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Vallejo Thinner vs Airbrush Flow Improver

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What is the difference between Vallejo Thinner and Airbrush Flow Improver? This will be my first time using Vallejo Surface Primer and Air Colors. Do I really need both? I use a Grex airbrush. Any advice/information is appreciated. Happy Modeling.

 

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Sorry I can't help Gary, but I'm looking forward to learning something along with you!

 

GIL :smiley16:

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I looked at the description of the Airbrush Flow Improver on amazon.com; it seems to be a "retarder" - an additive to make the paint dry slower. That can come in handy with acrylics that dry so fast they clog up the tip of the airbrush, or don't flow out on the surface you're painting.

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Vallejo also has a Drying Retarder. "To delay drying time of Model Color, mix a few drops with the color, or dip brush into retarder on the palette. Colors will not change their consistency. Useful for “wet on wet” techniques and reducing skin formation on the palette." 70.597 Bottle 17 ml. and 73.597 Bottle 60 ml.

 

Airbrush Thinner: "Thinner for Model Air and Liquid Acrylic. Thinner used to extend the colors, to increase fluidity and delay the drying time. We recommend the addition of a few drops of thinner to the colors while airbrushing." 71.261: Bottle de 17 ml. and 71.061: Bottle de 32 ml.

 

Airbrush Flow Improver: "Medium designed to improve the flow and delay the drying of paint on the needle while airbrushing. It is recommended to add 1-2 drops of Flow Improver to 10 drops of paint in the cup of the airbrush." 71.262: Bottle de 17 ml. and 71.362: Bottle de 32 ml.

 

Very confusing; I think Vallejo is just trying to increase their revenue so I'm just going to use the Thinner.

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One advantage to a "retarder" is that it not only keeps the paint from drying too fast while airbrushing, but it (theoretically) should also allow the paint to plait out on the surface better, making for a smoother finish. If the thinner doesn't work to solve all of your problems, you can always add the retarder as recommended in your next session.

 

GIL :smiley16:

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"Retarder" slows or retards the time it take for the paint to dry. Said looking at it from the other direction: the paint stays wet longer.

 

"Flow Improver" reduces the surface tension and to some extent the viscosity of the paint. The paint is less likely to "bead up" so it "flows" better. Back in the day, the drop of dish soap that you added to a bottle of Poly S paint was a flow improver.

 

"Thinner" is mostly the liquid in which the acrylic paint binder molecules are suspended. For many acrylic paints, the liquid is simply water. But others, like Tamiya, use all sorts of goodies (alcohols, ethers, glycols, etc. read the ingredients label for fun). Most paint manufacturers also add some retarder and flow improver to their thinner.

 

Some acrylic paint formulations can adversely react to another labels' thinner/retarder/flow improver. The paint can get lumpy or stringy. That is the result of that adverse reaction. So best to use the manufacturers' own products unless you have tested to make sure nothing happens. Better to have stringy paint in the test cup rather than in the airbrush or on the model.

 

Of course, you can always add to much of a good thing. Too much retarder prevents the paint from ever drying. Too much flow improver or thinner can cause adhesion problems. Best to follow the paint's directions. But in general, one or two drops of retarder or flow improver to your pot of paint is usually enough. Adding up to 25% by volume of thinner is no problem; 25%-50% can get dicey with adhesion; more than 50% you risk serious adhesion problems. You have been warned.

 

Now, if you need to thin more than 50%, consider using one of the paints' "mediums" (which is basically just clear acrylic paint; Future Floor Wax/Pledge can be considered a sort of universal acrylic paint medium). But that is another discussion.

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My thanks to all who replied. The information is very helpful. Happy Modeling. Gary

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I finished the Tamiya Sherman Easy8 and am very impressed with Vallejo acrylics. I only used the Thinner and am very satisfied with the results. For the primer I mixed 2 drops thinner and one drop Liquitex with 10 drops of the surface primer. It went on smoothly and has good adhesion. I also added 2 drops of thinner to the Vallejo air paints and sprayed between 10 -15 psi. Thanks again for all of the comments above.

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