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Mike

Ultimate Acrylic Airbrush Thinner & Cleaner

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Ultimate Acrylic Airbrush Thinner & Cleaner
Ultimate Products


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It's a bit of a bold claim to be the ultimate in anything, isn't it? I think that Ultimate have a fair claim in this respect though, as they have created two products that can be used on any acrylic paints without the risk of it turning to jelly or ruining your paint finish. We here in Great Britain are familiar with a wide range of acrylic paint systems, probably around a dozen or so off the top of this modeller's head at least. Well Ultimate have been out and found another couple of dozen lesser known brands that are available throughout the world, and made sure that their products are compatible with those as well. That's what I call dedication above and beyond.

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The bottles arrive double-wrapped and carefully packaged to reduce the chances of spillage, and under the cap is a bung that you need to remove before first use. You'll find 270ml of the product within a cylindrical polyprop bottle, and the cap has a handy folding dispenser "tube" built into the lid, so that in the unlikely even you tip it over, you'll not lose most of your bottle to the desk. In fact, I just ran a quick test, and even a full(ish) bottle laid flat on its side will not lose any content with the tube deployed and posed at any angle. That has to be a boon for the clumsy modeller like myself. So far it's same-same for both products, but their intended use is different, so here's where we'll diverge.

Ultimate Airbrush Thinners
By using different mixing percentages that are shown below in a table, you can use this to thin any currently available acrylic paint, so you can dispense with all those different bottles of X20A, Xtracrylix, Gunze etc., that surround you work area. That should save you a little space, and over time, save you some pennies too, as you only need to have one brand of thinners around. I have tried it on several brands of paints that I have on hand, and have found it to be equivalent if not better for all instances. Lifecolor for example, it improves the spraying noticeably, and also makes the finish more robust, resisting handling more than previously. Gunze is pretty much identical to their own Mr Leveling Thinners, except for the fact that it isn't lacquer based, so less harsh on you and the environment. Tamiya is just the same, and Xtracrylix improves the flow and reduces (so far to zero) the drying on the tip that besets this brand.

Although the instructions recommend a percentage that varies by quite a margin, I have been using my patented "guesstimation" method, and everything has been fine. You might want to post up a copy of the table next to your spray booth, and I fully intend to do so when I get a minute. My spray booth is also a lot less cluttered as a result, and I'm hooked. I've even used it to thin paint for brushing, and it works very well there too, so bear that in mind when you have some of your own.

Ultimate Airbrush Cleaner
Airbrush cleaning is one of the bug bears of the new user, and until you evolve a routine of your own, it's a process that can be a bit of a pest. This new cleaner is good to have on hand, and will dissolve paint that has dried in the cup or on the brush while you've been using it. If you've been silly and left paint in the cup for days, it'll still cut through that, but you'll need to leave it to soak a wee while longer. Again, I've tried it with all the above brands, and it just whisks the paint out of the brush, and after a few back-pressure bubbling sessions you're ready to spray the next colour without a strip-down.

An interesting side-use that I have found for it is as a brush cleaner. All brushes eventually get a build-up of paint in the shaft of the bristles where they enter the ferrule and are packed tightly. This can be tricky to remove, and can result in a ruined brush. If you decant a puddle onto a resistant surface like Formica or your cutting mat, then dab the brush side-on, being careful not to damage the bristles, you can expel all that dried on paint after a few attempts. I usually use a drop or two, soak the brush, dab it, then wipe away the dirty thinners and repeat a few times until the brush regains its natural bristle colour. I recently used this technique on my dry-brushing brush, and re-discovered its bright orange bristles! If you can clean a dry-brushing brush, you can clean any brush.

Conclusion
I am so pleased that Lee from Ultimate sent me these two innocuous looking bottles, as not only have I cleared a little space in my spray booth, but I've also had an improvement in my painting experience. I'm also one of those folks that due to my own buying habits and some of the samples we've received over the years happens to have a lot of brands of paint, but I suspect I'm not alone.

The products perform as advertised, and the only smell is a faint Isopropyl Alcohol whiff, which Lee freely admits is one of the ingredients. The rest of the recipe is highly secret, and I can understand why it's a product that although calling it a game-changer is too grandiose, it will change the way you paint in acrylics with your airbrush and clean up afterwards for the better.

Very highly recommended.

Airbrush Thinners
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Airbrush Cleaner
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Review sample courtesy of
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To call this thinner and cleaner very handy things to have seems to be a massive understatement. Must get some of the this!

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Wow! Sounds like it's good stuff...

Is there any news yet of a North American distributor by any chance?

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This looks awesome, ofcourse they are not delivering to my country.. (yet they do to all around...), hope this changes soon, would love to test it one day! :)

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The US and some non-EU countries are under consideration, but the regulations for transporting chemicals makes it a bit tricky. Speak to them directly using the link below, and I'm sure they'll do their best to help you :)

To call this thinner and cleaner very handy things to have seems to be a massive understatement. Must get some of the this!

Typical British reserve and understatement ;)

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It'll be interesting to see how it works with Vallejo, I can't imagine it would struggle with that brand. In which case Ultimate bottles might make it onto my shopping list :)

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The US and some non-EU countries are under consideration, but the regulations for transporting chemicals makes it a bit tricky. Speak to them directly using the link below, and I'm sure they'll do their best to help you :)

Thanks Mike.

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As asked by Neilscrim, yes it works perfectly with Vallejo Model Air and Colour, the Model Air sprays significantly better thinned with UMP thinner than as it does straight out the bottle.

If anyone has any questions or queries either contact us on here or via our contact form on our website.

Excellent review BTW Mike :)

Cheers

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Thanks Paul - I've heard Lee speak about you as "his partner", but nice to make your acquaintance :)

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What I found with this thinner: It certainly is very compatible with many different paints. It also seems to have a way to enhance the curing of the paints; even water based acrylics seem to cure harder and with better adhesion on metal (namely, the inside of the paint cup on the AB; still cleans up well with sufficiently hot media, though. However, my usual mix of screen wash and ammonia has a hard time.)

It is also very hot. Meaning smelly and has a tendency to dry in the air. I had a hard time to get Xtracrylix to dry its usual semi gloss; it usually went on a bit rough.

So depending on the reason why you use acrylics, this may or may not be for you.

Edited by Hotel Papa

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Ive been using the thinner for a few weeks now, its spot on with vallejo, citadel, and tamiya. Although i do rather like using mr levelling thinner with tamiya the ultimate thinners doesn't have the lung stripping smell of the gunze product.

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Well, it's not a huge test, but I can confirm the thinner does a good job of livening up some very sad Lifecolor yellow, well on the way to complete congealment, enough to give me 3 very bright prop-tips. More action tomorrow when I attempt pre-shading - black always seems to clog my airbrush, so this will be a defining moment...

Also ordered some of their sanders. The 100 grade is the closest thing to a chainsaw I've ever had without an actual motor attached...

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Has anyone tried this with Humbrol acrylic? They're very difficult to spray well, so it would be interesting to see how well this performs.

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Has anyone tried this with Humbrol acrylic? They're very difficult to spray well, so it would be interesting to see how well this performs.

Hi Paul - As per the chart above, as long as you thin at least 50/50 with UMP thinner, Humbrol sprays fine :)

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Mine arrived this morning. Upon opening it smells very like Tamiya thinners. Maybe try spraying with it today.

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I have used it for a couple of Tamiya colours and a couple of Vallejo Model Colour. The Tamiya sprayed as well if not better than X-20 but It still needed a retarder (which I don't have). The Vallejo sprayed absolutely fine also. The cleaner on the other hand is powerful stuff. It was removing paint with ease. Impressed so far. Well done Lee & Paul. :thumbsup2:

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Well, on first impressions, I have to say I am extremely impressed.

My airbrush is absolutely gleaming now after a clean with the airbrush cleaner.

I have so far sprayed Vallejo air and Citadel paints thinned with the thinner. I thought the citadel dried a little quicker than with the x-20a I normally use, but it gives good coverage. The Vallejo works so much better- it flows easier, doesnt clog the tip of the airbrush the way it normally does and there is a far better consistency of the paint. I have been staying clear of Vallejo recently- this may encourage me to use them again.

Well done guys, a thumb up from me.

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The Ultimate Thinners & Cleaner gets my vote too - work brilliantly with Vallejo Air. I also bought some of their 'Thinny Sticks' - they are really very good; used wet the 240 grade works great and they don't fall to bits.

Chris

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I will join the positive comments. Today I used the Ultimate Airbrush Thinner and Cleaner for the first time, with Lifecolor in my Iwata HP-CH with 0,3 mm nozzle. I've never managed to get that combination to work at all before, fine spraying clogs and stops within a second or two with Lifecolor's own thinner. With this Ultimate Thinner it worked very well and I didn't have any serious problem through five colours. Now it's probably mostly up to me to come to final grips with it. And all cleaned up nice and easily with the cleaner, very nice. :thumbsup2:

It would be great with an "Ultimate Retarder" as a complement for the same range of paints.

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From my experience, a retarder isn't necessary - I think there's some in there already, IIRC from talking to Lee. Perhaps try a little more thinner to paint next time? :)

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Thanks for your kind comments guys.

As Mike has confirmed, you really shouldn't need to add anything at all to our thinner, to do so may throw the fine 'balance' off we have achieved. The only scenario I can foresee where you would need to add retarder is in very hot weather, and that's just a maybe :)

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