Modern Paints

My discovery of The New World of Warhammer “minis” has led to a major re-alignment in my brain. I’m discovering a whole world of people who have not domesticated the horse, and do not expect the paint they use to be usable “straight out of the bottle.” This is paint that is intended to be “messed with.” You squeeze it out on the palette. You mix it with this and that. You apply it to the model in multiple, multiple coats until you get the effect you want.

This is very different from what I’ve been used-to.

Furthermore, these new people in a New World have no understanding of plastic model kits as the be-all and end-all of hobbies. In fact, they may have no understanding of it at all. But does this cause them any feelings of confusion? Of course not. It confuses ME– but they are rolling along to glory– old farts need not apply.

About all this really means to me is that it provides me, at last, with some insight into my bizarre ranting on this blog. I really felt that there was a vast silent majority, sailing along behind me, waiting for me, the new Napoleon, to lead them against the forces of darkness and airpainting in the Texas sunshine.

But as I turned around to spur on my troops, I see that my followers consist of one puzzled soccer mom and a few scaly denizens of the internet swamps, waiting for me to slow down so they can have dinner.

As General Pickett is said to have uttered at Gettysburg– “General, I have no division.”

Of course, Pickett’s division was shot to pieces. Mine probably never existed, and what did exist is happily painting anime babes or Warhammer mechs.

My paint reviews can be summed up easily– “How much does this paint resemble Polly Scale?” It is that sorry lament that ultimately determines how a paint fares in my jolly kingdom of my imagination.

Now, I question this. I have seen a “new” paint that resembles the old stuff, but the idea that the world “owes” me a paint I can use is now beginning to blur into something else. If I compare all new paints to one old one, I am saying that my methods are the “ultimate truth” and that’s crazy. I do what I do because I found out that this or that worked. But if something works better, I’ll try that.

The big bad wolf in my imaginary New World is not some Geronimo, it’s Vallejo Model Color. This stuff does not work for me, but it works for a lot of other people and they cannot all be wrong. So what is the answer? Am I nuts, or what?

I’m told over and over again that this paint works just fine. It must be me that’s wrong. If I’m wrong about that, what else do I have fouled up?

I honestly do not know. It’s a genuine question. If I squeeze some Vallejo Model Color out onto a wet palette, and then add stuff to it to make it “flow”– is this legit? Am I using it the “right” way? Does it matter that the paint doesn’t “stick” very well mean anything? Do the brush marks that I clearly see exist or not? Am I hallucinating this entire thing?

I really don’t know. But my friend, Puff the Magic Dragon, thinks I’m overreacting.

4 Replies to “Modern Paints”

  1. Vallejo Model Color does not stick to bare plastic. You need to use a polyurethane primer either from Vallejo, Badger, or AK Interactive if you want to brush it on, but I believe you previously wrote that was a no-go for you. I’ve heard gesso works fine too, but I haven’t personally tried it. Then you need to keep it on a wet palette and thin it with water a tiny bit more than you’d think you’d need to, unless it’s a metallic, in which case you should be using one of their thinners if you want to paint normally and not scrub it on like the way you’ve previously detailed. You need to shake the crap out of them too, so agitators in the bottles are commonly used. I hated having to shake them. I don’t use VMC anymore myself but there are people who get good results brush painting with it.

    1. Well, I give you full credit for stating the opposing case clearly and with conviction. Having watched a number of videos of good-hearted painters using Vallejo Model Color on various Orcs and Space Marines I have to believe that it might be possible to do the same thing with a 1/72 Airfix Mustang.

      But I would really like to see it done. In fact, I’d like to see it done in person. Then my skepticism would be replaced by wonder. Right now, though, from where I’m seated, this just sounds like it would be very difficult. Not impossible, but needlessly difficult.

      I guess I’ve really painted myself into a corner, so to speak. I get snarky when somebody says that something is “too fiddly” or involves “faffing about” and I imply that they’re just impatient or misguided. Then someone tells me that they do a whole bunch of faffing and fiddling in order to paint Vallejo Model Color and suddenly I’m the one that’s put off by the amount of effort required.

      Of course, I was informed that “fiddling” is, in fact, productive effort that may put off those of us with less than stellar amounts of motivation. “Faffing” is a waste of time. So– and I hate to admit this– one man’s faffing is another man’s fiddling. Setting aside the “spray on primer” taboo, when I see all this effort expended to use Vallejo Model Color, I see faffing where someone else just sees fiddling.

      Or maybe I’ve just reached the state of crankiness where only my way is acceptable to me, and any deviation isn’t creative or amusing– it’s just digression.

      I hope not. I’ll make every effort to reform and to demonstrate my reformation. But I won’t use Vallejo Model Color. I mean, sure, I’m trying to be good and spread loving kindness– but I’m not CRAZY!

      (insert smiley face here)

  2. I don’t think you’ve reached that state of crankiness yet, otherwise you wouldn’t be watching YouTube videos of girls with nose rings and a sing-song voice to see if you can learn anything new. I can imagine it must be fun to write as if you have reached that crankiness nirvana, though.

    If you haven’t thrown your VMC bottles away yet, you could test them out on a base coat of one of your acrylics that works on bare plastic. It should stick to that if it’s not too glossy. Then you could rationalize it by using it for detail work after you’ve already painted the main color of your next project, since that way you won’t be adding any extra steps. (And brush-on primer is one of the unhappiest extra steps an honest brush painter can add to his FINISH CHAIN. Gee, where did I learn about that concept again?) Next thing you know, tada! You’re using VMC in a way that works for you, and you’ll have once again proven to the world that it is indeed possible for an old man to teach himself new tricks.

    1. I did throw them. But that was a simpler time when I had nothing but a few bottles of paint and dream. A dream that was cruelly torn asunder by VMC and that fast-talkin’ feller at the model kit forum who had me all dazzled with his fancy talkin’ and them gold cuff-links.

      Now I dream about being killed in a paint-stash avalanche. My only hope is to claw my way to the top of the paint containers and ride the wave to the valley floor.

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