Acrylic Paints


Some Tamiya Acrylics

Acrylic Paint (General Information)

The photo above shows a few Tamiya acrylics. Model Master also offers an extensive line of water-based, acrylic paints. Although not all acrylics are water-based, most of the purebreds are. That is, most fully acrylic paints. You may also see acrylic enamels and/or acrylic lacquers. Sometimes these are also water-based, but often times they are not. House of Kolor, for example, advertises it’s main line of paint as “acrylic lacquer.” But we assure you, it is not water-based. The label and/or mixing directions will usually be enough to determine whether or not the paint is water-based. But as a general rule, acrylics are known as the water-based paints. What does that mean?

Well, it means just what it suppose to mean… the main ingredient in the paint is water (H2O). The obvious advantage is that you won’t need any type of thinner other than what comes from your kitchen sink tap. Although most of these paints come pre-thinned and ready to use, you may simply add a drop or two of water if additional thinning is necessary. And after application, the airbrush and equipment simply cleans up with water. For some people, this may be the way to go. You should keep in mind considerations such as; Availability (in your area), color selection and, to a lesser degree, price. (This paint usually costs about the same as Testors or Model Master enamels). The choice, of course, is yours.

One further note: water-based acrylics may be top-coated with any type of clear. They can be top-coated with enamel, acrylic or urethane after a through drying without problem.  It is still advised to check a small test area to make sure before spraying your whole piece.


As previously mentioned, water-based acrylic paint may be thinned with tap water. There are, however, some hybrid acrylics that require specialized thinners. The Tamiya colors pictured above, for example, require a thinner that smells suspiciously like alcohol. When in doubt, always read the label – it will give instruction on how to thin as well as emergency information should an accident occur.  Most companies selling paint also sell a thinner within the line – this is their recommended product and when unsure this is always a good route to go.

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