How to Thin Vallejo Paint for Airbrush

How to Thin Vallejo Paint for Airbrush

Airbrush paints are typically very thin, making it easy for them to travel through the nozzle of the airbrush and onto the surface. Since Vallejo paints are popular among model and figuring painting, it is common to use them in an airbrush.

The most common question related to using Vallejo paints with an airbrush is whether or not the paint needs to be thinned. If it does need thinned, how can you do it properly? While it isn’t necessary to thin Vallejo paints for an airbrush, you can if you need to use an airbrush nozzle that is smaller than the standard. The best way to thin is using Vallejo’s own airbrush thinner.

If you do not have an airbrush paint thinner, you can also add just a drop or two of water. This will allow the paint to thin out and still remain usable because Vallejo paint is acrylic, meaning it mixes well with water.

Does Vallejo Paint Need to be Thinned?

Vallejo paint does not need to be thinned, but it can be thinned. You can do so with water or an acrylic thinner. You don’t need to worry about the paint beading when you thin it, so you can add as much or as little thinner as you want.

When you are planning on using Vallejo paints with an airbrush, you will need to thin it even if it is designed to be used with an airbrush. Vallejo Model Air will take less paint thinner than Vallejo Model Color. For Model Color, a 3:1 ratio of thinner to paint is recommended for the right consistency. Model Air only needs a tiny bit of thinner to properly perform.

Be careful to avoid thinning the paints too much. This can have reverse impact on the paint and make it harder or impossible to adhere to the surface. The key to proper thinning is experimentation to find out what works best. 

In addition to a thinner, it is also recommended to add a flow improver to Vallejo paint before using it in the airbrush. This will make it easier for the paint to flow through the nozzle and prevent any paint from drying on the nozzle and causing clogs.

Can I Use Vallejo Paints with an Airbrush?

It is possible to use Vallejo paints with an airbrush. They have formulas that were specifically designed to be used with an airbrush, or you can dilute some paint colors. There are two paints by Vallejo that have been specifically designed for use with airbrush. These are called Model Air and Premium.

Other paints by Vallejo, such as Game and Model Color, are not meant to be used in an airbrush. There are some colors from these paints that can safely be diluted and used, but it depends on the pigment.

Model Air has a wide variety of colors each based on research by past and present military officials. You can use it without diluting or diluting with a flow improver or airbrush thinner. Premium is an airbrush paint formulated with pigments that are permanent and a resistant acrylic-polyurethane. 

What Can I Use to Thin Paint for an Airbrush?

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Airbrushing is a quick and easy way to paint and cover surfaces efficiently. Before you use any kind of paint with an airbrush, it will be beneficial to thin it. If you don’t thin paint before using it for an airbrush, it can clog the nozzle and you will spend more time cleaning it than you would actually painting.

Getting the right consistency of paint will depend on what nozzle you are going to use. A 0.5mm nozzle will allow more paint through than a 0.2mm nozzle will. It is also important to make sure that you don’t thin the paint too much, or there is a chance the paint won’t stick properly. 

We recommend using Vallejo Paint Thinner for Airbrush. It’s ideal for Model Air and Liquid Acrylic paints and will dilute the paint without the loss of color.

It is best to use airbrush paint with an airbrush, but you can use regular acrylic paint if that is what you have. There is an airbrush thinner available at craft stores, or you can easily use tap water or distilled water to thin the paint.

Although you can use tap water, it is highly recommended that you use distilled water. Tap water is full of impurities and minerals that can have a negative impact on the paint and can cause poor coverage of the surface. There is also a higher chance of tap water being the cause of a clogged nozzle.

When using water, you will mix a 1:1 ratio. Add the same amount of water as you do paint and mix extremely well. In a container with a lid, add the paint mixture and shake for at least one minute. If you don’t want to shake, you can use a whisk to mix the combination together. 

If you are going to use regular acrylic paint, you can also use rubbing alcohol or even some Windex. These methods are extremely affordable and easy. Like the water, you will use a 1:1 ratio of paint and rubbing alcohol or Windex.

When using rubbing alcohol with paint, you will need to be cautious because it can cause some fumes to be released during the spray process. Make sure you work in a well-ventilated area and wear a mask if possible. 

If you are really in a bind, it is also possible to use an airbrush cleaner as a thinner for your Vallejo paint. You will also want to be sure that you are working in a well-ventilated area to prevent any fumes from agitating you while you work.

How Do You Use Vallejo Model Color with Airbrush?

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If you want to use Vallejo Model Color in an airbrush, you need to make sure you have the proper consistency first. It is a rule of thumb to thin the paint to around the consistency of skim milk. It is hard to find the perfect consistency because all paints are different, so it is a trial and error. 

To prevent the paint from drying on the tip of the nozzle, you can add a drop or two of an acrylic retarder, such as Vallejo Flow. When you apply the paint with the airbrush, you should have the air compressor between 15 and 20 PSI.

To check the current price and availability of Vallejo Model Colors, click here to view it on Amazon. 

Final Thoughts

Vallejo paints are very popular for painting models and miniatures. It is also common for the paints to be used in an airbrush to speed up the process of painting. It is beneficial when the models or miniatures need a solid base coat before adding in more detail.

Using Vallejo paints in an airbrush is super easy and doesn’t take much effort. You just need to thin the paint with an airbrush thinner, flow improver, or even water. The proper consistency will be similar to that of skim milk. The amount of thinner that needs to be added will depend on the thickness of the paint and can vary by color and brand.

Vallejo has paints that are designed specifically to be used with an airbrush, but you can also use their other formulas for airbrushing if you prefer. You just need to make sure the paint is the proper consistency to avoid ruining your airbrush machine.

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