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Match your paint, thinner and cleaner...


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If there's one thing I've finally learned after blaming my airbrush and myself for years, it's that unlike enamels, "acrylics" are very different, and you can't afford to use "generic" thinner or cleaner. Sometimes it'll work, but the pitfalls are much more common. I now have four different "thinners" which are "kinda" alcohol and water and a few drops of soap, and three different cleaners. Full marks to the "Universal" guys for trying, but I only feel 100% confident with matched brands, and not even then in the case of Vallejo...

Of course, ALL my enamels thin and clean with low odour turps substitute or lacquer thinner, no issue at all...

Bestest,

M.

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Sorry to disagree, I use nothng else but Lidles spray degreaser on all acrylics flushed out after with water. It works perfectly.

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Unfortunately Acrylics are not easy to get right, there are plenty of people who have problems & the simplest way to check all is OK is to use the recommended thinner etc.

Some people are lucky and find a product that works for them.

Paul

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Given the modest amounts involved in our hobby despite their pricing, from experience and experimentation, I'm with the 'easiest, safest methodology is always to use the same brand recommended thinner' camp. Saves much heartache and is the smart money to ensure consistent finish with optimum application in line with expectation suggested by the product's spiel. That's what I do these days, and who likes to spend more than necessary on consumables.

Cleaners OTOH I found are fairly generic, although as above applies if cost isn't a consideration or so reasonable as to offer no reason not to. e.g Lifecolor. Bottom line in all cases is clean immediately after use.

IME GP or enamel thinners will work for cleanup with everything enamel, and acrylic lacquer thinners for high solvent acrylic lacquers.

Windex out of the bottle or a concentrate diluted to preference (e.g. Karcher window cleaning concentrate) generally works very effectively for cleanup of water based acrylics, and importantly, it's relatively cheap so I won't skimp.

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Please excuse me, I was very tired last night when I read the original post. As far as " thinning" goes I could not agree more. But for "cleaning " I just think it is unnecessary expense to buy brand ones . 250mm of Tamiya thinners lasts for ages. the same amount of cleaner will last no time at all.

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For thinning acrylics I always use the branded thinner. I bought some universal thinner to try, which claimed to be the ultimate in thinning when it was released to great acclaim but I found I was wasting a lot of paint as there was a lot of experimentation required to get the paint to thinner ratios right and that it was less effective with lacquer/alcohol based acrylics than the water based ones, the same was true of their universal cleaner.

For cleaning acrylics I will flush through with the branded thinners (or cleaner if they have one) to a point where it is running clear, remove the needle and wipe it clean then back-flush with a little more thinners/cleaner, if I'm changing colours I'll leave it there. If the session is finished then I'll also blast through the airbrush with some Premi-Air Liquid Reamer to remove any stubborn paint residue (remember that thinners only thins paint and will leave some residue), I also have their Foaming cleaner which seems to work better with the water based type acrylics.

Occasionally (maybe once every 6 months) I'll strip down the airbrush and put the components into the ultrasonic cleaner with only tap water and a drop of washing liquid and let them rattle around for a few minutes but only rarely will there be anything come out of the airbrush.

Duncan B

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