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Testors bottle paint issues


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I haven't built anything in a really long time and I have noticed that the paint has changed. Used to be when I didn't know any better I could brush on a shaken bottle of Testors paint on parts that weren't even cleaned and the paint covered well and left a really slick finish. On the new kits I'm working on, I'm having a problem with coverage. None of the darker gloss paints seem to want to cooperate be it red, black or blue. This is after stirring them very well and cleaning the parts before painting. Is anyone else having this issue?

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Well, Testors Model Master paints (enamel and Acryl) were reformulated late in the last century :) . The enamels are now "Lead Free" and environmentally friendly. Isn't that special? That means they ain't what they used to be. The enamels are thinner in viscosity and don't cover as well when hand brushed. 

Edited by SfanGoch
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....I was a testors fan for years until the last 4 or 5 ......now just junk with a capital J,,,,,try humbrol  brush paints, the are the best enamel model hand paints,,,,Tamiya brush paints are  nice too...........the Ace............;)

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I knew they had changed as they just smell different than they used to. It's been 20 years since I finished a model and I've bought paint off and on and worked on some in those years but never have been happy with anything I have painted. I'll have to look around and see what else I can find, seems real hobby shops have all gone away.

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Like AC mentioned, Humbrol Enamels are great. You can hand brush them because they have excellent coverage and self-level nicely to minimize brushstrokes. Humbrol enamels and acrylic paints are readily available in more than a few shops here. Revell Germany's Revell Color enamels are also good paints. Unfortunately, they aren't available stateside. You can order them from European shops although there are restrictions on shipping volatile materials. That said, there are shops which will ship them. Depending on the country, it's hit or miss if the paints aren't snagged by postal inspectors. You can always ask the proprietor before ordering.

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Like AC mentioned, Humbrol Enamels are great. You can hand brush them because they have excellent coverage and self-level nicely to minimize brushstrokes. Humbrol enamels and acrylic paints are readily available in more than a few shops here. Revell Germany's Revell Color enamels are also good paints. Unfortunately, they aren't available stateside. You can order them from European shops although there are restrictions on shipping volatile materials. That said, there are shops which will ship them. Depending on the country, it's hit or miss if the paints aren't snagged by postal inspectors. You can always ask the proprietor before ordering.

thanks, Joe....but more to the point, Travis, as Joe mentioned, all our paints, glues, solvents...u name it,,,are a mile different from when you were actively modeling. trial and error will prevail here, until you find a combo of products that you like to use. one note...those Humbrol  paints are truly great product,,,and the method I use for brushing areas is to stir and stir them till your hand almost falls off,,,makes a big difference overall.  they say dry in a few hours....let your parts sit 3 or 4 days, then you are sure,,,and as mentioned prior, and I think Joe will agree, don't be afraid of the Tamiya brush paints.....they dry in an hour or so, and are terrific quality....hope this helps, because I know jumping back into the hobby as you have, its quite a wake up call in products now to way  back then,,,,i went thru the same dilemma in 2012 when I jumped back in after almost 10 years of no building...the Ace....;)

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Nice to know it is not something I'm doing wrong. I built a car back in 1994 and used the flat red for the interior. Two coats covered perfectly. Now, I have one and the flat red has taken four coats and still has not covered. I suspect I didn't stir the paint enough on that one.

For spray paint I've been using the Duplicolor stuff, my first two experiences with that weren't very good but I am pretty sure that was my fault. Going to find out soon enough! Now I know why I quit 21 years ago haha.

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Which Testors are you using, Testors or the Model Masters by Testors?   I have always though the Testors in the square bottles was a poor quality paint. The MM has been good to me although it takes awhile to dry but most enamels do, love the black chrome..  I can't remember ever needing two coats.  

I just air brushed the Guard red MM with a drop of hardener in it and man did it come out nice.  

 

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Except for a couple of bottles not available in anything but MM, I have always bought the little square bottles. I always figured it was the same paint and the MM bottles go bad before I can use all of them. Is there indeed a difference?

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I think there is a tremendous difference. Covers better and flows better. I have several that are are least 15 years old.  They do cost more but the bottle is twice the size so it's minimal.

I would recommend adding the hardener if you want to airbrush enamels. 

I just tried Tetors Aztec Acrylic aribrush paint for the first time and it went on very nice.  I'll posting some photos in the diecast section.

 

Edited by AzTom
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There is a big differences between the testors square bottles and MM according to testors!!. ( Testors supposedly grinds the resin for the MM paints finer than there standard square bottles. ) & If you paint like I do by using the paint that is in the lid of the jar after you have mixed them & then use there standard brush cleaner to thin the paint that has thickened up in the lid while you are painting & then when you have finished painting you put the lid back on the jar with that thinned out paint it contaminates the paint in the jar over many times of doing this causing the paint to turn into a rubbery mess about 1/2 way through a jar. ( Testors has formulated there paint in such a way that unless you use there airbrush thinner in there paints they will go bad before you use it all. ) I will only use there air brush thinner for any & all brush painting & thinning in the lid of the jar when I use MM or there small bottles. There airbrush thinner is more expensive than there brush cleaner so I buy the big red can that is a full 8oz @ $9.98 instead or the smaller glass jar that is only 1 & 3/4oz @ $6.20. & I will put the thinner in a smaller jar or clean out an old empty paint or thinner bottle for brush cleaning & thinning. For years I was only getting through about 1/2 a jar of all my MM paints before they turned to rubber in the jar because I was just using there brush cleaner in the lid of the paint jar.  Not that it matters much but I have worked in a LHS for the last 15 years (Yes dream job) & have had this as a complaint from many customers over the years. & testors was sold to RPM corporation 6 years ago or more and they have changed the formula for all there paint a few times over the years. I hope this helps everyone who reads this.

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I started noticing problems in the 1990s. 

I learned about my senior year of high school (1993,) that in order to have optimal coverage for any paint, primer is almost always a necessity. 

Blacks, particularly the black spray paint, cover well without it. I still like Testors flat black for a lot of chassis stuff. Goes on nicely and dries pretty quickly- handle-dry in a a couple of hours, fully dry in about a day. 

I usually stir and shake all enamels to make sure they mix well. 

Humbrol paint is very good, worth looking for or ordering online. You'll like it. 

Model Master is also very good, there is some difference in quality to me. 

Pla enamels (square bottles) are good paints if you use them over primer and make sure it's mixed thoroughly. 

For faster drying, a lot of people have mixed in either auto enamel reducer or lacquer thinner. I have heard from a few people that the last round of tinkering Testors did with both Pla and MM, that lacquer thinner may not work well with it, it seems to turn to little globs from some reports. I've not had that problem, but I also tend to only use the lacquer thinner in my airbrush. 

Testors Model Master Acryl and Tamiya paints (also acrylic) are also very nice. You might want to try them if you can't get Humbrol easily and want to try something else.

Charlie Larkin

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For faster drying, a lot of people have mixed in either auto enamel reducer or lacquer thinner. I have heard from a few people that the last round of tinkering Testors did with both Pla and MM, that lacquer thinner may not work well with it, it seems to turn to little globs from some reports. I've not had that problem, but I also tend to only use the lacquer thinner in my airbrush. 

 

Charlie Larkin

That's interesting, Charlie. Exactly that happened the last time I thinned a square bottle with lacquer thinner. My airbrush was shooting chunks. It seems like it also depends on color. I thinned Metallic Blue with lacquer thinner a few years ago, and it worked beautifully. The chunks came with Sublime. Also, lacquer thinner seems to turn MM semi-gloss black into flat. I've gone back to using Testors thinner, no issues there.

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I can't remember when I thinned the last Testors square bottle.  For the MM enamels I have been using Xylol Medium Strength Solvent to thin them for about ten years now.  It has a slower evaporation rate than lacquer thinner. I have never had an issue of it not mixing. 

To add to Evil72gto's post.  I use a drop of hardener in my enamels so what you don't use has to be pitched.  Growing up around paint, we had a practice of not putting thinned paint back in with the original can of paint.  Never thought about why but my dad must of had a reason.

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I can't remember when I thinned the last Testors square bottle.  For the MM enamels I have been using Xylol Medium Strength Solvent to thin them for about ten years now.  It has a slower evaporation rate than lacquer thinner. I have never had an issue of it not mixing. 

To add to Evil72gto's post.  I use a drop of hardener in my enamels so what you don't use has to be pitched.  Growing up around paint, we had a practice of not putting thinned paint back in with the original can of paint.  Never thought about why but my dad must of had a reason.

Hey Tom what is this hardener and where do you find it?

Hardware store?

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The hardener I have came from Tractor Supply Co about 15 years ago.  It comes in a pint size can that I opened and poured some in a glass bottle so I didn't have to keep opening the can.  Two drops with an eye dropper is about all you need for enough to paint a car body.  Once you add the hardener you have to use the paint or pitch it. 

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   I just tried Tetors Aztec Acrylic aribrush paint for the first time and it went on very nice.  I'll posting some photos in the diecast section.

I tried Aztek Airbrushables when I came back to the hobby about 2006. They did look nice, but my biggest gripe about acrylics back then was that I could not get a "deep" shine, and the stuff always peeled when removing tape. I've been thinking of trying Aztek again, and just today, I airbrushed Red Pearl on a car body, after spraying on a few quick coats of Duplicolor Adhesion Promoter (think of clear primer). Looks very nice, but I have no reason to tape anything; so, I'm not going to tempt fate.

I also tried Future as a clearcoat, and that looked nice too, but you really have to make sure you don't apply too much, or it will flow to the lowest level and puddle up there. I still don't see me switching from lacquers, though, because while one coat of Future looks OK, it hasn't got the depth that one coat of Testors lacquer gives me.

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I'm pretty sure Testors is now owned by Hobbico...

Nope. Testor Corporation is a subsidiary of RPM Corporation, Inc. It has been since, as previously mentioned, 1984. RPM also purchased Floquil, Polly-S/Polly Scale and Pactra. The only paint line owned by hobbico is Revell germany's Revell Color/Aqua Color.

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