Programming Note

No doubt things have been slow at PlaneDave this year. Obviously I have no one to blame but myself.  The Dave-cave is a total disaster just now as we get ready for a big basement remodel this winter.  Since that includes the model shop, actually more than includes, a model shop makeover is high on the agenda; but it will be slow going, or no going, for some months yet. I do still squeeze a few minutes of modeling in on most weekends, but I expect little to actually get done for a while.
Readers may have noticed the B-29 at the top of my workbench pile.  Those familiar with the vintage Monogram kit may not be surprised when I say I may have one short little feature of a completed add-in before the shop shuts down completely for a bit.

Now I have a question for my readers.  Testors has discontinued the biggest part of the paint line I’ve used for many years.  Basically, my entire life I’ve used Testors enamel paints.  But its time for a change due to their corporate decision.  So the first part of the question is, is there a brand that uses the same base and can be mixed with Testor’s?  This would be by far the least traumatic fix for me!  If, as I expect, the answer is no, what is a good substitute?  I have some experience with Tamiya paints and use some of their special colors (clear colors, especially smoke, and metallics), so that might be the next easiest option.  But their color choices always seemed overly generic to me and I’m not sure if the range is broad enough for all the many variations of greens and browns I use!  Yes I’ve heard of custom mixing…
But anyway, what do you readers use?  What are its limitations and strengths?  What do you wish you used?
I look forward to feedback!

~ Dave 

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About atcDave

I'm 53 years old and live in Ypsilanti, Michigan. I'm happily married to Jodie. I've been an air traffic controller for 30 years; grew up in the Chicago area, and am still a fanatic for pizza and the Chicago Bears. My main interest is military history, and my related hobbies include scale model building and strategy games.
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6 Responses to Programming Note

  1. Pierre Lagacé says:

    You know me and how I like to mix my own paint.
    B-29?
    Did I miss something?

  2. Pierre Lagacé says:

    I have just seen it on the right.

  3. atcDave says:

    I guess I didn’t need to worry about you holding your breath for it!

  4. Howdy, Dave.

    I was a tried and true Testors Model Master Enamel man for years. When I got back into the hobby and am in closer proximity to the family when I work on models, I decided to give acrylics a try. I have tried the Model Master Acryl line, Vallejo Model Color and Model Air, AK Acrylics (just a few) and Tamiya.

    Here is my take on them:

    MM Acryl has a good range of colors, which I think mirrors their enamel line. It sprays well with little thinning. I experienced some tip dry which can be a pain when painting a complicated and time consuming subject, i.e. camo. Doesn’t brush well at all for me.

    Vallejo Model Color has a pretty good range of colors. Very thick out of the bottle and need to be thinned quite a bit for airbrush using Vallejo Airbrush Thinner, but goes a long way because of this. If sprayed, it can suffer severe tip dry issues (depending on the local climate, I am sure) and has a tendency to start to cure rather quickly in the cup. As for brush work, it performs very well. I thin it with Vallejo Airbrush Thinner to the consistency I want and brush away.

    Vallejo Model Air, like the Model Color line, has a very good range of colors. Can be sprayed right from the bottle or thinned. Again, tip dry is an issue, as well as paint drying in the cup rather quickly. After a longer session, partially cured paint will either end up on the model in clumps, or spraying becomes erratic, most times leading to a clog. Model Air also brushes well. No thinning necessary. One serious complaint I have about Model Air is inconsistency in viscosity from bottle to bottle, even of the same color. I experienced quite a difference in two bottles of RLM76 last year. One bottle was of the usual Model Air consistency while the other bottle was a bit thicker… more in between Model Color and Model Air.

    The Vallejo colors are used by many with splendid results when used in an airbrush. I just can’t get them to work for me. There are additives that can be used to minimize some of the aforementioned problems (flow improver, retarder mediums etc.) but it doesn’t fix the problem totally for me. And I really don’t like having to concoct a paint mixture to do a job. Paint and thinner according to my needs at a given time are what I like.

    AK acrylic paint is very similar to Vallejo Model Air. Sprays well right out of the bottle. The same tip dry and skinning over in the cup happens with this paint, but not quite as bad. I noticed some color separation with a couple of the darker colors (OD to be specific) after they were sprayed on the model. These are a little thin to use with a brush.

    Tamiya paints, although limited in their color range, has become my go-to paint for airbrush use. They can be thinned with their acrylic or lacquer based thinner, 91% alcohol, lacquer thinner, and even UMP thinner. I have no problems with tip dry and the working time is much longer during a session. The paint does not skin over, thereby eliminating clogs and uneven, or splattery paint spray. As for the limited colors, I have a pretty good formula chart for mixing RLM colors and the stock colors are fine for armor. For me, Tamiya does not brush well.

    In summary, here is what I use: Tamiya for airbrush; and Vallejo Model Color and Model Air for brushing.

    If you have any more questions let me know and I will be happy to help!

    Disclaimer: The above commentary is based solely on my experiences. I realize that many, many people use any and all of the products listed above with varying degrees of success, up to, and including, stellar results with minimal fuss. My summary is what I have found to work in my model building endeavors.

    • atcDave says:

      Wow, great input!
      I suspect MM Acrylics already have, or soon will, suffer the same reduction of line that the enamels have; so i’m thinking that’s not the best direction to go.
      I’ve noticed a deep variety with the Vallejo line, and it sounds like something good to check out. I didn’t realize there were two different products from that company, i’ll Read labels carefully!
      Tamiya sounds like the first thing i’ll play with, and I know my local hobby shop (yes, I still have one of those!) has a full rack of them.

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