Author Topic: Acrylic Thinner and Airbrush Cleaner  (Read 511 times)

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dougnelson

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Acrylic Thinner and Airbrush Cleaner
« on: February 21, 2021, 01:40:37 PM »
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1.  Can I use any acrylic thinner on various acrylic paints?  I use Modelflex, Vallejo, Mission Models, Testors Acryl, and Tamiya?

2.  Can I use Tamiya acrylic thinner with any of these paints?

3.  Is water based airbrush cleaner equally effective for these paints?

Thanks for any thoughts!

amato1969

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Re: Acrylic Thinner and Airbrush Cleaner
« Reply #1 on: February 21, 2021, 04:02:05 PM »
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Hi @dougnelson , in my experience no.  I have found success using Vallejo thinner with Modelmaster/Testors, PollyScale, and Vallejo paints.

With Tamiya, I always use isopropyl and a dash of Tamiya retarder.  I have read good things about using lacquer thinner with Tamiya, but I don't have a good enough spray booth for that in my basement!

I have some Mission Models on order at my LHS, and am looking forward to trying it.  Allegedly it does not dry on the tip as quickly as Tamiya.

  Frank

thomasjmdavis

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Re: Acrylic Thinner and Airbrush Cleaner
« Reply #2 on: February 21, 2021, 05:00:43 PM »
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I would recommend if you are mixing brands that you use the same approach with thinner that you might use if mixing brand A paint with brand B paint- do an experiment with a small amount of each to see what happens.  My take with water-based or water-borne acrylics is that it usually works, but it can fail, resulting in substances resembling jello or cottage cheese.

And yes, the last time I ignored that advice, it cost me about 1/2 bottle of Rapido Proto Paint that turned in CN green mud. 

My "go to" thinner has been Testor's Aztek Universal Acrylic Thinner, but I don't know if that will even make the cut with RPM/Rustoleum/Testors cutting back (again) on Testors/Model Master/Aztek etc. And while they call it "universal", the instructions tell you it works with "most" water based/borne acrylics.
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wazzou

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Re: Acrylic Thinner and Airbrush Cleaner
« Reply #3 on: February 21, 2021, 05:05:41 PM »
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I've had good success in a lot of cases with Windshield Washer fluid.  Testing is definitely a key.
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garethashenden

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Re: Acrylic Thinner and Airbrush Cleaner
« Reply #4 on: February 21, 2021, 09:18:24 PM »
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I've had good success in a lot of cases with Windshield Washer fluid.  Testing is definitely a key.

The active ingredient of washer fluid is methanol. I’ve had good luck with isopropanol. They’re both alcohols and therefor solvents. I suspect any alcohol would work as thinner.

SkipGear

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Re: Acrylic Thinner and Airbrush Cleaner
« Reply #5 on: February 21, 2021, 11:50:02 PM »
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So many options and variables......

Badger Modelflex has not been my friend, I have not had much luck with it in any form. It is straight up water based though.

Tamiya is an alcohol based acrylic, I have found it best to use their thinner. I have mistakenly put lacquer thinner in tamiya paint and it resulted in goo, not paint. Water can be used to thin it but the paint quality degrades quickly as you add more water. Tamiya has a Lacquer paint system coming to the US hopefully by the end of March.

Vallejo is water based, water or water/alcohol mix can be used but I prefer to use their "airbrush thinner" or "thinner medium". Their thinners have some of the carrier mixed in so the paint doesn't loose adhesion as you thin it. The "thinner medium" is a straight water based acrylic resin that thins the paint and adds adhesion. The airbrush thinner has less of the resin and some flow improvers to thin specifically for airbrushing. I have used both to thin for airbrushing with good results.

I treat my remaining Polyscale just like the Vallejo. The remaining Testors would be the same but that is going, going gone also.

Mission Models acrylic paint has a unique base. All our customer that shoot with it say that you must use their thinner. I swear it has a slight acetone smell to it but they say it contains no solvents. All over their site they caution about using anything with ammonia, and that it will ruin the paint. They also strongly suggest adding a couple drops of their polyurethane additive when airbrushing to act as a flow improver, even though they say it is usable straight from the bottle.
« Last Edit: February 21, 2021, 11:54:25 PM by SkipGear »
Tony Hines

Spades

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Re: Acrylic Thinner and Airbrush Cleaner
« Reply #6 on: February 22, 2021, 12:03:37 AM »
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This is what I use.  Just distilled water, isopropyl alcohol, a little flow improver and a little flow retarder.

daniel_leavitt2000

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Re: Acrylic Thinner and Airbrush Cleaner
« Reply #7 on: February 22, 2021, 06:48:02 AM »
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I use and mix Tamiya and Testor's Acryl without having any issues. I do use Tamiya thinner on both. Most Badger paints will also work with Tamiya thinners, but some colors and batches do not. I do not know why. I had a bottle of Conrail blue go jelly on me with Tamiya thinner where two other bottles from the same batch did not. Badger paints tend to be OK without needing to thin, so this does not happen often.

But I tend to mix Tamiya and Testor's Acryl paints much more than Badger, it has not been a big deal.
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Spades

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Re: Acrylic Thinner and Airbrush Cleaner
« Reply #8 on: February 22, 2021, 08:28:57 PM »
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For airbrush acrylic cleaning, I use a couple of tablespoons of Lemon Scented Ammonia about a gallon of warm water drop of dishwashing detergent.   I think I got the recipe from N Scale magazine when ModelFlex was first released.  Pure straight ammonia was said to attack the finish on the airbrush,
« Last Edit: February 23, 2021, 06:34:17 PM by Spades »