Dead Flat

I explained about Tamiya Flat Base plus Future equals GOOD. Well, today I had to make some more of the stuff because I ran out. I didn’t document (take pictures) of this process at every step. But I covered the basics, I think.

Firstly, let me ‘splain something about folks who use a lot of paint, and especially folks who use a lot of highly smelly toxic paint and inhale a lot of fumes from it. Like, say, they airbrush enamel and thin it with MEK and so on. Lots and lots of VOC’s in the air. Then maybe they grab a bottle of IPA and drink that down. Maybe two.

These people  have liver problems. Here’s a link that could help some of my forum friends who come unlaced when anybody suggests that Japanese Zeroes weren’t hemp colored, or that they should stop using enamel and switch over to acrylic for their health. Angry, angry liver!

The French have a saying, which in English is “to understand is to forgive.” I may not forgive my bile spewing colleagues who have ingested too much paint thinner, but I try, I do do try to understand.

So here’s the stuff that makes this all possible. Future.


This is an old bottle. A bottle like this will last for ages. C’mon. You can afford to pay for one bottle without your liver jumping in and telling you that, as God is your witness, you’ll never be ripped-off again. Go ahead and pay the rip-off prices if you live in some place where this material is not sold, and you have to buy it from predatory eBay sellers. The pain will go. I promise.

You take a new, unused bottle of Tamiya flat base and laboriously scrape the stuff out of it out into a larger bottle. Then, you carefully pour the Future into the (now empty) flat base bottle, filling it up until it is the same degree of “full” as it was when the flat base was in it. Pour this measure into the larger bottle. Now fill up the flat base bottle with Future AGAIN and AGAIN pour the measure into the larger bottle.

After you’re done, you run over to the sink and wash everything using running water. One of the major advantages of using these acrylic paints is that you can just wash everything in the sink under running water. No mess.

You end up with something that looks milky and suspiciously like it wouldn’t dry clear. Well, it may very well dry with some “cloudiness” but that’s why you TEST it.  But a quick coat on something that needs it. Ah–there’s something!

If it dries cloudy, add more future to the mix and try it again. Add about 10cc of Future each time you test. Don’t add too much or you will get a “semi gloss” finish and that’s a problem because you can’t add more flat base unless you go buy more, and this whole thing could get expensive what with you fouling it up like that. Hey! What did I say about that liver?

Look carefully at the next photo. If you compare this to my earlier paint job on this same paint dummy, you’ll see that it now features very different shades. Now it matches the sacred Leynnwood painting.

That’s what I’m talkin’ about!

It’s also drying to a dead flat finish. No, I did not use any magic to get this outcome. I brushed it on, actually, with one of those disposable chemical brushes used by chemists and car mechanics.

Dead flat. My hat is off to anybody who can get a similar finish with an airbrush. Those freaks of nature are true artists and dazzle me with their magical abilities.

Okay, enough horsin’ around. It looks like this A-20 is next up on the workbench, with lots of work for my Sonic Scrubber. It will be finished in “sand and spinach” and blotches of “unknown desert color.”

Accurate colors? Hell yeah that’s accurate! Look at the painting!



3 Replies to “Dead Flat”

  1. I am looking forward to this A-20 coming along Dan. My hat off to you just going by the painting and not getting all twisted up about the proper colours. I used to be like that in my younger incarnation, but have been struggling to break out of the ‘proper colour’ mindset. My latest foray into French 1940 aircraft has helped, with nobody being able to really say just what colours are correct, I just went with what I thought looked the part after looking at any colour photos I have seen. Very pleased with the result.

    Now, regarding your flat base, do you lucky buggers still get the 23ml pots of Tamiya? They used to be around here 15-20 years ago, but for ages now they only stock the 10ml ‘mini’ bottles in Australia, and charge almost the same price….

    I am going to attempt the Tamiya Flat Base mixed with Liquitex Gloss Varnish soon, using your ratios as a guiding stick, and see where we go. After all, I still use enamel paint too (though I don’t spray it) and I worry about the anger that may erupt should I have to pay for a bottle of bootleg future off ebay.

    1. And I am looking forward to learning the result of mixing the flat base into the Liquitex Gloss Varnish. It should work, in theory. The 23ml Tamiya paints are still available here. I don’t know why Tamiya produces two sizes, or why they would discontinue one size in Australia. But I thought that one of the advantages to living in Australia was the ability to just buy things directly from Japan. You just put in an order and they bring it over directly with the morning mail. Isn’t that how it works?

  2. Postage to and from Japan is (usually) quite expensive. Sometimes you can get things quite cheap, but more often than not no, it isn’t that easy. It can be quite cheap getting things from Hong Kong and Korea postage wise, but then you run the risk (especially from Hong Kong) of nothing turning up.

    I assume the 23/10ml thing is a price gouging exercise. Tamiya used to be fairly competitively priced with a (comparatively) large amount of paint. Now they are one of the worst priced per ml but are available everywhere. Humbrol enamel and Tamiya acrylic. Rinse and repeat.

    While I use the Humbrol enamel regularly, I don’t use much of the Tamiya acrylic anymore, and every other paint is mail order (including my favorite acrylic, Revell, that I order from the UK, and which ends up being cheaper than almost every paint I can buy here from a shop!).

    No, there really isn’t any advantage to living in Australia, scale hobby wise. I suppose Tamiya enamel is readily available to us, but I would rather have cheap kits and the range of awesome paints and extras that the US and the UK have.

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