Saturday, 19 June 2010

Thinning Paint

In response to a post on FTW about what paints we use, and specifically GW Foundation Paint, I found there was quite a lot of discussion about paint thinning/dilution. So I thought It deserved a post simply to explain what I do.
I do still use some GW paints, but in the main I use Vallejo, partly because of the coverage, partly the neat dropper bottles, partly the huge range of good colours and partly because the small pigment size means they airbrush well. add up all the partlys and I’m quite a fan :)
I do however still use the GW washes (how can you not?) and I have recently picked up some foundation paints and been very impressed with them.
It also seems to me that those who are unimpressed with the GW foundation line are those who don’t dilute.
Now please don’t take this to mean that I think everyone should dilute, Ron is an AMAZING painter and he’s said he uses paint from the pot, craft paint at that. at the end of the day you do what works for you, and diluting works for me, most of the time – sometimes i do use paint straight out of the pot. its a toolbox, use what you need to, when you need to.
what I have in my toolbox are those little dropper bottles of various fluids. I use these to dilute my paints to varying degrees depending on how I want the paint to behave.
For general usage I use the Water/Klear. its about 5/1 and just thins the paint, with a little flow release action. i put between 2-10 drops per drop of paint in, depending on the paint and the use I’m putting it to
For ashes I use the water/flow aid (liquitex) that's about 20/1 but can make all your paints behave like GW washes, almost :) this goes in quite heavy, we are making washes after all
the water/slow dry is about 1/1 and I use it if I want more open time for a blend. I use this 1:1 with the paint.
the screen wash is my airbrush thinner, it really works, and no, it doesn't turn everything green :) use heavily to create paint with the consistency of milk for your airbrush.
the last one? just water. sometimes you need it, and sometimes I use it to dilute the rest of the fluids more on the palette.
That’s what I use, I hope that was useful, but, what do you use?


  1. Thank you, this is very useful information!

  2. That was my fervemt hope. :)

    Thankyou for commenting, IF I know this kind of information is useful I'l try to make more posts like this. I'm aware lately its been a lot of "this is what I've done" rather than "this is how I did it" But I'm working to fix that.

  3. Hey Karitas, great piece. Sorry for not commenting earlier. I have only just started thinning my paints in the last few months and the results are great. I guess I just didn't want to do multiple layers before and until I saw the results (smooth, clean coverage of base coats, gentle hightlights) I didn't think about the benefits.

    So far I've only bee using water on the brush. That is, I get the brush slightly wet and pick up the paint with it. I really should invest in a palette and do it from there but I haven't done yet.

    I'd be interested in reading more posts on how you do things as the method is often as important, if not more, than the results

    All the best,


  4. I use Klear also...I really like the smooth finish it helps achieve (of course, for me, it's Future)
    Too much in the mix can make a model pretty shiny, but I use matte spray at the end.
    Good info, thanks for posting!

  5. Thanks for the post, just found your site!

    I have been using windex to thin paints for my airbrush, and get mixed results (mainly my mixing I guess).

    What exactly are you using for "screen wash".
    i.e. what brand is it?

    Great blog, thank you for sharing your experience and techniques.


    Dave Pak

  6. Hi Guys, Thanks for the comments,

    Pete, water will work, but I think if you were to try some water mixed with an agent that breaks the surface tension, such as klear, or a flow aid (I use liquitex) you'd see an amazing difference. But I'll be honest, just by using water youve taken that step away from "straight out of the pot" that really works for me, and a lot of other painters. It's more about finding what works for you, than for someone else, but if you experiment enough you'll get there :)

    SAJ, yeah I hear you on the shinyness, - I use testors dullcote for a final matte coat. but then I protect my models with airbrushed, neat Klear, so that's pretty darn shiny :)

    Dave, nice to see a new face, and I'm glad youve found some things of value here on my blog :)

    as what the "screen wash" is it's Halfords (a UK automotive supply chain) own brand "screen wash", for putting in car windscreen washers. there isnt much chemical formulation info on the back of the pack, except that it contains <5% EDTA and salts thereof, and non ionic surfactants. which I think are the things that take some of the minerals and "hardness" out of the water.. but I'm no scientist :)


Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...