I found this very cool video showing a fellow painting Mission Models acrylic paint.
He thins the paint to an insane degree (50-50 paint to thinner ratio) and STILL gets good coverage! I gotta get me summa dis! Because I live in a city that still has a few “real” plastic kit hobby shops I can find this stuff and I’ll be trying it out in the future. It looks very promising.
My experiments with Vallejo Model Air are continuing. I added Windex to it (one full eyedropper to a new, full bottle of paint) and it worked very well. 24 hours later the paint dried well, the paint in the bottle didn’t get weird (not fizzy or lumpy) and the addition of the Windex seems to work the same on Model Air as it does on Tamiya–without the paint stripping qualities of Tamiya.
I was hesitant to put the Windex in the Model Air due to the fact that Model Air seemed to smell a little like chlorine, and as we all know adding ammonia (in Windex) to chlorine causes the pure chlorine to be released as a highly poisonous gas used in World War I as a weapon.
So it’s, like a bad idea to mix chlorine bleach with ammonia window cleaner. If you do that, you end up dying horribly, particularly because the world will remember you as an ignoramus.
So don’t do that.
On the other hand, I decided, “what the hey” and mixed ’em. Apparently, the Vallejo paint does not contain chlorine, so we’re good. Don’t do as I do, do as I say. (You see the sacrifices I make for my readers? I could have been KILLED! It’s rough I tell ya.)
Here is a good solid primer (oh man! the humanity!) on acrylic paint mixing.
There are THREE primary types of acrylic paint, but the stuff is constantly being reinvented, and newer paints (like Mission Models) are coming out all the time. The time of “the enamels” is growing short. Even the spray-happy hordes can’t take the smell–or their overlords in local government are making it hard to buy proper solvents (think of the children!).
Tamiya and Gunze are similar because they are made with our dear friend beverage alcohol. The smell of tequila fills the paint room as these lovely products from the nation of Japan are applied. Some folks use this smell as an argument that “acrylics stink too” and, setting aside my fondness for the smell of Jose Cuervo (it’s a long story–Jose and me go back a ways) I can see their point. You don’t mix these alcohol paints with the other two types of paints: ammonia and latex.
These are the ones I like. Revell Aqua Color, MM Acryl, and Xtracrylix all smell of ammonia. Ammonia is not entirely benign. Some folks have gone off on slightly insane rants about paint with ammonia in it. It’s hard on airbrushes. But, for me, and my never-spray methods, this is the stuff to get.
Latex-y Crap (Edit: I’ve learned that this is PVA paint)
Humbrol Acrylic, Lifecolor, and, yes, Vallejo Model Color all smell like latex house paint (PVA) and, in a way, act like it. It’s too thick and peanut-buttery to go on properly, doesn’t stick to the plastic when it’s applied, and, in general, is not very good paint. Sorry guys. Lifecolor is not so thick and chunky, but that’s its only virtue.
Don’t Cross the Paint Lines
In general, don’t cross paint lines. Don’t mix latex with ammonia with alcohol. Also, thin latex and ammonia paint with water. Thin alcohol paint with alcohol (not fifteen-year-old scotch!).
New Types of Paint
Vallejo Model Air and Mission Models paints are new to me and deserve more investigation. Mission Models Paint, based on the video above, looks like a real good product. Anything that you can crazy thin like that and still get it to flow like that is a potential winner. I don’t know exactly what they make Model Air out of–but I wouldn’t mix it with any other paint right now, because I’m not sure. It does thin with water. It does smell a little of I-don’t-know-what–maybe ammonia? The fact that my lung tissue still exists means it’s probably not chlorine.
I’m always looking for new types of paint because we brushpainters are motherless children. Testors has not given me a warm and fuzzy feeling with their support for my hobby. If they suddenly quit the hobby paint market, I need a backup, and I’d hate to order all my paint from Germany…