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I've been using Testers .. Model Paints.


I'm very sure that'll be frowned upon, but.. hey 88¢ a bottle is a plus in my world. And.. I've been using them forever, not just for minis.


I also use the glossy ones, but mainly for stuff that I think should look shiny, like silk, or gemstones.

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Testor's -- is that acrylic or oil? Either way, you'll want to use acrylics.


Now then -- what brand. Reaper Pro Paints and Vallejo Model (or Game) Colors are the best for your buck. A lot of folks also use Games Workshop (don't!), Liquitex, Golden, and even craft paints (Delta Ceram-Coat, Apple Barrel, Folk Art, etc.). As you can see, there are a lot of choices.


Do a search here or else check out these links as well:


I Found'm!


New Paints


Again, I'd go Reaper or Vallejo, whichever you can find.

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Testors is what I started out on, and while they're okay, they aren't the best.


Here's an example of what 23 years can do to a model painted with Testors.




As you can see, most of it has rubbed off, and what hasn't still has that "I'm a thick, glossy, Testors paint" look. While the 88 cent pricetag might look nice at first, also look at the size of the bottle. It's tiny. Compared to Reaper, which is about $2.49 a bottle, you get 3/4 of an ounce. That's three times the amount of paint. For 1/4 ounce, that's 83 cents, plus it cleans up with water and dishsoap and will thin with water. By thinning your paint with water, you end up with a lot more bang for your buck (I know I sound like a Reaper FanGirl Salesperson). It also dries matte instead of glossy, and their metallics are beautiful. They also sell a brush-on glosscoat so you don't have to worry about making the entire mini glossy.  :D

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I use Testors Glossy, and Flat.

I also mix paints, and I go for the cheap stuff cause, when I want to paint a mini, I want to paint it all, not parts of it one week, and then other parts the next. Yes, I once had about.. 30 bottles of paint..


Now if they all had cost about $2.50, that'd of been 75.00, now I did say, "once", they were stolen.


I get the water soluable thing, and I do own some Folk Art paints (which are just about as cheap), but doesnt that mean you could just rub off dried paint with water?


Yes, it does, I tried to fix a canvas once and I just dug through the paint with soapy water and a paper towel.


I use the kind of paint that requires Thinner. I have used Testors Arcryllic, White and Black, and those did stay chip free.



Metal Flake Red + Metal Flake Green : Metallic Black

Gold + Silver = White Gold

Gloss Black + Flat Gold = Dark Gold

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Yes, most craft stores sell the bottles of craft paints in 4 oz bottles (MUCH larger than the Testors bottles) for a similar price, and you'll probably be happier, especially if your using Testors enamels.  Testors DOES make acrylics, but I've never used them.  I saw bunch at the hobby shop the other day when I was buying a pin vise.


Basically, though, use what you are comfortable with and what gives you the results you want.  I (and monay others, I'm sure) think you'll be much happier with the results you get from even the cheaper craft paints (properly thinned), but, as always, YMMV.

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Actually, with the use of primer and a good sealer, the paint won't rub off easily, water or no. Also, once the water-based paint is dry it does not come off easily in water. That's why we have threads on stripping paint. :)


Another thought about using waterbased paint is that you don't have to buy a seperate thinner which adds to your paint cost, and its a lot easier to keep your brushes not only clean, but in good condition so they last longer, and thus you spend less on brushes. :upside:


If you really need to keep costs down, Folk Art, Delta Ceramcoat or Applebarrel paints are water-based, fairly decent, come in 2-4 ounce bottles, and cost under a dollar. They can also be found at Wal-Mart, Michaels, Hobby Lobby, and just about any other craft store. They also have a huge array of colors, including metallics and transparents that are good for gems and jewels. :love:


I do recommend still thinning your paints, using extender and flow-aid, using primer, and a decent sealer. So far the best sealer happens to be Testors Dullcoat.


Anyway, that's the best answer to your question. Vallejo and Reaper are generally looked upon as some of the better paints, with Liquitex Acrylics being still in a questionable stage and Citadel being generally liked but the pots despised. Testors is viewed as the beginners paint, in all honesty. Many painters, like me, began with Testors, but in my case I was in Jr. High School (when it was still called that) and just took some of my brothers model car and airplane paint to use.   :;):

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Anyway, that's the best answer to your question. Vallejo and Reaper are generally looked upon as some of the better paints, with Liquitex Acrylics being still in a questionable stage and Citadel being generally liked but the pots despised.

I agree with you on the Reaper and Vallejo paints.  The best as far as I'm concerned.  I use Reaper exclusively for the figures and I do for Reaper's showcase, using Reaper and Vallejo as the majority for the display pieces I do for others and myself.


Although I strongly recommend looking at Reaper's paint line, as the quality of paint is excellent, with practice, many other paints can produce fine results.  It is amazing to see what can be done with practice and skill - remembering that using better paints makes the work far easier and usually better in the long run.


For instance, Sir Michael, the Golden Knight was done mainly with...shock...Delta Ceramcoat (the metallics are Reaper IIRC), while Balthon, Evil Priest used exclusively Reaper Pro Paints.  Careful attention to viewing the strength of the colors and I find I prefer the strength of the colors I got out of Reapers Pro line than I did out of the browns, yellows, and purples of Delta (still neither aren't too bad). :cool


Liquitex medium and high viscosity acrylic paints are good to, but remember they are designed for another medium specifically - canvas and more tradionally painting surfaces.  Also, some of the strongest colors they have in the red, yellows and several other colors may have toxic components to their pigments - so NO brush licking for a while after using them.


I've used a number of other brands in the past 20 years, however I found the above to be enough to work with, especially the Reaper and Vallejo lines.  Trying to store these four lines of paints is more than enough organizing me, taking up more than enough storage space so I have little insentive to retry out other lines again, nor put them to the test of the newer methods of painting I've learned over the past five years.


Hope this useful :)

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I've used craft paints to good effect on terrain pieces and line troops, but I really don't care for them for character models.  Have only tried enamels on a couple of things similar to miniatures and did not like working with it at all.  Kudos to those who are able turn out nice work with them, of course.  One of the Ten Commandments of painting is if it works for you....    


Problem is that craft paints in general are formulated with a significantly smaller proportion of pigment in the mix than Reaper and Vallejo (and probably Citadel, though I haven't compared as much).  When I use techniques that involve thin layers, or glazes, the difference shows.   And the specific pigments used to make up the color are crucial for saturation, and for mixing 'true'.  I can add a tiny bit of an intense primary to 'punch up' a highlight with Vallejo; if I add a color from a craft line that looks the same, it won't work similarly in the mix, or I'll have to add much more of it.  The pigment grind is generally not as fine, either.  It's awful trying to explain it because the difference doesn't always show up in photos.  


If you're familiar with the different grades of paint offered by fine arts manufacturers, Vallejo and Reaper are like a 'professional' mix, with the highest level of pure pigment; Folk Art is like a 'student' grade, with the least pigment and most medium and additives.  The good folk at Reaper are very picky about their paint formula and quality.  ;)


This is not a big deal when I'm doing rank and file troops, but for competition or catalogue work, it makes a difference.


That's partly why so many painters today (and all of the professionals, as far as I'm aware) prefer acrylics to enamels--they have the fewest drawbacks overall.  They offer far more artistic and technical possibilities than the traditional miniature paints, and when sealed, they are just as durable.  (I've taken my Baltimore GD Emperor's champ to four conventions now, where he's been handled by at least a couple hundred people.  Only wear I need to fix is to the edges of the base.)  


I understand the investment needed to get a decent range of the hobby acrylics, though.  Myself, I couldn't have afforded the stuff I use now in high school or college.

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I use, in mostly equal amounts, a mix of Reaper, Ral Partha, and Ceram-Coat. I have a few Armory paints, but those are dying fast, as are my few Polly-S paints. And a side note for those who like comparison shopping: Reaper comes out hands down over GW paints. GW "Bolter shell" paint pots hold a whopping .43 oz. of paint, while Reaper paint pots hold .75 oz. of paint. This comes down to a per-ounce cost of $5.25 for GW (before tax) and a cost of $3.32 per-ounce for Reaper. When you consider this, plus the overall higher quality of Reaper paints, they win over GW any day of the week.
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Actually the Tester's Model Master acrylic paint in the round bottles is of high quality. The enamel Model Master in the round bottles I've heard is good as well, but I've never tried it myself. I don't like enamel paint, I find acylic works just as well with less work on cleaning up. The Tester's in the small square bottles I'd avoid like the plague though.


I have to echo what's been said here- Vallejo and Reaper are pretty much what I use now. I have a little RP left that I use and sometimes use Polly-Scale. Tamiya I use sometimes but it's formulated more for airbrushing and is a little too thin to brush well.

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Jerry, the Testors paints in the little square bottles is EXACTLY the same as in the big round bottles. They just stick it in a smaller bottles and have less color choices. Otherwise its identical.


Testors enamels are excellent for enamels. I don't use them anymore for health reasons, but I've always found for what I use them fore (model building) solvent based paints like enamels and laquers spray far better, with better spray patterns, than acrylics or other water based paints.


I personally think the Testors Acryl line is only OK. I use it, but only if the same color is unavailable from Polly Scale (the BEST acrylic military line, far better than even the much-vaunted Tamiya, IMHO).



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