SEARCH FINESCALE.COM

Enter keywords or a search phrase below:

Best model paint brands?

25396 views
35 replies
1 rating 2 rating 3 rating 4 rating 5 rating
  • Member since
    July, 2017
Best model paint brands?
Posted by cornman21 on Tuesday, November 28, 2017 12:23 AM

I was wondering what are the best model paint brands for different uses, since there are so many different brands that make the same general type of paint. I will make it easy and split them into 4 categories:

 

ACRYLIC-

brush painting

airbrushing

ENAMEL-

brush painting

airbrushing

 

-also feel free to discuss other various uses and the best paint for those as well

Tags: paint
  • Member since
    November, 2009
  • From: Twin Cities of Minnesota
Posted by Don Stauffer on Tuesday, November 28, 2017 9:09 AM

A lot of this is personal preference, but I use Testors Enamel for both airbrushing and hand brushing.  I have a basement workshop, so don't need to worry about smell, which does not bother me.  The Model Master line usually have any color I need.

While Testors enamel thinner does do a slightly better job of thinning, as a result of a shortage locally in the Testors stuff, I learned to use regular turpentine for thinning, which I had already on hand for brush and airbrush thinning.  I do stick strictly stick to containers labeled either turpentine or mineral spirits.  The term paint thinner includes some really bad synthetic stuff that is junk for thinning enamels.

 

Don Stauffer in Minnesota

  • Member since
    June, 2014
Posted by bluenote on Tuesday, November 28, 2017 9:24 AM

I'll be honest, I've really simplified my painting process in the past few months.  I now only use Tamiya enamels (yes, enamels.  I buy them off Ebay and have received them every time).  These paints work incredibly well for brush painting.  I find they are at least equal to if not better than Testors/Modelmaster paints.  Plus, I find their lids don't get stuck nearly as much as Modelmasters do.  

For painting large areas, I use Tamiya rattle cans.  (and sometimes Modelmaster lacquer, for the 60s/70s cars). I mostly build car models and motorcycles, so with Tamiya enamels and Tamiya sprays, I'm all set.  I have gone back and forth with airbrushing, but I find I get such a great result with Tamiya sprays, and it's so much easier, that I just stick with that.  

  • Member since
    September, 2012
Posted by GMorrison on Tuesday, November 28, 2017 10:24 AM

I use Tamiya, Testors, Humbrol and other brands both acrylic and enamel, AB and hand brush. Maybe Testors acrylic doesn't hand brush really well on larger areas, but otherwise it's all the same to me.

I do care more about color accuracy. There's where I have some issues with Tamiya. They sort of have their own palette. Their WW2 Japanese stuff seems good, but they don't really have good matches for British or any Navy subjects, IMO.

For British air and sea, it's really hard to beat White Ensign's Colourcoat for accuracy.

Testors has pretty good matches for a wide range of colors.

Humbrol is good too.

  • Member since
    May, 2009
  • From: Poland
Posted by Pawel on Tuesday, November 28, 2017 1:46 PM

Awright, let's dive in!

I started with Humbrols and now, after about 30 years of modelling most of my paints are Humbrols. They are good for brush painting (although they used to be better) and for airbrush after thinning. They are not bothered by minor surface residue or stuff like that - so can mostly be used without primer, adhesion is good. They stink a little, I like the smell but some poeple can't stand them. They come in tins - and this is a good thing once you learn how to handle them (just store them lid-down!).

Then there are other brands that didn't catch on with me - Revells feel like a clone of Humbrols, Testors - similar, but come in bottles that get stuck too often. Tamiyas - I only use their clears, they are OK

Gunze paints, H series - those are nice. They have very good buffable metalizers, their yellow and red cover very well. They can be thinned and re-used even if they dry rock-hard in the bottle. That can be a downside, if you try to paint one colour on top of other colour. But they have a very good adhesion and can be applied very nicely both by brush and by air.

There is a company in Poland called Hataka - they make paints that claim superb historical accuracy of the colour. Worth trying out but thinned with their levelling thinner. They brush very nicely and their red also covers very good.

Then there is a line of paints that I started to use recently - Citadel paints. They need a primer before putting them down, but after that they are amazing. Using them you can paint a multi-coloured figure with shading, washes and so on in about two hours from start to finish with no odour and the colours go on on top of the other just wonderful. Definitely worth checking out. Downside - their colours all have "fantastic" names, so you have to do all the matching by yourself - that doesn't have to be bad, could get you some extra creativity and help with weathering and blending the figs with the environment.

OK - thanks for reading, hope it helps, have a nice day

PaweĊ‚

All comments and critique welcomed. Thanks for your honest opinions!

www.vietnam.net.pl

  • Member since
    January, 2013
Posted by BlackSheepTwoOneFour on Thursday, November 30, 2017 8:14 PM

You’re going to get a lot of different opinions and believe me, there is no wrong or right answer. It all boils down to personal preference. I, myself use a wide variety of paint brands. Model Master Enamels & Acrylics, Pollyscale, Aeromaster, Tamiya, LifeColor, Humbrol enamels, Akan Acrylics, Gunze/Mr. Color, and  recent addition of Mission Model Acrylics. There have been very good reviews on Mission Model paints.

  • Member since
    July, 2012
  • From: Douglas AZ
Posted by littletimmy on Thursday, November 30, 2017 9:56 PM

I have only recently aquired an airbrush and havent "Experimented" with it yet so I can only give my opinion on spray can's and brush painting.

ACRYLIC: Testors, and Vallejo.  Brush painting is ok... ish. I really dont care for acrylic paint but I suppose I can get use to it  of the 2 paints I preffer Testors. I have noticed that acrylic's tend to dry out as I'm brushing so I have to keep cleaning my brush as I go.

Spray painting with acrylics..... for me doesn't work at all ! ( I only just started using acrylics so I "may need" more practice)

ENAMEL'S : Testors, Tamya, Citadel, Humbrol,  plus a few that our now out of production, Floquil, Pactra,ect...

Brush painting is easy with these.... no complaints' with spraypainting either.

LACQUER: Testors Model Master, Tamya.  I have very good results with these ! HOWEVER... brush painting large area's can leave brushstroke's.

Spraypainting with Lacquer is the best as far as I'm concerned. I Always get good result's.

( Even when I dont ,it's not the paint's fault. It's mine. and it's easy to fix. )

 Dont worry about the thumbprint, paint it Rust , and call it "Battle Damage".

  

 

    

  • Member since
    March, 2015
Posted by JohnnyK on Thursday, January 11, 2018 12:52 PM

bluenote

I'll be honest, I've really simplified my painting process in the past few months.  I now only use Tamiya enamels (yes, enamels.  I buy them off Ebay and have received them every time).  These paints work incredibly well for brush painting.  I find they are at least equal to if not better than Testors/Modelmaster paints.  Plus, I find their lids don't get stuck nearly as much as Modelmasters do.  

For painting large areas, I use Tamiya rattle cans.  (and sometimes Modelmaster lacquer, for the 60s/70s cars). I mostly build car models and motorcycles, so with Tamiya enamels and Tamiya sprays, I'm all set.  I have gone back and forth with airbrushing, but I find I get such a great result with Tamiya sprays, and it's so much easier, that I just stick with that.  

 

I like Tamiya's rattle cans also. Tamiya rattle cans produce a final finish that is superior to Testors' rattle cans. The nozzel on Tamiya cans produces a very fine mist. Testors' nozzel produces a thicker mist.

  • Member since
    June, 2014
  • From: New Braunfels , Texas
Posted by Tanker - Builder on Saturday, January 13, 2018 8:39 AM

Well;

   For years it was the Old Humbrol line , in the tins .Then Testors, well ,Testors in the little square bottles first . Then back to those little tins . "Deck , Bleached Teak " was a color I used a lot .

  They don't make it anymore .Thank Goodness I bought every tin I could get as I traveled .Now have over a hundred of that color alone .

 Years later Polly " S " and Floquil ( I think Floquil was a lacquer).

 The Testors " Model Master " Label . I have hundreds of bottles with most of the paint rack full .

 Acrylics ? Wish I'd never heard the word . First in Housepaint then Modelpaints . Lousy brushability and all that . 

 Tamiya brand , Lousy brushability . Good color selection though . Although , too many coats required , for some colors .

Vallejo , Well the Jury is still out . Some brush and cover well , most don't . As you must've gathered I have a lot in the paint stage .Why ? well can't airbrush in the house in the winter ! Landlady says " No Way Jose "

 Just a note here , I see many complain about tops sticking . This applies to the tins as well as Model master and Testor little bottles and Tamiya .Clean your cap out every use and keep any build - up off the bottle and tin rims .

  I have some that's over ten years old and they still open and close fine . Vallejo I just wipe well , and keep the inside of the top clean .

 And just think .This all happened with the Acrylic because some parents couldn't keep their Kiddos from eating stuff with lead based paint on it . Maybe they should've fed the kids and forgot about cable ?

  • Member since
    March, 2003
  • From: Western North Carolina
Posted by Tojo72 on Thursday, January 18, 2018 3:21 PM

Highly personal preference

Acrylic brush-Vallejo Model Color

Acrylic airbrush-Tamiya

Enamel Airbrush- Modelmaster

  • Member since
    March, 2010
  • From: MN
Posted by Nathan T on Thursday, January 18, 2018 8:00 PM

Gunze aqueous for airbrushing and Vallejo model color for hand brushing 

 

 

  • Member since
    November, 2009
  • From: Twin Cities of Minnesota
Posted by Don Stauffer on Friday, January 19, 2018 9:58 AM

I was in Hobby Lobby yesterday trying to buy paints. I was disturbed by the Testors rack now. Less than 1/4 of the rack was enamel, the great majority of the paints were acrylic.

I see the handwriting on the wall.  Enamels, and maybe conventional lacquers, are disappearing. I figure I had better learn to work with acrylics if I want to stay in this hobby.

It would be nice if the places that sell acrylic paint also sold retarder, but I find the retarder very hard to find locally- sometimes in hobby shop clear across town, sometimes not even there!

 

Don Stauffer in Minnesota

  • Member since
    January, 2013
Posted by BlackSheepTwoOneFour on Saturday, January 20, 2018 9:50 AM

Don Stauffer

I was in Hobby Lobby yesterday trying to buy paints. I was disturbed by the Testors rack now. Less than 1/4 of the rack was enamel, the great majority of the paints were acrylic.

I see the handwriting on the wall.  Enamels, and maybe conventional lacquers, are disappearing. I figure I had better learn to work with acrylics if I want to stay in this hobby.

It would be nice if the places that sell acrylic paint also sold retarder, but I find the retarder very hard to find locally- sometimes in hobby shop clear across town, sometimes not even there!

 

 

It all depends on the area. I know my local HL has more Model Master enamel than acrylic in stock. Not a huge selection but limited collection. Definitely a semi full line of the small square bottles of enamel paints. Not all Hobby Lobby are alike....

  • Member since
    March, 2003
  • From: Western North Carolina
Posted by Tojo72 on Sunday, January 21, 2018 6:46 AM

Back in June weren’t you guys talking about MM discontinuing a big part of their enamel line,maybe that’s why they dont have as many.

 

http://cs.finescale.com/fsm/tools_techniques_and_reference_materials/f/18/t/175408.aspx

  • Member since
    November, 2009
  • From: Twin Cities of Minnesota
Posted by Don Stauffer on Sunday, January 21, 2018 11:15 AM

Tojo72

Back in June weren’t you guys talking about MM discontinuing a big part of their enamel line,maybe that’s why they dont have as many.

 

http://cs.finescale.com/fsm/tools_techniques_and_reference_materials/f/18/t/175408.aspx

 

Indeed!  And I have been expecting it.  Still, it is a disappointment to see it actually happening, though.  I was hoping the shakeout would take a little longer.  Guess I'd better get going on practicing with the acrylics.

 

Don Stauffer in Minnesota

  • Member since
    September, 2017
Posted by greghile on Sunday, January 21, 2018 12:24 PM

Take this for what it's worth but my local Hobbytown USA is closing and having an "everything must go" clearance sale. They had carried a pretty full line of all the major American and Japanese paint brands. I was there at the opening bell when the sale first started about ten days ago and dropped by again this past Thursday. Almost every bottle of Tamiya and Vallejo paints were long since gone, but there were still tons of Model Master paints available.

  • Member since
    January, 2018
  • From: Minnesota, USA
Posted by LC34 on Wednesday, March 07, 2018 4:17 PM

I also was just in the Mankato Hobby Lobby and noticed the same thing as you Don.  On top of it, the few enamels they did have left were colors for model cars and not much for military.  So for me, it was time to start with acrylics.  Bought some Vallejo german colors and looked at the price, HOLY COW!  $5 for a bottle of acrylic but $2 for the Testors enamels.  

Granted I was looking into the acrylics anyhow but this will be my first crack at them.  Have used the little Testors enamel bottles my whole life.  Since I have a few Vallejo acrylics now, looking online and found this: https://www.hobbylinc.com/vallejo-military-paint-set:plastic-storage-case-72-colors-brushes-hobby-and-model-paint-set-70173

Anyone have opinions on this set?

  • Member since
    November, 2009
  • From: Twin Cities of Minnesota
Posted by Don Stauffer on Thursday, March 08, 2018 6:42 AM

One time I was looking for a buff color, for stacks of old warship. Tried Michaels house brand acrylics.  They have an awesome range of colors, but not identified as any prototype color. It is up to you to color match.  But, I thinned it with stock low percent isopropyl, and it did work fine.  Cheap, too.

I consider it as an emergency use only, when I just cannot find the color or shade I want in my goto paints.

 

 

Don Stauffer in Minnesota

  • Member since
    June, 2014
  • From: New Braunfels , Texas
Posted by Tanker - Builder on Friday, August 03, 2018 7:59 AM

Hi;

 I know my original answer was long so I'll keep this short . I have recently been buying Hobby Lobby house brand acrylics . Gotta try you know . Surprise ! Surprise ! they mix well , dry well , cover well and stick like glue !

 Ready made for brushing , But , squirted some thinned with alcohol and guess what ? I not only got the shade right but I had to sand a spot on the model and the paint feathered great . Can't even see where I stopped to fix this Boo-Boo !

 I think I can use this stuff after all .That and I can match any color on the color wheel . Their Metallics are good too , But , they have only four at my store Gold , Brass , Copper and Aluminum ( or dull silver ? ). I guess by 77 I will be a total acrylics fan , Who Knows ?

  • Member since
    January, 2014
Posted by Silver on Saturday, April 20, 2019 2:42 AM

Testors.

  • Member since
    July, 2013
Posted by steve5 on Saturday, April 20, 2019 4:58 AM

said it before and I'll say it again , so jealous of you yank's with your choice of stuff , haven't heard of half the gear you are talking about Crying

 

  • Member since
    March, 2015
Posted by JohnnyK on Monday, April 29, 2019 7:03 PM

I agree with you regarding Tamiya rattle can paints. They produce a very fine mist which results in a nice paint finish. Much easier to control than Testors' rattle cans.

  • Member since
    May, 2013
  • From: Indiana, USA
Posted by Greg on Tuesday, April 30, 2019 7:54 AM

Don't you just love it when somebody starts a thread with a wacky question then sits back and laughs or just never checks back whilst we all talk to ourselves? Looks like I didn't bite on this one, but I sure have on far too many of them over the years.

Peeve of mine here.

-Greg

  • Member since
    July, 2004
  • From: Sunny So. Cal... The OC
Posted by stikpusher on Tuesday, April 30, 2019 10:31 AM

Ah well, it is a reasonable question, although the premise of “best” is very subjective compared to objective.

I will say that for acrylics, Humbrol is becoming my go to brand the more that I use them. Especially for hand brushing. One coat coverage, and dead flat finish. Their container is more convenient than those blasted dropper bottles. I’m just curious now as to their long term shelf life. 

 

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

U is for URANIUM... BOMBS!

N is for NO SURVIVORS...

       - Plankton

LSM

 

  • Member since
    September, 2018
  • From: Vancouver, Washington USA
Posted by Sergeant on Friday, May 03, 2019 2:20 AM

stikpusher

Ah well, it is a reasonable question, although the premise of “best” is very subjective compared to objective.

I will say that for acrylics, Humbrol is becoming my go to brand the more that I use them. Especially for hand brushing. One coat coverage, and dead flat finish. Their container is more convenient than those blasted dropper bottles. I’m just curious now as to their long term shelf life. 

 

Any time a conversation about best paint starts I know it’s headed to the same dark corner I left my O.D. paint test in a few months ago. However, not to be a party pooper I started with everything Tamiya, then tried Humbrol and Vallejo. I like Vallejo paint for hand brushing and air brushing, but do not like the dropper bottles. I like Tamiya bottles and the paint too and still use Tamiya Surface Primer with Vallejo and Humbrol paint.

Recently I read an article about the ‘Best’ method for creating a smooth paint finish was starting with a smooth primer coat which makes sense. To get a smooth primer coat according to the article you need to spray a ‘Wet Coat’ and let it dry completely as a posed to several light coats like we do with finish paint. To accomplish a wet coat of primer without runs and loosing detail you need a large volume air brush, or a spray can like Tamiya offers for Fine Surface Primer. So far this method works on large surfaces like a Jeep body or tank hull, but for very detailed small parts my .35 mm needle air brush works better.

  • Member since
    April, 2019
Posted by Crimm on Friday, May 03, 2019 3:08 PM

I know the "old guard" tends to favor enamels and laquers, back in the day they were superior and you folks have been working with them longer than some of us have been alive, so you'll find a lot of love expressed for enamels. not without good reason though, they can look really darn nice.

I wouldn't shake my fist too hard at acrylics though, they've improved over the years for hobby use, they're convenient and more accessible for some, and I don't think it's fair to scoff and limit anyone's ability to enjoy the hobby because they use acrylics :p

I've used Testors and Tamiya spray cans. I like Tamiya's spray cans a lot, especially their primers. My experience with Testors has been good so far, but more limited.

I haven't airbrushed yet but I will be soon. I have a stock of Tamiya and Vallejo bottles, and the Badger primer to try out, so hopefully I'll have a little more opinion to offer after.

  • Member since
    September, 2018
  • From: Vancouver, Washington USA
Posted by Sergeant on Friday, May 03, 2019 4:54 PM

Crimm

I know the "old guard" tends to favor enamels and laquers, back in the day they were superior and you folks have been working with them longer than some of us have been alive, so you'll find a lot of love expressed for enamels. not without good reason though, they can look really darn nice.

I wouldn't shake my fist too hard at acrylics though, they've improved over the years for hobby use, they're convenient and more accessible for some, and I don't think it's fair to scoff and limit anyone's ability to enjoy the hobby because they use acrylics :p

I've used Testors and Tamiya spray cans. I like Tamiya's spray cans a lot, especially their primers. My experience with Testors has been good so far, but more limited.

I haven't airbrushed yet but I will be soon. I have a stock of Tamiya and Vallejo bottles, and the Badger primer to try out, so hopefully I'll have a little more opinion to offer after.

 

Crimm, the only thing wrong with being young is the old guard can’t be young too. In a perfect world we could all be young and have lots of experience, but it doesn’t work like that. When you get around to buying an air brush take a look at Iwata Eclipse HP-CS.

https://www.iwata-airbrush.com/ 

They are not inexpensive, but you will not be disappointed either.

Harold

  • Member since
    April, 2019
Posted by Crimm on Friday, May 03, 2019 5:16 PM

At the moment I have a Badger Renegade Krome, and a Paasche H1017 to use for primers and stuff. People keep mentioning the Eclipse though so if they ever go kaput or I royally screw them up while learning, I guess I know what to get next.

  • Member since
    July, 2004
  • From: Sunny So. Cal... The OC
Posted by stikpusher on Friday, May 03, 2019 6:01 PM

Crimm, believe me, acrylics do have their advantages. Especially the rapid drying times. And nowadays there are more brands of acrylics out there than easily counted. And it seems every few months that another paint line appears. But some appear to add more complexity to the equation than need be, add flow enhancer here, and retarder there. And what thins one brand quite well, turns another into rubbery goo. 

Im not knocking acrylics per se, I use them and enamels. And I like both types of paints. There are just some brands that I have better experiences with than others. Working with both types has its advantages in some situations. 

 

 

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

U is for URANIUM... BOMBS!

N is for NO SURVIVORS...

       - Plankton

LSM

 

  • Member since
    April, 2019
  • From: Alabama
Posted by Srpuln10 on Saturday, May 18, 2019 9:07 AM

I've used tamiya and Vallej. Vallejo rubs off the model to me. There's a different color from paint to paint on the two. germa gray is totally different from one another. Way different. I like tamiya but I may be doing something wrong with Vallejo 

2 Cor 6:17

JOIN OUR COMMUNITY!

Our community is FREE to join. To participate you must either login or register for an account.

SEARCH FORUMS

FREE NEWSLETTER
By signing up you may also receive reader surveys and occasional special offers. We do not sell, rent or trade our email lists. View our Privacy Policy.