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Sweetganga

Thinning testors enamel paint?

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I bought my first model today (‘65 Chevy impala) and some testors enamel paint. Can I use the paint as is or does the paint look/apply better by taking some paint and using some paint thinner. Or is it ok to just start using the paint straight out of the bottle? Any suggestions on good sites for tips and tricks would be appreciated too.

Edited by Sweetganga

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You're planning to paint the body of the car using Testor paint from the bottle, presumably with a brush? You're about to find out, like tens of thousands of us who have walked that trail, that that almost NEVER ends well.

Brush paint is fine for details, but for large areas such as a model car body, you want to use spray cans or an airbrush.

Sorry to be the bearer of bad news, and I don't mean to come across like some sort of model snot, but that's just the way it is.

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You're planning to paint the body of the car using Testor paint from the bottle, presumably with a brush? You're about to find out, like tens of thousands of us who have walked that trail, that that almost NEVER ends well.

Brush paint is fine for details, but for large areas such as a model car body, you want to use spray cans or an airbrush.

Sorry to be the bearer of bad news, and I don't mean to come across like some sort of model snot, but that's just the way it is.

Sorry I didn’t explain myself well :)  The body will be spray painted. I’m talking about the smaller pieces like the engine, brakes....etc Should I be mixing some thinner with the color I’m painting with or just use the paint directly from the bottle? I learned a while ago brushing the body looks awful;)

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I strongly advise putting a small amount into a jar (you can get airbrush or similar jars cheap at the arts and crafts store), and then add some of their thinner to it. Brushing it as is out of the jar WILL make a mess and I can guarantee it will never dry thoroughly. You may want to try out the water based acrylics available from Tamiya and others for painting small details and interior parts as well.

They clean up with water (I'm using them right now in between responding to posts) and dry sufficiently unlike the enamels.

We don't mean to sound like killjoys, but unless you have a dehydrator to dry those enamels, you can be waiting quite some time for them to dry to the point where you can handle them and not make a mess. :o

Edited by MrObsessive
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I strongly advice putting a small amount into a jar (you can get airbrush or similar jars cheap at the arts and crafts store), and then add some of their thinner to it. Brushing it as is out of the jar WILL make a mess and I can guarantee it will never dry thoroughly. You may want to try out the water based acrylics available from Tamiya and others for painting small details and interior parts as well.

They clean up with water (I'm using them right now in between responding to posts) and dry sufficiently unlike the enamels.

We don't mean to sound like killjoys, but unless you have a dehydrator to dry those enamels, you can be waiting quite some time for them to dry to the point where you can handle them and not make a mess. :o

That’s the kind of advice I wanted thank you both! I saw the acrylics at the hobby store and tried to ask one of the employees about it, didn’t know it was lower quality looked worse when used. :/ So I should return the enamels and use acrylic to start off?

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I’ve had great success and highly recommend Donn Yost’s “The Old Man” technique for working with enamel paints and cheap lacquer. It’s been discussed on this forum a few times. 

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You can do that if you'd like, but there are some hues/shades that don't show up as well with acrylics vs. enamels and vice versa. If it were me I'd hang on to them as you don't know when they might come in handy sometimes.

The rule of thumb with painting anything is always test out your paints before putting it on anything. Either scrap plastic, a junk body, plastic spoons, etc.

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There's nothing wrong with using enamels, but for reasons already mentioned, stay away from gloss enamels.

Use flat.

You can always gloss coat afterwards.

Flat enamels will dry much faster & smoother than gloss.

I routinely thin flat enamels with either enamel thinner or lacquer thinner.

But depending on the enamel thinner that you use, it can sometimes turn your paint into a globular mess.

With lacquer thinner you will have much better results, with air brushing especially, & the paint will dry almost as fast as lacquer.

I buy the basic blue, green, red, yellow, black & white, with a few other "specialty" colors, & with those, I can mix nearly any color that you can imagine.

I use flat enamels almost exclusively for interiors & many times for engines & am almost always happy with the results.

 

These interiors were done with all enamels with the exception of the dash boards & steering wheels.

 

 

Steve

 

 

DSCN4576DSCN4458

 

 

 

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There's nothing wrong with using enamels, but for reasons already mentioned, stay away from gloss enamels.

Use flat.

You can always gloss coat afterwards.

Flat enamels will dry much faster & smoother than gloss.

I routinely thin flat enamels with either enamel thinner or lacquer thinner.

But depending on the enamel thinner that you use, it can sometimes turn your paint into a globular mess.

With lacquer thinner you will have much better results, with air brushing especially, & the paint will dry almost as fast as lacquer.

I buy the basic blue, green, red, yellow, black & white, with a few other "specialty" colors, & with those, I can mix nearly any color that you can imagine.

I use flat enamels almost exclusively for interiors & many times for engines & am almost always happy with the results.

 

These interiors were done with all enamels with the exception of the dash boards & steering wheels.

 

 

Steve

 

 

DSCN4576DSCN4458

 

 

 

Thanks!

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I don't know why my experience is different than some others, but I have never had a problem brushing enamels straight from the bottle. They do take some time to dry, a half hour or more, but they always dry completely. As they begin to thicken up with age, a little enamel thinner will bring them back. The most important thing is to make sure you stir them thoroughly every time before using.

Both Tamiya and Testors acrylics also work well. Some colors may not cover as well as enamels. I suggest you experiment with different paints as you go along. I use both enamels and acrylics.

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I don't know why my experience is different than some others, but I have never had a problem brushing enamels straight from the bottle. They do take some time to dry, a half hour or more, but they always dry completely. As they begin to thicken up with age, a little enamel thinner will bring them back. The most important thing is to make sure you stir them thoroughly every time before using.

Both Tamiya and Testors acrylics also work well. Some colors may not cover as well as enamels. I suggest you experiment with different paints as you go along. I use both enamels and acrylics.

Testors enamels "dry" to the touch fairly quickly, but they do take a long time to fully cure out hard.  To speed up the drying/curing time, I use an Oster food dehydrator that I bought back in 2010.  It will cure out Testors paintwork in about 2-3 hours or so, to "chipping" hard.

Art

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Me personally, I use Testors Model Master enamels, acrylics, and Tamiya acrylics, lacquer. As stated earlier, you may find that every brand has its good stuff, and bad stuff. For instance; even though Tamiyas paints are VERY good, I Cant stand their black's -black enamels from Testors suck really bad....gets thick WAY too fast. I like to use Testors acrylic blacks because it covers smoothly, and you have more time to lay it down. Testors acrylic chrome sucks.....it seems to be a bit translucent and NOT very chrome-like.....Testors Model Master chrome trim enamel, however, is my favorite for brushing on a chrome look. I know the "new craze" is to use those chrome ink pens for chrome details, but I have this sinking feeling that years down the road it will dull. and i'm not willing to gamble on that with my builds, I will stick to the already PROVEN ways. As far as clear paints go, you cant beat Tamiya's.....just DONT shake them......you'll never get the bubbles out, so stir them. When I have to use enamel paint, I discovered that using Testors acrylic clear coats over it stops that "tacky" feel, and makes it more durable. When I was looking for an acrylic clear coat, I tried Vallejo brand since people gave it good reviews, but I was not happy with their gloss clear...it got tacky REALLY quick, and wasn't as glossy as Testors acrylic gloss clear. Remember also that the better quality brushes also have a HUGE effect on how the paint lays down. My favorite is Winsor Newton white nylon for most jobs, but the brushes I use for super detailing, I found from Micro Mark. Sorry about this huge ramble, but as you can see, most of us have a favorite use for all types of things.......hope this helps in some way.

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I've had good luck spraying Testors "PLA" gloss enamels from the small square bottles, with the main trick being sure to use the Testors Model Master airbrush thinner. It's hard to believe, but one of my best gloss black paint jobs is nothing more than one coat of PLA sprayed over black plastic. No rubbing, no polishing.

An older guy told me the old-school trick to get a smooth brush-applied finish with Testors enamel was to warm up the bottle by holding it in your armpit for a few minutes. Before you take off the lid, of course! Wasn't sure if he was pulling my leg, but I tried it and the paint does level out better. Setting the bottle in an old yogurt cup with a bit of hot tap water works fine too if you don't want to sit around squeezing a bottle of Testors in your armpit. :lol:

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