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Kang

enamel metallics worth the hassle?

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I know I will probably sound like a crazy throwback to the 1980's for asking this, but does anyone still use (ie. Testors) enamel paints for minis? Many people my age or older (I'm - counts on fingers due to addled memory & wanton slaughter of brain cells during teenage years - 36, for the record) used them back in the dark ages when we first started painting - what else was there? Like most everyone else though, I naturally switched to acrylics the instant I discovered them - also long, long ago. But for some reason, I have been feeling a temptation to try using enamels again for painting metallics. I even bought some of those little square Testors bottles of silver and gold and copper, thinking it'd be fun to try them again. I seem to remember the metallics being really nice in terms of not being able to see the metallic flakes once it dries. But then I got to thinking - cleaning up/thinning with smelly solvents? Waiting for one type to completely dry overnight before using the other? That's just crazy. Or is it?

 

Please discuss.

 

Thanks,

 

Kang

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No. My testors days are thankfully all over. I did buy them in quanity a while back because of the cost. Teenage kid with little to no money this was the way to go. I still think that I may have a Testors Gold or Brass pot hanging around but the rest got tossed when I move out of my parents out ages ago.

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I still use the Testors Model Master colors but definitely not the ones in the small kind squarish bottles. There is nothing wrong with good enamel paints as long as you can handle the odor and work in a well ventilated area.

 

Nor do they take overnight to dry. My enamels dry almost as fast as my acrylics here. Now if I'm using both on a single model (which is rare), then I will wait several hours for it to dry

Edited by Heisler

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I think it's worth a try if that is the kind of metallic you are looking for. I still have some of my old Testor's stuff in a box somewhere. I even pulled out the metallics a few years ago to experiment with. I don't think I even photo-ed the finished mini because it was the first one I had done after not painting for a few years and I wasn't real happy with it. I think the Testor's part was ok though. I'll have to take another look at it.

 

I don't rember Testors taking long to dry though. I rember doing a mini in an afternoon when I first started painting-with Testors- lo these many years ago. And that was whith a shadow, mid, and highlight coat on each color.

 

I have heard good things about Vejelo's alchol based metallics, but have never tried them.

 

I say experiment and report back with your results!

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I still use them regularish. When I don't want to do nmm gold I use Testors gold. I have separate brushes for the enamels. I have wanted to do an entire mini with enamels, but I'm really lazy.

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I knew a fellow that used all acryllics except for metallics. He used enamels for the metallics and frequently got compliments on the metallics. I have been considering giving it another whirl myself. Please do show us how it goes

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If you're having trouble getting the different paint to dry, you can bake the miniature for about 30 minutes at 200F (~95C) to dry and harden the applied layers of paint. (Make sure you preheat the oven.)

 

That temperature isn't enough to melt (or even soften) any commercial figures, which generally have melting points at 500F or higher. I've also never experienced any discoloration at that low temperature.

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I used Testors metallics in the older days (I'm 43, should I really be saying that), but thankfully, the hobby shop where I bought the mini's sold a set of (I think) Poly S acrylics,evey color but metallics, so I never used enamels. The set even came with a wizard mini. Anyway I think that the acrylic metallics are better since you can get "several" shades of different metallics. My favorite is a craft paint I bought at 'Ole Time Pottery called "honest copper".

 

John

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Recently, I was really struggling with the gold trim on some Chaos Space marines. I had tried several different acrylic golds (from GW, and Vallejo), none of which were really satisfactory. This was dissappointing, since the Bronze from Vallejo is very good. Finally, remembering what the OP was talking about, I broke out an old square bottle of Gold, thinned down with airbrush thinner (back in the day I used enamels for models, so I still had stuff left over), and it worked perfectly! I bright brilliant gold, and even with a dullcote still retained its luster! I no longer use acrylic golds anymore, though I'll probably stick with acrylic "white" metals for the time being.

 

The idea that enamels and such are for newbs is problematic and not a very good approach to the subject. I have an article here somewhere that I downloaded about painting plate armor. It was from a top painter in the historical field (big figures...54mm and up). The instructions suggested using enamel and laquer based buffable paints for getting realistic and brilliant metallics. One of the problems I sometimes see in minis painting (and to a lesser extent other hobbies too) is the lack of cross pollonization. It really pays to take a look at techniques outside the Fantasy/SF figure hobby IMHO.

 

Damon.

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Edit: this probably falls under a 'thread Hijack'. I can start a new thread if necessary, Sorry.

 

Anybody here ever use Printer's Ink for metallics? I'm always reading about its use by the Historical Painters. I even attempted to hunt some down (MichToys, but they're currently out). I found some Speedball Acrylic Printer's Ink, but I'm not convinced it's the same. I'm getting as much grain as with any other brand of acrylic Metallic paint.

 

If anyone has some experience with PI, I'd love to here about it.

 

-AW

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Thanks for all the feedback so far! I think I'll give them a whirl. I will try to post some pix whenever that happens - the mini I'm working on right now doesn't have any metal on it, so it may be a little while.

 

I plan to use separate brushes for them, just as humansquish suggests - not going to take any chances with harsh solvents on my precious kolinskies! I have a large bundle of old synthetic & red sable brushes, and enough of them still have OK points that they'll do for this experiment. Actually, I think I might have also picked up a new brush just for this when I picked up those enamels.

 

About the overnight drying thing - I just meant that I don't want to risk a bad reaction with the solvent-based enamels when I do some shading with acrylics. So even if they do dry faster than overnight, I'll probably give them that long just to make sure no weird gases are venting off the enamels - I've read this can happen for a while even after the surface of the paint appears to be completely dry.

 

...thankfully, the hobby shop where I bought the mini's sold a set of (I think) Poly S acrylics,evey color but metallics, so I never used enamels....
We had a really cool toy & hobby shop in my neighbourhood when I was a kid; back before my friends and I were old enough to be allowed to bus downtown to the real FLGS on our own, that's where we got all our minis and D&D modules, etc. They had a fairly small section for RPG's/minis, but it seemed like every time we'd go in they had a bunch of new minis or game books that hadn't been there the time before. Pretty sure the owners, whose kids were in my grade in school, ran it at a loss for all those years just to give the kids in the neighbourhood something to do (thank you thank you thank you!). All they had in terms of hobby paint was Testors enamels until I was several years in. Then one day I went in and saw a boxed set of 12 Citadel "Creature Colours" (IIRC) on the shelf, and life was so good from that point on. No more turpentine or varsol spills on Mom's carpet!

 

The idea that enamels and such are for newbs is problematic and not a very good approach to the subject. I have an article here somewhere that I downloaded about painting plate armor. It was from a top painter in the historical field (big figures...54mm and up). The instructions suggested using enamel and laquer based buffable paints for getting realistic and brilliant metallics. One of the problems I sometimes see in minis painting (and to a lesser extent other hobbies too) is the lack of cross pollonization. It really pays to take a look at techniques outside the Fantasy/SF figure hobby IMHO.

LP, I'm glad to read you had good results with the square-bottled gold enamel paint; sounds like the same type I've got, so maybe this'll actually turn out well! But do people really think enamels are for newbs? I mean, I used them when I was one, but that was only because it was all I had available to me at the time, as opposed to being due to my lack of experience. I definitely would have chosen the water-soluble, made for minis option had I had access & known it existed! I think a lot of other painters who began dabbling with minis in the 80's went through the same thing. If I were just starting now, I'd see a wide selection of acrylic paints at the FLGS, looming right next to the racks of minis - using enamels would never occur to me. Especially once I figured out you need solvents to thin the stuff...

 

You make a great point about how we F/SF mini-painters tend not to take advantage of (or even be aware of) the years of knowledge and techniques developed by the historical minis crowd, though. Every so often I see some "new" tip that turns out to have been in use for years by those guys, and I end up thinking the same thing. You wouldn't have a link to that article you mentioned, would you? The paints I have aren't the buffable variety from what I can tell, but it still sounds sort of interesting and I always enjoy reading about new (to me) techniques.

 

Printer's metallic inks: 'Jack away, far as I'm concerned. I don't consider a little cross-talk about other options for metallics to be too far off-topic. I've heard enough already to convince myself to give the enamels a try anyhow. Not that I don't want to read more... It would be nice to hear from anyone who's tried all 3 types (ie. acrylics, enamels, and inks), for instance. Although there might be people out there who know about printer's inks but who have no interest in enamels - a separate thread might get a better response from them. Anyhow, the only time I've ever heard of metallic inks was on LJ's Hot Lead DVDs; not sure if he mentioned a brand name though... I am thinking not, but I may have missed something. He didn't refer to them as "printer's" inks that I recall, so maybe that's a different product. I've never seen them sold anywhere, not that I've really looked too hard. Geez, now you've made me curious too!

 

Kang

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Since you seem to be open to paints other than the Testors square bottles, you might want to consider the Gunze Sanyo Mr. Metal Color paints. They're painted on and then buffed to the level of sheen that you want. The results I've gotten from them are remarkably good.

 

I'll warn you, though, that the solvent they use seems to be very volatile. Watch out for evaporation past the cap seal; I've lost bottles in just a couple of months after first opening them.

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