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Acrylic over Enamel compatability?

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Hi guy's,

This might be a stupid question, but...

I'm working on my HobbyCraft Wildcat (Hoping to spray paint on this weekend!!) & was wondering if using an enamel primer & paint would affect an acrylic finishing paint job?

I'm planning to shoot a light coat of primer, followed by a gloss aluminum (on leading edges mainly) of enamel.

Then I wanted to spray an acrylic as a finishing coat.

Is it just plain stupid to mix 'em up like that? Economics being what it is,I'm trying to use what I've got at the moment, but if necessary I could go one way or the other (All enamel or all acrylic). BUT, not by this weekend!! (or should I just wait?) ;)

Also, should I sand between coats? I know that I should normally, but I'm trying something new (for me..practicing again). I'm spraying the gloss aluminum as an undercoat to do some weathering and was wondering if it should remain shiney & glossy. Or will the top coat not stick if I don't sand?

Or will sanding it not really affect the weathering look in the end anyway?



Adrian A.

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There is one advantage of using an acrylic over an enamel and that is for paint chipping. Acrylic doesn't seem to get such a good foothold on enamel and therefore chipping and stripping with either a toothpick, blunt scalpel blade or even masking tape is easy.


It's up to you really, you can go both ways.

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the majority of my D-9 ( in the works)was primered and then painted with Alclad II ( which is cellulose based) and then painted directly with Aeromasters old acrylics, no probs no worries and it lets you do lovely chippy effects afterwards. I also mask freely with tamiya tape and specialist lo tack art tape and it doesn't pull the acrylic off the essentially solvent based alclad.

from experience acrylic will go on top of enamel/solvent based paints, acrylic is a modern synthetic and elastic paint medium designed to be a hard wearing and resilient paint medium ( hence its a complete bas***d to get dry acrylic off your airbrush) it generally will go on top of most other paints but many including enamel will not work over acrylic producing a crackle effect which is fine if you want the kit to look vintage....

the only sure way to eradicate mistakes and particular chemical properties of branded paints ( hannants own gloss enamels are a case in point for not acting in an expected way) is to do a test strip on a scrap of plasitc or an old kit.

Conversly a barrier coat of kleer or future might solve your problem if you have a particular need to follow an application sequence, but it would need to be sanded with something like 1200 grit wet and dry with lots of water to take the top off the shine.

Acrylic however wont look at a gloss enamel surface as there is no 'tooth' to it.

Easiest way is to hold off and use one paint system. That way you are not introdcing the possiblity of solvents in the paint supply when you spray acrylic and as Erwin says water and oil don't mix.

BTW acrylic does clean up really well with cellulose and at teh end of a paint session , I shoot clean cellulose thinner through the airbrush to get rid of any residues.


Tony who learned the hard way trying to painting motorcycle helmets with enamel.....

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trying to spray Tamyia Acrilics over Humbrol enamels could turn into a nightmare: Tamyia seems to eat the enamel.

Gunze seem to be more gentle and there should be no problem with Vallejo acrilics over enamel.

er me

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