Thinner and Thinning AK Real Colors


I am wondering if anyone has airbrushed AK Interactive Real Colors? I am trying to figure out what thinner I should use for these paints as well as the best thinning ratio.

I tried thinning these paints with both Mr. Color Thinner and Mr. Color Leveling thinner. When I airbrushed the model I am working on the finish came out glossy. I also noticed when I airbrushed the finish was wet and splattered around the edges of where I was airbrushing.

Any help would be appreciated.


You can use Mr, Leveling thinner, or any other hobby branded lacquer thinner to tin RC paints. To remove any doubt, you should use their own Real Color thinner to learn the properties of the paint, however.

Your paint came out glossy because Mr. leveling thinner has a built in retarder in it, which causes the paint layer to have extra time to quite literally “level” itself, resulting in a microscopically smooth surface (what we call glossy.” You can try Tamiya lacquer thinner or regular Mr. Color thinner to prevent the glossy surface. RC paints are ultra matte, so keep that in mind.

Thanks for responding Jon. I did know that about Mr. Leveling thinner. That is the thinner I tried to use first so that’s probably why it came out glossy like you said. These paints first came out I used Mr. Color Thinner and the finish came out dead flat.

I will give Tamiya Lacquer or Mr. Color a try again. By the way, what thinning ratio and air pressure do you use with this paint?

I’ve only airbrushed AK Real Color paints once, on a build that I did two years ago. I was told by one of the hobby shop employees where I bought the paint and who had used the stuff that it could be thinned with Tamiya X-20A Thinner, so I used that. I got an ultra flat gritty finish from that combination.

I use 2K automotive thinners from a local car paint shop and it goes on as smooth as the proverbial babies bottom.
In this review they are tested with a variety of popular thinners including AK’s own and water.
As regards the thinning ratio I am using it about 50/50.

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I have been using AK Real Colors more and more lately because of their range of colors and how well they shoot. I wound up buying all the box sets and a few other bottles of colors. I thin them 50/50 with hardware store lacquer thinner ($18 a gallon vs. $100 a gallon for Mr. Color Leveling Thinner) and they shoot like a dream. They self level, keep a wet edge, are easy to shoot, and dry skin tight. I shoot at 12 - 15 PSI. Coverage is excellent and drying time is a minute or two.


I just looked at some of the AK range and it does look pretty impressive – and vast lol … Their modern US armour box set - @SSGToms. Matt do you have this one ? and is it a good representation of the real colours ? I’m thinking ahead to the ODS Group Build in the new year, and is the green in that set ok for the Stryker Build ??

Hi John, I have AK RC Set #19, US Army Modern Vehicles, but I don’t know where they got that green from. It is close to the Forest Green that it should be, but it’s not it. AK sells a Forest Green in their RC line that is the correct color. That’s the color you want for your Stryker. Why AK didn’t put THAT bottle in the box, I’ll never know! So, just buy the bottle of Forest Green, not the whole set. Save yourself some £.

Thanks Matt I will do that fort he Stryker :+1: . I was wondering about the sand colours mainly as I plan do the M1a1 with the sand colour (is that the CARC one ? )

They have a seperate CARC Tan and a Sand. The sand is very grey. I would advise using the CARC Tan as that is accurate.

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Just wondering, MrColor has Rapid Thinner.
Maybe this will cut down the gloss?

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In the two years since I last posted in this thread, I have bought all the AK Real Colors AFV line and switched to using them almost exclusively. They are just that good. I have also switched to Mr. Color Leveling Thinner for airbrushing. It does make a huge difference and improves the airbrushing excellence of the RC paints dramatically. The key to getting the paint to dry flat is to mix the paint thoroughly before thinning. I have never used Mr. Color Rapid Thinner, so cannot comment on it’s performance.
The paint drying gloss or flat is not a big deal in my eyes, as I am just going to put a clear gloss coat on the base color for decals anyway. Then it’s going to get another clear gloss coat to seal in the decals, and a clear flat coat near the end. So it winds up with a gloss finish and then a flat finish anyway.
And by the way, welcome to Armorama!

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Thanks for your answer, very clear.

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Just want to add that I use hardware store lacquer thinner exclusively,I find that it acts the same as Tamiya with LT,really like the color line that AK Real offers


Hi Tony,
I too use hardware store lacquer thinner for all of my cleaning, but decided to use the Mr. Color for thinning. The Mr. Color is too expensive to use for cleaning airbrushes!

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I also use hardware store lacquer thinner for my AK paints. I also use the same for Tamiya acrylic paints as well.
I generally like the AK colors, but I thought their Russian Armor green to be way too green. To be fair, there is not consistent color for this in reality…