Noobie question Cleaning wet paint mistakes with solvent - best paint/solvent combo?
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Thread: Noobie question Cleaning wet paint mistakes with solvent - best paint/solvent combo?

  1. #1

    Default Noobie question Cleaning wet paint mistakes with solvent - best paint/solvent combo?

    Sorry for the complete beginner questions everyone but I have been googling this topic for day and clearly, I think I'm missing the jargon. I'm trying to find out what is the best method (paint choices and solvent combos) to cleaning up mistakes on multi layered painting projects. I work a lot with deep etching artworks into steel but wanted to explore detaling the images with paint.

    I stumbled across a new youtuber called Night Shift who does diy youtube clips on painting models. I noticed that he builds up a lot of different layers of paint over a few weeks of painting. He often removes layers and details with solvent. When he cleans up areas, it seems to not effect the layers of paint underneath. He mixes it up with acrylic, oils, washes as well as some fancy distressed layers. I must admit, I had no idea how detailed you can be with the craft and I'm keen to cut my teeth on a new project. I'm loving the fact that you all work with matt finishes as well.

    My biggest question is paint choices and solvent cleanup. I'm needing to basecoat (matt or low gloss finish) the steel once the deep etching is done. This will prevent rust. I wanted to add colour by brushing in the etched images. Surely I'm going to make mistakes along the way so hopefully there is a simple cleanup option that will not effect the basecoat's matt finish? I would prefer to stay away from 2k isocyanate clear coats to separate the layers. I'm happy to work with turps, mineral spirits and general purpose thinners etc... the isocyanates sound a little scary to be honest. I'm leaning towards brush only for the artworks. I will spring for a decent airbrush at a later date.

    I'm guessing the style of work I will be doing will be half way between traditional pin-striping and the creative side of distressed and aged model painting.

    So far, I'm guessing it's an oil on oil is my only choice?
    Is there any good tutorials on the topic or some advice on what process I should google?

    I would really appreciate any advice everyone.
    Thanks from OZ.
    All the best,

  2. #2


    The Gunpla folks have this sort of thing down to a science. Gamera Baenre has particularly good tutorials on layering. Those "fancy distressed layers" you mentioned are called filters in the nomenclature. And like a colored gel for a lamp, or a pair of sunglasses, the filter layers modify whatever is behind them.

    The key to good filter is a well applied, well cured, gloss coated base layer in a different medium than the filter layer. What do I mean by a different medium?

    Well, there are three different kinds of paint typically in use by scale modelers. You have lacquers, which is the same medium that people spray car bodies with. The finish is second to none, the finish is tough to chip or scratch, the translucents are consistent, and the metallics are far superior. But lacquers are packed full of noxious and caustic solvents that will eat through most plastics and resins without careful priming, preparation, and application.

    Then you have enamels, which are your basic oil based, mineral spirit or turpentine or lighter fluid thinned hobby paints that used to be the gold standard for hobby paints back in the early days of this hobby. A lot of scale modelers and railroad modelers still use enamels like Humbrol and Testors. When I was a wee lad, I used to paint gaming miniatures in enamels. They are slow to dry, level well, and maintain a lot of translucency, meaning that you can do a lot of nice wet blending and effects with them that are harder to do with acrylics. But cleanup is hard, the medium will craze unprimed plastic (not as badly as lacquer, but still bad enough), and the drying time is typically too slow for how most figure painters like to work.

    Today, nearly everybody I know paints miniatures in acrylics, which is your basic water based, quick drying, medium body model paint. It's safe on plastics and resins, cleans up and thinned with water, and has great opacity. It is the weakest medium, however, for durability; acrylic is easily chipped or scratched. It is also very "gunky" and tends not to level as smoothly as enamel or lacquer, especially when applied with a hand brush. Good technique and experience can ameliorate a lot of these drawbacks, however.

    Now what does this have to do with filters? The thing that thins one medium typically won't thin another medium. If you gloss coat a part in a lacquer or acrylic, and paint enamel over it, you can drench a tissue, sponge, rag or brush in lighter fluid (which is an enamel thinner), and smear down the enamel layer, leaving the undercoat intact.

    Typically, you'd want to lay down lacquer on your first layers, as lacquer thinner is a bit more harsh to work with on a filter than enamel or acrylic thinner would be, and the durability and finish is paramount. Then you can use enamels for your weathering filters, as their advantages (slow drying, good leveling) lend themselves better to wet blending and such. Finally, you can use your acrylics for small details, striping, drybrushing, and so on for your final layers.

    Does this help?

  3. #3
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    Quote Originally Posted by Ben Dono View Post
    I stumbled across a new youtuber called Night Shift who does diy youtube clips on painting models.
    Me too.
    now Night Shift often uses chipping medium a soluble layer airbrushed on in between coats of paint which can be worked off using a combination of water (to soften the paint) and a brush/toothpick.

    This is a technique of the weathering process modellers and painters are using to simulate age and damage on out models.
    You can find it via places that sell Vallejo paints or at
    I believe in Karma, what you give, is what you get returned. Affirmation; Savage Garden
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