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Humbrol matt enamels


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Guest oldlugger

Is anyone else finding that Humbrol matt enamel paints aren't drying properly? Several models I've painted recently with these paints (especially red and black) are not hardening up and drying properly, even after several days of drying. When you touch the paint it still has a tacky feel. It is highly irritating, as paint comes off on your fingers. Humbrol never used to do this. Also, their so called matt paints seem to end up with more of a satin finish. What the hell is happening? Any suggestions as to how to dry this stuff? I have thought about using matt varnish over the paint, but this seems like overkill. I will stop buying this range as it's a waste of money at over £2 a tin. I presume it's now made in China?

 

Cheers

Simon

Edited by oldlugger
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I've not had the not-drying problem. The matt paint usually dries quickly, though the cold, damp weather doesn't help. Not drying matt is usually down to insufficient shaking/stirring (it may need up to 5 minutes!), but the addition of a little talcum powder will help - not too much or it will result in a rough finish - a bit of trial and error.

 

I understand that production had shifted to China, but has now returned to the UK. (No comment.....)

 

I seem to recall another thread on this subject.

 

AS an aside, I can recommend Vallejo acrylics - I was not impressed with the Humbrol acrylic I tried. (LNER loco green IIRC)

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I've not had a problem with drying or a non matt finish. They do seem to need a lot of stirring though and the density of pigment does not seem as good needing more coats. In fact I have been disappointed with a lot of recent paints. Revell seem to be the best at the moment although rail match aren't to bad. Precision and Humbrol seem very hit and miss.

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Guest oldlugger

Thanks for your replies fellas. I always give my tins a really good stirring before use and never apply too thickly. In the past matt black paint used to dry rapidly and very matt. I just can't understand it. I've also noticed that this paint is much thicker and needs a lot of thinning.

Edited by oldlugger
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I have had this problem with insufficient mixing.

 

I have heard that warming the tin to begin with helps with mixing it as this will reduce its viscosity and therefore enabling you to mix it around a lot more. A short time resting on the radiator will apparently do the trick. Though I am yet to try this as its been some time since I did any serious painting :-(

 

Simon

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Over the past several years I have encountered occasional drying problems with Humbrol matt white and matt black but no other colours nor of any other finish in their range.  I also use gloss, satin and metalcote finishes.  There seems no obvious rhyme nor reason and the problems have occurred at times but not always and with different tinlets probably from different production batches.

 

The black also dries to a sheen as often than not rather than a matt finish.

 

I would attribute it possibly to high atmospheric humidity if only that were the case; sometimes I paint in relative humidity as low as 10% and with the same results.

 

The paint is well mixed before use, is stored with the tin inverted so that if there is any skin formation it is at the bottom and paints are hand-brush rather than air-brush applied.

 

For what it's worth I have also just about abandoned hope of getting decent opacity with their matt white.

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i have had a problem with humbrol matt brown and matt black not wanting to dry. i used humbrol black acrylic but found that poor. years a go i allways used humbrol paints now i only use railmatch or revell for just basic colours matt black or white.

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I just used some matt black the other day and it dried fine and with a matt finish. My work space is in the basement and it is always a little cool down there. Can't even say I have had problems with it drying either despite the cooler temps. 

 

Could it be a bum tin?

Edited by thebritfarmer
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I must confess that I gave up using Humbrol enamels decades ago and I am at a loss to understand why anyone else is still using them!!  

 

I got sick and tired of having to spend "hours" stirring them - only to discover that, on opening them again a couple of days later, all had settled out.  On opening a new tinlet, you are consistently faced with a near-clear liquid with a solid sludge at the bottom.  Plus all the inconsistencies of quality everyone reports above.  So now "warming the tin" is the answer?  Leaving aside the obvious risks, it simply should not be necessary - and it is not!  

 

Allow me to let everyone into a little secret - Revell do a very similar range - the quality is excellent, they do not settle out - even when years old, they dry quicker, apply better with fewer brush marks, have better coverage and they are often cheaper!  They even identify the equivalent Humbrol number on the display stand!  The range is not quite so extensive, but must of the "useful" colours are there.  

 

My challenge to everyone - give Revell a go - Humbol will never sort their quality whilst we continue to pay money for rubbish.  If your local shop does not stock them (and many do) then ask them why not!

 

Best wishes,

 

Howard.

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Its really all down to mixing it thoroughly ,then mixing it again ,then leaving the tinlet upside down to store .it can happen to other paint .When I worked in model shop in London  in the 70's we had to make an AMT truck kit up over night  for ITV's The Sweeny .The boss took the trailer and I took the cab .I sprayed the cab with white Testors spray paint as good quality model sprays were hard to get hold of and that was our only can .I gave it a shake and sprayed away and stuck  it in the airing cupboard for an hour or two,it didnt dry and remained tacky ....full stop .it appears in the prog and you see the actor ,who was supposed to have made the model ,trying to hastily wipe his fingers as he speaks .We also did well out of the Yom Kippur war and others .You have no  idea how much ITN  paid  for Roco Minitanks  painted two different colours .At least they dried.We had two hours to make em but that also included buying them from another shop .

so keep mixing ...and mixing .

Edited by alfsboy
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I had the same problem, mainly with black, years ago, so it's not exactly new, although it may be worse now. I gave up on stirring and pick up some of the thick pigment onto a palette, keeping the fluid to a minimum, and thin with white spirit. Nowadays I mainly buy Revell enamels but still use Humbrol, some pots of which are over 30 years old.

Pete

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Guest oldlugger

I must confess that I gave up using Humbrol enamels decades ago and I am at a loss to understand why anyone else is still using them!!  

 

I got sick and tired of having to spend "hours" stirring them - only to discover that, on opening them again a couple of days later, all had settled out.  On opening a new tinlet, you are consistently faced with a near-clear liquid with a solid sludge at the bottom.  Plus all the inconsistencies of quality everyone reports above.  So now "warming the tin" is the answer?  Leaving aside the obvious risks, it simply should not be necessary - and it is not!  

 

Allow me to let everyone into a little secret - Revell do a very similar range - the quality is excellent, they do not settle out - even when years old, they dry quicker, apply better with fewer brush marks, have better coverage and they are often cheaper!  They even identify the equivalent Humbrol number on the display stand!  The range is not quite so extensive, but must of the "useful" colours are there.  

 

My challenge to everyone - give Revell a go - Humbol will never sort their quality whilst we continue to pay money for rubbish.  If your local shop does not stock them (and many do) then ask them why not!

 

Best wishes,

 

Howard.

I have to agree with you Howard. I bought some Revell military matt colours not so long ago (because our nearest model shop only sells these) and the quality was exactly as you say; very good. In future I will avoid Humbrol and go for Revell.

 

Cheers

Simon

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Having tried virtually all the brands, now I really try to avoid buying anything but Vallejo acrylics - they brush well, airbrush well, can be thinned and cleaned with water, and come in a sensible bottle that avoids spillage and allows you to measure drops out carefully for mixing. I've never had a problem with adhesion, or reaction with any variety of varnish over the top. Humbrol are in the dark ages in comparison! 

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Guest oldlugger

The other thing of course, are the ridiculous tins that the paints comes in (not just the big H, but other makes too) making it virtually impossible to avoid wasting paint through mixing and the paint slopping over the sides. It is also necessary to make sure the lid is paint free after use, otherwise dried paint build up will stop it closing preventing an air tight seal, and cause the contents to dry up.

Edited by oldlugger
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I always give my tins a really good stirring before use and never apply too thickly.

Stirring full tins only makes it go off quicker!

 

Unless you're doing a large job I would do the following. Using something like a a screw driver, remove a lump of pigment and place in something like a plastic bottle top (I use Diet Coke tops as they're white and good for mixing colours in) and then thin either with some of the carrier from the tin or your preferred thinners.

 

Doing it this way works everytime for me, regardless of when I bought the tin. Hope this helps.

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I have to say that humbrol is very hard wearing .When I painted model soldiers  and tried stripping Humbrol off old failures  its quite hard stuff as is artists oils .The modern acrylics are weak in comparison  handing wise .

so keep stirring .Another method is to decant the whole lot into little jars .I use Tamiya ,either their unused jars they sell of by cleaning out old ones.You can then stir with fortitude knowing it wont all spill over the sides..

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Hi

I'm sure it's been mentioned on here before but Humbrol are moving production back to the UK after issues with the consistency (pardon the pun) of the Chinese production.

http://www.humbrol.com/manufacturing/ though how far they've got I have no idea but I'm told some is in the system. At the moment there some seem to be a deal of variation in what you get and while I've never had any drying issues I've certainly had problems with the covering power of some of their colors. I believe one of the problems they encountered was in the pigment quality.

While I agree with the comments regarding Revell and Vallejo it does depend on what you're doing whether enamels or acrylics are best and what you can get easily. For rail colours I had problems with Railmatch when they first came out and have never touched them since sticking to Precision. I had hopes for the new Humbrol acrylics rail paints but had issues with them and thinning but they now have a new thinner out so may try again.

Whilst i use exactly the same trick as james for small jobs for something bigger I use an electric stirrer as there's stirring and there's stirring. Most people rarely do it long enough though even that won't help if the paints poor to begin with.

 

Not sure Tamiya's range has been mentioned, it's great for an airbrush but lousy for the hairy stick unless you add some retarder.

 

Cheers

Stu

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I've never had any major problems with Humbrol matt enamels, although I do like Buckjumper's tip (above).

 

With regards to Revell enamels, I came across these discounted at our local Trago Mills ** store, but I've always found them to be thicker and more gloopy than Humbrol, needing a lot more stirring, and consequently harder to apply consistently and evenly with a brush. I've stopped using them now...

 

 

** It's a Devon & Cornwall thing - one of life's experiences if you live in the South West...!

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I do use Revell alongside Humbrol though the color range available locally isn't always everything I need and it is no longer possible to obtain paints by mail order.  I find them marginally better and less prone to skin formation.

 

I don't use Trago Mills on a point of principle.  The operator of those sites regularly rides roughshod over any and all levels of authority and to my knowledge has still (after what?  35 years?) to obtain planning permission for his eyesore of an edifice in the Glyn Valley which is a blot on a otherwise superb landscape.

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My experience with Humbrol enamal is that once you've mixed it as much as humanly possible, and then some more, it's okay.  I also agree with the tip about storing the tinlets upside down.

Having said that, I use most water based acrylics these days, if only because they don't affect my asthma. :-)

 

Another possible tip here people:  recently, as an outcome of some indolence inspired experimentation, I made the following discvovery.  I had an acrylic "wash" that had settled out.  Not wanting to spend ages stirring and / or shaking it, I thought, "what'll happen if I pop it into my ultrasonic cleaning bath for ten minutes, and go do something else?"  The result was warm and beautifully re-suspended paint! :-)  I've NOT tried it yet with enamals, but will give it a go the next time I have to "restore" some enamal paint before use.  Perhaps this could just be the lazy man's answer to paint stirring in future?

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After being drenched in most ghastly paints for  four decades   I find that the turpy smell of Humbrol type paint a bit of a turn off now as I get into my dotage and my nose rebels and my lungs atrophise  .Even the low emission stuff ,sorry odour /odor doesnt agree with me now so much .I do like Tamiya  paint .Its a class above all the rest ,i believe due to being a resin base or some such and the Iso propyl alcohol  thinner doesnt seem to  disagree with me .Another minor point is never go by what  a paint is called on the label .Dragon green turns into grass green ,vomit green ,french chasseur green ,southern coach puce ,or what ever  depending on the target market .Most paint sold to do a certain job are nothing of the sort .

       My favorite when I can use them are artists oils ,I now use Artisan waterbased now  .While I dont advocate painting your favorite express loco in said oils it is great for colouring already painted track ,scenery etc and superb for weathering locos and rolling stock  .By putting  basic colour down  first and letting it dry ,oils come into their own for shading and colouring and getting a natural look .AND ...you dont have to stir them ....just remember to put the cap on .I have one colour that I bought in 1973 ,a tiny tube of Alazarin Crimson ,the pukkah stuff not hue .Cost me fourteen quid .

Martin

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