Best metallic paint for airbrushing?

Risu

Master Member
RPF PREMIUM MEMBER
Can anybody recommend me a good line of paints for a wide range of metallic colors that actually LOOKS reasonably like real metal? I've been looking at the AK Interactive Xtreme Metal paints and they look fantastic, but they don't have much of a color selection. Spaz Stix seems to be the best chrome out there, but that's really all they do. Are the Testor's enamels any good? They have a great color selection, but after looking at all these paints that you can only buy online, it's starting to feel like a paint you can buy at any Michaels is too good to be true. Anybody have experience with that one or know of another brand?
 

robn1

Master Member
Alclad lacquers are the best. The appearance and color range is similar to Metalizer but they are much more durable. Some of the enamels look good but they stay sticky forever.
 

Risu

Master Member
RPF PREMIUM MEMBER
I just looked up alclad's full range, it doesn't look like they have a good selection of colors. Nothing in the darker end of the spectrum, and their only brass is more of a bright gold. I've also heard that their dry time is also terrible.
 

jasonw2112

Sr Member
RPF PREMIUM MEMBER
Here's some info I've gathered about Alclad paint. Maybe be of some use? I have pics of some samples I painted as well. It seems to
be some great stuff. Pics are on the poor man's neuralyzel thread

So! EVERYTHING YOU NEED TO KNOW ABOUT*ALCLAD*2*PAINT, THAT I HAVE LEARNED THE HARD WAY! That should be able to track down on the search function!

I have noticed a lot of people, across the web, who try, but give no final answers! Well here they are! Some may disagree with me, but if you have not devoted answers, than you have not helped!

1.*Alclad*2 is not a lacquer! To put it simply, it is a metallic, that is held in suspension, with a alcohol based chemical.*

2. The surface you spray it over, has to be smooth as glass, for best results. Weather that involves, wetsanding, recoating, and a coat of a gloss top coat, this will help the look.

3. Do not spray over a Lacquer based black! (you might think this would be the best option, since it says it's a lacquer right? Go back to step 1!) It will not stick! It wipes off like powder.

4. Spray an Enamel based black (or*alclad's black) first, make sure it's as slick as you an get it, wait for it to cure good, than apply the*alclad*2*paint.

5. After waiting several days, you can apply Future floor wax, by Pledge. Yes they have changed the bottle, but it's the same product modeler's have used before. Some say it kills the look! It does take away from the look a little bit, but nothing like a solvent based clear. Future floor wax is like a water based coating, so it does not attack the chrome finish, like other clear's do.

6. You cannot apply lacquer clear, or urethane (2 part automotive clear) over top the*alclad*2! Not from a distance!, Not in a tack coat!, Not in a small tack coat, spraying far away, or upside down, than applying a thick coat! IT WILL NOT WORK! That also goes for the House of Kolor chrome*paint*as well! It react's to the clear, by turning a dark grey silver! It sucks! This goes for the Enamel chrome*paint's as well.

7. Right now, where I live, it's about 30 degree's. So if I was to go outside, spray gloss black enamel, over my project, the*paint*will wrinkle! Go ahead!, try it! It sucks, but it's the nature of enamel*paint! Even if you*paint*indoors, with a good working temperature, it can still wrinkle! The reason is the enamel not only needs good airflow, but heat, and the sun!

8. If you want to tackle using enamel's in the winter, you need to try out some idea's. I made a little cabinet area, with a front opening. Then I put a small electric space heater inside. Using this as a little oven of sorts, to hang parts that were painted over top the heater. I tried this technique with Krylon Fusion spray can enamel, in 8 hour shifts, for 2 days (keeping a watchful eye to make sure nothing would catch on fire!) and it provided a great cureing for the*paint. If you want to try this, PLEASE BE CAREFUL!! KEEP YOUR EYEBALLS ON IT!!! Space heaters can be dangerous, without painted parts hanging over top of them!

There is a difference between, dry, and cure, when it comes to enamel*paint! Dry is when you can pick up the object, but, it can still finger print. this happens, because the top of the*paint*is dry. But, underneath, it's still trying to solidify (cure!). In the winter, on the East coast, this could take months!*

I think this is a very big problem, for some of the enamel chrome*paint's as well! No sun, no heat, and very dry air (without any good amount of humidity), equals, no cure!

I have used Testor's chrome*paint*(enamel!) before in the summer time, and had no problems. But I also let it sit out in the sun, with heat as it's friend, and it's cured! I tried this on the Neuralizer project, applied very light coats, let it sit for a month! But without some summer heat, and sun, their was no cure! So it smudged, and finger printed!

Back in the day's of when enamel's where used on cars, they would use a catalyst, or a gloss hardner. This made the finish cure, within a day or so. without it, it could take month's or years, before it was finally cured. Which also meant, they could not wetsand and buff the vehicle! It would turn into a gummy mess!

Why am I going into such detail about enamel? Because it's what has to go underneath the*alclad*2*paint!

Below are some pictures, of the*alclad*2*paint, applied over a plastic spoon. I started with a lacquer primer (which could be wetsanded with 600 grit for a smoother finish), applied Krylon Fussion gloss black*paint. I hung this over the space heater, for a couple days, to get a better cure. Than finished withalclad*2*paint. It could look better, but it gives you an idea, of how it looks.*

I tried using Future floor wax, by spraying it through my Iwata HP-CS, airbrush. It did not need any reduction, in my opinion. I had to turn down my air pressure, to keep it from running. I noticed it did dull it a little bit, but for the protection it provides, I think it was worth it. The*alclad*2*paint*does dry pretty good, but you can scratch the finish. Not to mention, it will rub off, if you try hard enough.*
 
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Risu

Master Member
RPF PREMIUM MEMBER
I appreciate your detailed advice, but I think you misunderstood me. I'm not looking for a chrome paint. I've seen good comparisons of a lot of those. I'm looking for good metallics, specifically for a Star Lord helmet at the moment. There don't seem to be a lot of paint brands with a good range of colors. I need an aluminum, a brass, and a darker gun metal/graphite. And apparently to avoid enamels.
 

autoprops713

Well-Known Member
Always had success with Testors enamels for over the past yikes....40 years. Lots of metallic choices with excellent color saturation. And yes I would use enamels versus water based paints especially if you plan on handling the parts a lot. Drying time takes awhile but I've always accepted because of the toughness. I painted some Batman Forever parts not too long ago with a metallic graphite and I love the finish.
 

Risu

Master Member
RPF PREMIUM MEMBER
How long would you say the dry time is? I've got a clean environment that stays at approximately 75-80 degrees I can leave the parts in. Being in southern California, the weather is never really a concern. As long as it's not currently raining, I can paint without any problems.
 

autoprops713

Well-Known Member
I painted for about 25 years right there in Orange County CA so you are in good shape. Generally I wait 3-4 hours between coats. Maybe 4-5 days for paint to fully dry. But here's my disclaimer: I've learned over the years that patience is key when it comes to paint drying time. Do yourself a favor and always paint some other small part as you are painting your piece. Use that extra part as a sort of test when applying paint and maybe more importantly....checking for paint dryness. Testors is notorious for having some paints dry fairly quickly while others can take 1 week. Do the finger nail test on your test piece and if it makes an emprint, wait a bit longer for drying.
 

autoprops713

Well-Known Member
It depends on the look you are trying to achieve. Usually for a part that is supposed to resemble a material like metal I do a few coats and when I see one coat that looks good....I'm done, no clear coat. If you handle the part a lot you may want a clear coat but again from my experience, the part ends up looking too "show car-ish" and usually the finish looks too good....if that makes sense. I did a piece not long ago that was supposed to look like gunmetal. I ended up painting it with Testors gunmetal enamel (not the metalizer btw) and then after the last coat fully dried....buffed the finish with some ultra fine 0000 steel wool. Might sound silly but bringing down the sheen and adding a very fine scratched texture to paint makes it look completely different and very un-paint like.
 
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