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GazB

The Real Color Debacle

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Boy I'm going all out with the paint issues today.

 

I pre-thin all Tamiya-like paint (including Hobby Aqueous) with either Tamiya thinner or Ultimate thinners, no problem. Did this with the AK stuff, and my word.

 

First it seemed to stick to the inside of my pipette, so I was getting more or less a drop or two out of an amount drawn that would've sufficiently loaded the cup with my other paints, and lost the volume added via thinner as a result to the pipette. Then it wouldn't spray properly. It seemed to clog almost instantly and took a while to clean out.

 

I added more thinner, deep cleaned my airbrush and tried again. Same result. I managed one go with it to do a touch up, but within moments it was back to clogging. I've no idea what else to do. All the ones I bought I thinned in the same manner with ultimate thinners (given the similarity to Tamiya and Gunze Acrylics). It wasn't just a dodgy pot either. I tried spraying the Clear Green and the result was exactly the same. In fact it only seemed to spray when I stuck in some distilled water to clean it out, forgot and test sprayed it on my clear plastic and it blew out with better, if wet coverage. 

 

It took an absolute age to spray the roof of a HUMVEE, almost twice as long as it might've taken to paint the entire thing with my other brands. I just don't get it.

 

In fact at one point the NATO Green seemed to go blackish when I added more thinner, and after you shake it, and open it, there still appears to be separation at the top of the pain. I still haven't tried the other colours yet, so I don't know if the green is a dud or not.

 

Contacted AKI, but much to my surprise they never got back to me. Some months ago I commented on their YouTube video about the paint whether I could use Ultimate thinners and they said I could.

 

Anyone had a similar experience, or any pointers? At this point its beginning to look like UMP doesn't actually thin it at all. If so, I've cocked up 9 jars of paint.

 

Gaz

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Posted (edited)

When you say pre-thin you mean you thin them in advance of use? Never do that as it destroys the paint in my opinion. Thin them when you use them. My best advice would be to use the AK thinners. It's what I always do. Tamiya paint, Tamiya thinners and so on. Their thinners are developed for use with their paints, so you know you're not going to get any strange reactions. If you start mixing different brands of paint and thinners you're heading into the unknown. I know people do, but I've always used the correct thinners and never had any bad reactions...

 

Edited by Steve Noble

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AK paints are (I believe) latex based acrylics, which means that you need different thinners from what you'd use on the Japanese acrylics. From what a local chap who swears by AK says, the best thinners are their own. Anything else will give you a gummy mess that won't spray.

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Posted (edited)
6 hours ago, Steve Noble said:

When you say pre-thin you mean you thin them in advance of use? Never do that as it destroys the paint in my opinion. Thin them when you use them. My best advice would be to use the AK thinners. It's what I always do. Tamiya paint, Tamiya thinners and so on. Their thinners are developed for use with their paints, so you know you're not going to get any strange reactions. If you start mixing different brands of paint and thinners you're heading into the unknown. I know people do, but I've always used the correct thinners and never had any bad reactions...

 

I've always done it with my Tamiya and Hobby Aqueous, though. Saves me time and trying to get the correct mixture in the cup. Never had any issues doing it that way until these ones. Tamiya I used Tamiya thinner, Hobby Aqueous I used Ultimate thinner.

2 hours ago, Rob G said:

AK paints are (I believe) latex based acrylics, which means that you need different thinners from what you'd use on the Japanese acrylics. From what a local chap who swears by AK says, the best thinners are their own. Anything else will give you a gummy mess that won't spray.

So would adding those thinners salvage them or have I more or less destroyed all of the paints? :(

 

If AK would stop ignoring my emails I might get to the bottom of it. I've sent two now and no reply to either. They're the ones who assured me I could use the Ultimate thinner (I had held off thinning them until I got some kind of confirmation) when I asked the question on their YouTube video about thinning the paint with different things. 

 

I'm not pleased about that. They've given pretty vague information on:

 

A) What exactly they are.

B) The thinning ratios.

C) What exactly can be used with them.

 

In another video someone was thinning it with a variety of mediums. In fact the only one they didn't seem to test was Ultimate, but since Ultimate was stated to work with any acrylic I assumed it would suffice. The advice AK gave me just compounded that belief. Now I could have 9 jars of useless paint ><

 

Thanks for the replies anyway, Steve, Rob.

 

What a mess this is :(

 

Gaz

 

 

Edited by GazB

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Well now, this is interesting.

 

I sent an email to Ultimate Modelling Products about this, this is the response:

 

"Hi Gaz

 

Unfortunately, you’ve been misinformed by AK and others!

 

This paint is NOTHING like Tamiya or Gunze.  It is in fact a total lacquer based paint, which needs cellulose thinners for thinning I’m afraid.  We’ve tested them extensively.

 

AK have in fact changed their packaging now to say you need cellulose thinners and not acrylic!  Shows how much research they did!

 

All the best

 

Lee Larholt

Director"

 

I am pretty ticked off right now 😡

 

AKI straight up mislead me and now I'm out paint, thinner and money. 

 

Gaz

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"Acrylic" means anything and nothing as far as model paints are concerned. There are so many different ways to make paint with some acrylic resin somewhere in it that it's really not safe to assume anything is compatible unless the paint manufacturer clearly states that it is. It's fairly natural that manufacturers will be very reluctant to divulge chemistry to anyone but medical professionals too.

 

I think you'll just need to chalk this one up as experience I'm afraid.

 

 

 

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4 minutes ago, Jamie @ Sovereign Hobbies said:

"Acrylic" means anything and nothing as far as model paints are concerned. There are so many different ways to make paint with some acrylic resin somewhere in it that it's really not safe to assume anything is compatible unless the paint manufacturer clearly states that it is. It's fairly natural that manufacturers will be very reluctant to divulge chemistry to anyone but medical professionals too.

 

I think you'll just need to chalk this one up as experience I'm afraid.

 

 

 

Thing is I wouldn't have used my thinner without being told I could. I was determined to find out, and when they said it was compatible, I trusted that. I left them unthinned for weeks trying to discover if I required the AK thinner, or could use my Ultimate Thinners. Considering regular AK paint is pure acrylic, and they mentioned the thinner for that could be used...

 

This stinks completely. They didn't even say anything like 'well it may work, but we'd recommend this'. They flat out said, "airbrush acrylic thinners works fine ;)".

 

Gaz

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I've found that these "cellulose-based acrylics" (for lack of a better term) smell strongly (of cellulose thinners) whereas the water-based acrylics have very little smell - indeed this is regarded by some as their prime advantage.  I haven't tried the AKI ones yet - is the smell a bit of a hint?

 

As primarily an enamel user, I learned a long time ago not to pre-thin paint (or get any thinner into the tin) and have carried this over into the use of acrylics.  From your experience, this seems like a good principle to keep.

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6 minutes ago, Graham Boak said:

I've found that these "cellulose-based acrylics" (for lack of a better term) smell strongly (of cellulose thinners) whereas the water-based acrylics have very little smell - indeed this is regarded by some as their prime advantage.  I haven't tried the AKI ones yet - is the smell a bit of a hint?

 

As primarily an enamel user, I learned a long time ago not to pre-thin paint (or get any thinner into the tin) and have carried this over into the use of acrylics.  From your experience, this seems like a good principle to keep.

Hi Graham.

 

They didn't smell much different from Tamiya/Gunze to me, maybe even a little less so. Everything about them suggested they were pretty much the same kind of thing as Tamiya and Hobby Aqueous. They even mentioned thinning it with distilled water. Now I kind of understand why AK was beating about the bush on exactly what they were. 

 

I know the pre-thinning works for Tamiya and Gunze. A modeler I watch on Youtube, applied AK Thinner directly to the Real Color bottles in the same manner and had no issues spraying. But again its not like I went ahead and did it without trying to look for confirmation. I just did what they said I could do. They just weren't truthful about it, unfortunately.

 

Gaz

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I have thinned the AK Real Colors with Mr Thinner (Gunze Thinners) and they sprayed beautifully.

I have to say that I would never leap right in and pre thin umpteen pots of paint I'd never used before on anyone else's say so without having tested a little for myself. In fact I wouldn't go pre thinning the pots at all but only thin on the day of use or at the start of a build. That all sounds a little harsh from your point of view I guess but it's a lesson hard learned which, hopefully, you won't make again.

In general I would never mix paint in the paint cup of an airbrush either (I will do it for very small amounts of paint so never say never). If I need a batch of paint for a particular project I will premix into an empty glass jar (cleaned out Tamiya jars are ideal but you can also buy them new) and keep it for the duration of the build. If I don't use all the paint I've put into the cup I'll pour it back into the jar again. Mixing in the airbrush is one of the most common causes of paint issues along with incorrect thinning.

Life is an awful teacher, it gives you the test first and then the lesson!

 

Duncan B

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You need some of these paint mixing pots. They are metal so can be cleaned with thinners and used over and over. Perfect for mixing all paints, just add thinners with a pipette, then add paint and mix together. Transfer to airbrush cup, takes seconds and properly mixed paint every time. Very useful item...

 

https://www.1999.co.jp/eng/10350654

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I don’t think I’ve ever ‘pre-thinned’ paint. How much thinners I add really depends on so many factors i.e. the amount of pigment in the paint, thinness of spray line, or the type of effect I’m after.

 

In your defence though, an AK press release does state that “These colours can be diluted with our own specific thinner or compatible thinners from other brands and types: acrylic lacquer (non-vinyl), lacquer thinner, alcohol, water...”

 

I’ve long been an advocate of using ‘proprietary’ own brand thinners for acrylics, but I’ve recently been knocking up my own Tamiya thinner which seems to be working quite well.

 

Mart

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9 hours ago, Duncan B said:

I have thinned the AK Real Colors with Mr Thinner (Gunze Thinners) and they sprayed beautifully.

I have to say that I would never leap right in and pre thin umpteen pots of paint I'd never used before on anyone else's say so without having tested a little for myself. In fact I wouldn't go pre thinning the pots at all but only thin on the day of use or at the start of a build. That all sounds a little harsh from your point of view I guess but it's a lesson hard learned which, hopefully, you won't make again.

In general I would never mix paint in the paint cup of an airbrush either (I will do it for very small amounts of paint so never say never). If I need a batch of paint for a particular project I will premix into an empty glass jar (cleaned out Tamiya jars are ideal but you can also buy them new) and keep it for the duration of the build. If I don't use all the paint I've put into the cup I'll pour it back into the jar again. Mixing in the airbrush is one of the most common causes of paint issues along with incorrect thinning.

Life is an awful teacher, it gives you the test first and then the lesson!

 

Duncan B

Hi, Duncan.

 

I've never been a fan of the airbrush cup mixing, because I found it inconsistent and I didn't have access to any empty mixing jars or bottles (brush always carried paint away as well). I've mixed up custom colours in empty dropper bottles and a few empty Tamiya jars before, but for a consistent mix I preferred to thin in the jars and it hasn't gone wrong until the Real Color stuff. If the thinner had been appropriate it would've worked, though, as evidenced by a vid I watched in which he thinned his paint with the AK thinner by applying it to the jar as he did with his Tamiya stuff.

8 hours ago, Steve Noble said:

You need some of these paint mixing pots. They are metal so can be cleaned with thinners and used over and over. Perfect for mixing all paints, just add thinners with a pipette, then add paint and mix together. Transfer to airbrush cup, takes seconds and properly mixed paint every time. Very useful item...

 

https://www.1999.co.jp/eng/10350654

Hey, Steve.

 

I've recently picked up the AK Palette for mixing small amounts. Was just a bit of an issue getting the right amount mixed out that would last the whole job. Of course, I've only done this with my Mig Ammo paints.

 

7 hours ago, LotusArenco said:

I don’t think I’ve ever ‘pre-thinned’ paint. How much thinners I add really depends on so many factors i.e. the amount of pigment in the paint, thinness of spray line, or the type of effect I’m after.

 

In your defence though, an AK press release does state that “These colours can be diluted with our own specific thinner or compatible thinners from other brands and types: acrylic lacquer (non-vinyl), lacquer thinner, alcohol, water...”

 

I’ve long been an advocate of using ‘proprietary’ own brand thinners for acrylics, but I’ve recently been knocking up my own Tamiya thinner which seems to be working quite well.

 

Mart

 

Hi, Lotus.

 

I held off for so long before thinning them. I wanted to be doubly sure on what to add, because even the smaller AK thinner bottle was pretty pricey. The problem seems to be that AK haven't been truthful on what can thin paint down. But the pre-thinning works perfectly fine. You just add thinner until almost the entire jar is filled, leaving a bit of space at the top. White tends to need a bit more to smooth the spray to stop spattering. I've thinned dozens and dozens of bottles, and every time I receive new ones I set them aside to thin them, same with Hobby Aqueous. 

 

Thanks for the replies, guys.

 

Gaz

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It would appear AK Interactive has no desire to own up to their misdirection or offer an apology. In fact they seem to have flat out ignored three emails I have sent, each a few days apart, to their support address. 

 

When I was interested in their paints they had the head of their art department email me back toot sweet to tell me how close the colours were to the real thing (still not convinced their NATO Green is based on the U.S. FS colour but rather the German variant, which always looks darker. 

 

But now that I have a problem they created they just don't want to hear about it, it would seem. I was looking forward to the Real Color range, but I guess from now on I'll be sticking with my Tamiya, Gunze and giving my money to Mig Ammo instead. AKI has lost me as a customer, and I'll be making sure others know how bad their customer service has been.

 

Gaz

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On 07/05/2018 at 05:56, GazB said:

It would appear AK Interactive has no desire to own up to their misdirection or offer an apology. In fact they seem to have flat out ignored three emails I have sent, each a few days apart, to their support address. 

 

When I was interested in their paints they had the head of their art department email me back toot sweet to tell me how close the colours were to the real thing (still not convinced their NATO Green is based on the U.S. FS colour but rather the German variant, which always looks darker. 

 

But now that I have a problem they created they just don't want to hear about it, it would seem. I was looking forward to the Real Color range, but I guess from now on I'll be sticking with my Tamiya, Gunze and giving my money to Mig Ammo instead. AKI has lost me as a customer, and I'll be making sure others know how bad their customer service has been.

 

Gaz

I've found AK to be really good, they've always emailed me back within a day, so I'm surprised you've had an issue. 

 

I was under the impression real colour was AK's version of Gunze Mr Color lacquer paint and you could use their thinner and levelling thinner, I've not used AK as yet so I've got no hands on experience of it.  

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7 hours ago, Kev The Modeller said:

I've found AK to be really good, they've always emailed me back within a day, so I'm surprised you've had an issue. 

 

I was under the impression real colour was AK's version of Gunze Mr Color lacquer paint and you could use their thinner and levelling thinner, I've not used AK as yet so I've got no hands on experience of it.  

Hi Kev

 

The last time I sent emails to them they were fine. They even had their project manager email me back within 24 hours, twice. That was when I was asking about the accuracy of the paint colours. This time I've sent emails to info@ak-interactive, support@ak-interactive and courtesy of emodels' direction administracion@ak-interactive. Nothing back on any of them.

 

This time they just don't want to know.

 

The way it was originally marketed made it seem similar to Tamiya and Hobby Aqueous. Of course we now know it isn't. Still don't know exactly what it is, other than it requires lacquer thinners. 

 

Gaz

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I use small medicine cups that came on the top of various cough medicines and medicines for the kids, when they were little. I've got a few dozen of them. They can also be purchased at drugstores and they're cheap.

 

https://www.aliexpress.com/item/100-pieces-lot-30-ml-small-measuring-cup-syrup-of-PE-plastic-cups-with-carved-measure/32358958491.html

 

 

Chris

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Seems there was some confusion. Perhaps with the language barrier.

 

As I understand it -

 

The eyedropper bottle type ak paints will work with water and most type of ‘soft’ thinners like the gunze aq and tamiya paints do. 

 

The real colors in jars are a lacquer type and need a hotter solvent, like mr color and MRP etc. 

 

Perhaps they got mixed up with their advice? 

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6 minutes ago, dogsbody said:

I use small medicine cups that came on the top of various cough medicines and medicines for the kids, when they were little. I've got a few dozen of them. They can also be purchased at drugstores and they're cheap.

 

https://www.aliexpress.com/item/100-pieces-lot-30-ml-small-measuring-cup-syrup-of-PE-plastic-cups-with-carved-measure/32358958491.html

 

 

Chris

Hi, Chris.

 

I've got a few little measuring cups. Some were Revell ones, and a few old medicine ones. I should probably pick up more of the empty eyedroppers :)

4 minutes ago, Tony Oliver said:

Seems there was some confusion. Perhaps with the language barrier.

 

As I understand it -

 

The eyedropper bottle type ak paints will work with water and most type of ‘soft’ thinners like the gunze aq and tamiya paints do. 

 

The real colors in jars are a lacquer type and need a hotter solvent, like mr color and MRP etc. 

 

Perhaps they got mixed up with their advice? 

Hey, Tony.

 

I'm not sure. On their site they now list them as requiring things like Tamiya Lacquer Thinner, Mr Levelling Thinner, and their Real Color Thinner (plus distilled water, not sure how that one works). But originally, they also included the likes of their ordinary AK Thinner as well, which no longer seems to be a part of the blurb.

 

I can understand language differences, but if they're going to market it to customers speaking different languages then they have to really double check on things before pushing a pricey product or answering questions about it. At £2.30 a pot this is the most expensive paint I've yet purchased in a jar.

 

They didn't play it cautiously either. Even if whoever answered me in the YouTube vid didn't know for sure, if they said something like 'maybe it would work, but we can't be sure,' everything might have been avoided. If I'd seen that, I would have gone and bought the Real Color Thinner just to be safe. I spent a while trying to be sure I could use Ultimate Thinners because the AK stuff certainly isn't cheap, even on the smaller bottle.

 

Gaz

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Simpson Scandal Update! Homer sleeps nude in an...

 

No, wait. Wrong one.

 

So I did a bit of testing. I'm more or less out of it, but I transferred paint from the pots via brush to bring down the fluid levels and then added in some of my X-20A. It appears to do the trick. Colour I tested seems to require a bit more thinning down as it has that spatter you get with Tamiya White unless its well thinned. But, judging from the amount I added, a good mix would be roughly similar to the amount I add to my Tamiya paints. If it does work, I can just use X-20A in future, since the Real Color thinner, even the smaller one, is nearly twice as much. 

 

Gaz

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Another update.

 

So I had to get some new X-20A, and decided to build upon my earlier test and get one new jar of Real Color. I applied the X-20A to the jar, almost completely to the top. Transferred and tried to spray. Weak spray, wouldn't give continuous flow. I had to add maybe another five drops of X-20A to the cup to get it going, and it still only put down very thin, almost watery coats. But this additional need for thinner exceeds the size of the jar. Even so, it still struggled.

 

At this point this 'high-compatibility' paint only seems to actually work properly with their own thinner. Otherwise you have to add a boatload to it. What is peculiar though, is when I did my earlier test with X-20A, I added only about a third of the amount to it than I did with the new one, and it sprayed better. Considering the Ultimate thinners had virtually no effect, I'm a bit confused as to why less X-20A made it spray better.

 

Either way, Real Color as it stands is too much of a farce for me to use at the moment. I don't want to be constantly having to drop precise amounts of thinner into my cup or elsewhere every single time to try to get it right, or have to spend extra on empty jars just to thin the stuff down. So far it doesn't work with Ultimate thinners, and doesn't work particularly easily with X-20A either. I've still no idea how on Earth its meant to work with distilled water if X-20A won't cut it.

 

P.S. if you want actual NATO Green from Real Color, get the Forest Green FS 34102. It appears to matche fairly close to Tamiya's colour, which is still the only NATO Green I've seen that matches real pics. Real Color's NATO Green is a darker shade, and their NATO set on the whole reminds me of Revell's colours for the scheme, suggesting it works better for German vehicles.

 

Gaz

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9 minutes ago, GazB said:

 I've still no idea how on Earth its meant to work with distilled water if X-20A won't cut it

 

I didn’t believe that at first.

 

However, just checked their website and yes it says you can thin with either: their own Real Color thinners, other non- vinyl acrylic thinners, lacquer thinners, water or alcohol. 

 

This must be wrong information because water and lacquer thinners don’t mix? 

 

Have you tried mixing in shot glass (or similar) some neat unthinned paint (if you still have any) with some water? What happens? 

 

Tony

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Posted (edited)
20 minutes ago, Tony Oliver said:

 

I didn’t believe that at first.

 

However, just checked their website and yes it says you can thin with either: their own Real Color thinners, other non- vinyl acrylic thinners, lacquer thinners, water or alcohol. 

 

This must be wrong information because water and lacquer thinners don’t mix? 

 

Have you tried mixing in shot glass (or similar) some neat unthinned paint (if you still have any) with some water? What happens? 

 

Tony

Hey, Tony.

 

The odd thing was, when I tried this the other day and dumped some distilled water into my cup to flush it through, I forgot it was there and tried painting the plastic cup I've been using for tests. It seemed to spray better. But on other flush throughs, it took a while to dump it out.

 

I'm still completely confused by this paint. With a mix of Ultimate thinner that did nothing, about a 10% of X-20A, it sprayed more or less. Patchy, like not-quite appropriately thinned Tamiya white. So I figured it needed more X-20A. Today, I took a new jar and applied the X-20A directly, almost to the lip, leaving a little bit of space for mixing. Would barely spray. Just doesn't make sense. 

 

At this point, basically, Real Color thinner seems to be the only surefire way. I'd more or less disregard anything else they say works with it because the results seem inconsistent. 

 

Gaz

Edited by GazB

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I'm amazed really as I found them as easy to use as Mr Color paints. I just splashed some Mr (Color) Thinners into the Real Color paint until I got the consistency I usually look for with Lacquer based paints, poured it into the airbrush and away I went. Never had any issues at all and the paint worked like a dream. I also added some Mr Color white to make a lighter shade and Mr Color Black to make a darker shade and they worked first time too! 

I can understand water not working, the Ultimate Thinner I've found doesn't work too well with lacquer based paints so that's no surprise to me either. I would bet money that cellulose would work well, in fact anything that would normally be used with a lacquer based paint.

I don't understand why AK would state that X paint would work with Y thinners if they hadn't tried it so onto the naughty step for them. I always test a new product on something that is expendable anyway and experience told me that the Ultimate Thinner wasn't worth trying with a lacquer paint regardless of what Ultimate might say either.

My own experience has led me to fall back to using Mr Thinner for lacquers, enamels and some water based acrylics and to use whatever works best for the rest. I'm not a huge fan of water based paints anyway so I will usually use the proper thinner recommended for the water based stuff rather than faff around.

So I guess I'm saying, naughty AK for giving out the wrong info and naughty Ultimate for stating their thinner is the ultimate and naughty you for believing them and not testing your new paint before ruining it all (oh, and naughty me for being cheeky!)

 

Duncan B

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I have bought some colours haven't airbrush them yet but I've done some brush painting and they brush out ok but the paint seems to drag on the brush as you use so I add some water from the bottle I wash the brushs out and that seems to fix that but just feels a bit odd brushing it...

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