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Orange peel effect when airbrushing model

5 replies
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  • Member since
    May 2020
Orange peel effect when airbrushing model
Posted by Sideways200 on Wednesday, May 27, 2020 4:18 AM

Hi all, new to this forum and the hobby as a whole.  I've recently completed my first kit and have commenced progress on 2nd build (Academy 1/72 legacy hornet kit).  I am up to the stage of painting the exterior of the kit and have settled on the acrylic semi gloss colors specified by Academy (light ghost grey, dark ghost grey).    Upon airbrushing certain parts with dark ghost grey, I get desired satin effect, but when painting the wings and fuselage, there's a pronounced Orange peel effect.  My technique for painting the smaller parts has been identical and the paint is of the same batch.  I've also painted a plastic bottle using same air brush and paint batch and that's come out satin.  Just wondering whether this issue is due to the plastic surface of the kit?  Do I need to sand or prime prior to airbrushing?  

  • Member since
    November 2018
Posted by oldermodelguy on Wednesday, May 27, 2020 11:48 AM

Ya the bigger areas are broader, takes a little different technique. What brand paint and thinners are you using.

And with acrylic in particular you really should prime.

  • Member since
    November 2009
  • From: Twin Cities of Minnesota
Posted by Don Stauffer on Wednesday, May 27, 2020 3:48 PM

Mant Things can cause orange pee- distance from airbrush to surface, thinning ratio, air pressure.  You need to vary these till you get the right combination.  And for larger surfaces, be sure you move airbrush parallel to surface, not in an arc (ends of stroke will be further from surface than center). Keep that distance constant.  More thinner, less pressure, closer distance, or some combination usually solves orange peel.  Practice on scrap plastic until you get the right mix.



Don Stauffer in Minnesota

  • Member since
    May 2020
Posted by Sideways200 on Wednesday, May 27, 2020 6:52 PM

Thanks for the replies.  The paint that I am using is Mr. Color acrylic.

So I've since pulled back the paint coat and have noticed that the plastic itself is grainy.   I've also looked at unused parts still on sprues and have observed that they have a grainy texture too.  I assume this finish was done to aid with paint adhesion.  Being that acrylic applies so thinly,  it's apparent that that the grainy effect is what's causing the Orange peel.  

Is there a way to get rid of the grain without sanding the parts completely smooth?  The model is a little small to perform detail work with 2000 grit and there are also some winglets in the way to boot.  If not, then I will either have to paint very thinly or switch to a matte finish.

  • Member since
    November 2018
Posted by oldermodelguy on Thursday, May 28, 2020 10:58 AM

Depending on the grain in the plastic, once scuffed and a couple coats of primer might cover it. But if you want a smooth surface finish you need a smooth surface for it to go down on. I use 000 steel wool quite a bit for prep if needed and also to smooth the primer coat. It offers a different action from sand paper. Just sayin.

From what I understand about Mr Color acrylic paint it seems that Mr Leveling thinner works well in it. I haven't used that one yet but it seems as with Tamiya acrylic it can be thinned with lacquer thinner which should offer good leveling if so.

  • Member since
    November 2008
  • From: Central Florida
Posted by plasticjunkie on Friday, June 5, 2020 6:57 PM

I use Mr Color which is similar to Tamiya paint and both thin VERY well with Mr Color Leveling Thinner. It enhances the Tamiya paints and the best gloss I've seen is Tamiya gloss thinned with Mr. Color LT.

Here's a kicker, shoot Mr. LT by itself over the fresh sprayed gloss and it blends and smooths out the finish even more.




Too many models to build, not enough time in a lifetime!!


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