Do you have to thin paints?

Joined: July 1st, 2017, 1:42 am

October 13th, 2017, 2:50 am #1

I'm getting away with Tamiya paints and no thinning. Testors is more difficult, can't find a good ratio.
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Joined: October 11th, 2008, 5:33 am

For spraying or brushing? nt

October 13th, 2017, 3:08 am #2

For spraying or brushing? nt
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Joined: March 19th, 2007, 9:06 am

October 13th, 2017, 3:13 am #3

I'm getting away with Tamiya paints and no thinning. Testors is more difficult, can't find a good ratio.
You don't need to thin paint but depending on what you're happy with in most cases if you want to do a good job of applying it you do whether you're airbrushing or hand brushing. It all depends on the viscosity of the paint to begin with, some may spray or brush fine out of the bottle, other not so much.
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Joined: February 27th, 2005, 4:34 pm

Yes you do

October 13th, 2017, 5:25 am #4

I'm getting away with Tamiya paints and no thinning. Testors is more difficult, can't find a good ratio.
You might be "getting away" without thinning Tamiya paints, but they will airbrush so much better if you thin them. Plus you'll make your paint last longer. You should read Gregg Cooper's third article on Hyperscale about painting the Tamiya J1N1 Gekko if you want to learn more about the properties of thinned Tamiya acrylics. There's a lot of nuance to be gained in the look and finish of your model if you thin Tamiya acrylics properly. My feeling is, if you just shoot straight color through your airbrush, you're just going to get straight color.

There are three parts to the Cooper Gekko build article and I think they have been the most helpful tutorials for me as a modeler of WWII aircraft. Don't shy away from thinning paints. Practice on a scrap model until you find the right ratios that suit what you want your model to look like.

http://hyperscale.com/features/2002/gekkogc_3.htm
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Joined: February 27th, 2005, 2:59 am

Why would you not thin?

October 13th, 2017, 12:25 pm #5

I'm getting away with Tamiya paints and no thinning. Testors is more difficult, can't find a good ratio.
Thinning allows greater control, gives a smoother finish, preserves detail better and uses less paint.
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Joined: May 10th, 2012, 12:58 pm

I've only ever airbrushed Testors and Floquil so I can't speak for

October 13th, 2017, 12:57 pm #6

I'm getting away with Tamiya paints and no thinning. Testors is more difficult, can't find a good ratio.
Tamiya or others. That being said, I can tell you that I've never relied on ratios to thin my Testors/Model Master paints. I have no clue how many drops of thinner I use to thin "X" number of drops of paint. What I can tell you, however, is that I just go by sight. The first thing I aim for is a roughly half and half mixture (ok...I guess I do use ratios) of paint to thinner. I add the thinner to my airbrush cup first, then pour in the paint. I'll stir it well with a scrap piece of sprue and then touch the sprue to the inner side of the airbrush cup. If the thinned paint runs down the side with the consistency of 2% milk (or skim milk for you health nuts out there), then that tells me it's thinned properly and I'm good to go. Of course, I test it on a scrap model or a paper towel first just to be sure before I commit to the real thing.
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Joined: July 1st, 2017, 1:42 am

Get too much puddling when I thin Tamiya and Testors

October 13th, 2017, 2:23 pm #7

I'm getting away with Tamiya paints and no thinning. Testors is more difficult, can't find a good ratio.
I have to move fast to avoid puddling.
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Joined: January 10th, 2006, 4:30 pm

More info needed

October 13th, 2017, 2:40 pm #8

Rob, what type of airbrush are you using? It sounds like you have the needle opened up too much or are holding the airbrush too close to cause puddling. Your air pressure may be too low.

Tamiya acrylics thin wonderfully with 91% alcohol and spray very easily when mixed at about a 1 part paint to 1 part alcohol. You can use Tamiya thinner, but I find it sprays just as well with alcohol (do not recommend using denatured alcohol, it dries too fast). With a dual action airbrush, you can get hairlines all the way up to a pattern of 1/2" or so. Make sure the airbrush is CLEAN!

Enamels thin best with the manufacturer's thinner or you can use mineral spirits, Naptha or Xylene to thin paints for airbrushing fine lines. Lacquer thinner works for general spraying but will cause a lot of tip dry when you try to paint fine lines and will drive you crazy. Enamels generally need to be thinned about 2 parts paint to 1 part thinner (mineral spirits, Naptha or Xylene) or 1 part paint to 1 part lacquer thinner for general spraying. These are general thinning ratios to get you started, but your mileage may vary. As others have suggested, practice on a paint mule before painting a good model. Practice makes perfect. You get better at painting by painting. Don't be afraid. Just practice, practice, practice.
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Joined: July 1st, 2017, 1:42 am

Badger Patriot

October 13th, 2017, 3:37 pm #9

Yeah, I hold it too close because I don't get results farther away. I thin about 1/4 to 1/3 thinner for Testors. I can't spray at full pressure, I get puddling. I've watched videos, etc.
Last edited by bamboo1 on October 13th, 2017, 3:40 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Joined: May 10th, 2012, 12:58 pm

The puddling thing is kinda odd. When I hear that, the first couple of things

October 13th, 2017, 3:43 pm #10

I think about are either the airbrush is being held too close to the model or the airbrush is being moved too slowly. Either way, too much paint is reaching the model all at once. Better to apply light coats and build them up than to firehose everything all in one shot. I'm not saying YOU'RE doing that, but that's what happens to me when I hold the AB too close or move it too slowly. At that point, it's not so much the paint, but rather the technique.
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