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Confused about Iwata's various lines....

Discussion in 'Airbrushes' started by Franc Kaiser, May 29, 2018.


  1. Nessus

    Nessus Gravity Guru

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    I've never used Wicked, as it's not available locally where I am. It's certainly possible/plausible that there are paints that do work right out of the bottle, but they aren't any of the ones I've tried yet. Certainly not Golden Hi-Flow. It'll spray at full concentration, but atomization is very rough, spray feels sluggish, and I have to pause to blow out the nozzle often. If I want nice edge fades or if I want to cover something without obscuring fine topographical detail (I use airbrushes mostly for modelmaking), or if I just want to spray without my brush constantly clogging, I gotta reduce it at least 2 to 1.

    I don't generally like to use water as a reducer. Not straight water, at least. It doesn't have the right viscosity or surface tension. Isopropyl works amazing in terms of spray characteristics, but I don't know if it's good for the binder, and I'm wary of atomized iso from a health and safety perspective. I've tried replacing iso with ethanol, but it's not the same: ethanol has a more oily-viscous character (better than water, but only just). Golden airbrush media should be the best in terms of maintaining the binder, but I find it to be less favorable than water in terms of improving spray.

    So if I'm going for solid color coverage, I'll thin with 1-1 or 2-1 Golden airbrush media, and if I'm trying to do more delicate stuff, I'll use isopropyl at 3-1 or 4-1, then overcoat with airbrush media while it's still curing to shore it up.*

    I would like to try Wicked and especially Etac at some point, as they seem to be the top acrylics that get mentioned here.

    Most of the other paints I've used have been modelling acrylics. Mostly Tamiya, Model Master, and Aztek. Aztek sprays the best, but has the weakest colors. Tamiya has the best colors (Golden's colors tend to be more vibrant/saturated, but Tamiya's colors are better for subtle realism), and has the best reducer (i.e. Tamiya reducer improves Tamiya paints' sprayabilty better than the others brands' reducers improve their respective paints' sprayability). Golden has the best adhesion, and the best color density and vibrance, but sprayabilty is below that of Aztek or Tamiya. Model Master is... usable, but extremely inconsistent. At its best, it's on par with Golden in sprayabilty, and better than Aztek or Tamiya in color density (though not color quality), but only maybe a random 1/3 of bottles will be like that. Most of the time it varies from "usable, if you wrestle with it a bit" to "unworkable glorp".

    I've been trying to learn more color mixing, as I'd really like to be able to just buy a handful of large primary color bottles of the good stuff online instead of lots of small pre-mixed color bottles of whatever rubbish I can get locally.

    *EDIT: This part actually depends on which brush I'm using. The HP-TH can spray Golden unreduced just fine, and is what I use on larger projects and for solid coats. The SOTAR needs everything to be thinned way more than the TH or the Eclipse. The Eclipse is the brush I use most, so that's what the above stuff is referring to mostly.
    Last edited: May 31, 2018
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  2. Robbyrockett2

    Robbyrockett2 Air-Valve Autobot!

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    Aztek is the closest to spraying urethanr base coats out of all the WB paint ive tried, and the closest to ready out of the bottle.
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  3. Joe T

    Joe T Mac-Valve Maestro! Very Likeable!

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    I’m finding this thread very informative as well but have a question When someone say 3-1 is that 3 reducer 1 paint? I’m thinking yes but want to verify.
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  4. Robbyrockett2

    Robbyrockett2 Air-Valve Autobot!

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    personally i put the paint first. As im accustomed to with automotive systems
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  5. Leakyvalve

    Leakyvalve Needle-chuck Ninja

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    Good point. That's how things are with the stuff I've been dealing with.
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  6. Franc Kaiser

    Franc Kaiser Mac-Valve Maestro! Very Likeable!

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    Your insights and advice are pure Gold(en), Nessus!!!
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  7. Franc Kaiser

    Franc Kaiser Mac-Valve Maestro! Very Likeable!

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    I think you're spot-on with the concept of avoiding either the black or the white (or both together) in pure form entirely. It is one of the differences between amateur and advanced painting.
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  8. Nessus

    Nessus Gravity Guru

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    Yeah, sorry, I was kinda mixing ratio and fractional systems a lot there.

    What I mean is I generally mix 1 part paint to 2 parts reducer as my comfortable minimum. Occasionally I will go 1 part paint to 1 part thinner if I'm particularly worried about the binder integrity, or if I think the above reduction is slowing me down too much by making me have to do too many passes to achieve full opaque coverage.

    For fine detail and shading type stuff, I do 1 part paint to 4 parts reducer. This makes the paint pretty translucent, but gets me the level of soft atomization I prefer overall.

    As to whether I add paint to reducer or vice versa, I'm not an expert on the science of it, so my methods may be flawed. If I'm mixing in the brush cup, I usually add reducer first and then paint, as I find this helps keep paint from grabbing the metal right away, making cleaning easier later. A lot of people like to mix by backflushing bubbles into the cup, but I find this tends to result in incomplete/inconsistant mixing. I usually mix by dipping an empty pipette deep into the cup and pumping the fluid in and out repeatedly. I find this does a much better, more even job of mixing.

    I only mix in the cup with my gravity feeds. With the side-feed SOTAR, I find bubbles/pockets of unmixed fluid like to linger under the rim of the join between the cup and the screw-on bottom cap, resulting in patchy paint consistency as the cup empties no matter what mixing method I use. So with the side feed, I mix in a separate container, and load the pre-mixed paint into the brush cup with a pipette.
    Last edited: May 31, 2018
  9. JackEb

    JackEb The Dragon Hunter Staff Member Admin

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    Some put the paint first, some put the reducer first, so sometimes it pays to ask if there is nothing else in the thread to indicate what the higher number indicates- although its normally the case that there is more reducer than paint when working on illustration/highly detailed pieces
    it can sometimes be confusing if it states simply 'i use a ratio of 2:1" While common sense would suggest that it is reducer:paint it would also depend on the paint being used.
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  10. Malky

    Malky Pencil Pushing Protagonist Very Likeable!

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    I too am strictly amateur Franc but I've learned a lot of lessons the hard way and simply avoid methods that cause me headaches, as you go on with this hobby you'll discover that there are a lot of tricks involved, some of those tricks we stumble upon and some we learn from each other, I've had a lot of grief over the years and I'm happy to share whatever I've learned to save others from the same grief.
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  11. Tocean

    Tocean Needle-chuck Ninja Very Likeable!

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    I've always figured the paint is always the first in the ratio followed by the catalyst/reducer.

    I mix in the cup so I never know if I have a 2-1 ratio, I'll add as I go. I find with white it's important to really shake the bottle up, then shake it some more, I'll add the medium and blow back in the cup as I go too as it doesn't take long for the white pigment to settle even as I spray, I'm using .5 nozzle so I'm sure to run into these problems as I go to the smaller nozzle. I'm going a little more cartoony so I personally have no problem using blacks or whites.

    Grief I think is part of the process:laugh:, has anyone tried using the 4012 reducer with Goldens?
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  12. DaveG

    DaveG Detail Decepticon! Very Likeable!

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    With Golden acrylics (I use them a TON) I find that I usually add a drop or two of airbrush medium (not the high flow medium) and a drop of what is now called "Wetting Agent" (used to be called flow release) mixed with distilled water - into the color cup (gravity or side feed) and mix with a small paint brush, and I am good to go almost all the time. Low indoor humidity will sometimes cause tip dry more than other times, which another drop or so of the wetting agent(mixed with water) will deal with. I use everything from a .12 Aerograph, .15 H&S, .18 Micron, .2 Iwatas, and .35 Iwatas without much issue. The two toughest colors to spray are White, and of all things Sepia. For White, I usually go with either Com-art (straight from the bottle), or Illustration cut with 4012.
    Last edited: Jun 1, 2018
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  13. Joe T

    Joe T Mac-Valve Maestro! Very Likeable!

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    Wow, great info. Dave. I have some Liquitex flow aid I may try, I also thin golden with water and am tempted to try what you use just to see if there is any difference. So the airbrush medium and wetting agent are both golden brands? The Liquitex is one part flow aid to 20 parts water. I’ve read a lot about the airbrush Medium and may also try it it’s golden fluids and not the high flow.
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  14. DaveG

    DaveG Detail Decepticon! Very Likeable!

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    I went and looked to make sure - I use Liquitex Airbrush Medium. The Wetting Agent (my bottle is labeled Flow Release) is Golden. The Wetting Agent is mixed with water prior to use - a lot of water. I do have Golden High Flow Medium, but feel like I get more consistent results using the Liquitex. Make sure you clean your brush well, as it dries quite hard. Once I use some of the golden, I will go ahead and add the airbrush medium and wetting agent mix to the bottle, and shake, I keep doing this as I use the paint, and eventually hit a mix that works right out of the bottle. I have not seen any long term negative effects from mixing and then storing this concoction. No funky chemical reactions or anything...
  15. Franc Kaiser

    Franc Kaiser Mac-Valve Maestro! Very Likeable!

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    Just a short note to say that I took everybody’s advice about reduction to heart and, voila, thin and precise lines are indeed very much possible with the lower-end AB that I am swinging. I use water as I could not identify a affordable medium (I live in China and all the Golden media are imported and quite expensive).
  16. Joe T

    Joe T Mac-Valve Maestro! Very Likeable!

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    What did you end up doing
  17. Franc Kaiser

    Franc Kaiser Mac-Valve Maestro! Very Likeable!

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    Just using water to thin the Golden highflow paint.
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  18. Franc Kaiser

    Franc Kaiser Mac-Valve Maestro! Very Likeable!

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    If you’re asking about the actual output, here is the result (am trying to detail skin structures) 143DBCA3-93B9-4073-9158-F28CCB4A5A96.jpeg
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  19. Joe T

    Joe T Mac-Valve Maestro! Very Likeable!

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    How much water to paint? Just curious
  20. Franc Kaiser

    Franc Kaiser Mac-Valve Maestro! Very Likeable!

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    I am not scientific in my approach. Around 3 drops paint (transparent paint), 1 drop water
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