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Vallejo Model Air query


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Just lately I have been using a lot Vallejo model color, so impressed with the brushed finish that can be obtained with these paints that i am now thinking of trying their model air range. What i would like to know is do the 2 color ranges correspond with each other, and how does the finish compare with Tamiya that I do the majority of my acrylic airbrushing with at the moment

Cheers Mike

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I've been using Model Air, and started doing so on the basis that they are sold as being ready (or good for) airbrushing and that "expert" figure painters use them (perhaps Model/Game Color rather than Air).

I've recently started using a couple of Tamiya XF colours in their "Mini" acrylic range.

It may be my airbrush, a £10 Chinese one from Ebay, the sort that comes with the AS186 compressor kit, but I constantly have problems getting Vallejo Model Air to flow, I keep having to clean my airbrush thoroughly between colours, more often than I think I should.

In contrast the couple of Tamiya XF pots I've used seem to flow better. Whilst base coating my 1/72 Airfix Mosquito I can't recall having had problems getting their Medium Sea Grey to flow through my airbrush, and I used it without thinning on about 25-30psi. I've also used their IJN Cockpit Green on the interior of the aforementioned kit and had no troubles with it.

As for colour matching with Vallejo Model Air. Ha! I've so far painted 4 helicopters and one plane using Model Air and I can't say that I've been able to colour match any of the paints properly. Perhaps if I had access to the full range in a LHS (and even a LHS!) I'd have better luck but I rely on buying over the internet so I have to either take a guess (even after consulting t'interweb for various paint charts and advice) or spend tons of money and buy the whole range!

One example is their idea of paints matching the FS codes for USAF S.E.A camo, which I tried to use on my 1/72 Revell HH-3 Jolly Green Giant. The greens are too close to each other in shade, and don't "pop", and I'd say their both too dark. And the brown/tan, is more of the colour of fake tan you see on WAGs. It really wasn't the biscuity sort of brown/tan I see in the photos of real Jolly Greens, nor on people's models!

Their #2 Yellow however seems a good match for an RAF SAR Sea King, if you can get a decent even coat of it, which I couldn't because it's too translucent/thin...

The finish seems to be about even between Tamiya and VMA imo.

Edited by Raven Morpheus
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I haven't tried model air, but the model color range airbrushes beautifully. I use their own brand thinner to get a skimmed milk consistency. The additional benefit it that after the paint has dried, you can touch up model color with a brush and you can't see the difference after drying.

Hth.

Tom.

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Well thanks for the advise, the best thing is to try a bit, so i have just put an order in with an internet supplier who i thought was French but have turned out to be based in Spain, very cheap as well,, 1,80€ a bottle, far less than what i am paying for Tamiya here and nearly twice the amount, i have ordered some metallic as well, see what that works like.

http://www.bellesartsferran.com/shop/index.php?cPath=172_175

Also i would like to try their primer but am not sure how it will react to Lacquers, any ideas?

Cheers Mike

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I find it to not wear as well as Tamiya. Sprays fine but I do get a bit of tip build up which is worth keeping an eye on.

I am extremely new to airbrushing, but I found myself having to do a full cleaning of the tip on every color with unthinned Model Air because of the amount building up at the tip of my Iwata Neo.

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I am extremely new to airbrushing, but I found myself having to do a full cleaning of the tip on every color with unthinned Model Air because of the amount building up at the tip of my Iwata Neo.

I think a your problems will lessen if you start thinning the paint.

What are you cleaning the brush with?

Paul

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Also add a small drop of acrylic retarder, Vallejo Model Air paints mix well with de-ionised water, good thing about using Iwata airbrush, is you can back flush the airbrush with the lid on to mix the paints, by holding your finger over the front nozzle

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My opinion:

- Model Air is probably not worth it.

As Model Air is already thinned (more or less) to airbrush consistency, you are saving some time and effort, but also, you are probably buying the most expensive paint on the market. Compared with Model Color, which is rather thick out of the bottle, you are buying cca 1/3 amount of paint for the same money.

I have experience only with one shade of Model Air, yellow, and that was terrible, far too thin, did not cover at all, hands down inferior in all aspects to Tamiya acrylic yellow. But yellow is notorious for being problematic, so I can't give a verdict based just on this.

According to producer, Model Air has a different formula than Model Color.

All I can say is that Model Color sprays just fine. I used it for airbrush painting 5 or 6 kits (and like 10-15 more before, using paintbrush).

My experience:

+ paint is very cheap - it's thick, you can thin it to get buckets of paint. It covers very well.

+ also thinner is very cheap. Actually I always got better results with windex (it's local equivalent called Iron) than with original thinner (both the older milky one and the newer transparent one). The transparent one always outright destroyed the paint!! Filled it with tiny specks. I dunno, wrong batch?!

+ selection is very large. Compared to Tamiya acrylics for example, it's a whole world of shades.

+ shades do match properly, better than most producers, in my experience. (Beware though, the same is not true for Italeri acrylics!! They are repacked Vallejo, so it's the same quality, but some dubious choices were made while selecting the shades. Italeri US interior green for instance, is absolutely off.)

+ they are almost odourless

+ they brush perfectly, which is relevant even if you are airbrushing - you might need to make a touch-up here and there without masking half of the kit again. You can't do this with Tamiya or Gunze, as they brush horribly.

+perfect packaging, easy to measure drops, easy to mix (by squeezing the bottle).

- they dry on the needle, and airbrush needs much more thorough cleaning (even with retarder and proper thinning)

- they are not very resilient to scratches (even with surfacer)

- dry paint cannot be sanded properly, it has a leathery, rubbery consistency and will peel off, you will never get fine, gradual layers like with lacquer or alcohol based acrylics.

- paints have very weird names, they are named primarily for figure painting, not for airplanes. And something was obviously lost in translation, some weird sense of humour also played it's part (No. 106, "Grey Grey" anyone? ;). As written above in the pluses part, paints do match properly, but you have to search for the right bottles, hidden under confusing names like pastel green (actually perfect "sky") or german fieldgrey WWII (actually perfect dark slate grey) etc.

I never tried other waterbased acrylics, but according to others, some of these negatives (leathery consistency, needle drying, clogging) are just common for all similar paints like Agama acrylics (you know them as Xtracrylix - some of the most infamous paints here in Czech republic btw.), Lifecolor etc.

If you want odourless paints, you have to live with that I guess.

My conclusion: these paints are fine for airbrushing. It's a good, stopgap solution if you are changing from paintbrush to airbrush - that was exactly my case.

For spraying larger surfaces, single color camos, it's good enough.

However, you will struggle a lot while trying any finer work, like postshading, freehand camo fields, mottle camo etc. etc.

It IS possible:

http://www.modelforum.cz/viewtopic.php?f=6&t=81782&p=1559186&hilit=wildcat+V#p1559186

(this was made exclusively with Model Air Color edit: sorry for confusion)

but you will spend a lot of time fine tuning the thinning ratios, cleaning your airbrush, correcting various splutters and specks on the model etc.

It's not worth it in the long run... other paints like Tamiya are so idiot proof, you can use them with better results on your first try...

Edited by pivokrevnik
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And as for their primer, I used the white one, it's horrible, worst thing I ever put on a model, had to strip it all away and clean all scribing line by line..

Horrible!

It's rubbery, tiniest scratch can turn into peeling off a large area.

It cannot be sanded and polished.

With various levels of thinning, it either does not cover, or sinks all details, very hard to get anything in between.

Buy it and talk your biggest enemy into using it, that is only use I can think of.

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Yeah... but that's already quite silly, having to varnish a primer to make it work?! ;)

I have read earlier some reports on using it without problems or at least with less problems, but I am not willing to take my chances ever again.

There is a risk that even if everything will seem normal, it might peel off eventually anyway. After paint, after decals... that would be lot of fun.

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You have to let Vallejo primer cure for at least 48 hours before you start sanding it, etc. It needs that much time to bond to the plastic if it's going to be in a high traffic area (I still use it for cockpits). I really like their paints, but not everything in the range is great. But the biggest complaint about the Vallejo primer is peeling but almost nobody (including me) gives it 48 hours to cure.

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Vallejo's primer needs to cure for quite a while before it can be sanded - I tend to leave it for at least three days at normal room temperature before I even think of touching it. It gives a beautiful finish then, and doesn't peel off in chunks :D.

In the end, though, I find I'm using enamel- or lacquer-based primers more and more, as they dry far quicker and sand more easily.

Model Air's great with a couple of drops of their airbrush cleaner added, and sprayed at very low pressure.

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John and I are on the same wavelength, apparently. I forgot to mention that I still find Tamiya rattle can primer to be some of the absolute best. Goes on light, even from close up (I don't spray it from 12" away), dries quickly, doesn't peel even after a couple hours. I really, really like it. The drawback is not being able to spray it indoors, even with a spray booth (you could, but I certainly would not recommend it).

I will second pivokrevnik's comment about the Model Air drying on the needle and the tip. You definitely need to clean thoroughly between colors and do a full "detail strip" of the airbrush when you're done with a session. I've only done two sessions with my Iwata Neo, using 3-4 colors each time (not including Vallejo Grey and Black Primers), and it tends to gunk up pretty fast. It hasn't adversely affected spraying during these sessions so far, but a lot of paint collects around the needle on the outside. Definitely pull out the needle and clean it off after a full session because it will have dried paint on it (not a lot, but enough to cause you a problem the next time).

Just the experiences of an airbrushing newb running the 72-bottle suitcase of Model Air, anyway!

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I have spoken to a few other modellers I know, and they also say it needs 2-3 days to fully cure.

And don't get me wrong, I'm not even saying it's great primer. Needing 48-72 hours to cure is not what I call a great "feature" of a primer (but I'm terribly impatient). But if you are going to use it, and then not follow the curing time recommendation, I feel like that's an unfair complaint against it.

Edited by caszerino
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not follow the curing time recommendation, I feel like that's an unfair complaint against it.

problem is that this 3-day advice is a lesson hard learned by the modellers, and was not available to me at the moment. Vallejo website says nothing about it, neither in FAQ or in primer product description. I can't blame them, admitting such a "feature" won't help sales I guess ;)

Call me impatient but I also think such a long curing time is rather absurd for a primer :)

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btw, back to my earlier comment about "most expensive paint on the market" - I recall seeing a nice chart, someone took such a crazy effort and compared many different paints "economy" - assesing their real value, based on how much you can thin them and how much surface you can cover with one bottle. There were some interesting pricing paradoxes. I cannot find it now, but I remember that Model Air was on the worse part of the spectrum, if not worst.

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Vallejo are lovely paints for brushing, and thinned right spray lovely, trouble is their so fragile, handle the model after, even to do other colours and you'll soon need to touch up where they have rubbed off.

Coat of varnish on top fixes that, but you don't want to do that for every colour change

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btw, back to my earlier comment about "most expensive paint on the market" - I recall seeing a nice chart, someone took such a crazy effort and compared many different paints "economy" - assesing their real value, based on how much you can thin them and how much surface you can cover with one bottle. There were some interesting pricing paradoxes. I cannot find it now, but I remember that Model Air was on the worse part of the spectrum, if not worst.

Primer issues aside, and I do agree it's an issue, but I still like their primer, I still think Model Air is the way to go if you plan on airbrushing a lot. I never understood the "paint economy" argument. Paints last for years. Unless you're a professional model builder and you spend 40 hours a week, plus all your spare time, building models, then how often are you going to replace paints? Once a year, for your most used colors (RLM base and camo colors, for example)? Every six months? That's still not a lot of money. If you had to replace 6 of your most common bottles twice a year, that's €24. And in the US they cost about double that plus shipping (~$4/ea).

Versus another brand of paint that you have to thin every single time you load the airbrush and it eventually goes crusty in the bottle or you knock it over and spill it or one of a million other ways we end up wasting paint. You see my point? The "cost savings" are fairly negligible in practice, even when they look substantial on paper.

Now if I had to replace the entire 72-bottle set of Model Air ever year, then we're talking a ridiculous amount of money. But in reality we're never going to replace our entire paint collection at once, and it's extremely unlikely we'll be replacing more than six, eight, 10 bottles at a time, if that. I could buy Delta Ceramcoat (possibly US-only brand) craft acrylics for $1.09 per 2oz bottle and mix them every single time to an approximate RLM/RAL/FS shade and thin them out ... but that is a major inconvenience. It'd still be the cheapest way to go, but what am I really gaining?

Having said all that, I am going to order some AKAN acrylics soon for some very Russia-specific colors, and I will have to thin those before airbrushing. But they're not cheap, either (about same price as Model Air, but a good deal more paint). And I doubt I'll even empty out an entire pot more than every five years or so, so it's the initial investment that ends up costing you the money, not the replacements.

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I completely agree it's not such an important factor, but I still think it is worth mentioning.

Also, problem is, that I don't value the pre-thinned feature that much...almost at all. Yes, sometimes it's handy, but most of the time I like to thin my paint myself and don't think it's such a big hassle. You can't have one size fits all thinning anyway, depends on the airbrush, pressure, mottling or large surfaces etc.

And, this feature can quickly turn into a "bug" - as I mentioned, the Model Air yellow I got was so thin it was unusable.

So, to me, it's a matter of principle, Model Air vs. Model Color simply means "1/3 paint for equal money". Ok I am thrifty ;)

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"Be a tart and use what suites you" is my opinion on paint. You don't have to be loyal to one brand.

I love MA (apart from the yellow!) and haven't really had any troubles mentioned. Drying on tip, pealing and such like, unless I haven't prepped very well.

I've never been happy with acrylic primers, they just aren't grippy enough for me.

I tend to stick to Tamiya rattle can, Halfords (acrylic!) or Alclad these days.

I mix and match colours from different brands all the time. You find the combo that suits you.

Of course there are some rules, like hot under acrylic and such like, that you must stick.

I find MA needs a little retardant and Tamiya acrylic needs to be thinned with cellulose for best results.

These are my findings that suit me/brush but may not suit everyone.

You can't beat playing around, it's good fun and good practice.

Can't say I'm worried about the cost. I don't build enough to get through a bottle of MA often. I think I'm on the first bottle of every one bar the satin varnish.

HTH,

Rick.

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I think Vallejo make excellent paint, arguably some of the best around, what does irk me is the haphazardness of their labeling, it is very difficult to cross reference from one range to another. If you consider ModelAir, Model Colour and the Panzer Ace off shoot then they must have 150/200 different colours all, seemingly without coherent labeling, they could learn a lot from Revell and their labeling system.

Also the bl@@dy printing on the pots rubs off very easily if you`re not careful whilst handling or shaking, still good paint though.

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