Acrylic Hobby Paint Tips – Using Agitators

How to get the highest quality from your acrylic hobby paints

Inconsistent quality from your paints is usually caused by insufficient mixing of the color pigments with the suspension medium, both contained inside the bottle. Lots of shaking of the bottle sometimes just does not work! Often you notice that the paint seems too thick. The first instinct is to add more water to thin them out, but most of the time the shaking just needs a little help.

The easiest way to address this problem is to simply go out and purchase a new, fresh bottle of paint. Expensive! In my experience, the best course of action is to purchase a bottle of small steel balls from AK Interactive (AK892). I like to add 2 of these into every new paint bottle (when I first buy them) and up to three in those paints that have become thick (more on this later). With the steel balls inside the bottle, the mass of the balls helps to make your shaking process more effective. These steel balls act as “stirrers” that help mix the pigment and suspension medium more thoroughly, resulting in a lot less shaking to achieve a more even mix of paint, especially with the pigments that have settled at the bottom of the bottle.

If your paint is coming out thick (with or without the use of these steel balls), the best course of action is to use suspension medium instead of water. When you add water, it results in the thinning of the existing suspension medium and the pigment. The suspension medium is needed to allow the pigment to be more evenly distributed on your model. “Thinner” does just that – thins the paint but leaves you with a similar problem as water does; less suspension medium to carry the pigment onto the model in an even coating. A second or even a third coating is then needed to cover with color to the desired effect.

The AK 3rd Generation series is a new generation of paint which can be used for both brush and airbrush use. The formula prevents problems with clogging of your airbrush without any decrease in drying time while the pigments remain rich and consistent. I don’t use an airbrush to paint my wargame figure armies but have for larger model making. I can recognize the higher quality of color pigments and suspension medium in the AK 3rd generation paints and may indeed use them on my next plastic model.

Overall, the use of the steel balls from AK Interactive works much better (as opposed to using the smaller copper BBs) due to their larger mass. I am discovering that I’m buying less replacement colors which I attribute to the use of these balls. I do hope this tidbit will help newcomers and old timers alike out there in the world of miniature hobby modeling and wargaming.


Last Page Update: 2023-05-31