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Is Tamiya the best in the hobby for tools/paints/supplies?

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  • Member since
    June, 2014
Is Tamiya the best in the hobby for tools/paints/supplies?
Posted by bluenote on Thursday, August 03, 2017 10:59 AM

I'm 42, and I grew up making models primarily using Testors products.  Paint, glues, tools, etc.

Having come back to the hobby several years ago, I've noticed my workbench is slowing being dominated by Tamiya products, not Testors.  I primarily use Tamiya glue over Testors.  Tamiya's sanding films and polishing compounds can't be beat.  Putty is top notch. Their brushes are fantastic.  Their spray paint is way better than Testors (until Testors came out with their lacquer paints that is).  Their primer is probably the best in the hobby, much better than Testors (I have had issues sanding Modelmaster primer, only to learn on this forum that it's not really a sandable primer, but more a gray paint).

The only thing that I haven't compared is their enamel paint.  I've heard Tamiya's enamel paint is wonderful, but can't get it in North America (I've ordered some on Ebay, let's see if I actually get it!).  We all know how Testors seem to be slowly killing off their enamel line.  Acrylic wise, Tamiya is wonderful to airbrush.  Admittedly, I have not tried Testors acrylic for this.

I've realized that if Tamiya were the only hobby company existing, I would have no problem with it.  I could use all of their products exclusively and not mind a bit.

Has Tamiya overtaken Testors as the best in the industry?  I would say so.

What are your thoughts?

  • Member since
    December, 2002
  • From: NYC, USA
Posted by waikong on Thursday, August 03, 2017 11:21 AM
Tamiya blew by Testors years ago. Of course, there are other companies with great products too, for brush painting for example, Vallejo is much easier than Tamiya acrylics, and Magic Putty is better than Tamiya's product. Tamiya's tape is still king of the hill imho, I even use their Air brush.
  • Member since
    July, 2004
  • From: Sunny So. Cal... The OC
Posted by stikpusher on Thursday, August 03, 2017 12:02 PM

Apples and oranges. Testors has some fine products in the Model Master line. Especially for tools. Their glue in the plastic squeeze bottle with the syringe applicator is great stuff, as is their clear parts glue. I have yet to come across a Tamiya equivelant. And the Model Master color line of enamels is superior to Tamiya acrylics in the color matching area. Most Tamiya colors are generic and not matched to FS, BSC, RAL, or RLM standards. If you want a particular color, you are either going to have to mix, or settle for something that may or may not be close. Testors has a far superior paint catalog for color choices, that has many colors matched to those standards. But recently they have removed a good chunk of that color line, for some unfathomable reason.

Now where Tamiya does beat Testors is in quality control. I stopped using Testors liquid cement years ago due to a couple bottles that I purchased having about the same bonding properties on plastic as sugar water. And often times their bottles of paint dry out or turn to a gummy mass not too long after they are opened and used. At this point in my hobby life I know how to care for my paints by cleaning the threads of the bottle, caps, etc. Yet it still happens. A $4 bottle of paint that only gets a few uses is not gonna get repeat customers. And don't get me started on their current acrylics. Terrible adhesion and airbrushing qualities. Translucent when handbrushed... Their original acrylics were superior in all areas in my experience.

Their supposed recent decision to discontinue their enamel lines is corporate suicide to me. Just like the Photobucket extortion subscription issue. With all the quality issues that I've listed on Testors paints, Humbrol has really been my go to source for enamel paints and glue for the past few years.

 

F is for FIRE, That burns down the whole town!

U is for URANIUM... BOMBS!

N is for NO SURVIVORS...

       - Plankton

LSM

 

  • Member since
    March, 2003
  • From: Northern New Jersey
Posted by Tojo72 on Thursday, August 03, 2017 12:08 PM
I love Tamiya Extra Thin Glue,I also use a lot of their acrylic paints,but Vallejo is actually overtaking them on my bench with their outstanding color selection,it's a little tricky to get used to,but sprays just fine after proper mixing.Also I have never tried Tamiya weathering products.I use AK and Mig weathering products.

  • Member since
    December, 2002
  • From: Bury St Edmunds, Suffolk, England
Posted by Bish on Thursday, August 03, 2017 12:12 PM

Was Testors the best in the hobby. As i have never tried it, its hard for me to compare. Not being avaliable in Europe makes it hard to say its the best.

I would cerainly not say any one brand is the best. I use Tamiya tape, Alclad primer, Xtracolour enamel. I am replacing my Tamiya Acrylics with vellajo, i use PPP for filler, EMA weld for glue and a wide range of other brands as needs must.

So i would say no.

 ''I am a Norfolk man, and I glory in being so''

  

On the bench: Hasegawa 1/32nd Ju 87G-2

  • Member since
    July, 2003
  • From: Cincinnati, Ohio
Posted by ridleusmc on Thursday, August 03, 2017 12:27 PM

Tamiya makes some very great stuff.  It's not always the best, but it is always at least very good.  However, it tends to be expensive.  

Vallejo Acrylics have been mentioned, and they are great for brush painting and blending.  They make a great figure painting skin-tone set.  I've been told that the standard acrylics are pretty difficult to use in an airbrush.  They do make a line of paints specifically for airbrushing, Vallejo Air, but I have no experience with that.  

As mentioned before, Tamiya Acrylics are generic colors.  They don't match any government's color specifications.  They often have to be mixed to match colors.  However, Tamiya Acrylics are of consistent high quality, and the bottles will last for a decade on the shelf.  It's pretty easy to thin Tamiya paint for airbrush use.  Tamiya paint is my favorite, but it's how I learned.  I'm accustomed to it.   

  • Member since
    September, 2012
Posted by GMorrison on Thursday, August 03, 2017 4:25 PM

I like their kits, their putty and their thin cement. 

I don't much care for their paints.

Brushes and tools, there's better on a case- by- case basis.

  • Member since
    January, 2013
Posted by BlackSheepTwoOneFour on Thursday, August 03, 2017 4:51 PM

As a couple posters mentioned, Tamiya paints are pretty much blah and generic. There's no way they can compete with Testors and other brands when it comes to RLM, FS, RAL numbers. I'd rather take Testors or other brand over Tamiya when it comes to color accuracies. Tamiya kits are great though.

  • Member since
    July, 2012
  • From: Douglas AZ
Posted by littletimmy on Thursday, August 03, 2017 8:17 PM

I like Tamya paints and use them all the time but my first choice is always Testors.

It may be because I have used Testors ever since I crawled out of my cave and assembled two sticks into a B-17. I dont use an airbrush very often ( twice in 46 years ) so I "rattel can ' everything. Tamya and Testors are easy to work with and Tamyas drying time is fast.

Anybody remember Pactra paints? I just threw out a 40 + year old bottle because it FINALLY went solid. Still had the 35 cent price stamped on it. I had just used it..... three years ago.

Tamya tape DEFINETLY improved my painting so thats all I use.

Have used Tamya, Testors ,and Squadren green puttys but I believe Squadron is the best. However I can only get Tamya putty here so thats what I use. It works just fine !

I would'nt call Tamya king..... maybe a duke or lord..... prince ?... Just my "biased" Testors opinion.

                      Dont worry about the thumbprint... paint it rust and call it "Battle damage" !

  • Member since
    November, 2008
  • From: Florida
Posted by plasticjunkie on Thursday, August 03, 2017 10:01 PM

Stik's post pretty much covers my thoughts on this subject.

Why in God's name would Testors make such a drastic move  to drop the military enamel line?

It wasn't enough with dropping the Floquil line but now this is just a dum move on their part.

  • Member since
    June, 2014
Posted by bluenote on Friday, August 04, 2017 7:56 AM

plasticjunkie

Stik's post pretty much covers my thoughts on this subject.

Why in God's name would Testors make such a drastic move  to drop the military enamel line?

It wasn't enough with dropping the Floquil line but now this is just a dum move on their part.

 

My guess is that there is just so much competition now that they weren't making any money.  For military modelers, Vallejo is extremely popular now.  I'd be curious what the market share is.  

I wonder if Testors is just going to streamline their lines in the future. Perhaps take their most popular colours from the MMII line and combine it with their American military FS/Auto colour line.  Maybe there was a lot of overlap?  Or some colours that were so similar that it didn't make sense to make them?

Just guessing here

  • Member since
    November, 2009
  • From: Twin Cities of Minnesota
Posted by Don Stauffer on Friday, August 04, 2017 8:50 AM

I have built some very nice Tamiya models, and continue to think of them as a top brand for kits.  However, I certainly continue to buy others.  In particular, there are some I believe have a better bang for the buck ratio than Tamiya, but Tamiya is up near top there too.

However, when it comes to tools and supplies, I do not use Tamiya much.  A friend is really after me to revisit Tamiya cement, and I am doing that.  However, my goto bonding agent on my bench right now are the CA products made by Loctite, available in most hardware stores.  For finishing products I still stand by Testors Model Master enamels.

I forsee the day when enamels will disappear, and I am trying out various acrylics, and I will be trying Tamiya too.

As far as tools, I generally try to use products from suppliers not specializing in the model building market.  I believe tools made for general use, or at least with a number of hobbies, are generally more cost effective than those made for a small volume market.

 

Don Stauffer in Minnesota

  • Member since
    January, 2013
Posted by BlackSheepTwoOneFour on Saturday, August 05, 2017 11:30 AM

bluenote

 I wonder if Testors is just going to streamline their lines in the future. Perhaps take their most popular colours from the MMII line and combine it with their American military FS/Auto colour line.  Maybe there was a lot of overlap?  Or some colours that were so similar that it didn't make sense to make them?

Just guessing here

 

Testors are eliminating a certain range of their Model Master Enamel line. They will continue to carry those same lines in acrylics. I mainly use their Moel Master acrylic line as well as Tamiya, Pollyscale, Aeromaster, Gunze and a couple other brnads. I still have a nice collection of their enamel lines as well.

My advice (although an overkill) is stock up while you can before they disappear for good.

  • Member since
    November, 2008
  • From: Florida
Posted by plasticjunkie on Saturday, August 05, 2017 12:47 PM

Sheep the only issue I see with stocking up before they are discontinued is the chance of the paint going bad. I have bought brand new MM enamels only took to go bad a couple of months down the line . I have been noticing that their shelf life has decreased  significantly. 

  • Member since
    November, 2009
  • From: Twin Cities of Minnesota
Posted by Don Stauffer on Sunday, August 06, 2017 11:12 AM

plasticjunkie

Sheep the only issue I see with stocking up before they are discontinued is the chance of the paint going bad. I have bought brand new MM enamels only took to go bad a couple of months down the line . I have been noticing that their shelf life has decreased  significantly. 

 

While I do find Testors enamels that have been opened have very little shelf life, ones that are not opened seem to last a couple of years.  But, I still do not plan to do much stocking up.  I intend to learn to use acrylics better, and also learn to mix colors better than I already do.  I think the more crutch I have with a big stash, the less work I will do on learning the new stuff.

 

Don Stauffer in Minnesota

  • Member since
    December, 2002
  • From: NYC, USA
Posted by waikong on Monday, August 07, 2017 10:58 PM
no doubt about it, enamels spray easier and better. lower learning curve too compared to acrylics. But at the end of the day, my wife is very sensitive to the smell, even with excellent ventilation. And if she can smell it when I no longer smell it means I am breathing in the stuff. Love my hobby and want to stay healthy to enjoy it for a long time. Even with acrylics I try always to wear breathing filters.
  • Member since
    January, 2013
Posted by BlackSheepTwoOneFour on Wednesday, August 09, 2017 6:51 PM

Hmmm... It's never been an issue for me to learn how to airbrush acrylics.

  • Member since
    July, 2004
  • From: Sunny So. Cal... The OC
Posted by stikpusher on Wednesday, August 09, 2017 8:53 PM

BlackSheepTwoOneFour

Hmmm... It's never been an issue for me to learn how to airbrush acrylics.

 

It all depends upon the brand. Some airbrush better than others. Some are more prone that others to tip dry and clogging. Some require additives in addition to basic thinner. And of course,  some brands are far less troublesome in those areas than others.

 

F is for FIRE, That burns down the whole town!

U is for URANIUM... BOMBS!

N is for NO SURVIVORS...

       - Plankton

LSM

 

  • Member since
    December, 2002
  • From: NYC, USA
Posted by waikong on Wednesday, August 09, 2017 10:14 PM

yeah,  even after years if airbrushing,  acrylics and me dont always get along.  Great that you have easily mastered the skill.  One day,  I will get there.  :)

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