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Chipping advice?

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  • Member since
    February 2018
Chipping advice?
Posted by Squirmy1970 on Tuesday, March 13, 2018 7:03 PM

Hi Guys!

I'm working on a Tamiya 1/35 Panzer II / F. Finished the build, ready to paint, weather, etc.

Regarding weathering, I'd like to use the hairspray method for chipping. My question is this: Will the hairspray method work with enamel paints? I'm assuming it would only work with acrylics?

One reason why I ask is because I don't own an airbrush. So I figured I'd spray it. (Enamel spray "rattle" can.)


  • Member since
    December 2013
  • From: Orlando Florida
Posted by route62 on Tuesday, March 13, 2018 10:16 PM

Since hair sprays are acrylic based your top color that goes over the hair spray has to be acrylic as well.  When you go to scrub the surface with water it will need to soak through the acylic paint and loosen the hair spray to get the chipping effect.  An enamel paint would not allow the water to get down to the hair spray.


  • Member since
    October 2010
Posted by hypertex on Wednesday, March 14, 2018 6:48 AM

I beg to differ. I've seen modelers chip enamel paint with hairspray on youtube, (although I don't use enamels myself). I was surprised myself, I wouldn't have believed it if I had not seen it with my own eyes.

Pretty much all paints are going to be water permeable to some extent, especially considering when we modelers apply very thin coats of paint. Thus, water can permeate enamels as well as acrylics.

  • Member since
    May 2009
  • From: Poland
Posted by Pawel on Wednesday, March 14, 2018 7:01 AM


I've experimented with chipping some time ago, and it was hairspray between two layers of humbrol enamel, so I say this can be done. Right, scrubbing the outer layer was kinda hard, so I used a small quantity of lacquer thinner to make the outer paint crack, and from then on it went without problems. Here are the parts I did (sorry, the photo isn't best):

This one might be better (look at the ammo cans):

Good luck with your build and have a nice day


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

  • Member since
    March 2003
  • From: Western North Carolina
Posted by Tojo72 on Wednesday, March 14, 2018 7:38 AM
I have used enamel as a basecoat,never used enamel as the chipping coat,could it be done? Guys are saying yes,I would keep it simple and use acrylic as a chipping coat unless your color isnt available in acrylic.

  • Member since
    November 2009
  • From: Twin Cities of Minnesota
Posted by Don Stauffer on Wednesday, March 14, 2018 9:21 AM

For smaller scale aircraft I find chipping by daubing on very small spots of aluminum paint works well, applying paint with small end toothpicks.

Don Stauffer in Minnesota

  • Member since
    February 2018
Posted by Squirmy1970 on Wednesday, March 14, 2018 6:47 PM

Thanks for all the advice so far guys, appreciate it!

I think I'd prefer doing an enamel primer and under coat, then hairspray. Finished off with an acrylic base/top coat.

The problem is, like I said before, I don't have an airbrush. Is there such a thing as spray can acrylics?

  • Member since
    September 2019
Posted by Johnt1390 on Wednesday, September 11, 2019 3:58 PM

I believe that Citadel's range of spray cans is acrylic. They have sprays for some of their more popular colors, but they aren't cheap. 

  • Member since
    January 2006
  • From: Earth
Posted by DiscoStu on Thursday, September 12, 2019 11:05 AM

I have a question on this very topic:  I have tried multiple times to use the "hairspray" technique.  Most recently on a P-61.  I put down alclad aluminum, then a heavy coat of AK chipping fluid (the same thing as hairspray.....supposedly), then a thin top coat of Tamiya X-18 thinned with Gunze levelling thinner. 

Soaking a stiff brush in water.  I could stab, brush, poke and scrape all day long and nada.  No chipping.   

Anyone see something I'm doing wrong?  The only thing I can think is that the levelling thinner may have too much tooth to the paint.

"Ahh the Luftwaffe. The Washington Generals of the History Channel" -Homer Simpson



  • Member since
    July 2013
  • From: Chicago area
Posted by modelmaker66 on Thursday, September 12, 2019 2:48 PM

You can't use a lacquer thinner for the paint, only water. The lacqer is so hot it eats through the chipping fluid and bonds to the plastic. You're never going to be ale to chip itnow. I'm sorry to say.

  • Member since
    December 2002
  • From: Uruguay
Posted by fkereki on Monday, February 10, 2020 8:26 AM
Agree with you 100%; I only use enamels, and I've applied chipping with no problems at all. You must be careful to not apply a very thick coat of paint, because after it cures, it will be practically impossible to get at the HS below.
  • Member since
    July 2014
Posted by modelcrazy on Monday, February 10, 2020 9:30 AM

Yes, enamels work. It's more difficult than acrylics to do, but will work. BTW, while the AK chipping fluid is suposed to be the same as hairspray, it isn't. I prefer the chipping fluid more since it's easer to control and more forgiving while I chip. Hairspray in my experence will let go of the paint, at least acrylic, far easer. If you're not careful you can over do it. I have not tried enamel on hairspray.

I do use both methods, it just depends on how far I want to go or how much I want to work at it. Best to practice on something you don't care about.

Just my 2 cents


Building a kit from your stash is like cutting a head off a Hydra, two more take it's place.

  • Member since
    December 2019
  • From: Florida, USA
Posted by Niko on Tuesday, February 11, 2020 7:25 AM


Hairspray in my experence will let go of the paint, at least acrylic, far easer. If you're not careful you can over do it. 

I second this one. I'm not sure if I just applied too much hairspray to my last model, but acrylics just peeled and bubbled up extremely quickly. It is hard to control hairspray chipping, and next time I will apply less to see if that does the trick.

"The farther back you look, the farther forward you are likely to see." - Winston Churchill


Trumpeter KV-2 1940 1/72

Tamiya Flakpanzer IV Wirbelwind 1/48


  • Member since
    March 2015
  • From: Close to Chicago
Posted by JohnnyK on Wednesday, February 12, 2020 11:43 AM

I use a small torn piece of a 3M scrubbing pad. I hold in tweezers and dab it into silver paint. I then dab it onto a paper towel until almost dry. Then I dab it onto the model.

Your comments and questions are always welcome.


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