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Acrylic on acrylic wash?

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  • Member since
    October 2007
  • From: Scotland
Acrylic on acrylic wash?
Posted by Milairjunkie on Friday, September 16, 2011 4:15 AM

I'm afraid to say that I've got next to zero experience with washes & need some advice, I'm afraid it a multi-part sort of question;

I'm looking to lightly highlight some panel gaps on my USSR GB Tu-160, which will be finished in just about 100% white. I'm wanting to do a relatively clean representation, not a weary, worn out one - I'm figuring that a mid to light grey wash will be most suitable on a white aircraft?

I use Tamiya acrylics almost exclusively & would like if at all possible to do the panel wash with Tamiya acrylics as well. If I gloss clear the Blackjack in either Future or Liquitex acrylic clear, is doing an acrylic over acrylic was going to be OK?

If the acrylic over acrylic is workable, what's best to thin the paint with - I've seen a few tutorials that use flow aid (it would be Liquitex which is suitable for acrylics) to thin the paint down......?

I'm also not sure about ratio & application, but reading between the lines I'm figuring a high ratio of "thinner" to paint, apply with a brush & remove the excess with a damp cloth / wipe?



  • Member since
    June 2008
  • From: Iowa
Posted by Hans von Hammer on Friday, September 16, 2011 5:30 AM

If using a clear enamel or laquer gloss coat (the best finish over which to apply a wash), I guess Future is ok, although I personally detest the stuff for anyhing but floors...

Applying a wash with a brush in and on pin-point locations is quite doable, acryl-over-acryl...

It's called a "Pin-wash".. Tedious, but safe... A tempera wash is also quite safe over acylics.. The bonus is that you can wash it off easily too... Even after it's dried...


  • Member since
    December 2010
Posted by atlrus on Friday, September 16, 2011 6:12 AM

I am not the artist-type myself and had a really hard time with washes, until I found out about the MIG washes (from MIG Solutions). Since you paint acrylics, this would be the best product to get. It's a pre-made wash, all you have to do is open the bottle and dip your brush in it :) And a bottle seems like it would last a lifetime if used only for washes (you could thin it down and use it as a filter, as well).

For white/gray/blue aircraft you can use the "cold gray" MIG wash, works like a dream.

  • Member since
    April 2010
  • From: Somewhere in MN
Posted by El Taino on Friday, September 16, 2011 6:35 AM

I limit the use of Future Gloss coat to clear parts only and lately I've been using Alclad AQUA Gloss 600 on clear parts with better results (IMHO). I was a bit reluctant to add an oil wash to a perfect looking paint and decal job but is does work fine for me with no adverse reaction. Here is a pix of a wash over Acryl Clear Gloss Coat.

End product:

  • Member since
    March 2003
  • From: Towson MD
Posted by gregbale on Friday, September 16, 2011 9:54 AM

Try a "sludge wash" made with the acrylic paint and a bit of liquid detergent or soap.

I also use Tamiya acrylics almost exclusively, and the above wash works very well without the need to pre-coat with Future or other barriers, as long as the paint beneath has had a chance to dry thoroughly. With the detergent as the main component, once the wash has dried, the overflow on areas surrounding the recessed detail is very easy to remove with just a dry cotton swap and gentle rubbing. On super-flat paints, or in areas that won't take any real pressure, you can moisten the swab a little to aid its work.

I've never worked out a hard formula, but what I use is approximately four parts soap, 1 part paint, and 1 part plain water. I'll add another drop of water periodically to keep the right consistency. The detergent I use (actually liquid hand soap) has a slight amber tint, but it's never seemed to affect anything I've used it on, color-wise.

I've been using this method for six or seven years, and never had any bad long-term effects. The soap component doesn't seem to adversely effect clear coats or other paints applied over it. And the good news is that, if you don't like the effect, it will literally rinse right off with no remnant left behind.

Two cautions I've found:

1) Always wait for the sludge-wash to dry before trying to rub it off.  If it's still even a little wet, it'll just spread all over. (It won't ruin anything, you'll just have to wait longer to remove it.)

2) Always mix up a small test batch if you're using a new bottle of soap. With all the anti-bacterial stuff they're adding to soaps these days, I've occasionally found that the "secret ingredient" will sort of solidify the Tamiya paint instead of thinning it, causing the pigments to clump and become unusable within about 3-5 minutes. With Tamiya stuff currently in short supply, better to blow a few drops than half a bottle. (Since Tamiya's paints are alcohol-based, I'm supposing that isn't the antibacterial culprit, but I don't know what other categories of stuff they use. I've only had it happen a few times, but it was annoying.)

Play with it, and see if it works for you.



George Lewis:

"Every time you correct me on my grammar I love you a little fewer."
  • Member since
    June 2010
  • From: Austin, TX
Posted by DoogsATX on Friday, September 16, 2011 10:07 AM
As long as your clear coat's cured, and you're using a wash that's 100% water-based (i.e. no Windex or anything that might eat into the underlying coats) you should be good to go. For panel lines, I'm a big fan of Flory (formerly Promodeller) washes.

On the Bench: 1/32 Trumpeter P-47 | 1/32 Hasegawa Bf 109G | 1/144 Eduard MiG-21MF x2

On Deck:  1/350 HMS Dreadnought

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  • Member since
    October 2007
  • From: Scotland
Posted by Milairjunkie on Friday, September 16, 2011 10:34 AM

Interesting stuff - thanks all.

I did consider a Mig or Flory mix for this - might still yet, but I'm still interested in trying a DIY job. Does the flow aid method sound like it may work & if it might what sort of ratios should I be looking at?

I'll be away for a couple of days, so if I don't respond it's not because I'm not interested. Any other comments or ideas much appreciated!

  • Member since
    March 2010
  • From: MN
Posted by Nathan T on Friday, September 16, 2011 10:42 AM

As long as your clear coat's cured, and you're using a wash that's 100% water-based (i.e. no Windex or anything that might eat into the underlying coats) you should be good to go. For panel lines, I'm a big fan of Flory (formerly Promodeller) washes.

Dito Doogs, I always have good luck with the Promodeller washes, it wipes off easy and doesn't harm anything. sometimes it takes another going over if you end up wiping it completely off. i find i need to really shake and stir it up. all it takes to wipe off is a damp towel.




  • Member since
    June 2010
Posted by montague on Saturday, September 17, 2011 1:08 AM

Right Doogs! Flory's washes are excellent!


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