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Beginner Problem #4 (using acrylics with brushes)

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  • Member since
    July 2019
  • From: Vancouver, British Columbia
Beginner Problem #4 (using acrylics with brushes)
Posted by Bobstamp on Monday, October 5, 2020 1:32 PM

I need some tips about painting models with Tamiya acrylics.

When I became a reborn scale modeller last year, I decided to use paint brushes with acrylics, which I learned would dry faster than enamels and make clean-up easier. (I don’t have room enough in my apartment for an airbrush set-up, which in any case wouldn’t help with much of my painting of details.)

Here’s a current photo of the model of the hospital ship SS Hope which I am building as USS Repose; I am not very happy with the results so far. Note that the decks are not yet glued together, or attached to the hull:

I made a couple of mistakes: 

• After priming with Tamiya spray primer, I painted the decks with Tamiya acrylics, light tan to simulate areas with wood decking planks and dark grey to simulate the painted areas (the helicopter landing platform, the foredeck, and the weather deck). Some of the tan and grey paint inevitably got on the bulkheads and the many small details such as ventilators molded into the deck; I have fairly steady hands, but obviously not steady enough. And the bulkheads and deck details don't generally meet the deck with a clean right angle, but with a bit of a curve, which helps the paint to flow onto the uprights. 

• Next I painted the bulkheads, the railings, and small deck details white, inevitably getting white on the decking, which required repainting the decks. Inevitably, I got dark paint on the previously all-white bulkheads, which now need to be touched up with white, a tough thing to do over dark paint. (I have a variety of high quality brushes in various sizes and shapes, so that’s not the problem.) 

I’ll continue with this project, accepting that it’s not a well-designed, cleanly molded model. It certainly looks better than it did. But as I said, I could use some tips:

• I find the acrylic paint difficult to manage. If too thick, it doesn’t dry smoothly. If I add thinner, it gets too thin and doesn’t cover well. Any suggestions?

• My paint doesn’t seem to dry thoroughly as quickly as it should. Last night, I tried painting grey paint over a previous coat of grey because it hadn’t hidden the white paint beneath, but the new grey paint lifted off the previous coat of grey. Each of the earlier coats had dried for a full day. We are having very high humidity, currently 90% here in Vancouver, which may explain that problem; I understand that acrylic paint absorbs moisture from the air.

I think I should have done some things differenly: 

• I should have first sprayed the main deck and everything above, including deck details, with Tamiya white spray paint.

• Next, I should have painted the deck surfaces with the tan and dark grey acrylic, obviously as carefully as possible to avoid getting it on the bulkheads and deck equipment. (Masking the small detail parts would be almost impossible.) 

I would greatly appreciate any suggestions on how to avoid the problems I’ve outlined.

Bob

On the bench: 1/500 Revell S.S. Hope, being built as the hospital ship U.S.S. Repose; Academy 1/72 F-86F Sabre, and a diorama to illustrate the crash of a Beech T-34B Mentor which I survived in 1962 (I'm using Minicraft's 1/48 model of the Mentor). 

  • Member since
    July 2011
  • From: Armpit of NY
Posted by MJames70 on Monday, October 5, 2020 2:23 PM

The best tip one can give you about using Tamiya acrylics with a brush is simple - don't. They are awful for brush painting. Until thoroughly dry, they will do as you say, and lift themselves up, and cover poorly. One thing you can do is use a palette, and add some Tamiya retarder to the paint on the pallete. https://www.tamiyausa.com/shop/finishing/paint-retarder-acrylic-40ml/ This slows the drying time, and makes the paint go on smoother. But in general, unless it involves small parts, I would not recommend Tamiya for brush painting. It is a recipe for tears, especially on large areas. It just doesn't work well. 

Despite what one may think, Tamiya's acrylics are not water based. They are actually alcohol base. The term acrylic refers to the binder used in the paint, not the solvent. While it is commonly thought of that acrylics are water based, that is not necessarily so, as shown by the Tamiya paints, an acrylic binder with alcohol solvents. 

Some of your 'mistakes' would likely be mitigated by using a more ordinary paint rather than Tamiya. Vallejo, LifeColor, MiG, Humbrol, etc. Just a cold hard reality on Tamiya - it may be common and easy to find in hobby shops. But that doesn't make it best for how you're using the paint. Tamiya airbrushes great. Hand brushed, it blows. 

 

  • Member since
    November 2018
Posted by oldermodelguy on Monday, October 5, 2020 3:47 PM

To brush paint Tamiya acrylic paint all you need is retarder and thin it out a little to where it flows off your brush nice. Do lapping strokes not overlapping. Done deal, it brushes very nice. I use Liquitex retarder, most who do this method use Tamiya retarder. But I've had 0 issues. Way better than any thinner I've tried for hand brushing Tamiya acrylic, the difference is like night and day..

  • Member since
    July 2019
  • From: Vancouver, British Columbia
Posted by Bobstamp on Wednesday, October 21, 2020 12:15 PM

oldermodelguy
To brush paint Tamiya acrylic paint all you need is retarder and thin it out a little....



I purchased some Tamiya acrylic retarder at Magic Box Hobbies in Vancover. Great suggestion -- easiest acrylic brush painting ever. Thank you! (I also bought some Vallejo acrylic to try when I run out Tamiya.) 

Bob

On the bench: 1/500 Revell S.S. Hope, being built as the hospital ship U.S.S. Repose; Academy 1/72 F-86F Sabre, and a diorama to illustrate the crash of a Beech T-34B Mentor which I survived in 1962 (I'm using Minicraft's 1/48 model of the Mentor). 

  • Member since
    November 2009
  • From: Twin Cities of Minnesota
Posted by Don Stauffer on Wednesday, October 21, 2020 3:04 PM

While gloss enamels do dry slow (I built a homemade drying box for them), flat enamels dry to a working/handling surface in a couple of hours.  I very seldom use gloss paints on ships, except for private small craft and liners.

 

Don Stauffer in Minnesota

  • Member since
    November 2018
Posted by oldermodelguy on Wednesday, October 21, 2020 6:10 PM

Bobstamp

 

 
oldermodelguy
To brush paint Tamiya acrylic paint all you need is retarder and thin it out a little....

 



 

I purchased some Tamiya acrylic retarder at Magic Box Hobbies in Vancover. Great suggestion -- easiest acrylic brush painting ever. Thank you! (I also bought some Vallejo acrylic to try when I run out Tamiya.) 

Bob

 

Good news, very glad to hear it works for you. It pulled me out of the "ditch Tamiya for hand brushing" camp for sure. I got the idea here at the forums from another member, just to be clear on that..

  • Member since
    October 2019
  • From: New Braunfels, Texas
Posted by Tanker-Builder on Thursday, October 22, 2020 11:30 AM

Hello There.

      First and foremost I think one of my methods for rails would work for you, Ladders too. The method I mentioned in one of my posts will work for you. It's a shame you are so far along. The method is simple. So please contact me on messages and I will lay it out for you.

    Now that said. Here's a method I started using back in the day When I got my first X-Acto Knife! When you paint the decks don't worry about paint on the deckhouses. Take the X-Acto and a number 11 blade. Now, putting the point in the corner between deck and deckhouse.Blade almost parallel to the deckhouse and resting slightly on the deckhouse surface .Gently scrape a line on the deck while removing the paint on the deckhouse.

    After doing this, If you are careful and don't overload your brush you get a nice straight and clean line between deck and deckhouse. This applies to all the deck hardware molded on too! If you are spraying It requires you to be X-Tra careful But that line idea will allow a burnish point for the tape or Other masking medium.

    

  • Member since
    September 2006
  • From: Bethlehem PA
Posted by the Baron on Thursday, October 22, 2020 12:22 PM

I have to disagree, respectfully, with Mike.  You absolutely can apply Tamiya acrylics by hand.  I do agree with his tips for doing so, though.

Through trial and error, and after reading somewhere that Tamiya's acrylics are formulated primarily for airbrushing, I realized that they need to be thinned.  And again, trial and error led me to use Tamiya's own proprietary thinner.

As Mike pointed out, "acrylic" does not mean "water-based", and Tamiya's acrylics are alcohol-based.  Some have written that they use isopropyl to thin Tamiya acrylics, but I had no luck with that; I got the same results as if I had used water.

But using Tamiya's thinner, I can paint figures with their acrylics, with no problems, and I don't use a retarder, either.  I don't find it necessary.  I can lay down color coats as thin as if I had airbrushed them.

I use a palette, as Mike suggests, with some of the thinner in a well.  Or I'll use a small jar of the thinner.  I dip my brush in the color, or pick it up from the lid, then dip it in the thinner.  It goes on smoothly, and successive coats do not pull up previous coats.

So if you have them, don't chuck them, just use their thinner.

The bigger the government, the smaller the citizen.

 

 

  • Member since
    September 2006
  • From: Bethlehem PA
Posted by the Baron on Thursday, October 22, 2020 12:28 PM

If you are keen on using acrylic paints, though, you might consider Andrea, or Vallejo Model Color, which are both water-based and formulated for hand-painting.  Lifecolor is another good model brand of water-based acrylics.  And if you look at the gaming world, you'll find a couple of lines of very good water-based acrylics.

Even craft store brands work well-Apple Barrel, Americana, or Folk Art.

With water-based acrylics, you can use a wet palette-an air- and water-tight container, containing a sponge, and a piece of permeable paper as the actual palette.  Figure painters use them, because they can blend their colors on the palette, and store the paint across multiple sessions.

I made one out of a takeout container, a kitchen sponge, and brown packaging paper.  I used that to get used to working with the wet palette.  Then I upgraded to a commercial palette, from Green Grass Games.  But Masterson and Sta-Wet are popular brands, and you can find them at places like Michael's or HobbyLobby, or at "richard" Blick (have to do that to get around the nannybot).

The bigger the government, the smaller the citizen.

 

 

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