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ST3Black

Best water based metallics for airbrushing?

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Hi,

 

I’m getting back into model making after 30 years and came across your (very useful) website – a great resource.

 

I have just bought an H&S Evolution airbrush and am only using acrylic (water-based) paints for my bike or car projects. So far I have found that the Revell Aqua paint sprays okay, whilst I can’t seem to get on with Humbrol at all (variable results across pots of the same colour)

 

My question is this – which water based acrylics give the best metallic finish (ie on exhausts, wheels, engine covers, etc)? From what I can see there are quite a few makes to choose from here in the UK: AK Extreme Metal, Vallajo Metal Colour, Vallajo Model Air, etc – do they all have to be used over a primer? And if so, what type (matt/gloss)?

 

Can these all be sprayed with a clear coat to protect/enhance them? What are the acrylic (non-solvent) clear coats like to use?

 

The biggest attraction of these for me is that they are water-based and thus make cleaning the airbrush easy and odour free.

 

Any advice greatly received, thanks!

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Vallejo Metal Color over gloss black primer works nicely for me (admittedly, I build planes rather than ground transport).  Some Vallejo Model Varnish on top, and Bob's your uncle.

I used the Metal Color to brush-paint some bits and pieces on a Warhammer 40K character not so long ago (a few drops in a dimpled pallette, given a stir every now and then - the colour particles soon settle otherwise) and sealed the work with some Gunze varnish. That worked a treat too.

I'll try to get my hands on some of the AK paints at a show this weekend and see how they work, but the Metal Color range works for me.

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Thanks for the info, Steve. I do not know Gunze - is this water based too?

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Ah, a good question there!

Gunze Sangyo produces two paint ranges, Mr Color (which is a lacquer), and Aqueous Hobby Color (which is acrylic). You and I are interested in the latter. I mix mine 50/50 with Tamiya X-20A (because it's easy for me to get hold of) and spray at about 15 psi. Other combinations may work, but frankly I haven't experimented too much! Cleanup is with distilled water, finished off with airbrush cleaner.

Vexingly, my stalwart supplier of Aqueous Hobby Color shut up shop a couple of years ago, so I look for it at shows and keep assorted postal services busy with mail orders every now and then.

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Thanks Steve - good to know! I will get hold of some Aqueous Hobby Color and do some tests (I have AK on order at the moment).

 

Let me know what you think of the AK once you get some.

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Hi Steve.

AK Extreme Metals are excellent :) 

Have you thought of looking at the Tamiya Range? Their Acrylics are excellent and the quality is 100%. Always guaranteed that the colour you buy in 2 years time is the same as the one you are using now. Worth a look. 

 

Mad Steve 

 

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I have tried Tamiya but only with brushes and straight from the pot, without thinning. I was told that they can be used with water but are supposed to be used with their own thinner? Would their metallics be OK if thinned with water and used for airbrushing?

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also try Molotow liquid chrome. The best non solvent chrome paint, for airbrushing use 30ml refills

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Thanks AIEmu - I haven't heard of Molotow before, I will do some research on them!

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Ak xtreme metallics are enamel/solvent based mate. 

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3 hours ago, ST3Black said:

I have tried Tamiya but only with brushes and straight from the pot, without thinning. I was told that they can be used with water but are supposed to be used with their own thinner? Would their metallics be OK if thinned with water and used for airbrushing?

 

Tamiya metallics are very grainy and have a large ‘flake’ when it comes to their acrylics. X11 the worst but their x32 is quite ‘smooth’ 

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It sounds like the Vallejo and Aqueous Hobby Color could be the way to go then. Thanks for the update on the AK Xtreme Metallics, I thought they were water based. 

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4 minutes ago, ST3Black said:

It sounds like the Vallejo and Aqueous Hobby Color could be the way to go then. Thanks for the update on the AK Xtreme Metallics, I thought they were water based. 

 

Yeah the best water based metallic I have used is the vallejo metal color. Larger 35ml flip top black capped bottle. Very fine grain, good shine, dries fast and fairly tough. Won’t leave silver dust on you fingers once dry. Still best to put a clear coat on to protect it. 

 

Don’t confuse it with vallejo model air metallics -  black screw top regular 17ml bottles like the rest of their model color/air range. 

That stuff is like water with glitter in it...

 

Tony

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Thanks for the info Tony. Is there a particular (water-based) clear coat that you would recommend? I used a Humbrol one on my CBR1100 and it did nothing but clog my airbrush every 2 minutes.

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21 hours ago, ST3Black said:

Thanks for the info Tony. Is there a particular (water-based) clear coat that you would recommend? I used a Humbrol one on my CBR1100 and it did nothing but clog my airbrush every 2 minutes.

 

Alclad Aqua gloss mate  

Spray it straight from the bottle no  need to mix or anything. 

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I had no idea Alclad produces water based products so thanks, I'll give that a go.

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Decided to buy the Metal Color. Which is the best primer to use with this? Read mixed reviews of the Vallejo gloss black - want to stay with water based so am guessing Tamiya is a no go? Is the Humbrol primer any good for use with Metal Color?

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@ST3Black 

 

Best waterbased primer is stynylrez. Loads of colours available. They do a gloss black too. Better than the vallejo gloss black I didn’t get on with thay. 

 

Stynylrez is also re bottled by these companies as  (only black, white and grey so far) -  

 

Mig ammo - one shot primer. 

 

Ultimate modelling products - ultimate primer. 

 

Tony

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Thanks Tony - I'll order some up off Amazon. Can I still use Vallejo AB cleaner/rubbing alcohol afterwards, or do I have to use something else?

 

Does this primer need thinning at all? If so, what would you recommend?

 

Is it always best to use the darker colours if painting metallics over the top?

 

Thanks for the advice!

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48 minutes ago, ST3Black said:

Thanks Tony - I'll order some up off Amazon. Can I still use Vallejo AB cleaner/rubbing alcohol afterwards, or do I have to use something else?

 

Does this primer need thinning at all? If so, what would you recommend?

 

Is it always best to use the darker colours if painting metallics over the top?

 

Thanks for the advice!

 

Stynylerez is ready to spray out of the bottle mate. 

It is a bit thick but thats how it is. It shrinks back once dry. I flash it off with a hairdryer in between coats to speed up the process. 

 

Vallejo AB cleaner is fine, its the one I use too with all acrylic paints. 

 

Also yeah metallics do seem to work best over dark bases, gives depth and helps you to see where you have painted so far! 

 

Tony

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I read that the Styn stuff can be very hard to clean off the airbrush as it dries quickly - would the use of Vallejo flow retarder help with this, do you think?

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No I don’t mix anything in. Never needed to. Plus it may affect the integrity of the primer? 

 

As with all paints clean your airbrush out straight after, don’t leave it to dry in there. Pretty simple solution for something stupidly avoidable. 

 

 

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