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Can Testors metallic enamels be airbrushed without any trouble?

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  • Member since
    February 2016
Can Testors metallic enamels be airbrushed without any trouble?
Posted by JonBailey on Wednesday, November 10, 2021 9:05 PM

These would be colors like flat silver and aluminum. These are paint colors named for metals. I eventually have to spray the wings of my jet plane and the raditor of my truck and the body of my cattle trailer. 

Do Testors silver, gold and aluminum enamels actually have metal particles in them? If these colors come in spray bombs, why can't airbrushes also use them? 

I plan to use my new Paasche H with number 3 needle at least for colors like gloss red or gloss grape. 

  • Member since
    April 2020
Posted by Eaglecash867 on Thursday, November 11, 2021 6:16 AM

I have a Paasche H that I usually use a #1 needle and cap on and I can spray the Testors metallic enamels (in the square bottles) just fine.  I find that I just have to open the needle a little more than I usually do to keep it from getting clogged.  They do have metal pigments in them, and I have found theirs to be quite a bit finer than everybody else's paint that I have tried.  They work well for airbrushing, but are an absolute godsend for brush painting metallic details.

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

  • Member since
    February 2016
Posted by JonBailey on Thursday, November 11, 2021 7:20 AM

I plan to paint my jet plane wings silver and a cattle trailer body aluminum. #3 or #5 needle for those larger parts? Is 35 psi proper pressure? I plan to use the modified Don Yost method but with Testors Universal Enamel Thinner instead of lacquer thinner. So as not to harm plastics.

Link to AndyX video:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=lCKZ_fo4eW0&t=141s

  • Member since
    April 2020
Posted by Eaglecash867 on Thursday, November 11, 2021 7:46 AM

I typically use about 20 PSI when I airbrush.  Also, with airbrushing, you can use lacquer thinner without any issues since the paint won't be going on wet enough for the lacquer thinner to do any damage.  That being said, I still prefer to use the Testors thinner too.  That way I know I can safely return the unused paint to the bottle without worries about possible long-term adverse chemical reactions.

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

  • Member since
    June 2021
Posted by rocketman2000 on Thursday, November 11, 2021 9:22 AM

I airbrush those MM colors with no problem.  The only problem is- do not expect a polished sheen.  They still have a "paint" look.  This is only important if you want a polished look.  In that case you must use Alclad or one of the other modern metalizers.  These require a flawless undercoat, so the MM metal colors are a simpler, easier job.

 

Don Stauffer in Minnesota

  • Member since
    March 2003
  • From: Western North Carolina
Posted by Tojo72 on Thursday, November 11, 2021 10:20 AM
Is he talking about using the Metelizer colors that go with the lacquer thinner, I took him to mean the older Testor enamel non metelizer colors like gold,chrome,brass and so forth.

  • Member since
    February 2016
Posted by JonBailey on Thursday, November 11, 2021 10:57 AM

The old-fashioned Testors enamel in the little square bottles in colors like Aluminum and Flat Silver, which I have. My amt Kenworth W-925 tractor's radiator calls for Aluminum and I believe the wings on my Atlantis Boeing 727 calls for silver. Though some here might think the plane should have aluminum wings to look like natural aluminum bare metal. My amt Wilson livestock trailer, I plan to paint the cattle body in a metal color like alumimum then put a satin top coat over it by blending 50/50 Testors Glosscote with Dullcoate then thinning that solution 1:1 with lacquer thinner. I plan to use a custom base color of Testors Enamel Grape Gloss for my 1/25 Kenworth tractor (now a work in progress), my 1/96 Boeing 727 jet plane and my amt 1/48 Bell B125 helicopter. Both commercial-model aircraft are to be made private aircraft with custom paint and custom waterslide decals. Both aircraft are to bear the name AMERICAN ORIGINAL in white letters and have wolf head logos on the tails. 

 

I've heard that metallic paints take higher pressure for the airbrush to prevent needle clog, is that true?  Should Testors aluminum or flat silver be sprayed at higher pressure than Testors grape gloss?  Does 20 pounds work well all around when Testors thinner is used in the Paasche H single action? Andy X calls for 35 psi in his "modified Don Yost" method but he is using 1:1 Testors enamel/lacquer thinner. I do plan on storing mixed paint to be thrifty. 

  • Member since
    January 2020
Posted by Space Ranger on Thursday, November 11, 2021 11:22 AM

DON'T thin your clear coat with lacquer thinner if you intend to spray it on top of an enamel color coat! Lacquer/lacquer thinners dissolve enamel.

And yes, you may need to increase your spraying pressure and/or open up your airbrush nozzle when spraying metallic paints. It depends on how fine the metallic particles are; some brands of metallic paint are finer than others. Best to experiment.

  • Member since
    April 2020
Posted by Eaglecash867 on Thursday, November 11, 2021 12:02 PM

JonBailey

I've heard that metallic paints take higher pressure for the airbrush to prevent needle clog, is that true?  Should Testors aluminum or flat silver be sprayed at higher pressure than Testors grape gloss?  Does 20 pounds work well all around when Testors thinner is used in the Paasche H single action? Andy X calls for 35 psi in his "modified Don Yost" method but he is using 1:1 Testors enamel/lacquer thinner. I do plan on storing mixed paint to be thrifty. 

 
20 pounds works well for me with the Testors square bottle metallics, and pretty much every other paint/color I shoot.  It may sound counter-intuitive, but running higher pressures tends to cause more problems with clogging when using metallic paints.  I use even lower pressures (around 8-10 PSI) if I'm painting the inside of a tubular structure, but 20 PSI is what I use for everything else.  Again, if you're planning on storing unused paint, I would stick with the Testors enamel thinner just to be safe.  With anything other than that, there is a risk of the rest of the paint in the bottle getting gummed up by a chemical reaction.

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

  • Member since
    April 2020
Posted by Eaglecash867 on Thursday, November 11, 2021 12:07 PM

Space Ranger

DON'T thin your clear coat with lacquer thinner if you intend to spray it on top of an enamel color coat! Lacquer/lacquer thinners dissolve enamel.

This isn't the case unless you're laying down thick layers of clearcoat with clouds of it coming out of your airbrush.  My clearcoats are always lacquer-based and they go down just fine over any other kind of paint, provided proper cure times and airbrushing techniques are observed.

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

  • Member since
    February 2016
Posted by JonBailey on Thursday, November 11, 2021 2:57 PM
I plan on using the Testors Dullcote and Clearcote products in the bottles. Sometimes to even seal decals. It seems as 1:1 with lacquer thinner is a popular mix. I've read on several accounts one is supposed to mist decals before going heavier with the airbrush. I gather both enamel and decals would be both well -cured before any clear paint work. Speaking of curing/drying enamels, will a low-temp kitchen range oven work if one doesn't have a dehydrator? How about a heat lamp inside a cardboard box instead?
  • Member since
    March 2003
  • From: Western North Carolina
Posted by Tojo72 on Thursday, November 11, 2021 3:01 PM

The lowest temperature that you can get on an oven is 140.

Putting a model in an oven is something I wouldn't do

  • Member since
    February 2016
Posted by JonBailey on Thursday, November 11, 2021 3:12 PM

Heat lamp set up, or just a normal incandescent light bulb, 100 watts, inside a box, to generate just some heat? How do people here cure their enamels without buying extra space-taking equipment? One might even put some sort of plug-in lamp inside the oven with the painted parts to bake on the enamels. 

 

125 W heat lamp in the oven hanging by a wire hook from the top burner? 

 

 

I was thinking about drying the parts for several days in a cardboard box in the living room then exposing them to some mild heat treatment once fully dried to the touch to give the enamels a durable hard-shell finish. 

  • Member since
    July 2008
  • From: Albany, NY
Posted by jeffpez on Thursday, November 11, 2021 3:26 PM

I have a flood lamp that has a clamp to use as a work light. It has a spot light bulb in it.I clamp it to the fence on my table saw and shine it towards the wet parts about a foot away. All enamels are dry no later than overnite.

  • Member since
    February 2016
Posted by JonBailey on Thursday, November 11, 2021 3:47 PM

By the same token, I need to protect my wet parts from settling dust. Both a closed cardboard box and a closed oven door will do that. Yes, one could use a range oven to bake on enamel to METAL parts but I think plastics would do a water-bucket-splashed wicked witch act under those circumstances. I figure a 125-watt IR heat lamp should be rather mild for plastics. I could do a temperature test in the oven with one before exposing my model parts there. 

  • Member since
    April 2020
Posted by Eaglecash867 on Thursday, November 11, 2021 4:38 PM

I just use time to cure my enamels, when I use them on the overall model (which is rarely).  I usually give enamels that cover the whole model about a week to cure.  For the most part though, for overall paintjobs, I'm really liking MRP lacquers.  They fully cure in less than an hour, with no heat needed.  No clearcoat needed prior to decal application either, since most of them are semi-gloss and take decals extremely well.

Dust isn't much of a problem for me since I run air cleaners 24/7 and regularly dust everything in my apartment top to bottom.

If you're using an IR heat lamp, just keep in mind that it can heat surfaces underneath it to a much higher temperature than the air will ever get.  I used to use IR heat lamps with my iguanas, and what I did to find good placement for the lamp is to put a glass of water under the lamp and measure the temperature of the water after it sat for a few hours under it.  That gave me a pretty accurate measurement of how hot it would make my iguanas.  Should work the same for models.

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

  • Member since
    February 2016
Posted by JonBailey on Thursday, November 11, 2021 5:21 PM

Maybe then just a floodlamp instead of a heat lamp inside the range oven. There are also small desktop heaters with temp control. Maybe one of those inside the range oven with the painted work. 

 

Vie Air 1500W Portable 2-Settings White Office Fan Heater with Adjustable Thermostat

  • Member since
    June 2021
Posted by rocketman2000 on Friday, November 12, 2021 7:59 AM

JonBailey
I plan on using the Testors Dullcote and Clearcote products in the bottles. Sometimes to even seal decals. It seems as 1:1 with lacquer thinner is a popular mix. I've read on several accounts one is supposed to mist decals before going heavier with the airbrush. I gather both enamel and decals would be both well -cured before any clear paint work. Speaking of curing/drying enamels, will a low-temp kitchen range oven work if one doesn't have a dehydrator? How about a heat lamp inside a cardboard box instead?
 

A regular incandecsant lamp will do.  No need for a fancy heat bulb. I use a 60 W bulb.

But it must be incandecsant bulb- LED ones are too efficient and generate little heat.  I made my box from MDF instead of cardboard- I worried about heating cardboard repeatedly.

 

 

Don Stauffer in Minnesota

  • Member since
    February 2016
Posted by JonBailey on Friday, November 12, 2021 8:37 AM

Splendid idea. An incandescent bulb in the cardboard box. Maybe even a 100 W bulb? 

 

MDF?

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