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Hi all, before the wife curtails my model-spending, I was thinking about buying a "Paint Set" and I can see for example that Vallejo do some pretty big sets but I'm concerned that they all appear to revolve around the colours used in painting fantasy figures, etc.

 

If you got a juicy gift-voucher for your birthday 🤣 which paint set would you consider to be the ideal one to consider for (mainly) boat building.

 

Thanks for your input.

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Tom,

 

Those paint sets always look attractive but may prove to be a false economy. I’d be more inclined to buy the individual paints that you need at the time, or for a given project. You’ll soon end up with a large selection anyway, but they will all be colours that you will actually use. You may also find that you use different brands for different purposes too.

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I agree with the others, buy the colors/brands you will need for the model at hand. Consider it as part of the cost of the model, just as glue, tape and cleaning agents will be. Eventually as the others have said, you will have your own paint store at hand with almost all standard colors you can imagine and many you never gave thought to when you started!

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Ditto to what's been said about "sets." I'd add that, once opened, those expensive little bottles of paint have a nasty habit of drying up in the bottle no matter how carefully you seal them after use. You'll be amazed and dismayed at how often you will be tossing an expensive little bottle of paint that's gone bad over time. Another option, if you don't mind the learning curve if you haven't mastered the color wheel as yet, is to use tubed artists' oils and acrylics, suitably thinned and conditioned as necessary for each use. The tubed paint has a long shelf-life and small batches of thinned paint can be saved in your own bottles, if need be. If you teach yourself to mix colors (YouTube is your friend here,) you probably won't need more than a half dozen or so tubes of artists' oils or acrylics to satisfy the needs of a modeler's pallette. Small tubes can be purchased for colors rarely used, while larger tubes are available for colors you will use frequently. The cost of tubes vary depending on the color, the variable being the expense of the quality pigments involved, unlike prepared modeling paint, which is priced according to amount. In the long run, however, tubed artists' oils and acrylics are far more economical to use and generally are of a somewhat higher quality than premixed model paints. When you become comfortable mixing your own colors, those photos of guys with hundreds of expensive bottles of various modeling paint colors all displayed on little shelves in their shops, and drying up to uselessness over time, will leave you wondering, "What are they thinking?"  (See: https://figurementors.com/limitted-palette/the-science-of-oil-paints-with-kyle-kolbe/

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15 hours ago, Bob Cleek said:

........tubed artists' oils and acrylics are far more economical to use and generally are of a somewhat higher quality than premixed model paints. When you become comfortable mixing your own colors, those photos of guys with hundreds of expensive bottles of various modeling paint colors all displayed on little shelves in their shops, and drying up to uselessness over time, will leave you wondering, "What are they thinking?.....

Well actually Bob, painting in oils and acrylics is one of my hobbies! So colour-mixing is something I've been doing for a long time and needless to say, I have scores of paint tubes in both mediums (professional quality). I just didn't know if how durable they would be on models. Hmmm, you've planted a seed. 👍

artroom.jpg

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9 hours ago, MadDogMcQ said:

Well actually Bob, painting in oils and acrylics is one of my hobbies! So colour-mixing is something I've been doing for a long time and needless to say, I have scores of paint tubes in both mediums (professional quality). I just didn't know if how durable they would be on models. Hmmm, you've planted a seed. 👍

 

Currently, it seems the "fantasy figure" modeling and gaming community seem to have discovered artists' oils and are using them more widely than any of the other modelers. In times past, the top professional ship modelers always used artists' oils. As a painter, I'm sure you know that the model scale paint industry has long made good money selling the convenience of pre-thinned and pre-mixed paint colors at high prices, but quality artists' oils are still about as good as it gets for archival quality pigments. 

 

You may want to leach out some of the oil in your tubed oil paint by putting it on a piece of brown paper bag paper and letting the oil soak out for a bit. That will reduce the gloss, which you don't want for a miniature. Thin your oils with a bit of turpentine and perhaps a bit of acetone if spraying. Add a dash of Japan drier to speed up drying. To improve leveling and flow, a bit of linseed oil. Thinning should flatten the gloss finish. If not, add a bit of Grumbacher flattening solution. You know the drill, I'm sure.

 

There shouldn't be any difference in durability between tubed and bottled paint, as far as I can see. The major difference between the two is in the thickness of the material, bottled paint containing large amounts of thinner and tubed paint not, and, importantly, the Japan dryer which speeds up drying in oil paint. Without that, the tubed paint will take longer to for its raw linseed oil binder to polymerize. (Raw linseed oil is also sold as food-grade "flaxseed oil" in health food stores. "Boiled" linseed oil, which isn't boiled at all, has dryers added to speed up polymerization.)

 

Thin your acrylics with some alcohol, if that's compatible with your brand of acrylics. I prefer oils over acrylics, myself, probably because I'm more familiar with them and the results are more predictable for me. I don't like the acrylics that use water as a solvent for spraying because the water takes longer to dry than a more volatile solvent such as alcohol. 

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Thanks Bob. In addition to the regular oil paint tubes (Artist Quality Winsor & Newton), I also have some "Griffin Alkyd Oils" which are fast drying.  I also have a wide range of "Artisan Oils" which are water mixable.  The Artisan is noticeably 'duller' than regular oils, which may be an advantage.  I guess it'll be worth doing some tests (when I get time 😂

 

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I agree with Bob's comments re oil paint. He admits his liking for it, no doubt after long experience, trial and error.

My young son got into the ludicrously expensive miniature gaming figures world. The 'Citadel' range of acrylics (which are silly money too) astonished me by their quality. The pigment density is far superior to anything else I've come across (including oils) yet they flow and cover with a brush like magic. They are expensive but there again, most ship models only require a limited palette.

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46 minutes ago, Bob Cleek said:

I prefer oils over acrylics,

Some of the old books about how-to model ships suggest dry pigments (Japan?)

I wonder if the dry or oils are minerals and the acrylics are organic? 

The chemical industry started with the synthesis of organic pigments.  But complex organic molecules are much more subject oxidation than minerals, some of which may already be oxides.

As a practical matter on the subject of the desirability of using archival materials, although I completely agree with you, I suspect that the issue will soon prove to be a moot one.  We have already passed an inflection point and show no indications of having the will to do what is necessary to avoid generating one or two more.

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7 hours ago, Jaager said:

Some of the old books about how-to model ships suggest dry pigments (Japan?)

I wonder if the dry or oils are minerals and the acrylics are organic? 

The chemical industry started with the synthesis of organic pigments.  But complex organic molecules are much more subject oxidation than minerals, some of which may already be oxides.

As a practical matter on the subject of the desirability of using archival materials, although I completely agree with you, I suspect that the issue will soon prove to be a moot one.  We have already passed an inflection point and show no indications of having the will to do what is necessary to avoid generating one or two more.

Some purists reportedly still use dry pigments, but preparing them for use is a time-consuming laborious process. The pigments must be mixed with the oil binder in suspension in a process called "mulling." (From whence the phrase, "mull it over" is derived.) (See: https://www.scribalworkshop.com/blog/2019/6/5/mulling-paint-a-beginner-ish-guidef ) Pigments are often minerals as well as organic materials. The difference between oils and acrylics is in the binder, not the pigment, as far as I know. Colorfastness is a sought after quality in good paints and the "chemical dyes" can suffer in this regard. (Here's an interesting site about pigments: http://www.webexhibits.org/pigments/intro/pigments.html)

 

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My mid Eighteenth Century longboat model was painted entirely with “homemade” acrylic paints, and I was pleased with the results.

18C99854-280A-4E5F-9D76-83DAA372DC27.thumb.jpeg.ba59f84db07217ea7b89ba8eaeb0dabc.jpegI needed five colors:

 

Dark red

Dark Brown 

Creamy White

Black

Drab

 

I started by buying tubes of quality artist’s acrylic pigments at a local crafts store:

Burnt Umber

Black 

Titanuim White

Bright Red.

yellow ochre

I also bought a bottle of matt media fluid.

 

It pays to buy high quality pigments.  I bought a large tube of yellow ochre at a well known discount department store at a bargain price and found it to be unusable due to the large granules of pigment. You could have paved my driveway with this stuff.

 

I also bought a number of small glass bottles with screw top lids from Amazon, a battery operated Micro Mark propeller type paint mixer, and a palate  knife.

 

My understanding of scientific color technology is negligible.  All colors were mixed by Mark 1 eyeball.  The Drab color was a mystery.  A contemporary specification required the the hull interior be painted drab.  I found an old paint formula on the web that explained that drab was mixed by adding white lead pigment to burnt umber.

 

I started by mixing pigments on a small glass palate using the palate knife.  When I got the right color I scooped the mixed pigment into one of the small jars and added matt media, again by eye.  The paint mixer worked perfectly to blend the resulting mixture.  Thinned by adding water, it sprayed perfectly in my airbrush.  When I was finally convinced that my paint job was complete I protected the finish with a light coat of Dulcote.

 

The mixed paint kept in the small jars stayed fresh over the several months spent completing the model.

 

I can understand the need for modelers of modern military vessels to paint them with the “right” color matched to official color charts, but for ships built prior to the late 1800’s for which color standards are minimal my eyeball method worked well.

 

Roger

 

 

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I personally like the Delta Ceramcoat line of craft paint.  I use it for everything from miniatures to my ship models.  They work beautifully for me and usually run about $1.35 at Hobby Lobby in the US.  The only drawback is that the paintwork should be sealed after painting for long term durability.

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43 minutes ago, GrandpaPhil said:

I personally like the Delta Ceramcoat line of craft paint.

I find that the Ceramcoat paints don't provide a very smooth finish, if that's something one is looking for. But the price can't be beat, and they come in a huge range of colors. I use them for edge coloring on my card models.

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You can start your project from any point in the 'value chain' (as economists would call it), cutting the tree yourself, mining your own pigments, planting your hemp, ... depends on the practicalities, your space, time and abilities ... Having said that, I don't bother with mixing my own paints, there are people with industrial equipment that can do it much better and more consistent in quality. Some long-standing specialised artist paint suppliers have branched out into the model market, e.g. Vallejo (Spain) or Schmincke (Germany). I found that even their quite dilute airbrush-ready confections keep for decades.

 

Coming back to the original question, the added- or any value of buying sets: I would not buy sets, not even something that you put yourself together on speculation. Just buy what you really need at the moment. Saves space, money and frustration, if you find that something has gone off that you never needed before. I broke my own rule twice: way back in the early 1970s, when I discovered that the Humbrol range over in the UK was much bigger and cheaper than in Germany - still haven't opened some of them, and back in the mid-1990s, when some Schmicke paints were sold out in a closing down shop at 20% of their original price ... finally made use of one of them after all those years.

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