Brush Painting Plastic Models

I’ve noticed that my Google ranking has been slipping. I mean, I don’t know if they object to my profanity or what, but my site doesn’t pop up as much as it used to when you Google “brush painting.” I guess it pays not to try to push the river by attempting to coin a new term– “brushpainting” (one word) because then I’m an asshole and I don’t get Google love.

And don’t use the word “asshole.”

But there are more and more articles, websites, forum posts (yech) and, yes, videos that deal with this subject and maybe my work here is done. At least, we are backing away from Airbrushpocalyse. We no longer have to worry about future generations getting a kit, a brush and some paints and holding them up, helplessly, saying “What do I do with THIS?”

With the departure of Testors we can bury the hobby of plastic model kits in the USA with full military honors, which nowadays requires some dweeb with a bagpipe to play “Amazing Grace.” No lie.

I’m telling you this–if you people play “Amazing Grace” on the bagpipes at my funeral I will rise from the dead and eat your brains. Think I’m kidding? Try me.

So what does this new wave of brushing say that we should do? Mostly, it says we should apply very thin coats of Vallejo Model Color, having primed the surface of the model so that the paint doesn’t bead up.

I’ve never tried this. But, if it works, so be it. I would not want to SPRAY a coat of primer, so if I can BRUSH on a coat of “primer” and then get good results with Vallejo Model Color, then I guess I’d be willing to try it….

…sort of.

OH WHO AM I KIDDING? That dog won’t hunt.

Said it won’t hunt.

When you are painting that stupid plastic kit that is so easy to build and paint that a child could do it–you need to do so many things, and do them all in a flurry of painterly activity, that you can’t be dependent on your paint requiring a primer or being, in general, just a pile of rotten goo that is Vallejo Model Color. You can’t paint with that stuff, man.

So what do we do? Well, we can use Revell Aqua. You can scrub that shit on there and get good results. I mean, really–just go for it. Smudge smudge smudge smudge eek eep eep eep eep. I mean really rub that shit in there.

(My Google score is zero. What do I care? Am I selling something here? See any ads?)

Badger Modelflex works good but, really, it’s kinda hard to get. For most people. I think.

Tamiya makes paint that I can use but it really doesn’t take well to scrubbing, and beginners gonna scrub, and so that’s a non-starter for them–I guess. Still, if and when the big “T” goes away I’ll just gradually transition to Tamiya, unless Revell is so easy to get, and so cheap, and so in a different kind of packaging, that I can’t resist it no more.

But you mix some Windex in that Tamiya…oh wait. Old time Windex is now an endangered species. Mustn’t have ammonia where little children can drink it! That must be it, Watson! Those children turn into little savages because they have no soda pop and they must drink SOMETHING and colorful, pretty, flavorful Windex is sitting right there where mother dutifully scrubs her windows…

Wash down them lead paint chips with some Windex. Crunchy!

Vallejo Model Air is usable but I’d rather deal with the problems from Tamiya than Model Air. Model Air has more problems, in some ways, than Tamiya. More brush marks. Worse coverage. You can make it work, and it’s better than many other choices (see my paint reviews over on the right) but it’s a pain in the rear compared to Badger Modelflex or Revell Aqua.

So it’s still possible to paint models with a brush, but for God’s sake, if you have to spray on refrigerator primer or use enamels, then you may as well just get an airbrush and go crazy. Get a divorce and give your roommate cancer and get on with it. We’re building little monuments to napalm and Rule Three-Oh-Three, so go ahead. I can’t help you. Google is no longer my friend–ex-specially after that paint-chip remark.

I try. That’s all I can do.

16 Replies to “Brush Painting Plastic Models”

  1. I just discovered your site about a week ago. Love it! I was looking for info on brush painting Model Master Acrylics, and stumbled across your site. I’ve been enjoying reading thru your posts. I’ve mainly given up the airbrush since moving 5 years ago, its still packed up form the move. Mainly spray cans and brushes these days. Have you ever tried Gunze Aqueous Hobby Color? I haven’t seen much on brush painting those. I hate brushing vallejo model color as well!

    1. I used Gunze for a while when I was first making “The Transition” to brushing about fifteen years ago. It was very, very similar to Tamiya and I think I mixed them without problems (they both smell like Tequila–lots of ethanol). I had a problem with the Gunze not liking the Polly Scale Clear Flat I was using then. There was a reaction between the two and ruined a model. I didn’t have this problem with other paints so the Gunze ended up in the trash. I don’t use Polly Scale Clear Flat now (I mix Future and Tamiya Flat Base) but I can’t buy Gunze in any of the local shops so I just don’t use it.

  2. Great post as usual Dan. Been using more Revell Aqua Color of late. My biggest gripe is their limited color selection. Well that and trying to match them up to FS charts.

    1. I’m not really that familiar with Revell paints. I reviewed them based on a few colors that some kind souls mailed to me from Europe. They are amazing, from a chemical point of view, which figures because, you know, Germans.

      When I really dug into it, I found that Revell’s paint selection is really blood-pressure rising stuff. What the hell colors are they? There’s no way to know. They aren’t matched to US standards and, of course, they aren’t matched to Humbrol or anything we’d know about, so it’s a mystery. Of course, if you just buy the paint and work it out yourself you’ll eventually learn but why does it have to be so annoying?

    2. Thanks for this post, lots of opinion/truth/philosophy.
      I can’t believe the asses at Google give a shit about ordinary fucking Jesus Harry Christ cursing swearing, screw them, and the donkey they ride.

      1. And I have and will continue to mention you to modelers I encounter on other sites etc.
        I have noted a few bristle brushers lately.

  3. I’ve been hearing good things about Revell Aqua. This fellow in Britmodeller who calls himself Plastix or plastyx or something like that has got me sold with the results he’s shown (actions not words) You got a good source for this stuff in the US? I’d like to give it a whirl

    1. Our friend Greg recommends as a source for Revell paints. I haven’t tried them myself but the prices are good. Revell paints haven’t been sold in the U.S. at all. But now (I’m told) they are going to be exported to America. I discussed this here and here

      is the place where I heard the rumor…

  4. I think we should just find the formula for Pollyscale and bring the line back. I bet there would be money in it too.

  5. Hi. A Brit here.
    A great site you have.
    I returned to modeling during this covid palaver and am brush painting only.

    Revell Aqua on two Spits at this moment.
    Great paint and even better with some flow improver. Amazing stuff.

    And your comments on Jack Leynwood, I searched for him. Wow. Amazing artist.

  6. How about the tamiya flow improver? I have it but never know how much to use, the tamiya paint i have will not brush well, and i have so many bottles. I have vallejo and vallejo air and i get better results with them, why?
    Also how can we help with the Google rank.

    1. I don’t know how you could help with Google rank. If you find out, tell me! As far as “Tamiya flow improver” is concerned, I like Windex just fine. It works for me. Thinning paint is more art than science. What did the cabby say to the guy who asked him how to get to Carnegie Hall? “PRACTICE! PRACTICE! PRACTICE!”

      I can’t tell you how to paint. I can only open the door and point the way.

  7. Hey guru, i tried thw windex and using Tamiya in quick strokes, i just need to experiment with the amount of windex, and a wetter brush vs a dyer brush, let’s see. How about dropping some wisdom on lets say wealth,

    1. The archangel Uriel stands at the gate of Paradise, with a whirling sword that prohibits entry. The angel has been on guard there since The Fall. That was when the human species took up the vice of moralism. In Genesis, this is referred to as “eating from the tree of the knowledge of good and evil.” To be a moralist is to condemn oneself to misery. To abandon moralism, and accept everything as it is, is very nearly impossible… or even impossible. But it is undeniable that to moralize is in fact, to be negative.

      (I don’t know if you were asking me for a summation of the secret of life but, you know, HERE).

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