Tools & Supplies>>Types of Paint

My first tutorial..well, not actually a tutorial, it is more of an explanation about paints. Since it is my first time so I figure out why not writing something simple😀

So, there are basically three types of paint that is usually used in scale modeling. Their differences lies on the base material of the paint. There is the lacquer based, enamel based, and acrylic based paint.

Here’s the example of the bottles

The left one is an example of a lacquer based paint. It’s a Dark Green Mr.Color. Lacquer paint is the strongest, most durable, and hazardous paint compare to the other.  The reason why I say that it is strong is because it stick nicely to the surface and dries quickly. It may be the reason why all primer paint are lacquer based. It could create a very nice glossy finish for your model too. However, this paint is very bad for your health, so make sure you use this in a well ventilated area and always wear a masker. Lacquer based paints are best spayed rather than handbrushed. You can spray it using an airbrush or from a regular spray can (most of the spray can are lacquer based).

Now, the one in the middle is enamel paint. Enamel have an almost similar substance with an oil paint. It is the perfect choice if you want to hand paint your model, or do a lining on your gundam. It is takes a pretty long time to dry, so it could give you more time to work on your model. It’s easier to erase too. From the health point of view, it is not that dangerous (but still, don’t intentionally inhale the vapors). the result of this enamel paints are usually not that glossy.

The last one is acrylic based. Acrylic based are actually a water based color. it’s the safest choice for your health, could create a beautiful glossy finish, but not so durable. After using an acrylic paint, a top coat is a must in order to protect the paint. If you use an airbrush, it will be so much easier for you to clean up your airbrush if you’re using an acrylic paint. Because water could get the cleaning job done😀

Make sure that you use the same type of thinner when painting. Here’s the example the thinner for each type of paint:

acrylic thinner

enamel thinner

Lacquer thinner

I don’t know what will happen if you mix different type of paint and thinner…I never want to see the disastrous result anyway LOL

One more thing that you should remember is be careful on applying the paint. Make sure the stronger one is not sprayed over the weaker. Which means, lacquer should never be applied on top of an acrylic or enamel paint. Because lacquer will break the acrylic or enamel paint beneath it. That is only for the safe move. I actually have tried to apply a lacquer paint over enamel, the result is fine. But I already wait for the enamel paint to be fully cured (about 3 weeks). So if you have the patience (or if you have no choice :D) this rule is not absolute😀

That’s all for now😀 If you wanna add some explanation, experience, or if you see any eror in mine, please post your comment😀. Because I’m also still in the process of learning here😀

29 thoughts on “Tools & Supplies>>Types of Paint

  1. heathorn says:

    Finally it’s here, first tuto from h4mster😀
    You sure are knowledgeable about paints and stuff!
    Thx for the tuto bro.

  2. moemoekyun says:

    oh yeah bro I heard japan already banned export those kind of paint so soon or later it will be hard find those paints ;_; only gundam marker avaiable and local paint

    • h4mster says:

      O my God you are right!
      well, now Japan is requiring the paint makers to fulfill this MSDS (Material Safety Data Sheet). And I hope those paint are running low on stock because Tamiya and Gunze is still on a process to fulfill that MSDS.
      I can always hope for someone to smuggle those paint outta Japan LOL
      Well, local-made paints are not so bad anyway…and if there is no choice, it looks like I have to find an online store in US to find US-made paints (and get very broke after that)

    • h4mster says:

      I’m actually gonna make some tutorial for a top coat😀
      but since you ask, it’ll better to explain what I know right know. Top Coat also consist of lacquer and acrylic based (I don’t know if there is an enamel based top coat). The example of Lacquer based top coat is Mr.Super Clear (gray bottle). Acrylic based is Mr.Hobby Top Coat (blue bottle). So it depends on what paint do you use for your gundam. If you use Lacquer paint, then all type of top coat is ok. But if you use acrylic paint, it will be safer to use Acrylic based top coat (using a lacquer based is also ok, only when the paint is fully dries). If you use enamel paint, then you also have to wait until the paint fully dries.
      The way to apply it is the same for all types, first, make sure there are no dust on the kit (or it’ll be trapped by the coat). Second, spray it in one direction for each area once. If you wanna add some more, wait for a moment to make sure the coat is not too wet. It’s unlike applying paint where you should go back and forth immediately.
      For a gloss coat, you must apply it in a very dry area (under direct sunlight if you have to). Cold weather will create a flat effect even if it is a gloss top coat.

      Hope it helps😀

  3. chubbybots says:

    Excellent tutorial mate😀

    Now I don’t think Gunze and Tamiya can afford to not fulfill this MSDS criteria…otherwise they will be hit hard financially….

    • h4mster says:

      Thanks😀
      That’s also what I’m hoping for. And I also hope that Japanese shipment company will gladly sent those paint overseas if Tamiya or Gunze already hold the MSDS..

  4. B-Mecha says:

    nice guide. btw there is one real case I would like to share with you…

    While I was doing enamel panel lining on my SD kit, the enamel melted the Mr Color Silver! I was so fed up and decided to drop the project lol… It only happens on silver (gold, red, black is fine though =____=). No idea is it because of I din prime / top coat my kit before panel lining….

    • h4mster says:

      hmm, interesting experience you got there…I don’t know what’s the cause of it, but I also have heard stories about enamel paints gone wrong. And it’s not only melting the base color, it actually broke the part (it split into two). Never happen to me tough, and I can’t even guess what went wrong if it did happen.
      I’ll be sure to post something about it if I found out the cause😀

      Thanks for sharing dude😀

  5. Marzz says:

    Nice information you got there. I was thinking of getting myself some paints soon, and i stumbled across this! Very helpful… But i must ask, is top coat really neccesary for acrylic paints? What happens if i dun top coat?

    • h4mster says:

      Thanks😀
      I think top coat is very important, especially if you are using acrylic paints. Acrylic paints are not so durable compare to the other paints, it could be easily scratched (usually happen during a photoshoot), and it could worn out faster in a dusty environment (like my room for example LOL). Now top coat is there to put those risks in to the minimum. Because top coat is trapping the acrylic beneath the coating.
      And top coat would give a nice finish to your kit too😀 whether it’s flat finish or glossy finish

      hope it helps😀

  6. mikha_v says:

    [Out Of Topic]

    For the painting, actually I hate water paint. Its sucks. Although I’m not an expert in painting, but I think oil paint is better (because I already tried it in “Pak Asmat’s painting course. Do you still remember? Hahaha).

    So I don’t know why we used water paint instead of oil paint in our middle and high school.

    For the thinner, I have a bad experience. I accidentally drank it (but not swallow it). And it was very hot in my mouth hahaha😆

    But the good think, thinner make me remember about Mr. Bean first movie😆

    • h4mster says:

      Water paint have it’s advantage in terms of the fast drying process, If I only use oil paint for this tank, I’ll end up working on this tank for six month just to wait the paint dries😀 Things are different though if you are using oil paint in canvas, because the canvas actually absorb the oil paint and it dries faster.

      How on earth you accidentally drank it man? well, at least you have shared your experience about the taste so I don’t have to bother giving it a shot LOL

      Oh yeah, Is it “Pak Asmat” or “Pak Aswan”???

    • mikha_v says:

      6 month? Wow, that is a big difference between canvas and your tank.

      Yes you true, he is Pak Aswan. Haha It was a long time ago. Do he still open the course until now?

      Why I accidentally drank it?

      At that time, I took a big bottle of thinner. The bottle was sealed, but not properly.

      Well, we know that the little kids like to do many weird things. So did I. I took the pose of drinking it. I just wanted to show my housemaid that I am kind of “Super Man” that could drink thinner.

      Because the bottle was not properly sealed, some of the fluid poured out into my mouth.😆 .I threw it as quickly as possible. But the taste was still very hot. I had to take a lot of ice cube into my mouth to cool it down.😆

      So watch out, don’t play with thinner😆

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