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Recommended paint pens for detail work?

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6 hours ago, Duanelaker said:

I am very new to air brushing and have been using vallejos air line of paint, I assumed I shouldn’t thin this paint since it’s designed for air brushing out of the bottle...should I be?  I’m not too concerned with money as all of it is cheaper then the cigarettes I used to smoke lol but I don’t like being wasteful.

If you are getting satisfactory results out of it in your airbrush, you're doing it right. Customarily, acrylics that aren't pre-thinned for airbrushing should be thinned at a ratio of two parts paint to one part thinner. Formerly, all oil-based paint was formulated to be "conditioned," meaning thinned as needed. No knowledgeable painter would apply paint "right out of the can." With the advent of the DIY market, however, paints started being "dumbed down" so the uninitiated DIYers could use it "out of the can" without getting terrible results and blaming the paint company for those. Curiously, with oil-based paints, at least, this led to formulations with higher VOCs (solvents) and when the environmental regulations starting going into effect all over the place, they were back to square one with "thicker" paints that had to be thinned again in order to keep the as-sold VOCs below the legal limits. The water-based paints and acrylics, having little or no VOCs, then began to take over the market to comply with the low-VOC limits. Good paint has never been "cheap" and paint is one of those things where you get what you pay for. The problem with model paints, which require large amounts of finely ground pigments to cover without detail-concealing paint build up, were always for these reasons among the most expensive (since the most expensive component in paint are the pigments, some colors much more than others.) Add to that the cost of retail inventory overhead for hundreds of pre-mixed colors and packaging in little tiny bottles and cans, and an ounce of model  paint becomes some of the most expensive paint on the planet. The most economical way to paint models with fine pigment archival-quality paint is to use quality tubed artists' oil paints and color-mix, thin, and condition them with linseed oil, turpentine and Japan dryer yourself. A small bit out of the tube can be mixed and stored in your own bottles for a while before it goes bad, but the bulk oil in the "toothpaste tube" lasts a long, long time. Artists oils are sold in varying degrees of opacity and are easily sourced in high-pigment-load form which permits full coverage without paint building up and destroying fine detail on the model.

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The thread veers off from the pen-topic, but just to add a couple of comments on acrylics and airbrushing:

 

- there are different formulations of acrylics, using either plain water or water-alcohol mixes as solvent; using a different solvent may actually break down the kind of emulsion state in which they are, clogging the airbrush in the event; it doesn't need to be their brand of thinner, but it does have to be chemically the same.

 

- I don't know too much of the model manufacturers' range of acrylic paints, as I don't really need these 'authentic' colours they specialise in; I am using artist's acrylics, either from the German manufacturer Schmincke or the Spanish Vallejo (which are first catering for the artist market and then for modellers); getting the dilution right for spraying always has been a pain and some 30 years ago I already went for the ready-diluted ones; some of my drip bottles are that old and still give good results.

 

- the process of hardening of acrylics is a mixed one, cross-linking the acrylics molecules and diffusing out the solvent (water); both take time and therefore it takes longer than for paints based on organic solvents and hardening resins; spraying thin coats in 24h intervalls speeds up the process of hardening, as the water doesn't have to diffuse through a thick layer.

 

- spray-painting with enamels and their likes in an apartment is a no-no, because it is difficult to install a proper extraction for fumes; with my acrylics I get away with just a cardboard box to catch the overspray; depends always, of course, how often you use the airbrush and how big the areas to be painted are; cleaning the airbrush from enamels is also an issue, due to the waste solvents, while acrylics can be easily cleaned under running water.

 

I have a big collection of Humbrol tins, some of them probably historic by now (could be 50+ years old), but I have rarely touched them since I bought the airbrush in the early 1980s.

 

 

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16 hours ago, Bob Cleek said:

I am very new to air brushing and have been using vallejos air line of paint, I assumed I shouldn’t thin this paint since it’s designed for air brushing out of the bottle...should I be?  I’m not too concerned with money as all of it is cheaper then the cigarettes I used to smoke lol but I don’t like being wasteful.

Have a look at their website - I am sure it can be thinned - in fact I have some Vallejo thinner in my stash

 

 

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6 hours ago, Richmond said:

I am very new to air brushing and have been using vallejos air line of paint, I assumed I shouldn’t thin this paint since it’s designed for air brushing out of the bottle...should I be?  I’m not too concerned with money as all of it is cheaper then the cigarettes I used to smoke lol but I don’t like being wasteful.

I didn't say that as the original post indicates, but I'll respond to the question:

 

That's all a matter of your own judgment. If the paint is being sprayed evenly out of the gun, rather than spitting and sputtering and producing a "splattered" finish, that's how it should be. If the paint isn't coming out so thick that it takes forever to dry or "floods" and starts to run, that's how it should be. If it produces a perfect finish without buildup that obscures fine detail, that's how it should be. If you're happy with it, that's how it should be.  If not, it's time to read your airbrushing manual, watch a few YouTube videos, and start experimenting. The problem is more often an incorrect adjustment of your airbrush and you should troubleshoot for that before blaming the paint. Learn what "conditioners" (thinners, retarders, drying accelerators, and leveling agents) are available to you and add those to your arsenal.

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Good Morning All;

 

Thanks for all the thoughts set out above. All very interesting and thought-provoking.

 

I used an air brush with some model painting acrylic paints bought in a High Street bargain store. I thinned the paint with water, and after two coats the colour was deep and solid. 

 

However, this was on un-sealed lime wood, which is very porous. I wonder what the results would be on boxwood, which is much less open. I will have to try an experiment.

 

All the best,

 

Mark P

 

 

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On 12/3/2019 at 7:47 AM, Bob Cleek said:

diluting acrylics with isopropanol (rubbing alcohol)

There is a formula on line for an acrylic thinner for airbrushing that is basically 50% water and 50% rubbing alcohol with a small amount of retarder and flow enhancer added.  It is reported to be identical in use to Tamiya airbrush thinner.  Not sure if Tamiya actually uses this formula.  However I have read in a couple of books about airbrushing that alcohol is a very good solvent to use with acrylic paints.

 

Also there is this is something to consider to prevent fadeing of your paint.  https://www.amazon.com/Krylon-K01305-Coatings-11-Ounce-UV-Resistant/dp/B00397STRW?th=1

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One should remember that acrylic paints are complex emulsions. So by diluting a specific brand with haphazard mixtures of solvents the emulsions may break down, leading to coagulation and then clogging of the airbrush. Either you may need to experiment yourself, or rely on the experience of others.

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Thank you all contributors of this thread. I feel less stupid for failing with my airbrush and non-specialized acrylic. I've used marker pens(for best  result use pre assembly)to show wood grain which I like (black and red in particular). Also failed with oil paints but will try again using the advice given. Obviously, choice of brush is essential. Writing this, I am still chocking from the fumes of a water based aerosol paint I've just used for my picket boat hull. Truthfully, I prefer the natural wood ,oiled, whenever possible, but sometimes the nature of the part or poor quality of wood or finish, makes painting unavoidable. My wife was an art teacher, but although she sows my sails, I haven't the courage to ask her to paint my models!

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