Oil paints for streaking

What’s everyone’s thoughts on oil paints being used for streaking? I’ve seen it done a few times by modelers on YouTube and am getting the itch to try it out. Are there any brands that are the best for doing this technique or can i just buy the oil paints from hobby lobby and have a go at it? Would I need to get something beside the mineral spirit to achieve the streaking effect as well?

As in the similar thread about washes, you can’t go wrong with Windsor & Newton. I’ve had mine for over twenty years and it still works great. No need for any exorbitantly priced products (filters, washes, chipping fluids, pigments) Most of that stuff is readily available for far less money.


@18bravo ill have to look at that thread as well, I’m just hoping I can get those paints at hobby lobby or Michaels. I haven’t paid much attention to what brands they sale at either. Is there any oil paint brands to stay away from?

For washing and streaking - I would say no. Worst case you have to “bleed” them a bit (put a blob on a piece of cardboard and let some oil soak out).

W&N have a good general availability and if you do more than wash/streak/filter (Say painting a figure with them) they are the better choice. But for the basics any oil will do.

OTOH I can get basic W&N for a few cents more than cheaper brands - so why bother with the cheaper brand.

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I am fairly sure the referenced thread is mine. I just bought my Windsor and Newton at Michaels. I am a convert, no more chalky washes, no more dark oils drying super light. They weren’t cheap, about $10 Canadian per tube, but I won’t go back.

From the second I opened the tube I could tell they were much better quality. Nice thick globs of oil paint, the cheaper stuff I’ve bought has pigment and oily residue that looks like it’s separated.

I’ve struggled and been frustrated for washes for a while, I applied a test wash to the bottom of my model the other night with winsor Newton and it was like night and day. Flowed well, easy to clean up, and after about 15 hours of drying it’s the same color it was last night, the cheap oils started getting light in chalky in about 30 minutes after application

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I’ve used a number of brands for this (actually still do along with figure painting with oils) - Winsor & Newton, Grumbacher, Abteilung 502, etc.

Honestly, for weathering, I’ve never found any significant qualitative difference based on brand. I use them all interchangeably. If you’re looking for quality, any of the name brand artist oils will be comparable (Windsor & Newton, Grumbacher, Golden, Abt 502, etc.). If you live outside of the US you might have some indigenous brand that’s well thought of.

In the end, technique and skill are much more important than the brand of oil paint actually used, and the only way to gain either is to do and experience.

However, for general knowledge, it is worth understanding that there are three basic, standard “quality” levels for almost all brands of oil paints: student, hobby, artist.

Student oils are the least expensive. The use comparatively coarsely ground pigments and often substitute mixes of pigments to make certain colors to economize on the more expensive pigments. These are usually sold in sets, often in 1/4 oz tubes (the really small ones the size of your pinky finger). I will say that these are generally perfectly adequate for weathering. They’re also an economical source for colors that you hardly ever use, but when you need a dab of one, you have it on hand.

Hobby oils are a step up from student oils in quality, but still some economizing choices in pigments - both how finely they are ground and the choices for color mixes. These are usually sold in the normal sized tubes. These are generally suitable for all modeling purposes. However, you might notice, say, when mixing up some wash that the pigments look “grainy” in the solution or as they dry you get odd color results (because the pigment color was not pure, but rather a mix of other colors that have separated).

Artist oils have the finest ground pigments and the purest pigments. They, of course, are also the most expensive.

There are also arguments about the quality of the different types of oils used in the paints. This might be something that painters of large canvases should be concerned with, but I think on scale models and figures that actually have layers of oils that are very thinly applied (compared to canvases), that the fine points of these arguments are moot. So, the types of oils used as carriers can also differ between student, hobby and artist quality paints. Not something that I pay overmuch attention, to, though.

Frankly, I use all three kinds with little to no discrimination between them for just about everything. Some colors are worth buying as “artist” quality, in particular cadmium yellow and red. Those are some of the more expensive pigments and hobby and student cad yellows and reds are mixed up with other colors. There are a couple of blues and greens that are also made from expensive pigments, but I don’t use much of either (I almost always mix up my own greens) and blues are usually shaded so really pure colors are not necessary (at least for me). Figure painters who do other than 20th century military uniforms might find it worth while to buy other artist grade oils for their purer colors.


@Michael_Brinkhues @Mead93 @SdAufKla well i went and checked hobbylobbys website and it looks like they have W&N so that’s a win for me already. I have seen the mini tubes of oil paint before at hobby lobby which seem to be very economical for what i am going to try and attempt. I have seen modelers use a variety of colors for a streaking effect , oils in red, yellow , white , blue and then they use mineral spirits to drag it down and up and it gives a rain effect / streaking look. Now I’ve also seen that you can mix black oil paint with thinner and make a thin pin wash, has anyone attempted this or is it better to do that with a mineral spirit instead? Also what colors would you recommend starting out with, i build primarily German and Russian armor so the color spectrum is from desert yellow, red brown, and green? Thank you all for this wealth of information! I want to attempt this on my type 89 PLA anti tank vehicle.

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For desert vehicles I prefer Burnt Sienna and Raw Umber. Never black, but that’s just me.

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Gregory, a modeler on Railroad Modeling has treated us to his expert use of oil paints for streaking and weathering. He has been gracious enough to present this tutorial, as well:


There are entire schools of thought on colors, color modulation, pin-washes, general washes, filters, etc. Not a topic that can be easily covered in a couple of paragraphs here.

I will say that for pin washes and general washes, my basic recommendation would be to usually use browns (raw umber, sepia, etc.) rather than black. This is especially true for sand / desert yellow colored vehicles, but it also extends to OD and panzer gray. Having said this, black can be used on Panzer gray and OD, but I think it usually makes too much contrast.

Black can be useful, though, for washes to replicate deeply shaded openings, or, fuel, oil or grease staining. Paynes gray is a sometimes a more useful color for darker washes on Panzer gray or over gun metal colors. Indigo over gun metal can give a nice, gun metal blued effect. The variations are nearly endless.

I personally like to go with a more nuanced approach with complementary colors and primary colors that could combine to produce the base color. So, for OD or other dark greens, I like indigo for the shadow washes and yellow ochre for the highlight washes. Other colors added as “oil dot” filters can add variety if the colors used are thought through and used carefully to avoid creating an overall “muddy brown”. For instance, red over OD, thinned out to create a filter effect will make the underlying OD “browner.” Blue used the same way will make the OD look darker and greener. Raw sienna makes a nice light, fresh rusty stain when its more opaque, but as a filter will make the underlying OD lighter, but browner. Burnt sienna will do the same, but as a rusty color, its darker and older, and as a filter its redder to make a different, browner OD than just straight red.

I personally like the look of Indigo over Panzer gray, especially for models that are depicted in winter conditions with snow and ice. It will “blue up” the Panzer gray to make it look colder. However, raw umber might be a better choice for spring or summer since it will warm up the gray.

And so it goes… Arguments about prototypical base colors will also come into play as you explore the subtilties of the various techniques and materials.

Really, once you get past the very basic ideas of artificially creating shadows and highlights to contrast and push details and forms into view, everything else is a stylistic choice.

My best advice is to find SPECIFIC pieces of work that you like, and discuss the techniques and materials used by that modeler to achieve those results. The experiment to imitate and modify to produce what you envision for your own work.


@SdAufKla I have one piece in mind of a modeler that posts regularly on Instagram that I may try to mimic. You are a wealth of information at this subject. What is your best advice for making washes when it comes to diluting with thinner or spirits, does it really matter which i use to make the wash?
@18bravo Thank you for the color combo I’m going to give it a try on this kit!
@JPTRR thank you for posting that link I’ll give it a read over and am sure I’ll have a few questions!

My two cents, I use the Mastertouch line from Hobby Lobby (their finer grade-sorry not sure what they call that series), for dot filters, washes and the like, I do leach out the oils and pull my paint off of a 3x5 card once I get a nice ‘halo’ effect of that oil bleeding out. I’ve had good success with it and have quite a few of the different colors. When you do dot filters its handy to have a color wheel handy, even thinned out if you are using say blues and yellows it will blend out to a greenish tint so select them carefully (unless you are after that affect). Be sure to clear coat your base paint, I use acrylics and then a clear varnish before working with oils. My first attempt I got slap happy with a wide range of colors and didnt work them correctly and ended up with a tint on the model, my 2nd attempt was on a Sherman, narrowed the colors down and really paid attention to the lines of the tank, worked smaller sections and was very happy with the result. I’m going to play around with a German tank solely in grey and work with oils for modulation to see what I can do, for me its fun.


I’m with the majority. I love artist oils for washes, streaking, and every other effect. I lay them right on top of my well dried acrylics. Use an odorless artist’s thinner.


@MontanaHunter yeah i watched a YouTube earlier where the guy stressed the importance of using a gloss varnish to protect the original base coat/ camo scheme you use.

Just to add my 2 cents to the excellent info already posted, I have to say that using oils for streaking is an excellent idea. In one of Mike Rinaldi’s books he says that oils are forgiving and they are- if you make a mistake just use a bit of thinner to wipe it off. You can experiment with them quite a bit and you should as they can create all sorts of interesting effects.


@Karl187 what book is that ? Everything I’ve seen has said oils are the better option so far. I don’t think there really is a downside to them. On one note, does it matter if you use a matt varnish or a gloss varnish prior to using oils?

Mike has a few and each discuss oil rendering.


For the lazy among us, Mig Ammo Oil brushers are quick, easy and dry faster.

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Now Bravo36 says he doesnt use a varnish and from his posts I have seen previous I have full confidence in his experience and advice. I myself err on the side of being overly cautious in case I have grabbed a thinner that is “too hot” as you may have seen guys refer to. I’m no chemist so I try to take out every variable. I was just re-reading SdAufKla posts, another guy here that is also a wealth of knowledge. Many things that he touched on go back to the ‘color wheel’ I mentioned. I picked one up at Hobby Lobby, its usually in the aisle with the oil paints and brushed, mines actually a square card with your standard oil paints (you’ll find the names are fairly consistent across all brands-Payne’s Grey etc, those are ‘standard’ names) running across and the same ones running down with corresponding squares filling out the grid pattern showing what the result may be like by mixing the two shades, You can make the jump on one side to your base color (choose one fairly close) and get a rough idea of what an Burnt Umber may do to an OD, what Payne’s does to a 3 color Panzer scheme etc. Very handy tool to visualize what may occur, and as many say here, you’re mileage may vary.

Sidebar - there are lots of ways that work to do stuff

Regarding varnish or gloss coat before oil/enamel wash etc…that’s the popular view these days.

It isn’t strictly necessary depending on what one is wanting to do. If the base coat paint is fully cured the oil wash can be directly applied to the base coat. With Floquil as base coat I’ve done that for nearly thirty years with no base coat issues.

I much prefer to directly apply oil wash to the base coat of paint. One has to stay active working the wash etc to ensure one gets what’s wanted etc. A light brushing in mineral spirits over the area to get the wash helps etc.

Some of the popular paints may have to fragile of a bond to the model to accept a wash unless cured for a while etc.