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A lot of us are using acrylic paints in our modeling. I felt we needed a central location where our various tips and techniques could go, instead of being buried in one of our build logs.

 

One area I see time and again is the proper thinning for airbrushing. Coming from a model railroad and aircraft background, I've seen a few different ways to deal with this. I can't reproduce this pamphlet on our site, but you can get it here.   It doesn't cost you anything to log onto the site, but you do need to log in. Sorry about that.

https://model-railroad-hobbyist.com/subscribers-only/painting/acrylics

 

The whole pamphlet is excellent, but chapters 3 Mixing and Storage & 4 Formulas for Thinners apply here. They address Modelmaster, Badger and Vallejo paints. Like a lot of hobbyists, model railroaders were put out by Testor's when they dropped the Floquil/PollyScale lines. This pamphlet was done to help folks move into acrylics. And many have adopted the Badger and Vallejo paints. Hence the extensive charts for converting the old paints into these newer acrylics. I'd like to see more on the Tamiya paint, since the big box craft stores seem to stock them around here.

 

I've been on another site that also addresses home made thinners, but parts of that site are undergoing renovation and I can't find the appropriate page to link to. More to come. And please add to these tips and techniques.

Edited by Canute
Redo intro

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Thanks for putting this thread on.

For thosee who decide to paint with brushes, here is a handy tip when using water-based paints (or paints that can be successfully thinned by water, such as the Valejo paints):  in orde to preserve your brush, use a shallow saucer or dish with a puddle of water in the middle.  Place your brushes on the edge of the saucer / dish with the hairs submerged in the water.  That way when you do apply paint the water will aidd in filling the spaces between the hairs with paint much quicker, and at the same time allow for the tip of the brush to remain in shape for much longer.

When finished, wash out your brushes with water, rubb the excess water off on a paper towel, then store the brushes HAIRS UP and let dry naturally.

This technique works well if you use your brushes regularly.  There is a tip on storing your brushes long term, but I need to double check before I post it here (do not want to mix up tips for oil paint with acrylics - both media are very different in nature and application, and both require different techniques to ensure longevity of your brushes).

 

Hope this helps

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Mark, thanks for the pinning. Lou and LH, thanks for reading and adding techniques. I hope we continue to build on this.

 

I want to dig up additional info on using some of the other acrylics, such as Tamiya and Lifecolor.

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Here's another website with a short article about making homemade acrylic thinner: https://www.cybermodeler.com/tips/thinner.shtml

 

He has a longer blurb here about painting aircraft, but since we seem to have merged builds of plastic ships many techniques will work for us, too. He also addresses airbrushes in the article. The link: https://www.cybermodeler.com/tips/painting.shtml 

Edited by Canute

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Canute/mtaylor, thanks for posting/pinning. It seems though that one needs to sign up to the Web-site in the first post ...

 

Personally, I prefer to use those bottle of paints pre-thinned for use in the air-brush. Much less hassle, albeit there is a somewhat narrower range of colours. However, as I am building only 19th century models, this has not really bothered me - no one knows exactly what colours on a particular ship looked like and normally colours would have been mixed on site/on board anyway ;)

 

I use these pre-thinned paints also for washes applied with the brush.

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wefalck, it's a free signup. I believe they only want to make sure it's not a robo-site logging in. The booklet is well worth it.

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The technique I have found most valuable when brushing with acrylics is the use of a "wet palette".

I came across this method when I was painting Warhammer figures, it is great for mixing colours and/or thinning paints.

 

All you need can be found in the kitchen; 

a waterproof base - a plastic margarine tub lid is ideal,

a sheet or two of kitchen roll/paper,

a piece of greaseproof/ baking paper

and some water.

 

Fold up the kitchen roll so its 4 layers thick, place in the base and flood with water. Pour off the excess water and place the greaseproof paper on top.

Put a dollop of the required paint/s on the paper and mix/thin to your hearts content. The paint will stay wet far, far longer than it would on an ordinary palette.

It works well with Humbrol, Tamiya, Citadel and Artists type acrylics. I haven't tried it with other manufacturers paints but I can see no reason why it would not work with any acrylics.

 

1205.thumb.jpg.25c978b75f68ea778b7de6b4f1e25892.jpg

 

 

Another acrylic tip, or rather non-acrylic tip, is that for washes and drybrushing, don't use acrylics.

I have had much better results with artists Oil paints thinned with white spirit. As they take longer to dry than acrylics they are much more controllable and subtle, giving little or no "tide mark" when the wash dries.

 

Cheers

Paul

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I am still building my first ship model, so I still have no experience with wood and acrylic. but have done miniatures, plastics and other crafts. 

 

I have to second the wet palette. By far the best way to use acylics. I use Vallejo paints and they work well with this method. 

 

Flow Aid helps thin out and makes washes 

 

Retarder Medium will help slow the drying time to help with blending and making fades. 

 

Great topic to have all in one place. 👍

 

cheers

Berto

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Hand brushing is a good alternative, quite satisfying as well!

I have only basic painting skills and do not want to use an airbrush. I have had excellent results with hand brushing using Valejo colours following these rules:

1. Use very good brushes, with appropriate width for the job

2. Thin the paint (should be runny but not like water), avoid heavy coats.

3. For Valejo, use the hand brushing thinner, different and better than the air brush thinner. It congeals if left so must have resin in it (this is what valejo claims so not easily reproduced at home). Get the 60 ml bottle, it is not expensive.

4. Use a bit of retarder.

5. Start from dry and end on wet. Take your time, you can go over the area 2-3 times. Avoid puddles at the edges.

6. Trust the paint! Do not go over again to "correct" or smooth out brush marks. They will disappear. You ll probably need a dozen or more coats either way.

7. Best to seal the wood, I use a water based wood sealer sanded to 400 grit

8. I use plastic pots with caps that seal pretty well and are cheap. The paint stays wet for months.

9. Use only frog tape or Tamiya tape or equivalent. The paint will bleed under ordinary masking tape or electricians tape.

10. Acrylic paint is not tough so needs to be protected with varnish or some topcoat

 

Hopefully these will be of help to some. May not work for all but I was able to paint my 80 cm hull with almost no brush marks.

 

Vaddoc

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I now only use deco art (americana) multi purpose sealer. Very cheap, very good, dries in 15 min. Better than shellac. No experience with polyurethane!

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