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ejtnt

Help a noob with painting/detailing plastic bodies with acrylics

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Hello everybody,

let me start that by saying that I am not sure if this is the right place for this thread, so if it needs to be moved please feel free to do it.

So, even though I have been in RC and static models for almost two decades now, I have never got into using acrylic paints on plastic models. Enamels has been all I used and quite honestly, I am not particularly fond of them. That is the reason why I have mostly stuck to smaller scale models.

That said recently, I started entertaining the idea of getting back into more into static modeling (mostly motorsport) and also getting a couple of old school RC kits that come with plastic bodies instead of lexan.

I am no stranger to tamiya TS spray paints but for the first time, I would like to use acrylic paints for detailing, instead of enamels. I have no plans in using an airbrush, so I will be sticking to using hand-brushing.

I have read in many places that tamiya acrylics are not that great for hand-brushing. Is that true? Should I avoid them?

I have also read that the formula of tamiya acrylic paints has changed in recent years, and they can now produce better results. Is this true?

Moreover, if you would not recommend tamiya acrylic paints, what could be a good alternative? I hear testor's/model master being mentioned quite a bit. Are there any other brands you would recommend. Please keep in mind that I am based in Germany, so access to certain brands might be limited.

Thank you so much in advance.

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I think Tamiya acrylics are ace, and fairly easy to use.

Use Tamiya X20A thinner to get the paint in the jar around the consistency you would use for sraying (like milk) and stir in thoroughly with a cocktail stick.

Never dip your brush in the paint jar, or you'll contaminate the paint with dust, loose bristles, dried paint dust etc.

Drip some paint from the cocktail stick into a small plastic lid, or some other kind of palette. Dip your brush in water and then into the paint. Play around with it a little in the palatte

until it paints nicely (imagine dipping an old fashioned quill into a pot of ink) adding a drop or two of water to get it right, and then an extra drop each time to stop it thickenening as it dries.

You'll need around 2-4 thin coats depending on the colour - usually two is fine for helmet trim, seat belts and buckles, faces, eyes etc.

 

Flat colours dry very fast, maybe in an hour or two. Gloss colours can take up to 2 weeks to dry. So sometimes it is better to use a flat colour and then spray gloss clear TS laquer over the top.

Crash helmets and stuff should be sprayed with TS if possible. Use blu-tack or similar to mask areas not to be sprayed.

 

Acrylics are mostly useless for washes because they dry far too quickly, so use your enamels on top of the acrylics for that.

Happy painting!

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Tamiya acrylic is fine, if you don't touch.  

Acrylic in general is weakest paint when it comes to durability. I've got acrylic paint on an airsoft stock, and after a while it gets rubbed off because of my sweaty hand grabbing the stock.  Enamel is stronger, lacquer is strongest. "Mr. Color" (by Gunze) is lacquer.  But it's not that easy to find.  

For painting drivers and other detail work, Tamiya acrylic is fine (I wouldn't paint the whole body with acrylic because it's not durable). I've got an old batch I got from early 2000.  Almost 20 years later, they still work fine.  Below driver was hand painted with Tamiya acrylic colors.  Flesh, brown, black, blue, red, yellow, gray, silver, light blue for shading... everything was acrylic, after spraying TS white for the helmet and the body first.  

8tOI2Tx.jpg

 

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11 hours ago, Fuijo said:

Acrylics are mostly useless for washes because they dry far too quickly, so use your enamels on top of the acrylics for that.

If you want to go this route, then Games Workshop do a pretty good range of acrylic washes.

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8 hours ago, Juggular said:

For painting drivers and other detail work, Tamiya acrylic is fine (I wouldn't paint the whole body with acrylic because it's not durable).

Do you not seal in your paintwork?

Just firing a coat of TS80 flat clear over the finished article has several benefits. It gives a more durable surface, a surface that's easy to clean, and it ties all areas

of the model together by reflecting light uniformly.

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6 hours ago, Yalson said:

If you want to go this route, then Games Workshop do a pretty good range of acrylic washes.

I can't get on with acrylic washes. I find they give a dirty look because I can't clean all of it off the high points before it starts to dry. So a white race suit ends

up looking more like mechanic's overalls.

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3 hours ago, Fuijo said:

Do you not seal in your paintwork?

Just firing a coat of TS80 flat clear over the finished article has several benefits. It gives a more durable surface, a surface that's easy to clean, and it ties all areas

of the model together by reflecting light uniformly.

If you do that to a driver figure though you flatten the gloss of the helmet which is usually supposed to be glossy.  I like Tamiya acrylics and never thought of them as not being that durable.  When I do a driver figure I mask everything except the helmet, hit that with whatever TS color I'm using, then hand brush acrylic the rest of the figure. 

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50 minutes ago, 78Triumph said:

If you do that to a driver figure though you flatten the gloss of the helmet which is usually supposed to be glossy.

No, I just flat the bits that are supposed to be flat, and mask off bits that aren't. I never leave flat paint as the final surface - dirt will stick and be impossible to clean off. A flat surface is

like fine-grit abrasive paper. I put gloss clear on top of gloss colour as well to provide a polishable surface.

A couple of examples -

P1010063_zpsl5uiknbl.jpg

P1000939_zpspxat9i8b.jpg

 

Here's a pic showing the figure before and after flat clear applied to driver's body -

P1000958_zpsmkaau7vm.jpg

P1000960_zpszevdsalb.jpg

 

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14 hours ago, Juggular said:

"Mr. Color" (by Gunze) is lacquer.  But it's not that easy to find.  

It may not be easy to find but it is by far and away the easiest paint to hand-paint that I have found and it binds perfectly to TS paint. 

 

1 hour ago, Fuijo said:

P1000939_zpspxat9i8b.jpg

Nice drivers! I have 3 awaiting paint and keep putting it off. Need to bite the bullet.

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10 hours ago, Fuijo said:

Do you not seal in your paintwork?

That's a good idea.    

I admit I don't often bother sealing the drivers. Once the driver goes in, I may not touch the driver for 10 years.  I should flat coat --- I just realized how funny it looks with red vinyl gloves...LOL.  For RC drivers, TS80 should be fine (I only have Testors flat clear, because Testors won't destroy water slide decals for static kits).  Nice drivers, Fujio!  

 

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Thanks. Your driver looks good too. The face is exceptional.

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I thought it was not possible to spray TS paints (regardless of clear or not, gloss or flat) over acrylic paints without having them dissolve. Or is it enamels that don't play well with the TS paints. Anyways I read somewhere that Tamiya will release the equivalent of TS paint, but in a liquid form so people can use them for airbrushing and maybe hand-brushing. I would be willing to try these out.

Also why and how do the clear TS paints, mess decals?

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4 hours ago, ejtnt said:

I thought it was not possible to spray TS paints (regardless of clear or not, gloss or flat) over acrylic paints without having them dissolve.

It is. X/XF paints are fine both underneath and on top of TS paints .

The flat clear TS80 does say not to spray on top of stickers or decals, but the gloss clear TS13 does not. I wanted to seal in the stickers on my XR311 with flat clear,

so I sprayed TS13 on first using 2 light mist coats, and then sprayed the flat clear on top of that to get the final finish I wanted. Very happy with the result.

Generally speaking, most of the issues are with putting paints with similar bases on top of each other. They share a common thinner so it's possible that the top

layer can dissolve the lower layer. Spraying a thick coat of TS13 clear on top of a paint job consisting of one or more TS colours can make the colours run into each other

as the clear softens the paint underneath. Be sure the colour coat has fully gassed off, and apply the clear in thin coats to prevent this.

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Thank you all for the information. I will give the Tamiya acrylic paints a go. I will post some of my results. I already have a 70's challenger and a Porsche 934 rsr in the pipeline so I will post the results.

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