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Painting With Testor’s Acryl

Painting With Testor’s Acryl

by the Testor Corporation

(Testors Acryl paint has been discontinued by the manufacturer. We leave this post online because there’s still a lot of Acryl out there and the tips herein are pretty good.)

Before you try Acryl, our new non-toxic, water wash-up acrylic paint, dismiss all previously held notions about water-based products. Acryl is like no other paint. It is tougher, glossier, more colorful, and easier to apply (whether brushing or spraying) than any hobby coating has ever been. Use Acryl on polystyrene, resin, metal, vinyl and more.

For the first time, you can spray water wash-up paint and create an exceptional high-gloss finish. Acryl dries to a deep, rich mirror-like brilliance that rivals any solvent-based enamel coating. Acryl also cures harder so it can be buffed and polished if desired. Model car fans rejoice!

Acryl flats also are technically advanced thanks to superior emulsion resins, pigments and formulations. Acryl’s high degree of self-leveling means it flows more smoothly and dries more evenly for a “flatter” flat finish. No rough spots – – – no shiny edges. Build a tank and paint it with Acryl.

The new Model Master Acryl line consists of more than 140 essential military, automotive and general detailing colors. What’s more, we’ve included a unique group of figure painting colors. Acryl figure paints balance the fine line between thick and thin: they must provide adequate coverage and yet not mask detail. They work and the result is the best water wash-up figure painting color ever developed.

Acryl & Airbrushing

Acryl was formulated for airbrushing with little or no thinning required. Thanks to fine pigment grinds and tempered viscosity, all you need to do is load your color cup or bottle and get to work. To insure success, read on.


Well begun is half done. Always wash model parts thoroughly prior to painting. Before you’re ready to spray (after putty, sanding, removing flash, handling, etc.) wash off residue with warm water and mild dish soap. Washing removes oils, powders, and other contaminants that inhibit good adhesion. Dry thoroughly and limit further handling.


For most applications, Acryl does not require thinning. For very fine line work, use Acryl Thinner X50496 and thin sparingly. Add thinner drop by drop to achieve proper viscosity. Do not over thin and, as always, experiment to obtain desired results.

Compressor Settings

We suggest pressure settings in the 20 / 25 psi range for best results. (Higher settings often lead to a “grainy” finish.) Again-experiment, experiment, experiment as there are many variables. Ask your hobby dealer to show you the full range of Aztek compressors.


Priming may or may not be necessary. If you’re spraying polystyrene, priming is not always required if plastic is clean and dry. Puttied and modified assemblies will need priming. If your project requires lots of masking, priming is a good idea to increase adhesion and reduce the likelihood of paint pull-off. Prime with Acryl #4680 Gray Primer.

Always prime resin and metal kits prior to airbrushing with Acryl. We recommend Testor #2948 (3 oz. aerosol). A good base coat will prevent resin bleed-through and improve adhesion on these surfaces.


Acryl is the perfect coating for your vinyl figures. Prime as needed. Some adhesion and drying problems may occur on extremely soft or flexible vinyl. Test first. (Solvent-based enamels are not suitable for vinyl because they don’t dry.)

High Gloss

Acryl produces a brilliant high gloss finish durable enough for buffing and polishing. A couple of tips: always keep a “wet edge.” By this we mean lay on a fairly thick coat and cover as much of the surface as possible in one pass. Do not spray lightly, as you might a solvent-based paint, to avoid “orange peel.” As you apply a heavier coat be sure to watch for sags and excessive build-up. It’s a fine line between too little and too much. Achieving balance takes practice, so work at it and be patient!

Airbrush / Nozzle Selection

Use any Aztek airbrush to apply Acryl. The external mix sprayers, however, should be used primarily for large area application (A220 E A270) Follow instructions carefully.

Aztek internal mix brushes (A320, A430 & A470) employ the Aztek Nozzle System designed for more precise detail work.We offer nine nozzles and all but three can be used to spray Acryl. (Small orifice nozzles X9304, 9305 E 9306 are not suitable for acrylics.) Because all water wash-up paints dry very quickly, it’s critical to avoid paint build-up on the tip of your airbrush nozzle. Clean frequently. Aztek nozzles #9340 and #9341 are made specifically for acrylics.

Color Changeover

We enthusiastically recommend the Aztek Universal Airbrush Cleaning Station #9315 to facilitate color changes and cleanup. It’s the neatest, most environmentally friendly way to maintain tools. Works with Aztek and all other airbrushes.

 Acryl & Other Paints

When Acryl is thoroughly dry, Testor, Model Master and most other hobby paints (enamels, lacquers) can be applied secondarily. Acryl also can be applied over most other thoroughly dry coatings. Acryl is tough and durable, but remember: since formulations for other hobby paints may change, always test for overcoat compatibility on scrap before moving on to valuable model parts.


We make a couple of products for cleanup. Immediately after you’ve finished a session, use Acryl Cleaner #50497 to prepare brushes, airbrushes, and other tools for storage. I f Acryl is allowed to cure overnight or longer, you may have to use Dried Paint Solvent X50498. This is a much stronger solvent and will attack the dried paint. Beware, however, as it also will attack any painted or varnished surface. It’s strong stuff-so be careful! If need be, soak nozzles and tools to clean them. Do not soak an airbrush body.

Acryl & Brushing

Although Acryl was formulated for airbrushing, it also is excellent brushing paint. Use good brushes (Model Master or Testor Hobby Artist Brushes) and technique, i.e. brush in one direction only, minimize brush strokes, etc. Always clean your brushes after use with appropriate thinners and store upright. The keys to brush painting are good brushes and good maintenance.

Acryl & Figure Painting

Extensive Testor R&D led to the creation of a unique group of figure painting colors. Acryl figure paints represent a challenge because they must balance the fine line between thick and thin, providing adequate coverage and yet not masking detail. You will notice immediately that these new colors are very thick – much thicker than any other bottled paint. The added viscosity ensures proper coverage as you brush the paint on your subject, and it flows nicely into small wrinkles and folds.


As noted above always wash parts thoroughly prior to painting. Washing removes oils, powders, and other contaminants that inhibit good adhesion. Dry thoroughly and limit further handling.


For hand brushing, thinning is not required. Mix with a brush handle or toothpick. Shaking the bottle is not sufficient. If you need to airbrush some of this color, you’ll need to thin more aggressively. Remember, thin to the consistency of milk and experiment prior to painting valuable parts.


Prime as needed. Some adhesion and drying problems may occur on extremely soft or flexible vinyl.

Mixing & Blending

Acryl figure painting colors can be mixed one with the other to achieve a “custom” blend. Figure paints also can be mixed with any other Acryl color-despite variances in thickness-to achieve a special effect. Be sure to mix enough paint and stir thoroughly.

Brush Selection

Always use high-quality paint brushes-Model Master brushes (#8831 thru 8861) fulfill a wide-variety of applications-and take care of them. Clean with soap and warm water immediately after use and store bristle-up. A well maintained Model Master paintbrush will provide years of good service.

Reprinted with permission of Testor Corporation 620 Buckbee St Rockford IL 61104. All Rights Reserved.