Jump to content
Sign in to follow this  
Schmitz

state of the art water-based acrylics?

Recommended Posts

I mostly build cars - and admit to being a very slow modeler.

 

Until now most of my painting has been with Krylon spray cans. For car models the Krylon was great; the paint was incredibly easy to use, cheap, readily available in some of the more commonly used colors (flat and semi-gloss black, aluminum, white, various grays), and the gloss colors worked well with a polishing kit. Only if I was stuck for a color match would I pull my airbrush setup out of the box. For ventilation, I do all my spraying (Krylon and air-brush) in my garage with the door open (and the car parked outside).

 

As you may have discovered or read about in another thread, Krylon has been reformulated to be "greener". One result is the paint goes on heavy, another is the colors have changed (the new "matte aluminum" looks nothing like the old "dull aluminum" - its a grainy bright-silver disaster).

 

I'm thinking its time to take the plunge: switch to water based acrylics, make a more permanent airbrush setup - ideally in my modeling room (a spare bedroom on the 2nd floor of my house) and figure out how to really use this stuff. I'm also hoping if its more convenient to paint, I'll also get more modeling done.

 

So I'm wondering :

  • Is there a consensus as to who's acrylics work the best (I'd like to stick with a single brand if possible)? Especially if I want high-gloss finishes on a car model?
  • Will one of the small spraybooths (I'm thinking a "peace keeper") control the overspray and odor of acrylics enough to use it in a finished room (don't want to repaint the walls and carpet) in the main living area of my house?
Any advice/experience would be greatly appreciated!

 

Don

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Don,

 

I hate acrylics, so take everything below with that in mind.

 

For me, by far, the best acrylics for airbrushing are the Tamiya acrylics. Also, for your applications, they have a wide range of colors suitable for autos, so all your cars don't look like WWII german tanks. Use the tamiya thinner. Some people use other thinner, but I am a big believer in using the thinner formulated for the specific paint brand.

 

Why do I hate acrylics? Because I've never found any, including Tamiya, that spray quite as nice as an enamel.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I switched to acrylics sometime back and love them. Easy cleanup and no odor. I've used Tamiya, Model Master and Poly Scale and found them all very good. The only thing I've found is they are differnt viscosities, so you may have to add thinner. I can usually spray Tamiya right out of the bottle. Getting a smooth finish would not be a problem. Just overspray the model with Tamiya Gloss Coat or one of the other brands. Future works well too.

 

As for a spray booth, you can build your own fairly cheaply. There have been several articles on how to do it. Basically, you can use Melamine coated press board for the structure. If you're using acrylics you don't need an exhaust fan unless you really want one. But, if you're worried about the breathing hazard, just wear a mask (a dust mask would probably be fine).

 

Hope this helps you make a decision.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

If you didn't gleen it from the previous responses, don't expect a gloss color coat from acrylics. Clear is always required in my experience. Tamiya's TS-13 clear is a great can option altough my preference is an automotive clear via airbrush. As far as type of paint, I use both in my projects. Typically enamel for body and high gloss areas (Alclad chrome prep) and acrylic for interiors & chassis.

 

As far as painting in the house goes, the biggest mess is not from standard operation and overspray but from mixing, transfering to the cup and AB cleanup after the fact.

 

I completely agree with using a manufactures recomended thinner in any case. There are cheaper options but when it comes to a gloss coat I no longer experiment.

 

I hope you are succesful in making your airbrush the standard vs the exception. I believe you will find superior results in the end.

Great topic as well.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I've tried a little of everything over the years, and have to agree that Testors Model Master, Tamiya, and Polly Scale are my favorites. Which one I use depends on what color they have in their line. I used to really like the older Tamiya, but when they tweeked the formula, it was "just as good" as the others I used.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Schmitz my good man, I'm going to throw a real wrench in the works for you. The only solvent-based paint I ever use is primer -- everything else is acrylic, mainly because until recently my work area has been down in the basement in very close proximity to a gas-fired water heater and furnace. Now you might want to sit down for the next one...the acrylics I use are Liquitex BASICS artist's acrylics in a big plastic tube. Before you roll your eyes, snicker sarcastically and say "yea, whatever", think about a couple things; 1.)These are artist's acrylics, formulated for a rather demanding bunch. The colors are very rich and very dense. Even yellow and white have much less of the translucency issues of other paints. 2.) Dollars and cents...a 4oz tube, thinned to the viscosity of normal modeling paint will get you about 20 bottles. That 20 bottles times what, $2.75? is, ummm, cha ching... 3.) As far as thinnning, ok, stick with the same manufacturer, Liquitex, and use the airbrush medium, which is about $8 for an 8oz bottle at Hobby Lobby or Michael's, or try what I'm going to do, and pick up a bottle of "Flow Enhancer" in Winsor & Newton's Galeria line. It's an 8oz bottle for $9, but it's recommended dilution ratio gets you a little over a gallon (another cha-ching). It's specifically formulated for thinning tube acrylics. The Liquitex BASICS line doesn't have every color imaginable, or premixed military colors, but there are about 24 I think, including a few metallics. That in itself should suffice, but then if you think back to what we learned when we were about six that every color in the universe starts with red, blue and yellow, then you really shouldn't have any problems. Panzer Dunkelgrun, Radome Tan and Non-Specular Sea Blue really aren't any harder to mix than orange. They dry flat, so you'll have to throw on a gloss overcoat, Future is as good as any. As far as that goes, thin it with Future and it will give you a rock hard semi-gloss, and take it from there with another coat of Future. I like to save what little money I have, and I like to play with color, so....

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

As long as we're throwing in monkey wrenches, you might also take a look at the ones sold in craft stores that come in a plastic bottle. They have a very wide range of colors and are cheap. I've used them a couple of times with good results. You just have to thin them. I use rubbing alcohol to thin it. As with all acrylics, I would first primer the model. Almost any brand of rattle can will do, but I use Model Master. Another two cents from me.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Les -- I was going to mention those too, and I usually do, but initially I had forgotten about them, and later I remembered then thought I was glad not mentioning them in this particular instance. Mr. Schmitz was looking for paint for cars, and thus would require a high gloss. Those craft paints, while absolutely great for drybrushing this or that, and work well for those of us doing aircraft, armor, etc, might not be so great for model car applications, at least in a general sense where a fine finish is needed. I could be wrong, it happened once, way back B) . Some I have used in the past didn't have the superfine pigments that the tube paints and most conventional model paints have. On the other hand, that quality would be perfect for weathering a car that has seen better days. I have had good results airbrushing the cheap craft paints (like Ceramcoat) thinned with the Liquitex airbrush medium and run through a Paasche VL with a #3 tip, or a Badger 150. When I last used the Ceramcoat paints I lacked the patience to learn whatever nuances there might be to get them tweaked for airbrushing a perfect finish, but they may work as well as any ModelMaster, Tamiya or Polly, who knows? I still lack patience, and I've moved on to large figures and using tube paints, so for me it's a bit of a moot point. Just thought I'd pitch in my 1/50 of a dollar. Like I mentioned in the other post, I'm a tightwad at heart, and I love to experiment ( maybe that's two reasons I've been married/divorced twice?) :smiley18: .

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I'm not a car guy but I know a large part of the final finish is the polishing to a mirror smooth finish. In my experience, no matter how long you let them dry, you can't sand/polish acrylics. They just ball up and shred. To get that typical car-guy finish, you'd have to be super careful with your primer/color coats to ensure they are as smooth as can be, or your final gloss coat will just make a lumpy surface shiny. (Lumpy as defined by car-guy finishes, that is). The only limited success I've had with sanding them is to use fine waterproof paper, wet sand it and go lightly.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

The car guys I know use a lot of clear coats with sanding between to achieve that shiny finish. Some use rattle can enamel clear coat and some use good old Future Floor Wax. With Future, you don't have to sand between coats as it fills all the low spots.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

But if the clear coat is acrylic, you still can't sand it. And I believe they do it to not only smooth it, but remove dust, etc, so you'll have to apply your clear coats in a dust free environment. Just not the optimum choice, but one it seems we will be forced to make.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
But if the clear coat is acrylic, you still can't sand it. And I believe they do it to not only smooth it, but remove dust, etc, so you'll have to apply your clear coats in a dust free environment. Just not the optimum choice, but one it seems we will be forced to make.

 

Thanks for all the info (keep it coming!).

 

I'm used to wet-sanding paint with micro-mesh cloths/pads to get a high-gloss finish, and one of the advantages of that technique is being able to remove dust, runs, etc. Mirco-mesh is intended for polishing scratches out of plexiglass, and its supposed to work - without gumming up - on (well cured) water-based acrylics. There was a fellow named Bill Cunningham (from Florida I think) who made the cover of Scale Auto a few times back in the 90s who claimed to polish Future over acrylic paint. Some of the big name car modelers pooh-poohed using floor wax - according to them only real automotive paint could achieve a show-winning finish - but that didn't seem to stop Bill from winning at a lot of big shows.

 

But even on hard-drying paints like lacquer the micro-mesh takes a light touch - if you sand through to bare plastic often the only way to recover is strip the whole body and start over. Having a smooth paint surface to start with helps. Gloss rattle-can paint always orange peels, at least a little - with the micro-mesh pads you end up having to take off about half of the paint thickness just to get to smooth. I'm hoping the airbrush will give me an edge by putting down a smoother finish to start with - then you can start with finer grits of micro-mesh. Sounds like a bit of a learning curve to get high-gloss with acrylics, but even if I stick with lacquer for just the body and use acrylics for everything else it would make life easier (assuming I can spray the acrylic in my work-room, and only go off to the garage to spray the smelly stuff).

 

I'm going to stock up on some Tamiya acrylics at the Nats and see what I can do with it.

 

Don

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Just an enamel paint suggestion: mix Boyd's High-Gloss Clear 50-50 with your final few color coats on your car finish. This really helps you get a polished shine without having to overcoat yet another clear coat and polish out the peel. Enamel metal flake gloss paints need this approach as the metal flake paint alone does not polish out well. Check out the MM Arctic Blue Metallic on my Peterbilt Wrecker on the Automotive section to see how nice this works. I used model car wax directly on the polished paint.

 

Ed

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Just an enamel paint suggestion: mix Boyd's High-Gloss Clear 50-50 with your final few color coats on your car finish. This really helps you get a polished shine without having to overcoat yet another clear coat and polish out the peel. Enamel metal flake gloss paints need this approach as the metal flake paint alone does not polish out well. Check out the MM Arctic Blue Metallic on my Peterbilt Wrecker on the Automotive section to see how nice this works. I used model car wax directly on the polished paint.

 

Ed

 

You can do the same with most hobby acrylics, using Future in place of the Boyd's Clear. Testors Acryl line now includes some metallics for car and truck models.

 

I add Future to almost all of my acrylics that I airbrush--it serves the same purpose as Floquil's Glaze did. The paint flows better, and dries with a bit of a sheen to it. Military modelers who use enamels can use Glaze or even Metalizer Sealer....

 

As to the original poster, I use mostly Tamiya, Testors Acryls, and (when I can find them locally) PollyScale. I mostly build military subjects, and I can find any color I need in these three lines--but 99% of them are flat. Being military subjects, that's just fine....

 

When I build cars, though, I use the Tamiya sprays--they dry fast to a nice gloss, and they don't take a week or more to outgas. I rarely have to polish the paint....

 

R

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

A couple years ago I saw a motorcycle at a contest that was painted with Tamiya Spray Can. It looked like that was the color of the molded plastic. Smoothest paint job I've seen that didn't look too heavy.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
If you didn't gleen it from the previous responses, don't expect a gloss color coat from acrylics. Clear is always required in my experience.

 

 

Not true, if you use Tamiya thinners(X-20A) to thin their gloss colours it works great.

If you thin them with Isopropol then they go on flat, I use 95% Isopropol and Tamiya paints cover great and dry to the touch in minutes; just not as bullet proof as Gunze.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Not true, if you use Tamiya thinners(X-20A) to thin their gloss colours it works great.

 

Gloss, Yes. Automotive quality gloss ? ? ? Not in my experience!

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Sign in to follow this  

×
×
  • Create New...