When it comes to bringing model kits to life, the right choice of paints can make all the difference. Whether you’re a returning model builder or just starting out, navigating the world of model paints can be a bit overwhelming. But fear not, this post will give you a beginner’s guide to the different types of paints for model kit finishing.
Primer: The Foundation of a Great Finish
Before applying any paint, consider using a primer. Primers create a smooth surface, enhance paint adhesion, and can even help fill minor imperfections. They come in various forms, including spray cans and brush-on versions, and are available in both acrylic and enamel options.
Acrylic Paints: The Versatile Option
Acrylic paints are a favourite among model builders for several reasons. They’re water-based, which means easy clean-up with just water and soap. Plus, they dry relatively quickly, allowing you to move on to the next step of your project sooner. Acrylics are versatile, suitable for both brush painting and airbrushing. They also come in a wide range of colours, making it easy to find the perfect shade for your model.
Some popular acrylic ranges include:
- Vallejo Air War Series
- Hataka Sets (Airbrush)
- Hataka Sets (Brush)
- Tamiya Paint Range
- Ammo by MiG
- AK Interactive
Enamel Paints: Durability and Smooth Finish
Enamel paints are known for their durability and smooth finish. They adhere well to plastic surfaces, and their slow drying time allows for better levelling and fewer brush strokes.
Enamels also offer a glossy finish that can be perfect for certain model kits, like cars or aircraft. However, they require special thinners for clean-up and can have a stronger odour, so proper ventilation is essential.
Popular enamel ranges
Lacquer Paints: Professional-Quality Shine
For a professional-quality shine and smooth finish, lacquer paints are the way to go. They dry incredibly quickly, making them suitable for large projects. Lacquers are often used for scale models of cars and other vehicles, as they can achieve that showroom-quality shine. However, they require more caution due to their strong solvents, so use them in a well-ventilated area and consider wearing a mask.
Popular lacquer ranges
Oil Paints: Mastering Figure Painting and Weathering Effects
When it comes to painting figures that come with model kits, oil paints are a fantastic choice. They allow for smooth blending and shading, which is crucial when working on intricate details like faces, clothing, and armour.
Oil paints have a slower drying time, which gives you plenty of time to work on your figures and achieve lifelike results. They also have a unique texture that adds depth and realism to your models.
Additionally, oil paints are excellent for creating weathering effects, such as rust, grime, and wear-and-tear, adding an extra layer of realism to your projects.
Popular oil ranges
Spray Paints: Convenience and Consistency
Spray paints, available in various types including acrylic, enamel, and lacquer, offer convenience and consistency. They are perfect for achieving even coats on larger surfaces or intricate details. Just be sure to follow the instructions on the can and use them in a well-ventilated area to avoid inhaling fumes.
Popular spray can ranges
As you dive into the world of model building, experimenting with different types of paints will help you discover your preferences and achieve stunning finishes. Remember to take your time, practice, and don’t be afraid to ask for advice from fellow model builders. Happy painting!
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