Best paint for a newbie

My dad has decided to try scale modelling again after a decades long hiatus. My mom bought him a tamiya sherman for christmas and Ive been tasked with getting him supplies to build it. Ill be getting him extra thin, and paints to start him out.

I mostly use Tamiya and Real colors in my building, but I airbrush. He will be starting hand painting until he decides if we wants to continue, and then ill probably get him set up with a airbrush. I find Tamiya very hard to hand paint with, and dont see him having luck with it. I am wondering what the best paint would be for a newer builder who will be hand painting. I am leaning towards Vallejo model color as those are my go to for detail painting but wanted to know others thoughts

For old school hair on a stick painting, I like Mission Models. It tends to have better adhesion, be more durable, and have better first coat coverage than other acrylics.
If your not against enamels, you can always start with the basic Testors square bottles, or learn to work with Humbrol little tins.

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What about kicking it old school and going with Testors enamels? Little stinky/messy but maybe more forgiving with coverage and brush marks?

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I could definitely start him off with enamels, didnt even think of that :man_facepalming:

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Testors also makes square bottle acrylic sets that have various themes- basic primary colors, aircraft camo colors, auto basic colors. Their little square bottle acrylics are perfectly fine for hand brushing. It’s kind of a shame that they do not sell them individually as they do the enamels.

Most important question, which Sherman did your mom buy?

Maybe grab him a pair of side cutters? I grabbed a half decent set for my son last Christmas for like $15. They’re marketed for Gundam builders. Probably wouldn’t stand up over time but they’re perfectly functional.

I believe it was an Easy 8 with 4 figures I think it’s an Asuka/Tasca rebox. Kit number 25175

Looks like a nice kit, likely wouldn’t have been my choice for a newbie. I like Tasca but I think it uses a multi part hull tub, and a bit of PE so it might not be beginner friendly. She bought it before I knew he was getting back in

She got him a tool set off Amazon, it’s the one I use and has a cutting mat, side cutters, files, sand paper, knives etc.

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I built the “Korean” version last year.

It’s not the classic M41 but he’ll get on ok with it. I’m pretty sure it’s actually a solid hull and I don’t remember the PE being essential.

If it’s solid hull that’s great! The Sherman firefly I built from asuka I remember being multi part but I could be wrong. You are right the PE fret only has 4-5 parts and they don’t look essential

Ah, the PE is for the light guards which also come in plastic

K I lied…. It is multi part (I looked it up) but it looks like there’s lots of supports and such to keep it square.

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Thanks I was looking for those instructions! If I recall the Tasca multi part tub was very easy to square, nothing like Tristar that only gives butt joints lol

I really like Vallejo, but I will admit that I haven’t hand painted anything large with them yet.
Nothing bigger than a few inches, cockpit or 1/35 figure but I like the results.
I use Winsor and Newton acrylic flow improver to thin them a little. Never noticed any brush marks and they dry nicely over details. Hopefully they work just as good over larger areas.

I know what you mean about Tamiya. I could never get on with their paint.

That’s my dilemma too, I love Vallejo but the biggest thing I’ve painted is 1/35 small arms.

Tamiya can be made to work but it’s aggravating for sure!

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Vallejo for brush painting. I don’t really use it for brush painting anymore, but it’s a great starting point. You might get him a can Tamiya aerosol primer and olive drab and then the Vallejos for whatever details he needs to add?

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Yeah they’re tricky paints to get working right.
I do find them useful for some things.
NATO black is good for tyres and the Japanese interior green is always my go-to for RAF cockpits. I really like the finish of that paint.

When my LHS started stocking Vallejo I gave them a try and haven’t looked back.

I would recommend waterbase paints only (or I just refuse to use anything with lacquer).

-Vallejo is the best imo since it has long work time and the finish is very good. I use them with 1 layer.
-Testor model master waterbase is good enough, usually needs 2 layers though
-Mr Hobby Water base has very dense pigment and is very saturated, since they are mainly made for Gundam and cartoon models. They do have a good starting selection for military colours. I find them great on large surfaces and it spread evenly. Though, they dry very fast even on wet pallet, so pretty much dip the brush in the bottle then straight to the model.

Honorable mention :

  • Old stock Humbrol enamel (with mineral spirit thinner). It is the 1st and best paint I used, I didn’t know that they were legendary until I joined the forums years ago.
    Easy to brush, extremely long to dry.

Side note, I don’t use primer to any of those.

Testors or similar rattle can for base coat. That’ll make the rest easier.

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I think like mentioned above a Tamiya or Testor rattle can for overall color. Vallejo can use for details would be the best entry level work to start with. With Mission Models you have to also get the additive otherwise adding the decals will cause the paint to peel.

It’s been discussed on here before but you cannot brush paint Tamiya like you paint Vallejo.


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Not to be a Tamiya fanboy but I find that Tamiya enamels actually work really well, though I bet Model Master is a bit better.

Good day Mead, I just got back into modeling after 52 yrs. and completed my first build a universal carrier all painted by brush using Vallejo products.
They worked very well for me, easy to use and to clean up. One key was get good quality brushes, and various types.
I am building my second project an Archer all brush painted with the same products and it is going well.
My carrier is posted on this site , so you can evaluate the paints for self.
Cheers Dennis