More New Paint Experiments: Vallejo Model Air and Mission Models

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!).

Alcohol Paints

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.

Ammonia Paints

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…






Well look, I already told you! I deal with the customers so the engineers don't have to! I have people skills! I am good at dealing with people! Can't you understand that? What is wrong with you people?

  • When you mentioned this on Airfix Tribut Forum I wasn’t sure I had tried it but I have tried the Aluminium; it’s like pulling liquid metal over the plastic when brush”scrubbing” it. Fantastic. The only thing I have to complain about is my experience of it not really drying. I may be doing something wrong here – will try decanting it into a jar and see how’s goes. 🙂

    • went strait for the entry I thought I’d read earlier today and managed to comment here… well doesn’t detract from the overall picture.

    • I haven’t had that problem–but I pour it into a jar and stir and stir and stir with a bamboo skewer.The biggest problem I’ve had with the Metal Color is that it tends to cure spontaneously-leaving clumps or chunks in the liquid paint that can’t be stirred away. My obsessive stirring was putting these clumps onto suspension and then onto the model’s surface. I’m still experimenting with a solution. It seems that being lazier and NOT stirring so much might be one path to success. If I stir too little or stir too much–problems.

  • I will wait for your prognosis on the mission paint. Apart from the adherence of the Vallejo air, I tried a couple of the newer tubs of the Humbrol acrylic with a ‘twist’ top (two reasons; I use a lot of Humbrol enamel with the brush of which works fine for me with thinning, and also I can then paint the cockpit lines with the same acrylic colours allowing easy cleanup and no masking) and have found the paint more along the lines of Revell Aqua with one, horrid, caveat; it seems some pots have a rough ‘grit’ inside them, making a smooth finish impossible. So, while Humbrol seem to have improved the usability of the paint, they have screwed this all up by somehow contaminating their paint production line. Perhaps it shares machines that make sandpaper, I don’t know. Still fine for small work and cockpit lines, but no good for general painting, ho hum.

  • I’ve been messing about with Mission Models paints since they came out this past spring. I’m not sure of their exact chemistry, but I’m told they’re an “acrylic urethane”, and the Mission Models thinner says that it contains “2-Butoxyethanol”, which is commonly used in paint production and food preparation. I think it’s aimed at the airbrush market (and it does spray beautifully whether thinned or not), but I’ve found it also brushes out well, and has great self-leveling properties akin to Badger’s “Stynlrez” (awful name – good paint) primer.

    I will say that Mission Models acrylics are the slowest-drying water-miscible acrylics I’ve ever seen, but I suspect that’s one reason why they work so well.

    You should try them.

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