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Using acrylic house paint for model trains


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Has anybody used acrylic (water based) house paint through their airbrush to paint model trains ? Model paints in small jars/bottles seems to be getting very expensive (not to mention hard to get in places like Cairns). Colours I would be using are bauxite, light grey, dark grey, black, white and brown. It would also make cleaning up easier.

Edited by brian777999
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I hope you don't mean the stuff you paint on walls? For there's a much better alternative.

I have used Deco Art paint, the slate grey colour is a very good match for the grey of British Rail. At 2 fluid ounces you get a lot more paint for your money too. Most of the art and craft shops do a good range of colours. There are plenty of these shops online too. In fact nearly all the artist shops have a range of acrylic colours at prices from cheap to expensive.

As you can see from this colour chart:

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There's a good range of colours.

And you can get this pack for around $14.00

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There's other brands too. I use this one a lot.

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Or you can get it in tubes:

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Amazon have plenty of these paints, but sometimes you can pick them up cheaper at the art and craft shops.

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I am not sure if this works as expected. An Airbrush atomizes the paint to very fine droplets in the small µm range. This can only work if the pigments in the paint are dispersed accordingy. The preparation of pigments (AKA milling) is what makes the price for the paint. I assume that wall paint has very coarsly dispersed particles. It won't need the fine dispersion, so the manufacturer won't spend the money to grind it to small diameters.

 

Michael

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“House Paint” also formulated to give quite different properties from those required of modelling paints In terms of thickness of coating achieved. The way it dries is different too, and I think you would get “grinning back” on the surface of models, as it tries to form a coat like a skin, not adhering properly to the substrate.

 

Give it a bash, but be prepared for experiment and disappointment!


Artists acrylics are again formulated differently, They certainly ‘thin’ differently, because artists want different colour-saturations, but the high-quality ones have very fine pigment. They work exceedingly well on materials like wood, card etc, and may well settle on suitably-primed plastic or metal, although I’ve only used them as weathering or shading washes in that context.

Edited by Nearholmer
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I did try using a 50p sampler pot from B&Q and it clogged my Badger Velocity Airbrush, I also tried the tubes of acrylic paint from The Works an that also clogged. Now I only use Vallejo model air.

 

 

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2 hours ago, Tony Davis said:

I did try using a 50p sampler pot from B&Q and it clogged my Badger Velocity Airbrush, I also tried the tubes of acrylic paint from The Works an that also clogged. Now I only use Vallejo model air.

 

 

Did you use any airbrush thinners with these paints?

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26 minutes ago, Graham1960 said:

Did you use any airbrush thinners with these paints?

Yes, I used the Vallejo thinners and, to be fair, that might have been part of the problem as I understand that some thinners are specifically made for use with certain paints.

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You can sort of get them to spray but only with some nozzles on the Aztec airbrush and as @Nearholmer said, they have very different chemical properties. They sort of run back together and either fill scored lines or create blobs over raised detail. They coalesce over detail with thick patches and leave very thin almost translucent areas between Just seem all wrong for model railway purposes. 

 

On 19/07/2020 at 13:39, brian777999 said:

(not to mention hard to get in places like Cairns).

http://www.thecombatcompany.com/categories/vallejo/model-air/paints.html maybe?

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Artist's and craft acrylic paints are fine thinned with just water, maybe distilled if your water is very hard.

 

I would say that dedicated model paint probably has finer ground pigments to preserve the surface detail.

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47 minutes ago, JimFin said:

You can sort of get them to spray but only with some nozzles on the Aztec airbrush and as @Nearholmer said, they have very different chemical properties. They sort of run back together and either fill scored lines or create blobs over raised detail. They coalesce over detail with thick patches and leave very thin almost translucent areas between Just seem all wrong for model railway purposes. 

 

http://www.thecombatcompany.com/categories/vallejo/model-air/paints.html maybe?

 

Those Vallejo paints look interesting. If you have used them yourself, which one is closest to UK railway bauxite ? It is hard to tell looking at colour charts online. All the other colours I need seem to be there. 

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I really want to like Vallejo paints, the packaging is good, they brush on well but are not as tough as Testors/Modelmaster.  They don't pass the thumbnail scratch test.  Also they are susceptible to isopropyl alcohol which is the basis for some weathering washes.

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17 hours ago, Graham1960 said:

I hope you don't mean the stuff you paint on walls? For there's a much better alternative.

I have used Deco Art paint, the slate grey colour is a very good match for the grey of British Rail. At 2 fluid ounces you get a lot more paint for your money too. Most of the art and craft shops do a good range of colours. There are plenty of these shops online too. In fact nearly all the artist shops have a range of acrylic colours at prices from cheap to expensive.

As you can see from this colour chart:

spacer.png

 

There's a good range of colours.

And you can get this pack for around $14.00

spacer.png

 

 

10 hours ago, michl080 said:

I am not sure if this works as expected. An Airbrush atomizes the paint to very fine droplets in the small µm range. This can only work if the pigments in the paint are dispersed accordingy. The preparation of pigments (AKA milling) is what makes the price for the paint. I assume that wall paint has very coarsly dispersed particles. It won't need the fine dispersion, so the manufacturer won't spend the money to grind it to small diameters.

 

Michael


 

DecoArt themselves don’t recommend their product for airbrushes, for the pigment size issues Michael mentions.

 (It is widely done in the mixed media world, but I would think carefully about the cost of the airbrush before starting).

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2 hours ago, JimFin said:

Not encountered that - were you using model colour (brush paint) or model air (airbrush)?

Brush on Model Colour, Neutral Grey, Black and Black Grey.

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A very timely thread.  I'm reaching the stage of (brush) painting a card model I've been building and it would take quite a few of the usual tinlets of paint.  I'll have a look at the DecoArt range.

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If you can get them, Liquitex medium-body artists colours are good for brushing onto models, better than any other art material I've tried. They are not good for spraying. The full-body (heavy-body? Can't remember the technical term) paints from Liquitex are different and not so useful.

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To be honest I am not a fan of airbrushing. It tends to go everywhere and I think wastes paint. Then you can spend ages getting it to spray and then cleaning up afterwards.

 

Some of the dedicated model paints are not what they are cracked up to be. Humbrol's BR Blue is dependent on how well you stair it up, plus you need to keep doing it, or you will get a different shade. 

I'm not convinced that some dedicated model brands are the real deal. Are you just paying for the name?

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3 hours ago, Guy Rixon said:

If you can get them, Liquitex medium-body artists colours are good for brushing onto models, better than any other art material I've tried. They are not good for spraying. The full-body (heavy-body? Can't remember the technical term) paints from Liquitex are different and not so useful.

 

Always interested in finding and trying new things I looked up Liquitex and they have a range that includes "heavy" and "soft" plus some inks and mists but I couldn't see anything called medium body.

 

Is it possible that they call it "soft" rather than "medium"?

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The secrets to brush painting models with modern acrylic paints are:-

1, stir the paint often and only start painting when fully mixed, ie no solid paint on the stirrer.

2, use a decent sized paintbrush that holds plenty of paint but don't overload it.

3, use multiple thin coats, re-coating as soon as the previous one is touch dry, usually about 5 mins.

4, leave several hours to fully harden before applying transfers.

5, leave transfers to dry for several hours then paint with a couple of coats of your preferred varnish, flat, satin or gloss.

6, clean brushes as soon as you have finished using warm water and hand soap into the palm of your hand.  Brushes last a long time if you do this, not just dunk them in water.

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39 minutes ago, Graham1960 said:

To be honest I am not a fan of airbrushing. It tends to go everywhere and I think wastes paint. Then you can spend ages getting it to spray and then cleaning up afterwards.

 

It normally only goes where you point the airbrush. You can control the area covered by moving the airbrush closer to or further away from the subject. If you don't like cleaning up then airbrushing is definitely not for you.

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24 minutes ago, t-b-g said:

 I couldn't see anything called medium body.

 

Is it possible that they call it "soft" rather than "medium"?

 

I used to know what medium body meant. Now I know what soft body means.

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36 minutes ago, Graham1960 said:

To be honest I am not a fan of airbrushing. It tends to go everywhere and I think wastes paint. Then you can spend ages getting it to spray and then cleaning up afterwards.

 

Some of the dedicated model paints are not what they are cracked up to be. Humbrol's BR Blue is dependent on how well you stair it up, plus you need to keep doing it, or you will get a different shade. 

I'm not convinced that some dedicated model brands are the real deal. Are you just paying for the name?

 

You can control the flow of air and paint. Even with a single action air brush it should not ''go everywhere'' ; the flow of paint can be carefully controlled delivering it only where needed. I will admit that it can take 15 minutes to prepare the paint (stirred and thinned), 5 minutes to airbrush then 20 minutes to clean everything up. 

The cleanup is one reason I was thinking of using acrylics instead of enamels.

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7 hours ago, Guy Rixon said:

If you can get them, Liquitex medium-body artists colours are good for brushing onto models, better than any other art material I've tried. They are not good for spraying. The full-body (heavy-body? Can't remember the technical term) paints from Liquitex are different and not so useful.

I've had a look at their website; I note it says

'The paint retains subtle brush strokes'

Does that mean it leaves brush marks?

Also sods law they seem to have every

colour except the one I want. :(

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