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Paint Thinning Table
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 Post subject: Paint Thinning Table
PostPosted: May 5th, 2011, 3:43 pm 
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Every modeller has their own recommendations on the best ways to thin paints for airbrushing. Every paint manufacturer would have you use their thinner but there are often cheaper/better alternatives. I've tried to gather together as much of this knowledge (where there is consensus) into a handy table.

I've concentrated on the thinning of paints but often these solutions are suitable for cleaning airbrushes too. For thorough cleaning, celluslose thinners, windolene (ammonia based) and proprietary airbrush cleaners are recommend.

Please feel free to post comments and additions below.
Painting Thinning
Brand/TypeOwn BrandWhite SpiritIPAWaterCelluloseOtherNotes
Humbrol Enamelyesyesyes
Humbrol Acrylicn/ayes*Klear*hit & miss
Humbrol Clear Cotesyes*yes*slow drying with own brand, website says use cellulose
Tamiya Acrylicyesyesyes
Gunze Sangyo Mr Color Lacqueryes
Gunze Sangyo AcrylicyesyesyesyesGS Mr Color
Testors Model Master Acrylicyes
Testors Model Master Enamelyes
Testors Model Master Lacqueryes
LifeColor AcrylicyesyesTamiya**issues with blues
Vallejo Model Color/Air Acrylicyes
Citadel Acrylicn/ayes*Tamyia***use flow enhancer, **IPA too hot
Xtracolor Enamelyesyes
Xtracrylicyesyesspray quite thin as they clog
Revell Acrylicyesyesyes
Polly Scale Acrylicyes
White Ensign EnamelyesHumbrol
Mister Kit Acrylicyes


Additional Notes

IPA - Iso-Propyl Alcohol
Flow Enhancer - Acrylic additive to achieve smoother finish, available from art shops eg. Windsor & Newton

Some thinners are "too hot" and can cause paint to 'curdle', thorough mixing can sometimes bring it back to a usable consistency.
Tamiya thinners seem to be a weaker ("less hot") IPA solution.
Xtracrylic is a different formulation (possibly ketone based) to most acrylics and so generally doesn't thin well with alcohols (*in light of recent comments by PB I need to re-check this)

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Better to fettle than to fill


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Paint Thinning Table
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 Post subject: Re: Paint Thinning Table
PostPosted: May 5th, 2011, 3:59 pm 
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very useful table!

can i ask why you say dont spray the humbrol acrylics?.....ive been playing around with them recently and found them very hit and miss...sometimes works and sometimes dont ...but nice when they do work

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Paint Thinning Table
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PostPosted: May 5th, 2011, 4:28 pm 
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Beowulf Shaeffer wrote:
can i ask why you say dont spray the humbrol acrylics?.....ive been playing around with them recently and found them very hit and miss...sometimes works and sometimes dont ...but nice when they do work


I've not tried myself but the consensus seems to be don't bother - as you say hit&miss. This is not to say that they don't perform well in the aerosol cans.

What have you tried thinning them with?

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Better to fettle than to fill


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Paint Thinning Table
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 Post subject: Re: Paint Thinning Table
PostPosted: May 5th, 2011, 4:30 pm 
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Actually Gunze does have their own thinner for the Aqueous paint, but I use their Mr. Color thinner. Works great and in my opinion makes the finishes more durable.

Jim

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Paint Thinning Table
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PostPosted: May 5th, 2011, 5:37 pm 
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Vallejo have their own ModelAir thinner, from my experience of their paints it's pretty much essential for airbrushing. Tamiya and Gunze both thin very well with cellulose. Most Lifecolor paints work with Tamiya thinner but for some reason blues act very oddly with it, and none of them like straight IPA very much. Their own brand thinner is highly recommended.

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Paint Thinning Table
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 Post subject: Re: Paint Thinning Table
PostPosted: May 5th, 2011, 5:47 pm 
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JamesPerrin wrote:

What have you tried thinning them with?



water worked okish......ipa not so ok..............i found it comes out 'bitty' for want of a better description...dries very quick..............shame cos theres some very nice colours, especially in the train range.......i was trying to do a dodge viper in 'virgin rail red' :-D ...................epic fail :sad:

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Paint Thinning Table
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 Post subject: Re: Paint Thinning Table
PostPosted: May 5th, 2011, 6:58 pm 
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Good idea and interesting.
Can I add though, my own findings when spraying Revell Aqua clearcoat, i thinned with IPA and it went, (Technical term), Claggy just like the Citadel paint does, in fact it was worse than the citadel it clogged the AB constantly and I was unable to spray it at all and had to ditch the mix in the AB.
Thinning with tap water isn't entirely satisfactory either, not tried the Tamiya thinner, have a small bottle so might have a bash, what do you use as a flow enhancer can I ask?


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Paint Thinning Table
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 Post subject: Re: Paint Thinning Table
PostPosted: May 5th, 2011, 9:32 pm 
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Thanks for the quick feedback guys. I've updated the table with your comments and additional note about flow enhancer.

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Paint Thinning Table
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 Post subject: Re: Paint Thinning Table
PostPosted: May 6th, 2011, 2:39 am 
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From experience:

White Ensign Colour Coat (enamel): Humbrol Thinner (maybe others, I do not know)

Mister Kit (acrylics): Water (note I have had very bad clogging experience with lacquer thinners, etc, and this paint range)

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PostPosted: May 6th, 2011, 3:53 am 
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Doesn't the Window cleaner have to be the ammonia based formulation?

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Paint Thinning Table
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 Post subject: Re: Paint Thinning Table
PostPosted: May 6th, 2011, 6:49 am 
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Is mineral turpentine no good for thinning Humbrol enamel?
I reckon thats what I used to use.

Nigel


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Paint Thinning Table
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 Post subject: Re: Paint Thinning Table
PostPosted: May 6th, 2011, 10:58 am 
Humbrol acrylic will spray perfectly satisfactorily if thinned with Klear, but it needs to be over a primer coat, otherwise there is a possibility that it will peel off like vinyl with any masking tape you might be using. There is no need to ask how I know this...

peebeep


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Paint Thinning Table
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 Post subject: Re: Paint Thinning Table
PostPosted: May 6th, 2011, 11:29 am 
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AndrewR wrote:
Doesn't the Window cleaner have to be the ammonia based formulation?


I'm looking at this and thinking shouldn't that be screen wash fluid instead of window cleaner in the table? Ammonia based window cleaner is used for airbrush cleaning, and I know some people use screen wash to thin acrylics.

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Paint Thinning Table
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PostPosted: May 6th, 2011, 11:31 am 
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AndrewR wrote:
Doesn't the Window cleaner have to be the ammonia based formulation?


I assume it's the ammonia doing the cleaning and window cleaner is just an easy way of obtaining it. I'll add a note.

peebeep wrote:
Humbrol acrylic will spray perfectly satisfactorily if thinned with Klear.


... and then you need the window cleaner to remove the Klear from your airbrush :grin:

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Paint Thinning Table
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 Post subject: Re: Paint Thinning Table
PostPosted: May 6th, 2011, 12:50 pm 
JamesPerrin wrote:
... and then you need the window cleaner to remove the Klear from your airbrush :grin:


Not necessarily. You can flush the brush with water provided you do it promptly. Window cleaner is ideal because the ingredients seem to work well at cleaning up after acrylic compounds and Klear is acrylic. I use the Turtle Wax stuff intended for car windscreens, it's brilliant for clean up and thinning. The reason I tried thinning Humbrol acrylic with Klear was to try and improve coverage and adhesion. The former worked, but the latter didn't - not on bare plastic.

peebeep


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