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Paint experiences and observations

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  • Member since
    January, 2017
  • From: Canada
Paint experiences and observations
Posted by Gregifur on Saturday, February 11, 2017 11:12 AM

After a successful first build after "x" number of years (LOL) I am working on my second build. It's been an almost new experience again with using an airbrush for the first time and having so many different paints available.

I've been experimenting and would like to share my experiences with the different paints and airbrushing.

Testors enamel - Tricky to thin and a little unforgiving with beginner airbrushing

Testors acrylic - Easier to thin but seems to gum up the airbrush rather quickly

Testors Aztek Airbrush Paint - I'm not even sure this is made for plastic models, it appears to be a general good-for-everything acrylic. A little tricky to prevent dry spray at times, but no thinning required. I can't say that I've used it on any completed parts, just some test pieces.

Testors Model Master Acrylic - The only experience with this has been to put a 1:16 semi tractor hood, cab and sleeper in primer. It did not bond to the plastic whatsoever. In light of this I am not going to continue to try this line out.

Alclad Lacquer - This is the holy cow product! No thinning required, doesn't gum up the airbrush and is amazingly forgiving during application. Dry time is unbelieveably  quick and even. Far more expensive than any of the above but seems well worth the investment.

If anyone would like to comment or add to this please feel free to do so! I want to share my experiences in hopes that it will help others.



Addicted to building again. My wife says I'm crazy, she may be right but don't tell her I said that!

  • Member since
    November, 2003
  • From: State of Mississippi. State motto: Virtute et armis (By valor and arms)
Posted by mississippivol on Saturday, February 11, 2017 9:35 PM

I have a question, what thinner did you use with the enamels? The reason is that Testors has it's own brand, and I am curious as to the issues you had. Seems like acrylics are good at gumming up, usually there's a retarder that you can add that keeps it wetter longer to improve flow. 

  • Member since
    January, 2013
Posted by BlackSheepTwoOneFour on Sunday, February 12, 2017 9:31 AM

Testers enamel tricky to thin? Not really if you use the right thinner. I use Testors brand thinner when using enamels. I'm not sure why you say it's tricky to thin to proper ratio. 

I also airbrush using MM acrylics and never had issues of paint gumming up with an airbrush. I use Testors Universal acrylic thinner for that. ZERO issues using MM acrypics.

Testros Aztecs? I'd steer away from the cheap stuff Testors puts out. I won't even use their brand airbrush.

One thing about using Alclad is wearing a breathing asperator is a must since Alclad is a lacquer. It's also a hotter paint to use as well. Good stuff indeed except don't use Alclad's brand gloss black primer. Use plain old Gloss black enamel instead.


While your observations is good for beginners starting out, there are a lot of members here that have used paint you've listed with zero issues. I'm surprised you haven't used Tamiya acrylics. They are awesome paint to use with an airbrush.

I myself use a wide range of paint brands: MM enamels and acrylics, Vallejo, Tamiya, Gunze/Mr. Color, Aeromaster, Pollyscale/Floquil, Akan, Tamiya, Badger, Humbrol, even the Testors small bottles of enamel paints. Every single brand is a different animal in how to thin them correctly for airbrush use. The key is use the brand thinner to the paint.

  • Member since
    March, 2003
  • From: Northern New Jersey
Posted by Tojo72 on Sunday, February 12, 2017 10:25 AM
I have to say that I don't use any of them.I have used the Alclad Clears and they are great and easy to use. I use Model Master Enamels,thinned with their universal thinner,so easy a caveman can use it,except for the fumes in which case I where a mask and ventilate. Tamiya,again great stuff simple and effective,I use Tamiya Lacquer thinner and get great results. It's the Mig and Vallejo that I use that require more care,but with proper use of their thinners and flow improvers,theyes have a great color range and work reasonably well,but must get use to them.

  • Member since
    January, 2017
  • From: Canada
Posted by Gregifur on Sunday, February 12, 2017 11:28 AM

I should have mentioned that I use the appropriate thinners for each paint.

I know I have a lot of learning/re-learning to do and that was just my initial experiences.

As for the Testors enamel thinning, it just seems to be very finicky with how it lays down. It's like it's too easy to have too thick or too thin and finding that sweet spot is kind of a pain.

Thanks for the feedback so far guys. :)


Addicted to building again. My wife says I'm crazy, she may be right but don't tell her I said that!

  • Member since
    November, 2009
  • From: Twin Cities of Minnesota
Posted by Don Stauffer on Sunday, February 12, 2017 11:48 AM

I use Testors enamels almost exclusively.  I used to use the Testors thinner, but there was a period when it was hard to find except in the very small bottles.  I then began to thin for airbrushing with good quality Turpentine/mineral spirits.  I have not had any problems with either.  The thinning ratio is not critical, and it mixes well. 

As to the cost of Alclad. I personally find it quite economical.  I find it costs about eight bucks a bottle, but you get almost twice as much as in a MM bottle.  Even more to the point, best results come from a very thin single coat.  I can get five or six 1/72 aircraft from a bottle of Alclad, which means the cost per plane is minimal compared to the kit, or to resin or PE accessories.

Don Stauffer in Minnesota


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