Tamiya acrylics

While returning to the hobby I asked some basic Que’s & was warmly received { Thanks }. I have a dearth of unused Tamiya acrylics as well a MM. I seem to recall that while Tamiya are called acrylics , they perform best when thinned with Lacquer . Is my memory amiss ? I am referring to use in airbrushing. Clearly , I could use a bit of help . Also, Mission model was just marketing their products. I had Zero good results with their paint , despite following their guidelines. Thank God for Forums like this. K.

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I paint almost exclusively with Tamiya. I use their yellow cap lacquer thinner. You can also use their white cap thinner which is a bit less expensive. However the yellow cap lacquer thinner lays down better. Good luck.

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I also exclusively use Tamiya for airbrushing (I find them useless for brush painting; reason being, a succeeding brushing usually lifts off the previous coat. I prefer Citadel, or Vallejo acrylics for brush painting.). I’ve been airbrushing Tamiya for over 30 yrs, and have used just about every liquid solvent possible for thinning their paint. Tamiya’s Lacquer Thinner (yellow cap bottle) always gives a reliable and predictable finish. I think Tamiya developed their “acrylics” and their “lacquer thinner” as a binary system that only works well when those two are combined.
:grinning: :canada:


I am having to transition to acrylics since Rustolium has discontinued the Testors Model Master enamel line. I have a couple question about the Tamiya line of paints.

First, can their acrylics be thinned with hardware store lacquer thinner or do you have to use their specific lacquer thinner?

Second, I see they have a new line of lacquer paints. What is different with them and are they closer to the old Testors MM enamels or just another form of acrylic?

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Welcome back to the fold! Tamiya acrylics are compatible with AK Real Color, Mr Hobby Aqueous and Lacquer paints. I’m sure there are others you can mix with but these are the ones I have mixed and matched with. I use Mr Color levelling thinner almost always and it is fantastic. Tamiya orange cap lacquer thinner, retarder type is very similar though.

Gino @HeavyArty, yes Tamiya can be thinned with hardware store thinner quite successfully. The LP range is basically like decanted versions of their lacquer spray cans, thinner than the acrylic but lay down very smooth.

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Where to begin with thanks ? Armorsmith Thanks. Biggles ,the yellow cap explains why I have so much of it .I do recall how poorly Tamiya is not much good to brush. Gino, I recall your many great posts , as well as being a " Red Leg ".Bracketing can be so much fun , back when it was allowed ! Semper fi .IwataJim, Please explain the new Tamiya lacqers to Me. You’ve all helped me stimulate a renewed interest. K.

You just have to use a different paint brush technique.

They thin well with hardware store lacquer thinner but I have found if sprayed even a bit wet the hardware lacquer thinner can craze plastics.

I would also look ak real colors. They shoot beautifully

Do you mean specifically with Tamiya acrylics? I have used hardware store lacquer thinner with Testors MM enamel paints forever and had no issues with it crazing the plastic.

Just in general. If you are used to it spray away! Just thought I’d make a note for people thinking of switching to hardware lacquer thinner.

99% of the time it’s great but I sprayed a little wet once and it crazed

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I always use Tamiya to spray, but for real smoothness and a much cleaner airbrush, it’s the ‘Mr Hobby Levelling Thninner 400’ for me now, much more reliable and problem free. Vallejo, Citadel, Life Colour and Miniature Paints for handpainting.
Just forget hand painting Tamiya ! It really should say so on the bottle!


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Pretty much what everyone has said. Tamiya is pretty forgiving and ideal for those starting or getting back into the hobby. I have used the new Tamiya Lacquer Thinner with retarder (Orange cap) and it works very well. It also works great with AK Real Colour paints too as iwatajim says. Tamiya’s X-20A (White Cap) can leave a grainy finish unless you spray really close, so use the yellow or orange cap thinner not white cap, so you are not disappointed.

I have never used Mr Color Levelling thinner myself but guys in my club have. They say it is pretty much the same as the Tamiya orange cap.

Also use Tamiya for airbrushing and find them excellent and problem free. Never experienced tip drying etc. Their only probable downside is not all colours are necessarily ‘accurate’ out of the bottle. It’s a very minor issue as plenty of paint colour mix guides about on the interweb.

I use both their white and yellow cap thinners. Yellow is a bit easier to get the smoother finish, but without much skill I haven’t really had any grainy issues with the white cap. Think I’m right in saying the yellow cap does result in an even more durable finish though.

They’re not great for brush painting, but can be used for detail painting if used with a retarder I’ve found. However alternatives like Vallejo etc. are much better though for brush application.

Hi Keith,

Just coincidentally I was watching a YouTube video this morning which was really good and explains almost all you’ll need to know about paints. You can view it here: Best Paints for Plastic Models - A Paint Guide by Lincoln Wright of Paint on Plastic - YouTube




Very informative. Thank’s for sharing! :art: :paintbrush:


Tamiya Acrylics are alcohol-based and I’ve been using isopropyl alcohol for thinning for years. The paint is water washable so you can use standard rubbing alcohol (IPA 70%) and buy it for little cost. Right now I’m using IPA 99% since I need it also for cleaning 3D printed UV resin. You can also buy a bottle of Tamiya extender which helps it flow better and dry a bit slower which is an aide in both brush and airbrush painting. You just need a few drops.

I clean the gun with water first, followed by a little Windex and then with acetone and/or IPA. The acetone dissolves any cured paint. DON’T USE ACETONE OR MEK IN CHINESE AIRBRUSHES!!!. They use o-rings that dissolve in harsh solvents. Better airbrushes, like Badger, use teflon seals which resist any solvent you use. Ask me how I know all this…

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It’ s all coming back now, Thanks to you all. One Tiny question Inre. to airbrush cleaning. I’m no metalurgist, But I swear i recall that ammonia based products [ like Windex ] are harmful to chrome plated brass airbrushes . If that’s incorrect ,I apologize . K

No, that’s correct. Never use straight ammonia to clean an airbrush. Ammonia will strip the chrome and corrode the brass innards of the airbrush. However, Windex with ammonia IS the preferred airbrush cleaner for Tamiya paints and Future. You can use it safely as long as you shoot distilled water through the airbrush immediately after reassembly. I’ve been cleaning my Iwatas with Windex for 40 years and never had a problem. Always use distilled water in your airbrush! (Available by the gallon at the supermarket). Tap water has minerals, lime, calcium, chlorine, and all kinds of crud that will jam and corrode your airbrush just as bad as ammonia over the years!


That make sense , SSG. I used to flush my brushes with Isoproplyl Alc. Never thought of Distilled. I am curious why so many tout Windex as a thinner & cleaner. Different strokes , I guess. Tks.

I used to use windex and distilled water as above but now I use hardware lacquer thinner for all cleaning. That stuff is very hot and will remove and residue from pretty much anything you shoot through the airbrush. It’s also super volatile so any leftover in the airbrush will off gas pretty fast once you are done cleaning