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It ain't the airbrush. It's the paint.

airbrush acrylic paint

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#1 davral64

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Posted 07 December 2017 - 12:02 PM

A couple of years ago I got back into the hobby after many years away.  Like most returnees I grabbed a kit, some glue, an airbrush (Sparmax 3.5) and some Vallejo paint and proceeded to have fun.  I've built about 10 kits 1/32, 1/35 and 1/48 so far.  I've been trolling the web for technical tips and tricks all the way along, especially on airbrushing.  

Getting Vallejo Air to blow through my airbrush at a reasonably low pressure for laying on detail with any kind of consistency for more than 45 seconds is/was impossible.  I tried all of the tricks that I read, thin to skim milk (what?) low pressure (6-8 psi) add flow aid, only use the manufacture's thinner, prime don't prime etc.  As time has gone on I've experimented with Vallejo, AK, Italeri, and good old Tamiya.  So far Tamiya has sprayed the best of the lot it doesn't tip dry as fast and it does seem to self level a bit.  However, the whole time I thought the ultimate problem was the airbrush.  I have abused it pretty badly using all kinds of chemicals to clean it.  Paint thinner, straight ammonia, something called metholated spirits, and then all of the other normal manufacturer's thinners.  Through poor handling I've bent the needle a little and over time I've pushed the needle too far and have opened up the nozzle wider that it ought to be etc.  In spite of or maybe because of all my experimentation and persistence I'm not too bad at painting now.  At this stage of its life my original airbrush was never going to get better so I broke down and bought a Harder & Steenbeck Evolution.  

The Evolution showed up a couple of days ago and I shot paint on a Tamiya ME-262 I'm building.  I've always base coated in a dark color and painted thin and small over that layer to create effects.  To do that I really thin the paint, lower the pressure and spray close.  Well using Vallejo Model Air paint, their airbrush thinner and their flow improver and the new airbrush really didn't change anything.  I get a few seconds of acceptable spray then nothing, wipe the tip blow it out repeat.... All of the same issues happen with the new airbrush.  My next experiment is going to be Mission Model Paints based on what I've read...   


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#2 Gerhard

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Posted 07 December 2017 - 12:26 PM

This is probably the main reason why I dont have an airbrush yet. 


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#3 Out2gtcha

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Posted 07 December 2017 - 12:44 PM

I've (nearly) switched out almost ALL of my airbrush paints for MRP stuff.

I've shot Vallejo, Model Air, Tamiya, Master Model, AKI, MIG and a host of other paints, and have yet to spray anything as silky smooth as the MRP paint.
The particulate is so fine, and with no mess, and no measuring, it's pretty refreshing to shoot with.
Shoots the same for me in my Iwata CH-P S, as it does in my Infinity, as it does in my trigger based NEO.
Might be worth a try
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#4 Zank_Frappa

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Posted 07 December 2017 - 01:54 PM

I've (nearly) switched out almost ALL of my airbrush paints for MRP stuff.

I've shot Vallejo, Model Air, Tamiya, Master Model, AKI, MIG and a host of other paints, and have yet to spray anything as silky smooth as the MRP paint.
The particulate is so fine, and with no mess, and no measuring, it's pretty refreshing to shoot with.
Shoots the same for me in my Iwata CH-P S, as it does in my Infinity, as it does in my trigger based NEO.
Might be worth a try

I'm gonna second that. Mr. Paint is honestly one of the easiest paints to work with, and their color range is pretty good, too.


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#5 Out2gtcha

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Posted 07 December 2017 - 02:00 PM

I'm gonna second that. Mr. Paint is honestly one of the easiest paints to work with, and their color range is pretty good, too.

 

Agreed. I was pretty amazed at some of the specialty colors they carry, even for civilian things too. Its probably not quite the value other non pre-thinned paints are, but they made a believer out of me.

Take a dropper, load up a cup and shoot. For me it was literally that easy.  


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#6 modelingbob

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Posted 07 December 2017 - 04:03 PM

The reason that MRP/ Mr Paint sprays so beautifully is because it's an acrylic lacquer. And all of the acrylic lacquers available today (MRP, Mr Color, Akan, Hataka, Tamiya) spray beautifully. I've used them all, and all of their performances are remarkably similar in the airbrush spraying department, and that is excellent. I gave up on "regular" acrylics long ago because I experienced the exact same things the OP did while airbrushing, and yep, it's the paint not the airbrush. And that's why there are many new paint lines of acrylic lacquers are coming to market the past few years, because their airbrushing quality is so excellent. 


Edited by modelingbob, 07 December 2017 - 06:29 PM.

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#7 Out2gtcha

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Posted 07 December 2017 - 04:16 PM

The reason that MRP/ Mr Paint sprays so beautifully is because it's an acrylic lacquer. And all of the acrylic lacquers available today (MRP, Mr Color, Akan, Hataka, Tamiya) spray beautifully. I've used them all, and all of their performances are remarkably similar in the airbrush spraying department, and that is excellent. I gave up on "regular" acrylics long ago because I experienced the exact same things the OP did while airbrushing, and yep, it's the paint not the airbrush. And that's why there are many new paint lines of acrylic lacquers are coming to market the past few years. 

 

 

Agreed. For me, not being able to successfully acquire, (and also with a much more limited range) Akan or Hataka paints, and with Tamiyas acrylic lacquer paints available only in rattle cans where I live, the MRP bottled range was a game changer. Having no or not much at all access to bottled acrylic lacquers, the MRP range for me personally was a big breakthrough.

 

As far as I am aware the Mr Color/Gunze Sangyo range is all cellulose/solvent based paint. Ive only been aware of  Mr Color Aqueous line in acrylic. 



#8 Dave Williams

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Posted 07 December 2017 - 04:26 PM

I’ve swapped over to acrylics to avoid the odor issue after using enamels for decades. After playing around with the thinners, I have no problems shooting Vallejo (using different thinners for Model Air and Model Color), Ammo MiG, and AK Interactive. Getting ready to try Mission Models paints. I’ve used Tamiya, and they are OK, but prefer the Spanish stuff.

I’m sure the Mr. Paint is great, but I personally have no desire to deal with the fumes of lacquer paints.
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#9 Out2gtcha

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Posted 07 December 2017 - 04:49 PM

I’m sure the Mr. Paint is great, but I personally have no desire to deal with the fumes of lacquer paints.

 

 

I can see that being an issue for some yes. Having the advantage of a large indoor spray booth, smell has become moot for me as part of the decision making process on what paint to spray. 


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#10 modelingbob

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Posted 07 December 2017 - 06:22 PM

<<<As far as I am aware the Mr Color/Gunze Sangyo range is all cellulose/solvent based paint.>>>

Mr Color is not a cellulose based paint. The solvent is alcohol/glycol ethers based. It contains: 

2-Pentanone, 4-hydroxy-4-methy, 

2-Propanol

Isobutyl alcohol

2-Pentanone, 4-methyl

Ethanol, 2-butoxy-

All of the acrylic lacquers that I named all feature this same basic alcohol/glycol ethers composition. Pretty common components for an acrylic lacquer paint. And the alcohol/glycol ethers composition is why they airbrush so beautifully. 



#11 modelingbob

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Posted 07 December 2017 - 06:39 PM

Same here for me. I always use an extractor fan and wear a respirator whenever I airbrush, regardless if it's a "regular" acrylic or lacquer acrylic. And yes, the biggest downside to the current crop of acrylic lacquers is the odor. However, the airbrushing performance so far exceeds that of ANY paint that it's worth it, IMNSHO. 

 

I can see that being an issue for some yes. Having the advantage of a large indoor spray booth, smell has become moot for me as part of the decision making process on what paint to spray. 



#12 Out2gtcha

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Posted 07 December 2017 - 06:41 PM

<<<As far as I am aware the Mr Color/Gunze Sangyo range is all cellulose/solvent based paint.>>>

Mr Color is not a cellulose based paint. The solvent is alcohol/glycol ethers based. It contains: 

2-Pentanone, 4-hydroxy-4-methy, 

2-Propanol

Isobutyl alcohol

2-Pentanone, 4-methyl

Ethanol, 2-butoxy-

All of the acrylic lacquers that I named all feature this same basic alcohol/glycol ethers composition. Pretty common components for an acrylic lacquer paint. And the alcohol/glycol ethers composition is why they airbrush so beautifully. 

 

 

 

Weird. Most every single site Ive encountered renders them as solvent based. Maybe when I am referring to cellulose it was incorrectly referring to mineral spirits or other for thinning enamels, which is not what I meant to say.
To that note unlike any of the other paints, Mr Color shoots like complete crap for me if I thin it with most anything but solvent/lacquer based thinners. Ive tried alcohol combos in different percentages, and had 0 luck. 

Unlike any of the other so-called lacquer acrylics Ive tried, if Mr Color is an acrylic it sure doesnt act like any of the rest of them. It acts like most any of the other straight  solvent/lacquer paints Ive ever used. 



#13 modelingbob

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Posted 07 December 2017 - 08:56 PM

All acrylic lacquers are solvent based including Mr Color. None of the current crop of modeling acrylic lacquers are water based solvents. The solvent in this case is alcohol/glycol esters. Water is also a solvent, but it won't work in Mr Color. No petroleum products (some of which are solvents) what so ever in Mr Color, so those won't work either. Straight ISO does not work in Mr Color, but you can use denatured alcohol (I don't recommend this) in a pinch if you're looking for a cheaper alternative than Mr Color Thinner. But the proprietary thinner does work much better than denatured alcohol because the solvent is a complex alcohol/glycol esters mix specifically formulated for the paint. The exact mix of Mr Color is a trade secret, but based on the MSDS it looks to me that there are more glycol esters than alcohol in the mix (but since the MSDS are purposefully vague on the exact compositions, it's hard to tell). And those same glycol esters are also found in all the other acrylic lacquer paints. The Mr Color formula is very similar to all the other acrylic lacquers, and Mr Color Thinner works very well in them.


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#14 Out2gtcha

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Posted 07 December 2017 - 09:04 PM

All acrylic lacquers are solvent based including Mr Color. None of the current crop of modeling acrylic lacquers are water based solvents. The solvent in this case is alcohol/glycol esters. Water is also a solvent, but it won't work in Mr Color. No petroleum products (some of which are solvents) what so ever in Mr Color, so those won't work either. Straight ISO does not work in Mr Color, but you can use denatured alcohol (I don't recommend this) in a pinch if you're looking for a cheaper alternative than Mr Color Thinner. But the proprietary thinner does work much better than denatured alcohol because the solvent is a complex alcohol/glycol esters mix specifically formulated for the paint. The exact mix of Mr Color is a trade secret, but based on the MSDS it looks to me that there are more glycol esters than alcohol in the mix (but since the MSDS are purposefully vague on the exact compositions, it's hard to tell). And those same glycol esters are also found in all the other acrylic lacquer paints. The Mr Color formula is very similar to all the other acrylic lacquers, and Mr Color Thinner works very well in them.

 

 

When I refer to solvents Im referring to lacquer type carrier. , Again strange. Their mix must be way WAY different than the one MRP uses, cause when I thin Mr Color in an equal ratio roughly to that of the MRP stuff, the MRP stuff shoots significantly better. I always assumed the Mr Color particulate was lacquer too from the way they shoot.  I've long since given up shooting straight aqueous acrylics.  

 

The Mr Color range for me shoots nothing like the MRP stuff (comparatively speaking) , which is why I stopped buying the Mr Color/Gunze range for anything but colors I couldn't get in the MRP acrylic lacquer range. 



#15 LSP_Kevin

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Posted 07 December 2017 - 09:25 PM

The only thing that stands out to me is the air pressure you quoted: 6-8 PSI seems way too low to me. I'd never spray with pressure that low; I can't imagine getting good atomisation at those pressures. I generally use 12-15 PSI, and occasionally up to 20. I also don't get on too well with Vallejo for airbrushing, so I can empathise there. Gunze Aqueous and Tamiya are the best spraying aqueous acrylics in my book, but like others in this thread, I'm moving over to MRP (Mr. Paint) as much as possible these days.

 

Kev


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