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Over the last 10 or so years I got back into the hobby that I started when I was maybe 8 back in the early '60s. A big part of the reason was because of acrylic paints and not having to deal with noxious thinners and such. I still remember well those little Testors and Pactra enamels which I only owned a few colors due to finances and the ubiquitous bottle of thinner to go with them. Well since I've returned and bought an airbrush I've had a fair amount of experience with various paints and have a load of brands and colors in my shop. So I thought I would start a thread where we can express our thoughts on paints and new and fun ways to use them.

Since my return I've used hobby acrylics for about 85% of my work. I've tried maybe 8 or so different brands. All have worked but some definitely better than others. My first primary brand was Freestyle sold by Dan Jorgenson of Kitbuilders fame. They were formulated for airbrushing mainly and I started big with those because I got to spend some time with him at a horror con and he gave me some valuable information. I also believe these were the precursors to Garage Kits US Colors paints. Overall I like these paints but I have had trouble on occasion with them. There is a large selection of colors with lots of effects paints. They cover fairly well for most colors and are pretty much ready to airbrush. The main problems I've had are with getting some bottles that the pigment apparently is not ground up too fine and then they clog the airbrush nozzle. One bottle of black in particular almost 3 years ago really gave me a headache clogging within seconds of spraying when I was doing a large MIM Dracula. I talked with Dan and he told me he knew of the problem and had spoken to the guy who makes the paints about it. Lately I haven't been using these as much but for particular colors out of the selection of about 30 paints I still pull them down frequently.

When I first returned to modeling after my break, at least serious plastic modeling as I have never completely stopped modeling in some form or another (mainly model rockets for a good part of those years), I started seriously with WW2 aircraft and I still have a huge stack to work on someday. I didn't know anything about all the garage kits so I simply went to the hobby shop and bought Testors acryls. I also taught myself airbrushing with these and didn't know any tricks or much of anything else so I did have some frustration for a while. I will say though that these paints airbrush very nicely and sometimes I don't even thin them. They also hand brush extremely well. It seems the quality is very consistent across the line and I still frequently use them for various models. I would highly recommend these.

Two and a half years ago at Wonderfest I bought a box of Badger Freak Flex paints in all the colors. These I used probably the most of all my paints as there is a large selection of very good colors in the set. However I couldn't call these my favorites as far as ease of use. The reason for that is probably similar to the Freestyle, they seem to clog my airbrush nozzle much easier then some other brands. But still due to the color selection I really like them. While they are formulated for airbrush use out of the bottle, they are Badger paints afterall, they seem to thicken rather quickly during use and seem to thicken in the bottles over time. I am thinking I ought to just add some water to the bottles if I find them thicker than they should be and maybe that would be a good solution. Anyway I would still recommend them for anyone doing figures. I really like some of the flesh tones for certain jobs like pale flesh and suntan flesh and so many other colors.

I've bought some Vallejo air paints from Mega in the past and I really like these for airbrushing. They are consistently easy to use and every color I have sprayed works like a charm. They cover well and have a good selection of colors although the colors are more along the lines of military model use there still are lots of colors appropriate for figures out of those. I would be happy to use these most of the time if there were more colors to select from.

I just recently picked up some ComArt airbrush paints from Tom Grossman and I can't say too much yet. I have only used them a couple of times so far and noted they spray very well but almost seem too thin. While that makes them spray well they run easier and it takes more coats to cover. But as I said, I have very little use and shouldn't make any judgements yet. I bought them in sets for things like horror figure models and other things. The color selection is nice and I plan on putting these to more use soon.

For airbrushing and such those are my main paints. I also use Alclad for metal finishes on cars and things and can only say they are excellent. Or course they are a lacquer so you get into the nastier clean up chemicals but they are simply fantastic to work with and for the finish they deliver. I now strip all the chrome off my parts and spray them with Alclad.

I have a large selection of Vallejo miniatures model paints as well. They are used for detail work and again they are great overall. Some are thicker than others and they don't generally go on too smoothly so large surfaces are really out of the question. But for having a large color selection and for detail work I love them.

Finally, just recently, I tried my first use of a Grumbacher squeeze tube acrylic thinned with water for painting the Moebius Bride couch. This worked perfectly and sprayed out of the brush with no problems giving me a great finish of crimson on the couch leather. I would think the Liquitex tube acrylics would work similarly. Other than taking a bit more time to mix they seem easy to work with and are hugely less expensive in those huge tubes than bottled hobby paint. I also use them for doing stone work and wood straight from the tubes and mixing colors for effects and they are perfect for that kind of work as they are obviously formulated exactly for that.

So these are just some of my thoughts on paints and using them and anyone else who wants to relate their favorites and experiences would be great.
 

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Thanks for the additional input guys. I completely forgot about the Tamiya acrylics and pretty much agree with you Alter. They airbrush fantastically but are not so great hand brushed. What is funny with them is you have to hand brush them thick and if you go back over them while they are still wet sometimes that second stroke will remove the first coat. So if you hand brush them you've got to be extra careful.

And also I forgot to mention I do some painting from rattle cans and have used Testors and Tamiya lacquers with great results. Finally I also use industrial primers like Krylon and Rustoleum (which I have a preference for) and also for some things I use Kyrlon colors like my current Bride project where I am using Krylon semi-gloss white for the Bride's gown. I almost strictly use Krylon paints when I am painting my model rockets and they work perfectly as well as being fairly cheap when bought at Walmart. I also use Krylon paints on models when it is appropriate.
 

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Discussion Starter · #12 ·
Being relativly new to modeling after a 55 year hiatus, I've had some discussions regarding clearcoats. Many guys have sworn by Future floor finish. I got some and used it with mixed results. Theory is the formula was changed when it became Pledge future and it's not the same stuff.
I used it as a base after painting to lay decals on. Seemed to work ok. However, as I build military ships (mostly aircraft carriers) I prefer a flat finish. Really, a less than dead flat, somewhere between semi gloss and flat. I've used Model master ACRYL clear mostly but was wondering about alternatives in different sheens.

EJ
Most everyone here swears by Testors Dull Coat. I know I use it on almost every model and I wouldn't call it a totally dull coating but pretty close. In fact on my current build I put it on over some glossy acrylic and while it toned it down it didn't really give it a true dull coat. I then used an acrylic matte finish sprayed on with my airbrush and it dulled it down about how I wanted it. But for 90% of my models I usually finish them up with the Testors.
 

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Discussion Starter · #15 ·
Thanks everyone. I'm headed to my LHS to get some Dullcoat Laq. to test out.
EJ
I almost always buy it at Michael's using the 40% off a single item coupon you can get online almost every week. That makes the price about $2.60. Usually, since Michael's are a bit of a drive from where we live, I get one and my wife picks up one for me to when we are going by the store.
 
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