Brush painting questions

This is my first time I have been painting from a palette instead of painting straight out of the bottle. But, this brings a lot of questions with it as well.

Here they come:

  1. At the end of each paint session, I dip my brushes in fresh warm water. And then I run my brushes over the Master Brush Cleaner. They are flat brushes, so I also keep them as flat as possible. And I might lightly press the bristles of the brush onto the brush cleaner. And then a lot of paint pigment and particles come out. In this case, metal. But, do I then have to clean the surface of the cleaner every time with a paper towel? Or can I just leave what had come out of the brush?

  2. When will I know if there is enough cleaner/conditioner on the bristles and in the bristles of the brush. So that I can store them and use them again as good as new for the next paint session?

  3. How do I know when to dip my brush back into the paint to get enough paint back into my brush to create a good next coat. But that I don’t overpaint the surface with paint?

  4. How do you mix colors on a paint palette? I have seen certain modelers do it with the brush. I’ve also tried it with a cocktail pricker, because I want to keep the paint out of the tube that’s at the top of the brush, where the bristles are together and so on. But what would be a good and reliable way to do that?

  5. How do I know if I have reached the right thickness for the paint? I am now using Tamiya acrylic paint for everything. But I find it pretty tricky to mix and bring to the right proportions on my paint palette. I did watch some videos on basics about painting with a brush. But there is still so much I don’t know. But that I probably need to know in order to properly start painting with a brush. What else could help me with this?

  1. I clean off the surface of my Masters Brush Cleaner with a paper towel when I am done using it. If you are leaving particles on the surface of it I would say it is best to clean them off before cleaning another brush with it.

  2. I usually wet the brush then gently rub it on the cleaner leaving a slight amount on the bristles to hold them nicely in place. I don’t think you can really go wrong with the amount- brushes usually don’t need that much

  3. This question depends on the paint- you mentioned Tamiya. This is not a true acrylic and does not behave much like them either- I can’t comment on it as I don’t use it for brush painting.

  4. Mix colors on the pallette with a well moistened brush- don’t worry too much about getting the paint up into the ferrule (the tube at the top)- regular cleaning will sort that out.

  5. Thickness/consistency depends on the paint brand. I can’t say about Tamiya but adding water to most acrylics is necessary in order to thin them nicely for painting. Each brand is different and different colors will go on in their own ways- a rule of thumb is that will take more coats of a bright color to cover a base coat (if it is nicely thinned) than a dark color. Experimentation is key- you need to know how your chosen paint behaves at different consistencies.

Hope this helps you a bit.

For brush painting Tamiya paints, don’t do this with Vallejo paints for example.

Tamiya acrylics are arguably some of the most difficult paints to hand-brush. The video that Ryan posted up is pretty good advice, if you must.

My advice, though, is start using one of the water-based hobby acrylics, like Vallejo, to do your model detail hand painting. You can also learn to use those to get excellent results with figure painting.

I appreciate the issues of costs and expenses and wanting to get the most use from the paints you already have (the Tamiya acrylics). However, those Tamiya paints can only get you so far. They are not formulated for glazing, wet pallet or other more subtle blending techniques and, as you’re no doubt finding, even basic block color painting is more than just a little difficult.

I personally use Tamiya paints exclusively for airbrushing. I use Vallejo (and a few other similar brands, like Reaper or Andres) for detail painting. Finally, I use artist oil paints for figure painting and many weathering techniques (washes, streaking, etc.).

All three mediums require different thinners and techniques. The thing to keep in mind is that modern painting mediums have become ever more specialized. Many, like Tamiya paints, are really formulated for one purpose and application method.

Hobby enamels, which have become relatively rare, are perhaps the most versatile. They can be airbrushed, hand painted, and blended using glazing and wet-on-wet techniques (even wet-on-semi-dry with practice). Unfortunately, for reasons of environmental and occupational safety, few manufacturers make hobby enamels that are reduced with ordinary mineral spirits. You can still find hobby enamel paints, but availability and color choices are often very limited.

Today’s model makers must contend with water-based acrylics (like Vallejo), cellulose based acrylics (like Tamiya), lacquer based acrylics (a variation of the cellulose based paints, like Tamiya lacquers, Mr. Hobby lacquers, etc.), and traditional artist oils and acrylics.

There are also a number of more traditional artist painting mediums that can be used for certain applications in modeling, like gouache, water colors, tempera and crafter acrylic paints.

Every medium has its pros and cons, but most really only do one thing well.


I agree, if you must. As I recall I think the poster has said in the past he didn’t want to get additional paints. So I posted a method for brush painting. Vallejo and others are more suited to brush painting and wet pallets.


Currently, I have put the scale modeling hobby on hold.
Because, I have to many problems and difficulties I’m facing. And not enough time to do much about them.
I’m planning on searching more online, because I’m believing I’m missing knowledge. And every aspect of the hobby needs care and research.

With that out of the way, I can happily announce that I’m becoming more flexible with my choices. I have bought a set of Colors of AK Interactive with their appropriate thinner of Panzer colors 1937-1944 and the 1945 Panzer colors. Which I’m planning to try on my Jagdpanther project. And I must say, I was happily surprised when I got the two sets. Nice packaging with drip pipet on the bottle. Colors look really good. And the box looks nice to. Can’t wait to try it out.

I’m going to exclusively airbrush Tamiya colors. And the Mr. Hobby colors are probably the same as the Tamiya colors. So I’m going to airbrush those exclusively as well. But as I said, that means putting the hobby on hold. Until I’m able to airbrush properly again.

But I would love to keep getting advice and information. It could always be useful later on.

…using the information already provided above plus doing, gaining experience and practicing consistently will provide a better understanding and results than than any amount of additional research at this stage…

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Air brushing is not an exact sciences. It’s voodo magic. So many variables, local conditions, mixing ratios, spray pressure, type of AB, etc. Only way to become proficient is as Wade says, practice. I would add to that experiment. Try using different mixing ratios and spray pressure till you find what works for you and what you are comfortable with. We can give you all the advice our years of experience have taught us, but unless you actually start doing it it will forever elude you. Same for watching all the videos. Yes they make it look easy but again they have years of experience and have discovered what works best for them. I would wager to say that everyone who has responded thus far has gone through the same process. Sadly there is no single formula that will ensure good AB results for all.


I use all kinds of water-based paints ( Vallejo, Xtracrylix , AK, MIg , Revell ) including Tamiya and only hand brush ( have respiratory problem) what works for me is using a drop or two of Windex in the paint mix and retarder. You might have to do several coats but it works for me. No streaks . Try it, you don’t have anything to loose, if you don’t like it just remove with Windex or any glass cleaner. Cheaper than thinner. Hope this works. Have a great week ! Tony