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Brush Painting with Tamiya Acrylics

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  • Member since
    November 2021
Brush Painting with Tamiya Acrylics
Posted by Finnigan on Tuesday, November 2, 2021 4:52 PM

Hi Folks

Started getting back into the hobby after a long absence.  I painted my first model with enamels and spray cans, like I used to 'back in the day'.  Turned out ok.  Then for my next two I thought I would use Tamiya acrylics and an airbrush.  I've never used acrylics before and wanted to try them out.  I also had little experience with an airbrush and would like to start using it, and figured acrylics would be easier (cleanup and all that).

So the airbrushing with the Tamiya acrylics is going well.  However brush painting is ... something else.  I find it hard to get good coverage with a first coat, and the second coat ends up doing more harm than good.  Now, poking around here, I read some recommendations to use a paint retarder when brushing Tamiya acrylics (I've got the Tamiya retarder on order).   I guess that added complication has got me wondering now if acrylics are really the way to go (anyway I'll have to figure that out myself).

However I do have a question and I hope someone can tell me if I have done something wrong or if it is an effect of the Tamiya acrylics:  after airbrushing a model (airplane) I had a few touch ups to make which I did with a brush ... and the touchups are a lot more glossy than the rest of the paint.  

Plus, on a ship model that I am also working on, I brushed acrylic (flat black XF-1) on part of the hull, and it seems to be more of a semi-gloss than flat.  Yet the flat dull red that I sprayed on looks fine.  Strange.  (I'm going to redo the black section with the airbrush).

I painted both models with primer before doing the finishing coats.

Any observations and/or suggestions would be much appreciated!





  • Member since
    February 2006
  • From: Boston
Posted by Wilbur Wright on Sunday, December 19, 2021 11:14 PM

Tamiya acrylics are notoriously difficult if not impossible to brush paint, and in my experience the retarder will not help.  Go back and airbrush those parts as you said.  I use Humbrol enamels to brush paint as they are dead flat. 

All usable Testors MM enamels for military models have been phased out.  I am transitioning to Tamiya acrylic as my #1 and also AK real colors for airbrushing, and Humbrol enamel for brush painting.


  • Member since
    November 2021
Posted by Finnigan on Friday, December 24, 2021 3:14 PM

in my experience the retarder will not help.

Interesting.  Thank you for the feedback, Wilbur.

In parallel with my scale modelling, I've been putting together a few small structures for my HO shelf railroad.  I tried brushing the Tamiya acrylics on an interlocking tower, and even using the retarder, I didn't have a lot of success.  Ended up airbrushing it; that worked out fine.







  • Member since
    May 2004
  • From: Land of Lakes
Posted by cbaltrin on Friday, December 24, 2021 7:01 PM

Wilbur Wright
Tamiya acrylics are notoriously difficult if not impossible to brush paint

Tamiya is like any paint. You have to learn to use it.  I remember brush painting with testors enamels when I was a kid. If I painted over one color with another , the top color would dissolve and mix with the base color. It was not an issue with the paint, rather my technique...

On the Bench: Too Much

  • Member since
    January 2005
  • From: Cave City, KY
Posted by Watchmann on Friday, December 24, 2021 10:12 PM


  • Member since
    April 2020
Posted by Eaglecash867 on Saturday, December 25, 2021 5:24 AM

Retarder definitely does help with being able to brush paint Tamiya, but I still try to do that as little as possible for the same reasons as you found with it.  For doing touchups with it, I have had much better luck by just loading my airbrush with a little bit and just hitting those spots with quick little spurts with my Paasche H and #1 cap/needle turned all the way down to the smallest pattern I can still get paint to flow with.  You get better coverage that way, without the paint going on nearly as thick as it does with a brush, and the sheen stays the same as what is already there because it was applied the same way, with the same additives.  Lately though, I have pretty much been avoiding touchups altogether by just using a more durable paint.

"You can have my illegal fireworks when you pry them from my cold, dead fingers...which are...over there somewhere."


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