It’s Hard to be Paranoid…

…when they’re out to get you. (Apologies to Woody Allen, who certainly knows more about what this means than anybody. Now.)

I found out that a window cleaner named “Windex” was good for thinning Tamiya acrylic paints. Tamiya’s paints are bastards to use for anything. Straight out of the bottle they provide a lot of excitement in the form of disappointments and challenges a-plenty.

But they CAN be made to work. For example, if you add some Windex (a few dropper “fulls”) you can get the stuff to brush well enough. The amazing finish you can, in theory, get makes it worth the time and trouble to mess around with it. The glossy paints, in particular, are just savagely good. Looks better than airbrushed.

But. But.

Is it worth the pain to have my cherished name and reputation ( I DID NOT do any those things I have been accused-of… not in Olongapo or anywhere else… much) dragged in the ditch by hordes of old farts like myself who tend to speak with forked-tongue or via orifices that should not be used for speaking, or through, uh, “their hats.”

I submit, at the pleasure of the court, the document “Guide to Acrylic Painting in a Post-Floquil World” by Joe Fugate, who publishes the magazine Model Railroad Hobbyist and has had his book on paint featured by Testors on their main page.


For Joe, I mean.

He–is an expert. He– is a publisher.

All hail.

For me, it’s a drag because Joe’s writing has this “confident” quality. Like he’s really an “expert.” He’s an airbrusher, so I don’t hate him as much as I would if he claimed to know all about brush painting, but he lavishes praise on Vallejo’s Model Air, and while it’s USABLE paint it’s not good paint. It’s just OK. Joe also likes Badger Modelflex and he’s on the side of the angels there. Badger makes some fine brushing paint. He also likes MM Acryl. I agree on the MM Acryl as well. It’s a fine paint for brushing.

But do not get confused my lovely goslings (I’ve decided to create a cult-like atmosphere here at thebrushpainter) by this. Vallejo Model Air is not the same paint as the other two. Badger and MM Acryl are similar. Both should be thinned with WATER. Only water. No Windex.

I call them “ammonia paint” because they smell like ammonia, and Windex contains ammonia… and stop right there my Asperger’s friend. Do not draw conclusions. No Windex in these paints. Ever. Only water.

Let me go over this ONE MORE TIME. Different paints are different. I use Windex on Tamiya paint. It works like a dream. I have also used Windex in Vallejo Model Air but do not be mistaken, my goslings. That Vallejo stuff is still pretty lousy paint for brushing and if you can get Revell Aqua, MM Acryl or Badger Modelflex then FOR CHISSAKE DON’T BUY THE VALLEJO. Cut yourself some slack. It’s too much work. Use better paint. And if you want to work hard at a paint, then get the Tamiya. It produces a beautiful finish if thinned with Windex and all your work will be rewarded with the ooohs and aaaahs we all so desperately crave.

So what does Joe say in his book? Him say… you no use Windex in paint. He did “some research” and found out that ammonia “attacks” resin in paint so don’t use it, ya sillies! What jackass suggested that crap, anyway!

This jackass did. For reasons I just made clear.

Dammit, Joe. Stop giving dumb advice.

And stop recommending the lousy Testors or Badger or Vallejo thinner. Those thinners have never worked for me (for brushing). I use water in the Testors and Badger paints and have no problems. Windex in Tamiya. Water in Revell Aqua paint, too.

Go in peace.

6 Replies to “It’s Hard to be Paranoid…”

  1. I have to admit that Revell Aquacolor has become my favorite for brush painting. Self levels better than anything else I’ve used. I wish it was more available here in the States. I order mine from Poland (Super-Hobby) as they also carry my beloved Pactra acrylics.

  2. I thin the blessed Revell Aquacolor with water. I love paint that can be thinned with water. I’ve used Tamiya for various things, but now that I know about Badger’s Modelflex I’m inclined to want to just use the MM Acryl and Modelflex and just rely on those two brands, especially because they can be mixed without problems. If I lived in a country where Revell was sold over the counter, I might think differently. I just bought some Tamiya acrylic Olive Drab XF-62 because it’s an exact match for the color (whatever it was) that was used in the USAF when I was on active duty for AGE (Aerospace Ground Equipment) and for the “Dark Green” on F-4 Phantoms at Clark AB in 1983. I don’t know what was SUPPOSED to happen, but that paint in that Tamiya bottle matches that paint on that jammer and that Phantom in 1983. End transmission.

  3. WINDEX — not blue magic additive, but a good cleaner/paint remover.

    Yah I have read a number of references claiming Windex good for certain paints. I have only ever used it to clean brushes, which it does nicely especially for soaking good brushes that I have abused.
    It is after all a CLEANING agent. to remove nasty stuff from glass etc.
    The recent good use was to remove layers of 25 year old railroad lacquer, recent MMP primer and MMP paint from a Wms Bros. Caudron C.460. After fiddling with MMP paint for months (airbrushed) I finally got a nice finish on the Cauldron. Next morning my lovely midnight blue had turned to a dark purplish blue.
    I tested the MMP Blue straight from the bottle on several painted and unpainted materials, they all turned purple. So it was to be either lots of sanding or — Windex. I submerged the model in Windex, sometimes overnight, until I could rub the paint off with my fingers and old toothbrush. One small area refused to yield to Windex, so I with brutal satisfaction sanded it away to harmless atoms.
    I will now finish the Caudron with Revell Lufthansa Blue.

  4. I would first like to thank you for your blog, being a brush painter myself your posts have really helped me a lot. Thinning the Tamiya paint is great because I have a lot of it but it would blow up and cause major issues. Your stippling brush idea actually helped conquer the devil of Luftwaffe mottling, works quite well. I’ve been using a lot of older hasegawa toolings and they don’t fit perfectly after the years requiring some putty work. I was wondering if you have any pointers or tricks for that?

    1. Thanks for the positive feedback. My approach to filling and sanding is to avoid it at all costs. To do this, I spend a lot of time test-fitting and then trimming and filing the parts so that they fit. I put the effort into that instead of filling and sanding. I use “alternative” methods of construction (i.e. I go off-script and do things contrary to the instructions). Usually, this type of care and concern in assembly will allow me to avoid doing any filling. If I have to do any at all, I’ll try to use Golden’s Molding Paste in very small quantities. I put it on with a finger and smooth it out with a damp tissue or Q-Tip. If I have to pull out the Perfect Putty and sandpaper, I consider that a personal failure.

  5. Yes I think the test fitting is best, I was just test fitting the parts going together on the next step but test fitting multiple steps ahead and even out of order is best. Coming from model dragon brand armor a lot of things translate but the fitting wasn’t such a big issue. I had some success in cement in stages on the wings and body, a couple inches at a time allowed for the next stage to be pressed down into place well. The wing roots were warped upward though and with the interior in, it did not want to bend down. Thank you for the help, I appreciate you taking the time and am looking forward to more posts.

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