Deep Thoughts About Paint

I’m still picking my jaw up off the floor after discovering that Badger Model Flex is good paint for brushing (some colors are, anyway). The world is full of materials that can be adapted to brushpainting as opposed to airbrushing, but many of these products are just not on the radar of the average builder of plastic kits.

I’ve learned a lot about paint in recent years. Even more recently (like, last week) I found out that the type of paint I like the least, which I called “latex-y crap” is actually based on PVA, not latex. It’s just called “latex” when it’s sold as house paint. PVA paints generally don’t work well for me. Model Color, Humbrol and Lifecolor just don’t work very well.

Revell, Badger Model Flex, Xtracrylix and MM Acryl work well for me. What’s the difference? I mean, technically, how are these paints different? They smell like ammonia. That’s the thing that causes me to group them together. They work really well for brushing. That’s two things they have in common. The PVA paints smell like PVA glue. Alcohol based paints like Tamiya and Gunze Sangyo do work better than the PVA paints, but not nearly as well as the ammonia paints.

I’m trying to be clear about this, but it ain’t easy. The formulae for these paints are trade secrets. Where does Vallejo Model Air fit into this structure? It hardly has a smell at all. It’s difficult to identify using my highly sophisticated laboratory (my nose). I do not know what it is. I do know that it brushes on quite well. That’s enough said, in my world.

Here is a video of a woman making “pour-able” paint from tube acrylics. It’s not the greatest video but we all have to make sacrifices for our art. The purpose of viewing this item is to see how to “build” paint from pigments, binders and solvents. I’m very interested in what must be a fascinating story of how Vallejo got into the business of making some nasty paint called “Model Color” and some good paint called “Model Air” and then The Internet declared that Model Color was “the best” paint for brushing and Model Air was only for airbrushes.

Somebody is nuts.

No, it’s not me.

Not on this point, anyway.

Model Color is bad paint for painting plastic model kits with a brush. The Internet is full of claims that are just the opposite. Model Air and Model Flex (from Badger Air Brush) are never mentioned as brushable paint, even though they certainly are.

What’s up with this? I’m beginning to suspect that for brushpainting purposes you cannot trust The Internet. In this one case, The Internet provides, (dare I say it?) FALSE information. That’s right. Fake news right here in River City. You cannot trust online paint reviews when it comes to good paint for brushing a finish on a plastic model kit.

Except for my reviews, of course! I am now an expert on this. Just wait, in a few months I’ll have my first book out from Osprey and I’ll be sittin’ in tall cotton.

Just you wait.


3 Replies to “Deep Thoughts About Paint”

  1. I find it curious that, not once, have you brought up the paint the gamers use; Citadel. I have never tried it, but they all seem to claim it is awesome for painting their figures and so on.

    1. I have some Citadel Mithril Silver. I had been told it was the acrylic answer to my prayers for a good metallic silver paint. I found out that all that glitters is not silver. Brushmarks, in the form of strange patterns within the glittery metallic pigment, are permanent and impossible to avoid. It’s usuable in a pinch, for detail work that I can’t do with a silver Sharpie (for some reason). I was never tempted to try Citadel paint for anything else. It just reminded me of Model Color and other paints that are used for painting “minis.” Painting minis is just an entirely different hobby.

      1. Addendum.

        I’ve acquired some Citadel paint and I’m going to do a full review. So far, I like them a lot.

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