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Vallejo Model Color - preparing for use with airbrush

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  • Member since
    May, 2008
  • From: Park Ridge, IL
Vallejo Model Color - preparing for use with airbrush
Posted by saddle tramp on Tuesday, February 16, 2010 9:38 AM

Is there a preferred way to thin Vallejo Model Color (not Vallejo Model Air)  for airbrush use.  Is there a preferred thinner?  Is the result a soft or a hard paint surface?  Is there anything that can be added to make the surface harder.

Before I purchased these, Vallejo told me that they can be thinned and airbrushed.  Now some friend have told me that they will produce a soft surface which MUST be covered with Future or have a hardener added to the paint and thinner.

 

All suggestions will be appreciated.  Thanks

 

Bill
  • Member since
    January, 2003
  • From: Peoples Socialist Democratic Republic of Illinois
Posted by Triarius on Tuesday, February 16, 2010 9:59 AM

Bear in mind I haven't used these, but from my knowledge of coatings technology, if someone is getting a soft surface just from thinning the paint, they are using the wrong reducing solvent, or doing something wrong when airbrushing, or did not prepare the surface properly.

Aaron Skinner of FSM, in his pull out from an issue date I don't recall, said that the recommended thinner was their Model Color Solvent, 70524. The Vallejo website says you can use distilled water—their instructions specify it. There is also an implication, at least, that alcohol may be used as a cosolvent (which would speed drying).

Aaron found no defects in the cured coating with respect to surface qualities or adhesion. He did say it required numerous thin coats to cover, but that's not necessarily a bad thing, especially considering that these are formulated to be thick in the bottle.

There is no such thing as a "paint hardener." There are accelerants that can be added to some paints, but they often change the performance of the paint in less than desirable ways.

I suggest you experiment and practice on some scrap before using it on a kit. I always do this with a new brand of paint, as well as test it for solvent compatibility.

Acrylics are NOT enamels, and CANNOT be treated or used the way enamels are.

Ross Martinek A little strangeness, now and then, is a good thing… Wink

  • Member since
    May, 2008
  • From: Park Ridge, IL
Posted by saddle tramp on Tuesday, February 16, 2010 1:23 PM

Thanks so much for your reply.  Further reading points out that Tamiya and other alcohol-based acrylics are based on older types of paint formulations.  The newer modeling acrylics such as Vallejo, are based more water formulations.  At least that is what I have read.  Some links even mention the use of Golden acrylic paint  thinner.

Bill
  • Member since
    February, 2003
  • From: A Spartan in the Wolverine State
Posted by rjkplasticmod on Tuesday, February 16, 2010 1:31 PM

Vallejo is best thinned with distilled water.  The basic line is intended for brush painting & is widely used by figure painters,  It can be thinned & sprayed with an AB, but their Air Color line will give better results.

BTW... DO NOT try & thin Vallejo with alcohol.  You'll end up with a pulsating, congealed lump of goo.  I learned the hard way Sad.

Regards,  Rick

RICK At My Age, I've Seen It All, Done It All, But I Don't Remember It All...
  • Member since
    July, 2008
Posted by Greasy on Tuesday, February 16, 2010 2:11 PM

I agree with rjkplasticmod.  I use Model Color a lot and distalled water works great.  I mainly use tap water with a drop of Liquetex flowaid and slow dry.

But do avoid alchool.  It will get nasty quick and that is from experince.
This is what will happen.
http://www.happinessismandatory.com/misc/Models/PolarLights_Enterprise_NCC1701_1_1000/Build_Images/ent_060909_base_Dish.jpg

Most of the paint I used on my Viper and Polar bear were airbrushed Vallejo paints
http://www.happinessismandatory.com/misc/Models/Colonial_Viper/Build_Images/Viper_Finished_1.jpg
http://www.happinessismandatory.com/misc/Models/Wave_Polar_Bear/Build_Images/PB_090514_Finished_6.jpg

 

  • Member since
    January, 2003
  • From: Peoples Socialist Democratic Republic of Illinois
Posted by Triarius on Tuesday, February 16, 2010 2:31 PM

Rick and Greasy, what alcohol did you try with Vallejo?

Ross Martinek A little strangeness, now and then, is a good thing… Wink

  • Member since
    July, 2008
Posted by Greasy on Tuesday, February 16, 2010 2:34 PM

90% isopropyl alcohol from wal-mart
I use it with tamiya pants not problem but Vallejo just became stringy.

  • Member since
    July, 2014
Posted by batai37 on Tuesday, February 16, 2010 4:31 PM

Vallejo makes their own thinner that comes in the same type bottle as their paints (they call it "diluant"). Online vendors that carry Vallejo paints usually have it.

As is the case with other brands, usually it's recommended to use the brand's proprietary thinner. Personally I haven't tried thinning Vallejo with water, but as indicated above I've heard it works fine.

  • Member since
    December, 2002
  • From: Massachusetts
Posted by ajlafleche on Tuesday, February 16, 2010 6:06 PM

I've airbrushed Vallejo a number of times after thinning it with distilled water as recommended by the mnanufacturer. It has held up well during the subsequent painting process and on the finished subject.

Remember, if the women don't find you handsome, they should at least find you handy.

  • Member since
    August, 2005
  • From: Sydney, Australia
Posted by Phil_H on Tuesday, February 16, 2010 6:21 PM

To add to what's been said already, I highly recommend using a flat primer coat (of any type of paint) under Vallejo to help give it some "bite".

I've found that it does very quickly pick up a sheen from handling, so I wonder if that's what some people might consider "soft"...

  • Member since
    January, 2003
  • From: Peoples Socialist Democratic Republic of Illinois
Posted by Triarius on Tuesday, February 16, 2010 7:09 PM

Just did some quick and dirty compatibility testing, and the stuff is completely incompatible with either isopropyl or ethyl alcohol.

Ross Martinek A little strangeness, now and then, is a good thing… Wink

  • Member since
    December, 2002
  • From: Massachusetts
Posted by ajlafleche on Tuesday, February 16, 2010 9:41 PM

Triarius

Just did some quick and dirty compatibility testing, and the stuff is completely incompatible with either isopropyl or ethyl alcohol.

"Broken Heartse distilled water...They are 100% water soluble...As mentioned before, ...use only very clean water...'dilution rate' and it will be noted as 'parts of paint' to 'parts of water'... you may notice that paint will begin to dry on your palette. As soon as this happens, add the necessary amount of water and/or paint..."

Source: PAINTING FIGURES WITH MODEL COLOR Acrylicos Vallejo

Can they be ANY clearer about this? Thin Vallejo with WATER!  No need to experiment with more costly products and other brands' proprietary thinners. Use Water. Distilled water costs less than $2.00 a gallon, even with a Poland Springs label on it.

Remember, if the women don't find you handsome, they should at least find you handy.

  • Member since
    April, 2003
  • From: Hayward, CA
Posted by MikeV on Wednesday, February 17, 2010 7:35 AM

ajlafleche

Distilled water costs less than $2.00 a gallon, even with a Poland Springs label on it.

I think I payed $.79 a gallon at Smart & Final here. Smile

Wisdom is the right use of knowledge. To know is not to be wise. Many men know a great deal, and are all the greater fools for it. There is no fool so great a fool as a knowing fool. But to know how to use knowledge is to have wisdom. " Charles Spurgeon
  • Member since
    December, 2002
  • From: Massachusetts
Posted by ajlafleche on Wednesday, February 17, 2010 8:52 AM

Yeah, but it doesn't say POLAND SPRINGS on it...nor does it go to 11! Surprise

Anyway, that could lead me to yet another, though unrelated rant. If you distill the water, don't you eliminate eveything but the essential two H's and one O of each molecule of water that is supposed to make Poland Springs water special? Hmm

Remember, if the women don't find you handsome, they should at least find you handy.

  • Member since
    January, 2003
  • From: Peoples Socialist Democratic Republic of Illinois
Posted by Triarius on Wednesday, February 17, 2010 9:36 AM

The purpose for testing was to determine whether or not an alcohol could be used as a cosolvent to modify coating performance. For example, Tamiya and Gunze are best reduced with an alcohol solvent, but will tolerate small amounts of distilled water, which evaporates more slowly. Cosolvents are just another tool in the box, like using an adjustable crescent wrench instead of one the exact size.

Ross Martinek A little strangeness, now and then, is a good thing… Wink

  • Member since
    July, 2014
Posted by batai37 on Wednesday, February 17, 2010 3:45 PM

Vallejo's site mentions on the Model Color page that some of their paints (Colorima line) are alcohol-based and not water-soluble.

" A few metallic pigments (in an alcohol base) are included in the range, since these give a harder brilliance than the waterbased metallics. (Please see “ Liquid Gold ”)."

From the Liquid Gold link:

"Colorima is a range of 30 radiant colours, manufactured with permanent dyes which are not water soluble. Objects painted with Colorima are lightfast and waterproof, and can even be cleaned in a dishwasher.


Colorima is used mainly in hobby and handicraft painting, in colouring dried or artificial flowers and the tinting of wood, leather, cork and figures cast in resin, gypsum and marble dust compounds.

All colours can be mixed with one another, with Medium or Gloss Varnish. Brushes and painting tools have to be cleaned with alcohol, and Colorima itself is classified as flammable due to its alcohol content, although it is not toxic in normal use. (See “ Safety-Alcohol ”)."

I had not heard of the Colorima line before reading that. Seems pretty CLEAR to me that some of their paints are in fact alcohol-based and NOT water-soluble, although I'm guessing Colorima isn't used as extensively by scale modelers as the Model Color or Air lines of Vallejo.

As a clarification to my previous post, Vallejo's diluant is intended for their Model Air line of paints.With regard to these, their diluant is specifically recommended:

"Formula: The Model Air colours are manufactured with permanent fine arts pigments, and formulated especially for air brushing. The extremely fine milling of the pigments provides the model painter with the assurance of an even and smooth paint film, allowing for many coats of colour. Colours can be mixed with one another, diluted with water, Model Air Thinner or Varnish or even alcohol, according to the effect desired, but we recommend the use of Model Air Thinner since this product conserves the properties of the colours."

And who said anything about using other brands' proprietary thinners with Vallejo paints??? No one so far as I've read.

  • Member since
    March, 2008
  • From: Steilacoom, Washington
Posted by Killjoy on Thursday, February 18, 2010 1:56 PM

I do spray both the game color and model color line from vallejo when I need a specific color, and generally have good success.  I do agree they are a bit 'soft' or more specifically, aren't very durable to the touch.  A good top coat is a must!

Here is my method.  I mix 2 parts diatilled water: 1 part golden's airbrush medium (available at any art supply store such as Michaels or Hobby Lobby).  I keep a small container of this pre-mixed in an empty contact solution bottle.  To this mix I add 1-2 drops of Future.  This gives the paint some 'toughness'.  From this container, I thin to the desires consistancy.

One more VERY important point.  Shake well, shake some more, then...shake.  After that, I HIGHLY recommend straining your paint.  Acryls in general, but especially Vallejo, will have little paint boogers that will either clog up your airbrush or ruin your finish.

Good luck!

Chris

A veteran is someone who, at one point in their life, wrote a blank check made payable to "The United States of America," for an amount of "up to and including my life."

  • Member since
    January, 2003
  • From: Peoples Socialist Democratic Republic of Illinois
Posted by Triarius on Thursday, February 18, 2010 3:05 PM

My biggest criticism of Vallejo, so far, is their packaging. Shaking is simply ineffective in a container that small if the viscosity is at all greater than water. It's simple (okay, hydrodynamics isn't that simple) physics.

As for Chris' suggestion to strain your paint: never put paint in an airbrush that hasn't been strained. If you do, you are tempting the airbrush and paint gremlins, and they're vicious little bastards…

Ross Martinek A little strangeness, now and then, is a good thing… Wink

  • Member since
    July, 2014
Posted by batai37 on Thursday, February 18, 2010 7:57 PM

Killjoy

I do spray both the game color and model color line from vallejo when I need a specific color, and generally have good success.  I do agree they are a bit 'soft' or more specifically, aren't very durable to the touch.  A good top coat is a must!

Here is my method.  I mix 2 parts diatilled water: 1 part golden's airbrush medium (available at any art supply store such as Michaels or Hobby Lobby).  I keep a small container of this pre-mixed in an empty contact solution bottle.  To this mix I add 1-2 drops of Future.  This gives the paint some 'toughness'.  From this container, I thin to the desires consistancy.

One more VERY important point.  Shake well, shake some more, then...shake.  After that, I HIGHLY recommend straining your paint.  Acryls in general, but especially Vallejo, will have little paint boogers that will either clog up your airbrush or ruin your finish.

Good luck!

Chris

I hadn't thought of adding Future, as I've also noticed that they dry "soft"...I'll have to give that a whirl.

  • Member since
    March, 2008
  • From: Steilacoom, Washington
Posted by Killjoy on Thursday, February 18, 2010 9:07 PM

Just remember, add the future to your thinning mix, then thin.  I never add future to the paint directly, tend to get waaayy too much future, which can really make a mess!

A veteran is someone who, at one point in their life, wrote a blank check made payable to "The United States of America," for an amount of "up to and including my life."

  • Member since
    April, 2010
Posted by mcohendr on Sunday, May 23, 2010 10:52 PM

Could you explain your mixture further,as I don't understand the details.  Do you use Vallejo's proprietary  thinner in your mixture?  I believe that you mention that you add a couple of drops of Future the 2 parts distilled water and the 1 part Golden's stuff .  To what VOLUME of water and Golden's do you add a couple of drops of Future?  After that mixture is made, about what ratio of  this mixture to paint do you use?  I hope that I am making sense.  Thanks, Mike

  • Member since
    March, 2008
  • From: Steilacoom, Washington
Posted by Killjoy on Monday, May 24, 2010 12:57 AM

mcohendr

Could you explain your mixture further,as I don't understand the details.  Do you use Vallejo's proprietary  thinner in your mixture?  I believe that you mention that you add a couple of drops of Future the 2 parts distilled water and the 1 part Golden's stuff .  To what VOLUME of water and Golden's do you add a couple of drops of Future?  After that mixture is made, about what ratio of  this mixture to paint do you use?  I hope that I am making sense.  Thanks, Mike

Mike,

No, I don't use Vallejo's thinner at all.  Too spendy for what you get, and there are better products to thin with both for brush painting and airbrushing. 

As for my ratio, I use an empty contact len solution bottle, a small one, probably about twice the size of a vallejo paint bottle.  4 oz is my guess.  I fill it 2/3 distilled water, 1/3 golden's airbrush medium, and about 2-3 drops of future.  Shake well, then use this mix to thin vallejo paints for airbrushing.

When thinning vallejo (or citadel which I like far less, but sometimes use), it's not really precise.  I am looking for 2% milk consistency.  Usually about 2 parts paint to 1 part thinning mix gives me this, but sometimes the paint is a bit thicker, so I add more and eyeball it.

PLEASE bear in mind this is for the Game Color and Model Color line ONLY!  Their Model Air is airbrush ready right out of the bottle, but color range is limited.  Do some test sprays on something you don't care about, and tinker with your thinning ratios and air pressure until you find what works best with your airbrush setup.  Then WRITE IT DOWN!!  I can't tell you how many times I have had to "rediscover" a thinner formula for a particular paint. Now I have a little notebook by my airbrush staton with all my formulas in it!

Wow, that's long-winded of me, but hope I have answered your questions.

Good luck!

Chris

A veteran is someone who, at one point in their life, wrote a blank check made payable to "The United States of America," for an amount of "up to and including my life."

  • Member since
    August, 2005
  • From: Sydney, Australia
Posted by Phil_H on Monday, May 24, 2010 1:21 AM

Killjoy
When thinning vallejo (or citadel which I like far less, but sometimes use), it's not really precise.  I am looking for 2% milk consistency.  Usually about 2 parts paint to 1 part thinning mix gives me this, but sometimes the paint is a bit thicker, so I add more and eyeball it.

Yes, particularly with the ModelColor range, the viscosity of the paint in the jar can vary considerably between different colours. I seem to find that lighter colours in particular can be very thick, darker colours less so. This means that there is no consistent ratio you can use to thin the paint. I use the :Looks about right" rule when thinning Vallejo. Smile

  • Member since
    April, 2010
Posted by mcohendr on Monday, May 24, 2010 4:49 AM

Thanks for the QUICK response.  I understand what you said, and it sounds like a great mixture, especially the part about adding the Future to add "hardness"  to the paint. But I am still not sure exactly how much thinning solution to use with the one or two drops of Future.  For example, how many milliliters or ounces of thinning mixture do you use per one or two drops of Future?  Thanks again for your help.

 

 

 

  • Member since
    April, 2010
Posted by mcohendr on Monday, May 24, 2010 5:03 AM

Hi again,  Just to let you know,I didn't get to read your complete answer at first as it got "cut off" on my computer screen.  I now completely understand your answer.  Thanks again,  ---Michael.

  • Member since
    April, 2010
Posted by mcohendr on Monday, May 24, 2010 5:25 AM

Hi, if any one has a particular way of  protecting and "finishing" (to add a matte or flat  look"), I'd appreciate it, as I am building an aircraft carrier.  Currently, I plan on using a coat of Future followed by Cryla soluble acrylic  matte that I found on the Pearl Paint website. (they don't sell it at Michaels.  I got the idea from Ship Models from Kits by David Griffith.  Also if anyone would like to share ideas for building plastic models in general and ship models in general, I'd like their comments.   

  • Member since
    April, 2010
Posted by mcohendr on Monday, May 24, 2010 5:42 AM

Hi again, guys.  I am looking for a specific Vallejo Model Color paint for the hull of my Russian Aircraft Carrier.  Vallejo's Hull Red is maroon-like in color and I am looking for a color that is more reddish-orange in tone.   I am told that  the Russian hull in real life is virtually the same color as White Ensign Models Colourcoat paint  line's US Navy Anti-Fouling Red. Does anybody have any suggestions?  Thanks,   ---M. Cohen.  My e-mail is mcohendr@comcast.net  

  • Member since
    July, 2013
Posted by glenngrafx on Monday, October 28, 2013 9:31 PM

I found that Vallejo Model Air works best just as it comes out of the bottle for airbrushing. I use Model Color for brush painting. Exactly what Vallejo says, works.

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