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sprue

Recent Humbrol Enamels - poor quality

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I've been painting with enamels since the late 1960s employing both hairy sticks and airbrushes and I've seen brands come and go but Humbrol are still here. The reason why I buy Humbrol is because I have a Hobbycraft store nearby and I can make good any shortages fairly quickly without incurring postage and packing charges.

However the tinlets I've bought recently contain paint which is either too thick, excessively granular even when thinned or the lids don't fit properly and they dry out in no time. Also colour consistency has been an issue.

This afternoon I've bitten the bullet and ordered Colorcoat paints from Sovereign Hobbies. Its a pity the postage is so costly but that's the Royal Mail for you.

I wonder if anyone else has had the same problems with Humbrol?

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You're not the only one and this has been discussed and mentioned here before. I use Humbrol enamels and have had some bum tins over the last year or so but only the metallics 53 and 56. Interestingly enough I opened a new tin of 53 tonight worried that it would be bad like recently but it was fine and dandy.

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That appears to be the problem with Humbrol: inconsistency. If you can't rely on it, take the hit and move on to something reliable, like Colourcoats. I've moved over to acrylics and had the same issue with duff Humbrol so now I buy Hataka, at a cost.

 

The annoying thing is that Humbrol can be quite good if you stumble across the right tin...

 

John.

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5 minutes ago, johnd said:

The annoying thing is that Humbrol can be quite good if you stumble across the right tin...

 

Very true. I'm a brush painter and when they're good they make using a brush so much easier. Saying that I thin them when doing any sort of largish area which I find improves them dramatically if you happen to get a tin which is a bit dodgy. But as you have wisely brought up, it's the consistency issue. If they could nail that they'd probably get a few modellers going back to them due to ease of availability and when they work they work jolly well.

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I have had 30 year old tins of Humbrol which performed flawlessly.

 

However, I've stopped buying New Humbrol a few years back, due to the quality issues mentioned above (plus the fact that a complaints mail to Humbrol remains unanswered to this day). 

 

Cheers,

 

Andre

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52 minutes ago, Graham Boak said:

It seems to be mainly a problem now of the shops working through all their old stock.

If the old stock is sub-standard, they should do themselves a favour and stop pushing it at the customer. People will seek out alternatives if the paints are performing poorly and that in itself will damage the reputation of Humbrol, maybe forever. Myself, I stopped using enamels a long time ago. As a car and bike builder who only airbrushes,  I find lacquer paints are much better suited to the kind of painting I do. The quality of the finish and the speed I can achieve it with lacquer paints is just so much easier than with enamels...

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Hundreds of topics about Humbrol paint problems,  not just on this site,  I think its since the EEC made it law NOT to use certain ingrediants in their formula, forcing Humbrol to look for alternatives, but, it never worked out...……….the paints have never recovered from change of formula …………..heres just one thread from Britmodeller, there are many others on this site

 

 

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Is this comment about  EU bans on certain ingredients true?   If so, was it the case that these ingredients were indeed harmful and thus it was a good idea to stop using them? 

 

Or is this just an unwarranted assumption based on the kind of anti-EU propaganda we have been inundated with in recent years?  if so, it is worth reminding people that there is a ban on political comments on this site.

 

As for traders jettisoning what could be a large investment because some people have found fault with some examples, this doesn't seem like a completely good idea.  The answer is to take the matter up with the trader who sold you the faulty product, who has to replace it to your satisfaction or refund you.  He can then decide whether your complaint was truly representative of all his buyers, and of all his stock, and take what he sees as the appropriate action.  Which I suspect would be sending all his suspect stock back to Humbrol for replacement.  However as your link goes back six years to 2012, I suggest that Humbrol have already taken action.  Other postings since, and my own experience, would certainly suggest this is true and that current production paints are of good quality.  Not that I have recently bought a statistically significant sample, to be fair, but it has included a silver that I had had some trouble with earlier.

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Yes it is true that EU regulations banned many paint ingredients during the 1990s

Many automotive paints, previously used, were suddenly banned for sale and use. Certain wood preservatives, lacquers & varnishes; same, all banned. All due to the ingredients

Whether the ingredients are or were harmful, that is another matter

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I don't buy the EU law excuse. If that were the case. then Revell and Colourcoats would have the same issues. The fact that they don't leads back to Humbrol quality control, or lack thereof. Saying that, the newest tins seem to be making the cut, but there is that much old China/New UK starter gunk still in the stands (especially here) that it makes buying Humbrol a lottery, whereas every tin of Revell enamel and Colourcoats has been perfect for me.

 

Humbrol acrylic recently started being made at the same UK factory as the enamel, as the Chinese stuff went from bad to worse, but I daresay most of the stock you will find is Chinese rubbish.

 

I only hope Humbrol can weather the storm, as it has been a pretty bad run of years for the brand with the stupid idea of sending it off to the far east. not to mention frustrating for users. I know what to use for virtually any project using the Humbrol colours, so when I have to use other brands, it becomes trial and error, as the colour conversion charts are not worth the paper they are printed on (hint: If you see Revell light olive posted as a match for Humbrol light olive, throw the chart away, as it is clear that person didn't even attempt to match the colour, which precludes virtually every colour matching chart on the planet).

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Bought half a dozen tins of humbrol the other week for non modelling touch ups, all various shades of beige/brown/ tan 

they have the consistency of Golden Syrup and the covering power of skimmed milk, never again!

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I have picked up a few old collections where people have moved on to Acrylics so hopefully I have enough to last me, the only thing I worry about are my stocks of 53 & 11 ruining out.

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I don't understand this loyalty towards Humbrol if they're turning out bad stuff? More than one brand of paint out there to try. I know they were good in the past, but it seems not so now..

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I don't really have loyalty as such, but being so used to their colours and what I tend to use them for, it does frustrate me having to mix other brands paints to get close to what i want to use. I daresay the others here have a mix of nostalgia (Humbrol was an awesome paint. Just get an old tin out and try it. It still surprises me to this day), habit, colour preference and the fact it is a UK company, made in the UK, by UK workers, would be a big factor too I imagine.

 

That being said, I am also surprised that nobody seems to have marched up to Humbrol head officer (or Rustins in London) and offered to brush out the crap tins in front of them as a demonstration. I am guessing most people don't bother complaining to Humbrol either, but rather throw their tins away and move on.

 

I am sure that had this happened back in the 80s or earlier, there would have been official modelling clubs marching enmasse to Humbrol HQ bearing torches and pitchforks, but with the sheer amount of different paints on the market, along with the migration to acrylics, users of enamel paint are scattered far and wide. The only time I see them are the few times I venture to major swap meets around the city, where there are a surprisingly large amount of enamel users. The few modellers I know locally use acrylic paint or Mr. Color.

 

These days, I usually purchase other brands of enamels (Tamiya, Revell and Colourcoats) but always keep my ear to the ground in case Humbrol has turned the corner, as they still carry colours that you just cannot find in other enamel paint brands.

Edited by sapperastro

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5 hours ago, sapperastro said:

I am guessing most people don't bother complaining to Humbrol either,

I think they do complain, I know I have. Humbrol just doesn't reply.

 

John.

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Hmm, most of the time I have bought over the past few months have been fine. Granted, they are incredibly thick in the tin, but I see them as being akin to Campbells condensed soup, though I should probably point out that they're not as tasty. Don't try this at home, kids.

 

After a thoroughly good stir, I transfer some into a repurposed plastic milk bottle lid and thin with bog standard white spirit*. I find that it brushes just fine. If I'm airbrushing, I use either white spirit or cellulose thinners. Again, it works fine for me. I trust that no one is actually trying to brush straight from the tins, right?

 

Some time, possibly a couple of years ago, I did buy a tin of No. 56 which was terrible. It consisted of what appeared to be a thick and gloopy varnish with a few, very dark metallic flakes  suspended therein. It may have made for a scale metalflake finish over a suitable colour base, but was useless for its intended purpose.

 

So, while I'm having to thin the new Humbrols much more than I normally would (and I almost always thin any enamels for brush painting, even if just a little), they don't seem to behave much differently to any other modern enamels. And at least they stick to the model, unlike most acrylics!

 

Cheers,

Mark.

 

* do NOT try Ballatine's low odour white spirit. It reacts badly with Humbrol and Colourcoats, turning them into a jelly-like consistency.

Edited by lasermonkey

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The EU universal excuse is a joke. Do note that other enamel paint producers deliver a good product.

Humbrol needs to step up their game if they want to survive.

 

I do buy any old Humbrol tins I can for hand brushing, I prefer enamels to acrylics. For airbrushing, lacquers.

 

Vedran

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I've recently bought both 35 and 11 with good results.  I believe that Humbrol have stepped up their game, not that it seems to have gained them any respite from their critics.

 

If it assists anyone, I bought my tins from Transport Models of Preston, so make your pilgrimages now.  Though I suspect that any halfway decent model shop will have sufficient turnover to have eliminated dodgy stock by now.

 

As for thickness, they always were thick and required thinning.  I saw this as one of their strong points, which other enamel producers have failed to match in recent years.  Also known as Value For Money, as tins lasted longer.  However if you want more accurate camouflage colours, you are better off with Colourcoats or Xtracolour.

Edited by Graham Boak

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2 hours ago, lasermonkey said:

Hmm, most of the time I have bought over the past few months have been fine. Granted, they are incredibly thick in the tin, but I see them as being akin to Campbells condensed soup, though I should probably point out that they're not as tasty. Don't try this at home, kids.

 

After a thoroughly good stir, I transfer some into a repurposed plastic milk bottle lid and thin with bog standard white spirit*. I find that it brushes just fine. If I'm airbrushing, I use either white spirit or cellulose thinners. Again, it works fine for me. I trust that no one is actually trying to brush straight from the tins, right?

 

Some time, possibly a couple of years ago, I did buy a tin of No. 56 which was terrible. It consisted of what appeared to be a thick and gloopy varnish with a few, very dark metallic flakes  suspended therein. It may have made for a scale metalflake finish over a suitable colour base, but was useless for its intended purpose.

 

So, while I'm having to thin the new Humbrols much more than I normally would (and I almost always thin any enamels for brush painting, even if just a little), they don't seem to behave much differently to any other modern enamels. And at least they stick to the model, unlike most acrylics!

 

Cheers,

Mark.

 

* do NOT try Ballatine's low odour white spirit. It reacts badly with Humbrol and Colourcoats, turning them into a jelly-like consistency.

I agree with you, in the recent past i was also dissapointed with the new Humbrol..

At the moment i am doing a Airfix 262 with Humbrol RLM colors and i must say that it behaves very nice and i certainly love the finish of it...

At the moment i am stirring it more vigorously  than i used too and that helps a lot as well.

It handles thinning very good if it is goopy..

I was so glad that the metalizers where available again as the are my favorite for an easy workable metallic look!!

Trying with trial and error i have found a good white spirit, this can indeed worsen your results if you have the wrong one wich i also experienced..

 

Cheers, Jan

Edited by janneman36

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The only new tins of humbrol I have found to be almost uniformly good (proving you stir well and thin it before use) have been tins that have an undersized label around the sides, and a paper sticker on the top. Any other incarnation have been a total lottery. However, the lids on these particular tins are very shallow, so I am hoping they are actually sealing well.

 

Perhaps those having endless luck could describe, or even post a picture, of these paints that never give them problems? Because here, in my locals, the new new style I quoted above are only found with very popular colours, with others having the 'lottery' UK tins, or old Chinese vintage tins. Of the latter styles I refuse to purchase anymore.

 

With the lottery versions I either get;

 

a) Thick but still decent when thinned.

b) Thick but no covering power or leveling ability even when thinned.

c) Same as above but includes an added bonus of taking days to dry, and can be rubbed off easily even when it dries.

 

 

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28 minutes ago, sapperastro said:

The only new tins of humbrol I have found to be almost uniformly good (proving you stir well and thin it before use) have been tins that have an undersized label around the sides, and a paper sticker on the top. Any other incarnation have been a total lottery. However, the lids on these particular tins are very shallow, so I am hoping they are actually sealing well.

 

Perhaps those having endless luck could describe, or even post a picture, of these paints that never give them problems? Because here, in my locals, the new new style I quoted above are only found with very popular colours, with others having the 'lottery' UK tins, or old Chinese vintage tins. Of the latter styles I refuse to purchase anymore.

 

With the lottery versions I either get;

 

a) Thick but still decent when thinned.

b) Thick but no covering power or leveling ability even when thinned.

c) Same as above but includes an added bonus of taking days to dry, and can be rubbed off easily even when it dries.

 

 

I had all of the above in my experience, but after a long stir session with my motorized paint mixer and after that i stir with my Tamiya stirrers it went much better.

The thing in my case was when using the motorized version i still had some sediment at bottom of the pot in certain places so after the first session i opted to use the Tamiya hand stirrer to get thos sediment mixed properly..

Coverage was still thin but the drying time was way much better, the old good humbrol did cover well even when you didn't stir properly but this one doesn't.

Still for me at the moment it is my first choice of paint because the adherence is perfect..

But that is my two cents as it works for me..

By the way i must confes that i only airbrush the stuff so no brush experience with that..

 

Cheers, Jan

Edited by janneman36

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I recently posted a thread about the humbrol gunmetal just suddenly coming in a very different shade. After reading the posts I quickly realized that humbrol have indeed gone downhill...

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I bought four more tins yesterday.  All fine.  Three of them are as described above, with shallow wrap-round labels and coloured stickers in the lid.  The other has a more traditional painted lid with full-depth label.  All were made in the UK.  Yes they are thick, just like they used to be.  I think that we've been affected by other manufacturers selling pre-thinned paint to satisfy the airbrush fraternity.   If that means the traditional brushers have to buy more tins of paint, that's no problem for the manufacturers (and probably meant we weren't thinning them enough anyway...).   I use Colourcoats thinners normally, or sometimes some older stock of Humbrol thinners if I can't lay my hands on the Colourcoats immediately.  No doubt other specialist thinners will work, although it is best to try first rather than making assumptions, but white spirit is only good for cleaning brushes.  Having said that, I spent many happy years using nothing else without disaster, or at least anything I would recognise as such at the time!

 

Humbrol are now back producing good paints, much as Airfix are now back producing good kits.  Whereas Airfix are praised for their recovery, Humbrol are still being slagged off for their history.

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If you haven't had made in the UK Humbrol enamels that have had the problems I described above, you have been very lucky. For the life of me I don't know how you haven't found any to date.

 

Both Tamiya and Revell enamel, and Revell Aqua, are very thick in the tin, and attempting to brush paint them 'neat' would be a disaster, so I at any rate know exactly what you are talking about and much prefer thick paint that needs thinning. That being said I prefer paint that covers, levels, and dries, and it is due to the fact I have quite often come across these problems with the new Humbrols, that I have only bought the newest labeled tins due to them not having these issues (so far). Whenever I have to buy the full labeled Humbrol UK tins, I wince when opening, wondering whether I have bought a winning ticket or not.

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