much better than one thick coat.  Many of my models use cheap spray cans.     
« Last Edit: January 07, 2018, 06:47:35 pm by sandiego89 »
Dave "Sandiego89"
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Offline DogfighterZen

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Re: Upgrading my standard of paint.
« Reply #10 on: January 07, 2018, 07:08:22 pm »
The plan, as it sits now, is to utilize both. Some things I can do wit' me brushes (cockpit interior, wheels, etc.) and other things with airbrush (fuselages, wings, etc). I need to get back to my airbrush project which ground to a halt when I found my air-tank to be a leaking misfit.

I'll get it all lined out eventually but I know I'm at the point now where it would be nice to "upgrade" in some capacity as I think my actual "applying paint with a brush" skills are about all they can be so any improvements to be made now will be with materials and equipment.

Or I can just start using crayons...   :unsure: ;) ;D

I normally do it like that, but i normally only use the brushes on some cockpits, just did it on the F-16E's cockpit topside. IMHO, not worth masking and airbrushing such a small area, which will be covered by the canopy. If i wanted to have an open canopy, i guess it'd be worth it.
Still, crayons are good, won't have to worry about a second coat for good coverage... ;D

Like the gentlemen before me said, thin layers is the way to go indeed, much more controlled painting.
I've found that Tamiya paint doesn't like to be mixed with water... later read about it somewhere and realized that Tamiya aren't pure acrylic paints because they're not water based so, X-20A is the way to go for me, too. Never had any problems or ruined colors after i started using it.
Normally, i just spray and dry as i go along. I spray one area, use the airbrush to dry up that area and move to another. Normally, when i finish the whole thing, it's almost totally dry and haven't had issues of paint coming off. But again, that's my experience. :thumbsup:
I've learned that having clean, empty jars is useful when you've thinned too much paint, probably best not to put thinned left-over paint back in the original jar.

Don't be shy of cheap rattle spray paint cans, especially if your model is one main color, or a few colors.  Especially great for white, yellow and aluminum/natural metal, which can be very tough to paint with brushes.  I have used plenty of cheap spray paint cans from Home Depot, Lowes and the like, and cheap seems to work just as well as expensive. These can be much cheaper than the small spray cans at hobby shops, but may be more generic colors, but hey you said you really don't care about precise shades- and if you are painting white or gray it really does not matter.  Apparently only Mrs. Sandiego89 can tell the difference between eggshell, soft white and lace.... anyhow  ;D

You could likely paint 8 or so typical 1/72 models with one cheap can ($3.50) of spray paint.  This can be less intimidating than learning to airbrush.  Biggest tip is to move fairly quickly to avoid runs, and to finish the pass off the model.  A few thin passes is much better than one thick coat.  Many of my models use cheap spray cans.     

Funny you should say it's less intimidating to use spray cans... i've never liked to use them blasted things! I don't feel safe at all with a can, and i find them of very limited use unless it's a one color job. No control on pressure or amount of paint, too... nowhere near an airbrush, where you can dial all the settings to match what you need or like, you can spray far or near, trigger control allows you to do small details like mottling or smoke trails on exhausts or guns. It's stuff that needs to be done up close and very gently so, forget the cans for that, unless you have a very good masking technique to achieve that sort of detail. Obviously, not everyone gets along with airbrushes but i think it's worth a try, the results will speak for themselves.
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Offline zenrat

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Re: Upgrading my standard of paint.
« Reply #11 on: January 08, 2018, 01:35:33 am »
I use Vallejo acrylics for aircraft.  Tamiya and Gunze acrylics for cars.
But not exclusively if I need a colour I don't have in the one i'm using.
I also use enamel metalisers and I use enamels where I want to paint over acrylics without risk of paint reacting.
I use rattle can primer and undercoat from big DIY store cans.  These are probably enamels but they don't make it clear on the labels.
I use cheap DIY store gloss enamel from big cans for car bodies.  Unless I am using car touch up paint from rattle cans.
I'll sometimes decant from rattle cans and airbrush.
I'll also sometimes paint cars with zero paints paint (I particularly like their Kandies).
I clear aircraft with Acrylic clear from big DIY store rattle cans - gloss or satin.
I also sometimes use these on cars.
If airbrushing clear on cars I use Tamiya enamel clear, zero paints clear or zero paints two pack clear.
The two pack clear is great but it does mean doing the full hazchem thing when using it and the hardener has a habit of hardening  in the bottle over time.

Oh, and then there's Alclad II chrome.  I use DIY store big rattle can cheap gloss black enamel as a base coat and airbrush it at way low air pressure over the top.

When I say "cheap" in relation to DIY store rattle cans I don't mean the cheapest in the store but cheap in relation to pukka model paints.
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Offline scooter

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Re: Upgrading my standard of paint.
« Reply #12 on: January 08, 2018, 02:16:04 am »
When I say "cheap" in relation to DIY store rattle cans I don't mean the cheapest in the store but cheap in relation to pukka model paints.

Basically, Krylon and Rustoleum, or their overseas equivalents.

I'm a big fan of the Krylon Ultra Flat rattle cans, particularly the Sand since it makes a great (and relatively cheap) primer.
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Offline NARSES2

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Re: Upgrading my standard of paint.
« Reply #13 on: January 08, 2018, 06:31:57 am »
Not sure of their availability in the U.S., but if you are after sets then Hataka do loads of them. They also don't automatically have 6 paints per set. Their Polish set for instance only has 4, whilst others have 6 to 8.

I've found the ones I have are very good (Polish and French WWII) and will be looking to get more as I replace current stocks.
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Online TheChronicOne

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Re: Upgrading my standard of paint.
« Reply #14 on: January 08, 2018, 08:33:31 am »
Many thanks, y'all!! I have enough new information now that I do believe a trip to to the LHS is in order tomorrow (could very well be my best option after all!) to look at their stuff and also start "shopping" a bit online so I can see what I have readily available as good options. I'll also dig out my existing Testors acrylics and use them on something so I can start to get the feel of it all. I might just pick 2 or 3 of them that are in the best shape overall (some have been sitting around about 30 years, although last year I did go through them all and tossed all the ones that definitely were no good) and find a small WWII bird or something to build so I can use them on something. Actually sounds like a fun little project... trying new stuff and all that....   

Anyway, next up is start buying up good, quality brushes instead of these twigs with grass clippings strapped on that I've been using, find an airbrush, and plug the leaks in my air tank. Between all this mess I'm going to see if Chronic Paint Shop can increase quality.  ;D
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