Paint Review: Vallejo Model Color

Vallejo Model Color–the Photobucket of paint. Fifteen years later– this paint has been upgraded– a LOT.

  • Self Leveling
  • Need for Additives
  • Coverage
  • Proper Drying Time
  • Compatibility
  • Stippling
  • Fingerprinting
  • Adhesion
  • Line Drawing
  • Color Selection
  • Smell
  • Price



After many years of bitterly resenting this paint and the people who made it, I went ahead and tried it again, and it’s really much, much better. In fact, it’s one of the best paints I’ve used. Does this encourage me to be more forgiving? No. Does it mean I should neurotically check every paint every few months just “in case” they’ve been upgraded? No. All this proves is that a manufacturer may improve a product over time. Believe me, this is IS NOT about how I “got it wrong.” This paint DID suck. Now, it don’t. All I can do is tell it like it is. The biggest problem with this paint now is that it does require thinning and that can be problematic, and it smells like the cadaver lab at the U of M. Other than that– excellent paint.

8 Replies to “Paint Review: Vallejo Model Color”

  1. “And in the year of our Lord 2017, did the hordes descend on thebrushpainter with righteous fury….”

      1. The Paints of the earth set themselves, and the Modellers take counsel together, against the Dogma, and against his anointed review

  2. I’ve recently gone back to brush painting and spray cans (primer and basecoats) for my models since I loaned my airbrush setup to a friend. Rather nice change of pace without having to mask everything off for airbrushing or the extremely tedious task of masking canopies that led to many kits being scrapped on the shelf of doom. Do you know why Vallejo model color brushes differently from Vallejo air? I have a sizable collection of model color paints because everyone said it was good for brush painting small details (which it is) but it airbrushes pretty poorly. I have very few bottles of acryl because they airbrush poorly but I’m probably going to stock up on some since they are truly going the way of the dodo bird at least until Revell comes to the rescue when they bring their paint line up to the US shores.

    1. Thanks for dropping by, James. You sound like you’re on the right track. Vallejo Model Color is a very poor paint for brushing (for me) because it needs some kind of primer or something. I can’t get it to work. I suppose if I used a primer, then thinned it (a lot) with Vallejo thinner (is there such a thing?) and then applied it in very thin coats over the primer?? I don’t know. Who does?

      When I tried out Model Color I found that it could not be “flowed” on because it beads up on bare plastic. That shocked me, at the time. But, I knew enough to try “scrubbing” it on. So I did. This resulted in hideous brush marks! Model Air behaves very differently. With a few drops of Windex it flows on well enough. It’s not great but it’s acceptable in a pinch. Revell paint works well becuase it can be scrubbed on and it just levels itself out and you’re good to go.

      But I think that just about any paint can be used to get good results if you put in the work to learn how to use it. Some are easier (Revell) than others (Vallejo Model Color). But your methods should grow up out of your tools and inclinations. There is no one right way.

      1. Hey there, thanks for responding. I would actually suggest giving Vallejo Model Color another try over a thin layer of acryl since you’re more of a purist with brush painting then me. In my experience Vallejo is actually more forgiving then acryl over a suitable surface, you can glop it in and brush over it and the results are still quite passable. I’ll be more then happy to send you a picture of my latest build of a JU-88 in 1/48.

        1. If you can get it to work that’s great. “Good on ya” as the old Chief Master Sergeant used to say…

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