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Acrylic colours for artists

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Good Evening,


This subject has probably been discussed before, but I ask again anyway.


-Is it suitable to paint die casts iron ornaments with acrylic paints for artists? I am planning to build Vasa, which have hundreds of sculpture and it would be nice to mix colours on my palette.

-I suppose the colours need thinning (with water?) to avoid getting them too shining.

-The metal sculptures need a metal priming Before any paint will stuck. What brand would you recommend and is there any special technique required?

-Is a gold colour available among the acrylic paint?



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Artists acrylics are suitable, but like you said, they need to be primed. I would use a modeling primer, such as the Tamiya sprays; they go on thin. Wash your parts first to remove any oils from the molding process. Most dishwashing liquids will cut the grease. I think Vallejo makes a gold color; I haven't used it. I presume you are brush painting, so thin to a consistency of milk. May take several coats to build up the depth of color you are looking for.

The Vallejo line is a good one, with several hundred colors for miniature painting. I'm sure others will chime in with their favorites.


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I started to use artists acrylic paints in tubes after reading reviews on the forum. I have found them a lot easier to use and when thinned and applied with multiple coats give the best finish for brush applications. I had problems with coverage at first,but a nice knowledgeable lady in our local artist supply store set me straight. There are two types of this paint...Transparent and opaque. I hadn't a clue about this,but it is on the tubes for all to see. The type to use is the opaque one. She also recommended using M Graham & Co paints (or other quality premium paints),which is what artists use for painting on wooden panels. For priming I tried thinned gesso,but found it obscured detail and was a pain to sand. I settled on thinned wax free shellac,thinned 50/50 with 99% isopropyl alcohol,but I'm sure  Tamiya primer will work as well.

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  • 1 month later...

Go for Vallejo acrylics.

Firs use a primer, let it dry for 12 hours and then apply Vallejo metal color of your choice.

I recommend using an airbrush. For the metal colors, add a few drops of flow improver.

After the paint dries apply a varnish, metal varnish if you want it bright or matt if you want it dull

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Vallejo is a good choice, as the company originally catered for artists, I believe, and then branched out into the modelling sector.

There are other brands, e.g. the German Schmincke, that went down a similar route.




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I have painted thousands of cast metal or epoxy molded military miniatures using acrylic artists' colors over many years, starting in 1970 when (I believe) the first acrylic designers gouache was introduced by Rowney.  It was eventually discontinued, but returned later by other manufacturers.  I have used the Jo Sonya product almost exclusively for many years.  The finish is dead flat but may be given some gloss with acrylic medium, or other forms of artists acrylics may be used where some level of gloss is desired..  Gouache color range is extensive.  Make sure it is acrylic.  Some gouache resins are not waterproof.  The product may be thinned as desired using water to provide washes or to build up color in multiple coats.  I have found these materials to be superior to products made for modeling.  I have used Vallejo, Humbrol acrylics, and other acrylic modeling paints but prefer the gouache for the pigment quality and variety of colors.  As a primer, I use  flat black (Rustoleum) enamel, highly thinned with a good quality solvent.  The black helps highlight folds or crevices in the figure which would otherwise have to be filled with paint.  The primer is brushed on and allowed to dry thoroughly.  Colors are then built up from dark to light, which is facilitated by the waterproof acrylics.  Finishes are durable and non-fading.



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Another area of expertise... military miniatures .


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I am very cognizant of acrylic resin properties as I sold acrylic water borne and solvent borne resins to paint companies (including artist paint manufacturers) for years. "Acrylic" refers to a whole family of polymeric emulsions and resins that differ by molecular weight, composition, water solubility, solvent and alcohol tolerance, flow and leveling etc. Additionally, additives also enhance paint properties. My favorite brand currently is Vallejo. I think they have an excellent balance of properties.

However, while brushing and spraying properties have improved immensely, they still aren't as good as an alkyd solvent borne enamel or acrylic solvent borne lacquer. On the other hand, the acrylic water borne products are much more environmentally friendly and offer easier cleanup of brushes.

I have used Jo Sonya paints too and really liked them for their brushing properties (haven't sprayed them) and vivid depth of color.


I have not found an acceptable water based product for priming metals especially brass. I am going to try Ed T's Rustoleum process.

Edited by Jaxboat
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