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AFV Painting & Weathering
Answers to questions about the right paint scheme or tips for the right effect.
Orange Peel Problem with AK REAL COLORS
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Nordrhein-Westfalen, Germany
Joined: July 21, 2007
KitMaker: 458 posts
Armorama: 453 posts
Posted: Monday, December 30, 2019 - 10:11 AM UTC
Hello all,

after some tests with different colors and set ups I am almost to be about done with AKs Real Colors. Everbody is saying how super great and nice they are, how perfectly they spray and how great the result is... well, not for me!

My problem is at times a very noticable orange peel with a very gritty finish of the paints when sprayed. I thin them about 50% / 50% with their own Real Colors thinner and spray them at around 20psi in regular middle-European humidity and temperature. When I "flood" the paint it goes halfway decent down to the plastic and leaves a more or less nice finish. As soon as I start to spray thinner coats for modulation and stuff it abruptly starts to set down very gritty and coarse on the model.

I know that the problem with orange peel is that the paint drys too quickly on the way to the model. But thinning, spray distance, and pressure are in the very usual range and still it happens. I even tried different set ups (more and less pressure, more and less thinning) but it's each time the same.

I still have to add: No such problems whatsoever occur with other paints I tried with the same set up: Vallejo Air levels beautifully, Mission Models goes down nicely (just sometimes issues with opacity, but that's a different story), Tamiya is perfect, the same as Migs AMMO paints (still don't like them, because the tend to come off when weathering, but again: different story). So: All the other paints I tried at the same time with the same setup are working great, I just can't find a away around those Real Colors...

So my question is: What might I be doing wrong? Especially since literally EVERBODY else seems to love them for their spray characeristics...
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Queensland, Australia
Joined: August 06, 2005
KitMaker: 2,755 posts
Armorama: 2,582 posts
Posted: Monday, December 30, 2019 - 10:23 AM UTC
Hi Marian.

You seem to have covered off everything in your options except just one thing that I can suggest - the distance of the airbrush to the model.

The problem faced with MIG paints was often people did not factor in the drying time between leaving the brush and landing on the model. Maybe that is an issue with the new REAL color paints too?

I have not used Real Color yet, but have used the others.
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North Carolina, United States
Joined: January 21, 2004
KitMaker: 743 posts
Armorama: 688 posts
Posted: Monday, December 30, 2019 - 01:50 PM UTC
Try adjusting the 50/50 mixture.
Also, what primer are you using?
The Acrylic lacquer may be reacting to something underneath?
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Nordrhein-Westfalen, Germany
Joined: July 21, 2007
KitMaker: 458 posts
Armorama: 453 posts
Posted: Monday, December 30, 2019 - 09:02 PM UTC
Hi Guys,

thanks for your answers. I will try to adjust my settings a bit more, using a more like 60/40 (paint/thinner) ratio and will get it another go. If this doesn't work I guess I will just move on, because as we have a saying: Other women also have pretty daughters. Meaning there are so many brands out there that I will just skip the AKs. It's a shame, though, since the color range is nice and everybody loves them for what they can do. And that makes me think the problem's definitely with me

To the primer: I used Badger Stynylrez, let it dry for at least 24hours. Sprayed the Real Colors once on to the MMP grey primer and it seemed to behave quite similar (alas not to my liking).
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United States
Joined: August 17, 2019
KitMaker: 4 posts
Armorama: 4 posts
Posted: Thursday, January 02, 2020 - 12:03 AM UTC
I am not the most experienced model maker but just one thing - did you think about replacing RC Thinner with other brand? I suggest Leveling Thinnner made by MR Hobby. It consists of retarder and could help with fast drying time. I am doing it in my work.
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New York, United States
Joined: June 03, 2006
KitMaker: 283 posts
Armorama: 58 posts
Posted: Thursday, January 02, 2020 - 01:30 AM UTC
I tried them on my Takom M47-G. I used the RC thinner over a Tamiya Spray (grey) primer. It did spray beautiful but had one issue - it dried a bit "chalky" for a lack of a better term. Otherwise - excellent paint.
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Washington, United States
Joined: August 09, 2002
KitMaker: 1,569 posts
Armorama: 1,494 posts
Posted: Monday, January 06, 2020 - 02:38 PM UTC
Try lowering the pressure and moving closer to your work.
Staff MemberEditor-in-Chief
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Ontario, Canada
Joined: March 06, 2011
KitMaker: 3,965 posts
Armorama: 2,858 posts
Posted: Monday, January 06, 2020 - 02:46 PM UTC
I have played with the AK Real Colors for a bit. For best results for me, I am using Tamiya Lacquer Thinner with Retarder and I am mixing about 75% thinner to 25% paint and spray at about 12-15psi. It allows light coats allowing me to build up the color allowing for some pre-shading.

I have tried Mr. Leveling Thinner with it, and no matter what pressure, paint ratio, etc. I get a gritty orange peel finish.
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Nordrhein-Westfalen, Germany
Joined: July 21, 2007
KitMaker: 458 posts
Armorama: 453 posts
Posted: Monday, January 06, 2020 - 08:55 PM UTC
Thanks for the replies guys, again. At least I'm not the only one getting gritty results under certain circumstances.

I will still try some other thinners, reduce the air pressure, different primers, and last but not least some more "spray discipline". Then I'll see... but at the moment I feel more like skipping this product in favor of MissionModels, which spray very nicely for me and I get to like them more and more (only down thing is the current still limited color range, e.g. no British Light Mud or some other aux stuff like wood or leather colors, but Real Color doesn't have the latter either for that matter )