Airbrushing and Acrylics

NW Modeling List nw-modeling-list at
Wed Feb 2 09:00:23 EST 2011

For the best glossy finish AND the paint coating isn’t so thick as to obscure details, I still use ScaleCoat I and II. I thin with either lacquer thinner or Scalecoat thinners. I use 35-45 lbs pressure through a Paasche H. I dry the models in an old aquarium with a 150 watt floodlight shining on it. It dries in about 7-10 hours. When you no longer smell the thinners, the paint is dry.

Mark Lindsey
Stuck in the 1930’s

On 2/2/11 7:57 AM, "NW Modeling List" <nw-modeling-list at> wrote:


I totally disagree with Mr. Mason. I have been airbrushing acrylics for several years and have been satisfied with the results. For those who have painted extensively with solvent based paints, using acrylics is an entirely different ballgame. I still use solvent based paints for certain applications, but where possible, use acrylics for everything else.

Here are some things that come to mind on how I use acrylics:

1. I do not use water to thin the paint; I use 70% isopropyl alcohol (you can use the 90% as well). The reason I do this is the alcohol will evaporate and dissipate quickly, allowing good coverage of the paint; water simply will not act the same way and this can cause runs, drips and other problems.

2. I thin most colors about 15%; colors such as yellow, orange and silver I willl thin 10% or less.

3. I have found it is critical to "measure" your paint; unlike solvent paint where you can "eyeball" the mix, I have adopted a system that allows me to control the mix of paint to alcohol; first, as with any paint, I make certain it is thoroughly mixed in the bottle; I use a battery powered paint stirrer that I purchased from MicroMark; I then measure the paint using eyedroppers; this is not as tediuos as it sounds; I quickly learned that the eyedropper size I use holds "about 40 drops" of paint; I simply count the number of eyedroppers of paint to determine the amount of alcohol to add. I then use the paint stirrer to thoroughly mix the paint before spraying.

4. I spray at about 15-20 psi; this is all that is necessary.

5. Prior to my painting session, I fill a small tub container with water that has a few drops of dishwashing detergent added; after spraying a color, I will submerge the airbrush in the tub and spray water through it; I'll remove the color cup and repeat the process with the brush only; I also keep a small airbrush paint bottle of windshiled washer fluid (the blue kind) at my spray booth; I then spray the windshield washer fluid through the color cup and the brush; at the end of a paint session, I will leave some of the washer fluid in the brush (that is, I don't spray until nothing more comes out).

6. If I am using the airbrush for weathering, I will reverse the proportions of alcohol to paint;

7. I use Floquil's Polly Scale acrylic paint almost exclusively. Testor's makes this paint and I have used some of their acrylic Model Master colors as well. I prefer these over Modelflex because they can be brush painted better.

IMHO, the argument over solvent vs. acrylic is much like the old high school "Chevy vs. Ford," debate; or perhaps for today, Mac vs. PC; it all comes down to what works for you, and what you feel comfortable using.

Jim Brewer

Glenwood MD

----- Original Message -----
From: "NW Modeling List" <nw-modeling-list at>
To: nw-modeling-list at
Sent: Tuesday, February 1, 2011 8:27:16 PM
Subject: Airbrushing and Acrylics

The most recent Scotty Mason show had a section on airbrushing with acrylics in which the basic message was "don't do it".

Thoughts on this rather black and white assessment?

Matt Goodman

NW-Modeling-List at
To change your subscription go to
Browse the NW-Modeling-List archives at


Mark Lindsey
ODIN Desktop Support

-------------- next part --------------
An HTML attachment was scrubbed...
URL: <>

More information about the NW-Modeling-List mailing list