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Discussion Starter · #1 · (Edited)
I am going to start painting a few locomotives (specifically EMD GP38-2s) in the somewhat near future. I have been wondering, who produces the best paint? There will probably be mixed opinions among modelers, but it still gives me a general idea of what to choose.

I've heard of various brands such as Tru-color, Badger Modelflex, good ole' Tamiya and a few others. All of these options are good from my understanding, but upwards of $7.00 USD for a one-ounce bottle? That's quite high in my opinion.

My local hobby shop sells a fair amount of Scalecoat and Floquil paints for a decent price ($4.95 USD) for a two-ounce bottle. I believe that these paints are no longer produced. Those who have used any these brands, are they any good and which ones are worth picking up?

Thanks in advance.
 

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So this will depend on airbrush vs rattle can.
I generally use the latter. All my Oil Valley locos were done with rattle cans.
An even better comparison is my CR van was airbrushed, OVR trucks rattle canned.

Assuming you are going to airbrush based on the paints mentioned (tamiya cans are good too btw)

I would say Scalecoat is the creme de le creme. Scalecoat II is for plastic, series I is for metal, wood, etc. It is still produced btw, the company was sold to Minuteman Scale Models.
It’s a wonderful oil-based paint. Over a good primer (I’d use theirs) and even if you do not warm the paint, the finish is spectacular.
One important note about storage though. Scalecoat paint bottled should always be stored cap down. Once air is in the bottle, exposure forms a rubbery seal. You want that at the bottom, not the top, so store them inverted. Ask me how I know, go on, ask. Lol

If you prefer acrylic… well the last time I airbrushed with acrylic PollyScale was still in business, under that name. I’ve heard good things about Vallejo.
With airbrushing acrylics I’ve found that the best thinning agent is windshield washer fluid. My CR van was done with a Pollyscale NYC Jade and blue washer fluid. Then glossed, decaled, then glossed again, then dullcoted. Ya see those edges where the clear decal film was cut? Neither does anyone else.
Wheel Tire Land vehicle Vehicle Car


For comparison; rustoleum rattle canned truck (black done with a paint marker).
Wheel Tire Automotive tire Motor vehicle Vehicle


If you’re doing multiple GPs, do one acrylic with washer fluid, and one with scalecoat II. Or grab a cheap junk box freight car for $2 and repaint it using one method on each side to determine which you prefer. I’d go Scalecoat II. Not even a question for me. PollyS(cale) is good if you can find it. Vallejo I hear is good but no first hand experience. I hate Tamiya. It’s great results but they claim it is acrylic, but it is not. But it’s not exactly enamel nor lacquer either. You need to use their thinner. Regular airbrush thinner/mineral spirits etc just gums it up. Water has no affect on it. So I avoid it whenever possible because I always forget to buy their blasted thinner. Kinda false advertising claiming it is acrylic. If you were rattle canning, THEN, I would add a vote for Tamiya.
 

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….My local hobby shop sells a fair amount of Scalecoat and Floquil paints for a decent price ($4.95 USD) for a two-ounce bottle. I believe that these paints are no longer produced. Those who have used any these brands, are they any good and which ones are worth picking up?

Thanks in advance.
If you can buy SC paint for that price, please PM me where…

The problem with SC is the wait time and lack of customer service when ordered direct. Customers are reporting wait times of 4-6 months, not weeks. Emails or phone calls…forget it.

I did several orders (each $200+) last year, the minimum wait took 2 months. Can’t predict the future but it seems I would’ve waited longer by not actively contacting them.

I love the product and use it exclusively. That said, unless I can now buy it “in stock” from a store, I won’t buy.

Again, this isn‘t negative towards the actual product.

I use Dupont thinner (high quality automotive paint stores stock it, not a bargain box store), 3402S or 3204, I can’t remember . Sold in a gallon size (average hobbyist life supply!) for about $30-$40, its much cheaper than SC thinner. Bonus-works just as well. YMMV.
 

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Discussion Starter · #5 ·
So this will depend on airbrush vs rattle can.
I generally use the latter. All my Oil Valley locos were done with rattle cans.
An even better comparison is my CR van was airbrushed, OVR trucks rattle canned.

Assuming you are going to airbrush based on the paints mentioned (tamiya cans are good too btw)

I would say Scalecoat is the creme de le creme. Scalecoat II is for plastic, series I is for metal, wood, etc. It is still produced btw, the company was sold to Minuteman Scale Models.
It’s a wonderful oil-based paint. Over a good primer (I’d use theirs) and even if you do not warm the paint, the finish is spectacular.
One important note about storage though. Scalecoat paint bottled should always be stored cap down. Once air is in the bottle, exposure forms a rubbery seal. You want that at the bottom, not the top, so store them inverted. Ask me how I know, go on, ask. Lol

If you prefer acrylic… well the last time I airbrushed with acrylic PollyScale was still in business, under that name. I’ve heard good things about Vallejo.
With airbrushing acrylics I’ve found that the best thinning agent is windshield washer fluid. My CR van was done with a Pollyscale NYC Jade and blue washer fluid. Then glossed, decaled, then glossed again, then dullcoted. Ya see those edges where the clear decal film was cut? Neither does anyone else.
View attachment 593100

For comparison; rustoleum rattle canned truck (black done with a paint marker).
View attachment 593103

If you’re doing multiple GPs, do one acrylic with washer fluid, and one with scalecoat II. Or grab a cheap junk box freight car for $2 and repaint it using one method on each side to determine which you prefer. I’d go Scalecoat II. Not even a question for me. PollyS(cale) is good if you can find it. Vallejo I hear is good but no first hand experience. I hate Tamiya. It’s great results but they claim it is acrylic, but it is not. But it’s not exactly enamel nor lacquer either. You need to use their thinner. Regular airbrush thinner/mineral spirits etc just gums it up. Water has no affect on it. So I avoid it whenever possible because I always forget to buy their blasted thinner. Kinda false advertising claiming it is acrylic. If you were rattle canning, THEN, I would add a vote for Tamiya.
Your painting skills are great, especially on that van. If If ever buy some Scale coat I will make sure to store them inverted. So… how did you learn about that trick?🤔

Windshield washer fluid for thinning? Never heard of it. I’m sure it works fine, since it is mostly water

I’ve heard many people like vallejo paints. Supposedly they are pre thinned and air brush ready. Great for weathering I assume!

Thanks for the information OilValleyRy. People like you make the beginner want to continue in the “Worlds greatest hobby”. Until next time.
 

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Your painting skills are great, especially on that van. If If ever buy some Scale coat I will make sure to store them inverted. So… how did you learn about that trick?🤔

Windshield washer fluid for thinning? Never heard of it. I’m sure it works fine, since it is mostly water

I’ve heard many people like vallejo paints. Supposedly they are pre thinned and air brush ready. Great for weathering I assume!

Thanks for the information OilValleyRy. People like you make the beginner want to continue in the “Worlds greatest hobby”. Until next time.
A few too many bottles stored right side up, and having to cut through the “gummy bear” seal before figuring out “everybody” stores them upside down after opening the first time.

The washer fluid came about on another forum years back. I’m afraid I’ll mis-credit who the genius was but I want to say a guy named HummerDave. Anyway; after a big discussion of tap water versus distilled, he tried using isopropyl, which sorta worked but evaporated too quickly. Washer fluid ended up being the middle ground trick. Smoother flow than water, lasts longer than alcohol.(y)
You’re quite welcome.
 

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The windshield washer fluid isn't good advice. It works as a stripper IF it contains ammonia, but as a thinne, not so much. It doesn't work well with most brands of acrylic paint, certainly not Vallejo. If you add it to their paint, you get a nasty congealed mess. I use only Vallejo's airbrush thinner with their paints.

Please note that technology is always changing, and while 30 years ago, enamels / oil based paint may have been superior, thet is no longer the case. If you intend to airbrush a solvent-based paint, wear a full respirator, even if working outside.

As far as a source, I recommend Scale Hobbyist (www.scalehobbyist.com). Prices for everything is up, but they consistently have among the lowest prices around, and fair shipping rates.
 

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Discussion Starter · #8 ·
The windshield washer fluid isn't good advice. It works as a stripper IF it contains ammonia, but as a thinne, not so much. It doesn't work well with most brands of acrylic paint, certainly not Vallejo. If you add it to their paint, you get a nasty congealed mess. I use only Vallejo's airbrush thinner with their paints.

Please note that technology is always changing, and while 30 years ago, enamels / oil based paint may have been superior, thet is no longer the case. If you intend to airbrush a solvent-based paint, wear a full respirator, even if working outside.

As far as a source, I recommend Scale Hobbyist (www.scalehobbyist.com). Prices for everything is up, but they consistently have among the lowest prices around, and fair shipping rates.
Thanks for the link CTValleyRR. I will take your advice about the windshield washer fluid into consideration.

I will still experiment with it on a cheap piece of rolling stock as suggested by OilValleyRy and judge the outcome.

If it happens to not turn out so good, I will try other options. Thanks for the advice.
 

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The windshield washer fluid isn't good advice. It works as a stripper IF it contains ammonia, but as a thinne, not so much. It doesn't work well with most brands of acrylic paint, certainly not Vallejo. If you add it to their paint, you get a nasty congealed mess. I use only Vallejo's airbrush thinner with their paints.

Please note that technology is always changing, and while 30 years ago, enamels / oil based paint may have been superior, thet is no longer the case. If you intend to airbrush a solvent-based paint, wear a full respirator, even if working outside.

As far as a source, I recommend Scale Hobbyist (www.scalehobbyist.com). Prices for everything is up, but they consistently have among the lowest prices around, and fair shipping rates.
That is quite untrue. Windex and household glass cleaners contain ammonia. Windshield washer fluid does not. At least not any half-decent brand. They are very different substances. Can’t say about Chinese imported stuff lol Ammonia is specifically NOT an ingredient because it hazes glass (safety concern for vehicles), which is why windex never seems to clean bathroom mirrors very well.
Just passing on what I learned from those guys who used to sell weathered freight cars for $200-300 a piece on ebay.
 

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Windex is all I use to clean windows and mirrors….doesn’t seem to haze for me….very strange….
It is strange. It hazes for most people. So much there are literally hundreds of articles online about how to clean mirrors without streaks. #1 suggestion is always, don’t use windex.

I wanted to clarify the chemical make up though. The active ingredients in windshield washer fluid are methanol. Sometimes ethylene glycol is added too. And yes technically they can be used to strip paint if concentrated, just like undiluted isopropyl, or mineral spirits, paint thinner, etc. I wouldn’t suggest paint thinner to dilute acrylics, but the main ingredient in washer fluid is, water. Shocker. So it’s heavily diluted.
Think of the methanol as a surfactant ingredient, much like adding a drop of soap or alcohol when gluing ballast. Methanol is in there to loosen up dried bug guts, dust & dirt, not to remove paint off your car. There isn’t a lot of it, or you’d smell it and fall over ill.
 

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That is quite untrue. Windex and household glass cleaners contain ammonia. Windshield washer fluid does not. At least not any half-decent brand. They are very different substances. Can’t say about Chinese imported stuff lol Ammonia is specifically NOT an ingredient because it hazes glass (safety concern for vehicles), which is why windex never seems to clean bathroom mirrors very well.
Just passing on what I learned from those guys who used to sell weathered freight cars for $200-300 a piece on ebay.
Still doesn't work well as a thinner for any modern acrylic that I am aware of. Concentration of alcohol and surfactants is too high, and glycerol is too low. Vallejo paints are among the best hobby paints available, and they're manufactured in Spain, not China.

And I agree with Old Hobo, I have never heard of ammonia hazing glass. I must have cleaned a million windows and / or mirrors with Windex-like products that contain ammonia, and never once had an issue. I have cleaned every car window I have ever owned with an ammonia-based cleaner, and they all sparkle. The problem is that most people djn't know how to clean glass, so all they're doing is pushing the dirt around rather than removing it. So yeah, I'm throwing the BS flag in that one. You'll need to produce a quality, reputable scientific or consumer advocacy reference from a valid source to document it.
 
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A couple folks getting off topic. If you need proof try googling how to get rid of streaks and haze to see how many results you get. There are hundreds of articles, proposed solutions, etc. Many products advertise they “remove streaks and/or haze,” one is even named “No-Haze.” They advertise these “remedies” for a reason; most people have to deal with it. Google is a free service. Use it and learn something before looking like you were born this morning. OR find something to do with your day instead of making arguments for the sake of something to keep you busy/entertained. I would say you need to get a hobby, but… 🤔 That didn’t work.
The rest of us will stay on topic while you go google it. Deal?
 

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Well, I just finished doing that search on Google, and with almost every click, Windex comes up in the top 5 glass cleaners.….and at the very least, within the top 10….

You’re right about one thing….Google is indeed amazing…. 😉
 

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A couple folks getting off topic. If you need proof try googling how to get rid of streaks and haze to see how many results you get. There are hundreds of articles, proposed solutions, etc. Many products advertise they “remove streaks and/or haze,” one is even named “No-Haze.” They advertise these “remedies” for a reason; most people have to deal with it. Google is a free service. Use it and learn something before looking like you were born this morning. OR find something to do with your day instead of making arguments for the sake of something to keep you busy/entertained. I would say you need to get a hobby, but… 🤔 That didn’t work.
The rest of us will stay on topic while you go google it. Deal?
No, the way it works is that YOU Google it to obtain facts that back up your argument. My point is the statement ‘most people’ find that Windex hazes glass is unsubstantiated. I want to see facts that back that up. Telling people to Google it isn’t getting it.
 

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Their weathering powder is excellent as well. It can go a long way with its surface adhering capabilities. A little bit on a paintbrush could probably weather about 40 scale feet without reloading.
I have to say that the only product of theirs that I'm disappointed in is their washes. The reason for that is because they're too thick right out of the bottle, and need to be diluted before use. Which kind of defeats the purpose of having a pre-mixed wash. Although I have never tried their rattle cans (I use Model Air / Game Air and an airbrush).
 

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OK, let's play nice so I don't have to close this thread.

One tip on cleaning glass. NEVER use paper of any kind! Soft cloth like microfiber towels are best, old T-shirts work pretty well too.
I spray cleaner on and spread it with a paper towel, then use either an old T-shirt or a microfiber cloth to polish the residual cleaner away. Like I said, a lot of people don't know how to clean glass.
 
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