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Jan 12, 2011

Chapter 1 - Model Painting Techniques Guide

This time we will talk about how to manually apply paint to models with brush. Behind going into the actual painting, we need to familiarize ourselves with the tools and basic knowledge we will be using. Types of Model Paint There are four different types of model color paint. We will go over each of them in the following.


Tamiya Enamel Paint

Tamiya Acrylic Paint

Tamiya Thinner X-20A

Tamiya (Generally known as the double star) color water-soluble acrylic paint and Tamiya oil-based polycarbonate enamel paint. The traits of these two are described as, water-soluble paint is rather easy to use; and it all agrees with the Tamiya TS color paint chart, therefore also easy to match. As for oil-based enamel paint, it produces fine grain and form an adhesive tight coat with the painting surface; besides that, it is not soluble or mixes with any other model paint, which makes it an ideal choice for the final process.

Gunze Sangyo Hobby Color

Aqueous Hobby Color water-soluble acrylic safe paint and MR COLOR oil-based hobby paint. The features of these are: the water-soluble acrylic paint is a bit difficult to apply, but after dilution can be used as water color. And it offers a wide range of selection, over 300 colors. The oil-based paint is cheap base color paint.

Gunze Oil Based Paint

Gunze water-soluble Paint

Gunze Thinner

Gunze Retarder Mild

Generally speaking, water-soluble paints are safe nontoxic products. But for the matter of quality, Gunze's oil-based paints are highly recommended for base color painting. Other brands of paint can be found in the market, such as Modeller and so on. Yet we will primarily focus on the abovementioned four.   Tamiya water-soluble paint, please apply the X-20A thinner to dilute; Gunze water-soluble paint may use the same thinner; although water is one of the options either, but it would make the paint harder to dry and small-bubbled. Another alternative is medical grade alcohol. For Tamiya enamel paint, it uses X-20, and Gunze oil-based paint uses Mr. Thinner. Incorrect application ends up the whole bottle paint goes to waste. (Have you ever seen model paint becomes bubble gum?) Thus we must give our full attention to the dilution step, especially Tamiya X-20A and X-20, their model numbers and bottles look a lot like each other.


Paint Brush

You need to use the specialized model paint brushes. Because the regular writing brushes or other paintbrushes, the hairs would drop off when using on solvent chemicals since those brushes are designed to resist the strong adhesiveness of model paint. Please wash and clean thoroughly after each use. To paint fine lines, Tamiya has a "High Finish Pointed Brush", which comes with ultra fine point; skilled painter can produce complicated detailed effects like the military camouflage color.

Other Accessories

Paint Tray

Paint tray. It is must-have for holding the working paints, mixing colors. You can purchase dozen of it with couple dollars. Or you can just use paper cups if you want.

Painting over the top of different types of paints

Basic chart:
Base Coat: / Over Coat Tamiya WaterTamiya OilGunze Water Gunze Oil
Tamiya Water--OXO
Tamiya OilX--XO
Gunze Water XO--O
Gunze OilXOX--
This chart indicates when using a specific paint as the base coat, whether painting over it with other paints would dissolve the base coat or not. According to the chart, one of proper approaches is to use Gunze oil paint as the base coat, then use Tamiya water paint to paint over it for additional effects, for instance panel lines, washing and weathering.

Painting Guide

First, predefine the paint order of colors. It should always start with light and gradually to dark color. When painting, keep the motion direction of strokes identical, to prevent making uneven texture. Pay attention to the paint concentration all the time based on your own control preference. Oil-based paint with high concentration causes the fast dry, and leaves visible stroke marks, in this case apply slow dry agents can help eliminate these marks, but the downside is it makes the work hard to dry.
One known shortcoming of manual paint is the thick paint. So please try to divide one painting to many small works, even first time attempt doesn't give satisfying result, don't try to repaint before previous paint is completely dry. Sometimes it's better to undo everything with paint solvent than to create mess by painting over and over again. So in the occasion of painting a large flat surface, the flat brush will come in handy; and for modifying or coloring delicate details, the fine pointed brush is to be used. Here is a tip for painting technique: cross painting, first sweep from one direction and wait for it's almost dry, and then paint over that coat from a slightly changed direction. Do this again for the second coat and then a couple more times. Then you will have a considerably even surface.   To learn how to paint a model appropriately is not easy, there are some who can gorgeously paint everything with a single brush while others try everything but still no acceptable results.    You will find lot skills and techniques to master to be a great painter, but remember only practice makes perfect. See you guys next time!