Tuesday, September 18, 2012

Acrylic vs Enamel

Okay, so there are people who are just skeptical to every type of paint especially to newbies like me who wanted to start off perfectly and wants to just have the perfect finish for a first painted kit or dio.

There are many types of paint but I'm going to review 2 Types of Spray Paint which are mostly used by experienced modelers and I will be also be using 2 factors for judging the paints such as Paint Adhesion and Curing Time.

Paint Adhesion - The paint's adhesion strength or simply it's ability to stick to whatever you are painting, be it plastic, metal, wood, etc.

Curing Time - The curing process is when the paint chemically settles and bonds to the surface simply said, curing time is the time it takes for the paint to dry completely.

So, which will be it?

Acrylic vs. Enamel

We'll go over with Acrylic first.

Acrylic paints are by far the fastest drying paint which are very suitable for spray painting purposes. Acrylics are also the least health hazardous compared to enamel spray paints and though they aren't as fine as what enamels could bring out, they have the advantage of being easily thinned out (I see this as an advantage as mistakes which are made through painting is very easy to remove, which I believe can be a very decisive factor in choosing the type of spray paint to use). Depending on the type of finish of a particular paint, Acrylics give the best flat finishes in terms of using generic paints such as primers and flat paints (flat white, flat black etc). A downside to this is that they take quite a lot of time for curing - from 1 - 3 days (Industrial paints such as Rj, Pylox, and Bosny dry within minutes but what we are talking about in my blog is the total curing process - that is, the paint's adhesion AFTER THE INITIAL DRYING for the paint to be completely sealed at the surface)

Acrylics aren't the strongest paint in the market but having the proper knowledge and acquiring the skill of using different primer colors and flat paints can be very advantageous to every modeler.

Now we go on to Enamel Paints

Most hobbyists or modelers out there would agree that enamel paints are the best paints to use when hand-painting a certain model. Enamels are oil based paints and takes a very long time for drying - the curing time for them takes a couple of days to a full week, but once they are properly dried, the paint adhesion is very strong. You can even paint them over acrylic or lacquer painted models. This type of paint have the advantage for hand-painting but they are too thick for spray painting and because they dry slowly they have the advantage for blending techniques - that is, blending enamel washes for panel lining or for weathering. 

Enamel paints also have the greatest gloss finish to boast. Just spray a couple of rounds using an enamel paint and you won't even have the need to use a gloss topcoat.

Paint finishes can be altered using top coats but if you are a person who doesn't want to spend any more money for clear coats then here's the deal: 

Use Acrylic Flat Paints for Flat finishes and;
Use Enamel Paints for Gloss finishes

Or, you can also use a combination of both:
Use Acrylic Paints for spray-painted details and;
Use Enamel Paints for hand-brushed details, panel lining and weathering.

It all depends to your choice of paint and when and where to use them. I personally think acrylics and enamels have their particular workbenches and they have different properties which can be ideal to different situations. You just need to plan first on how will you utilize their purpose.

Well, I think this sums up the paint review.
Till my next post!!!


  1. nice guide!!!
    you help me so much

  2. your welcome!!!
    and if you have any other questions just feel free to ask!!!
    happy modding!!!

  3. Good morning... I have a limited types of colors of paint, do you know the technique of how making a normal gray turn into 2 types of gray? Like for example, I only have 2 spray cans, which are black and gray, I need to have a 2 types of gray, dark one and a light one, do you know any technique to have those shades using black and gray spray cans?

  4. Begginer po ako at d pa po nakakapag paint ng gunpla pwede na po ba anh bosny??
    For Advanced grade age 1

  5. aside from Tamiya, what is the best brand of enamel spray paint that we can use for Gunpla?