Problem with tamiya enamel.

09-20-2015, 01:57 AM
Hi everyone I`am new to the forum, I am mainly a military modeller but after looking at the fantastic models posted here I decided to give cars and bikes a go. I`am currently doing the new tamiya Mercedes 300sl but I`am having a problem with the Tamiya semi-gloss black enamel not adhering to the plastic properly it scratches very easy and rubs of if I touch it to much. all spurs are washed and most of the parts are primed with mr surfacer but some of the smaller ones are not. I also painted a part metallic grey, it`s not primed but that has adhered good it just seems to be the black has anyone come across this problem.

09-20-2015, 10:40 AM
Hi marterrin!

Welcome to the forum, hope you'll enjoy it here! :)

The problem you describe can be caused by a number of things.
But three things come to mind to start with.

1. Have you stirred the paint sufficently? Problems with enamel paint are often due to insufficent mixing before applying. Try stirring it VERY thorough. Preferably, don't shake the bottle to mix the contents, just stir and stir again.

2. What thinner are you using? I always try to use the thinner designed for the paint i'm going to be working with. In my experience the X-20 thinner designed for use with the Tamiya Enamels is pretty strong for being an enamel thinner.
Not using this and using something like hardware shop white-spirit or odourless thinners might give problems with poor adhesion.

3. Try to use powder free latex/vinyl or nitrile rubber gloves when handling painted parts. The oils of your skin combined with the heat from your fingers can cause paint to rub off sharp edges. Doing this also helps in keeping fingerprints on gloss surfaces to a minimum, something quite important in automotive modelling. I use gloves all the time when handling painted parts.

Hope this helps you out, don't hesitate to post again if the problem persists.



09-20-2015, 11:09 AM
Thanks for the welcome. Ok well I use tamiya thinners so should be fine there,but stirring, well I have just been shaking the bottle so I'll try giving it a good stir and see how that goes and I'll give the gloves ago as well.

09-20-2015, 04:57 PM
welcome to AF! if only we had a section to check out your military works now :)

anyway, this question is to the rest of the readers - would paint age also have an effect on this? marterrin, i assume your paint isn't that old?

09-21-2015, 09:57 AM
anyway, this question is to the rest of the readers - would paint age also have an effect on this? marterrin, i assume your paint isn't that old?

Its possible but not very likely. I have some Tamiya enamels that I bought from Hiroboy back in in 2006 and they are still as good as when I bought them.
Enamel paints in particular seem to be quite insensitve to aging. Ive read about modelers using Humbrol paints bought in the sixties. And they are still perfectly good today.

Paint adhesion problems are usually due to surface contaminations, using incompatible paints or poor mixing of carrier and pigment before applying.



09-21-2015, 11:04 PM
. Ive read about modelers using Humbrol paints bought in the sixties. And they are still perfectly good today.


I have been using 5-10 year old humbrol enamel paints that are still good, once in a while I might have to thin them a bit but no problems.

Also never shake bottles, always stir them as air bubbles develop. More prone in acrylics though.

Are you using enamel thinner to thin them? IMO you have a paint adhesion problem with possibly the primer. Try a enamel primer, and remember you have to let enamels dry a lot longer than laquers and acrylics. Maybe some more people can shine in.

chato de shamrock
09-22-2015, 03:33 AM
You should look into a Badger paint mixer. It's a pretty good $10-12 investment.

09-22-2015, 07:22 AM
Marterrin, welcome to AF! Hope you find it enjoyable and useful here. Looking forward to seeing some of your works.

If only we had a section to check out your military works now :)

Funny you should say that.... (

09-22-2015, 11:38 AM
Marterrin, welcome to AF! Hope you find it enjoyable and useful here. Looking forward to seeing some of your works.

Funny you should say that.... (

wow. thanks! :)

09-22-2015, 12:02 PM
Welcome Marterrin to the forum
All what the blokes have said above are very good points and things to follow.
You mentioned spraying the parts with "primer" - something I also always do, but I have a question - do you sand the primer after it has cured?
I have never used Mr. surfacer or any of the gunze Mr. products - I have a few, but I have yet to use them.
First - primer surfacer in general is supposed to be sanded - you didn't state which Mr. surfacer?? In real 1:1 scale painting "primer surfacer" is for filling small imperfections and pinholes in polyester filler. The primer surfacer usually contains various size talc particles and amounts of the talc in the primer so that it will fill these really small imperfections and also have some "build up" that allows for feather edging when dents are filled with putty. Anyhow the painter is supposed to sand the surfacer down, but not too far - then a primer "sealer" should be applied. this will seal everything below it and then there should be no chemical reactions that cause damaged paint work.
I have been using Tamiya's fine "white" or fine "grey" primers without any problems what so ever regardless of what paint I put on top of it.
The Tamiya fine primer can be applied from the can to small detailed parts as long as you don't go crazy - just a really light application of the primer is all that is needed.
For small parts I do not sand anything, but for larger pieces I sand them lightly so that the surface of the part is smooth, but not sanded through to plastic.
The advantage I have found with the Tamiya fine white/grey primer is that it has very small sized talc and very little in way of amount in a can so very little sanding is needed anyway, and it also works as a primer sealer so that paint applied on top should not react with anything below the primer layer.
I have always had excellent results with it - I'm not trying to make you buy Tamiya primers, over Mr. products - find out what is in the Mr. surfacer and the instructions for applying it. Then follow those and see if your results are better.
From my knowledge Mr. products are usually "Acrylic" based - so check into that because you cannot apply enamel on acrylic with any success.
I hope this gives you some insight


09-23-2015, 12:54 AM
Thanks guys for the welcome. I'am using mr surfacer 1200 and I don't sand the small parts after applying the primer, only on body parts. I've just brought some zero paints and primer so I'll give that ago in a week or so, at the moment i'am in the middle of moving house so not much time for modelling but at least in our new place I'll have my own man cave can't wait for that. I will post some photos when i'am settled. Also on the paint expiry time I did modelling when I was young build my last model up until now in 1990 I've had some tamiya acrylic sitting since then and it is still good now I think it brushes better to.

09-23-2015, 11:08 AM
Hi again!

I'm not trying to make you buy Tamiya primers, over Mr. products - find out what is in the Mr. surfacer and the instructions for applying it. Then follow those and see if your results are better.
From my knowledge Mr. products are usually "Acrylic" based - so check into that because you cannot apply enamel on acrylic with any success.

Mr. Hobby Surfacer is an acrylic lacquer paint pretty much identical to Tamiya Fine Surface primer. Mr. Hobby however takes things one step further than Tamiya and offer their primer in different grit sizes. From 500 to 1500 grit. This is to help you choose the correct primer after how much surface correction and filling power of the primer that is needed. 500 will fill deeper defects and 1500 will generate a smoother finish straight out of the spraycan or airbrush.Acrylic lacquers can be overcoated with enamels without any issues.

Its important to note the difference between acrylic lacquers like Mr. Hobby Surfacer, C-line paints or Tamiya TS Spray. And waterbased "traditional" acrylics like Lifecolor or Vallejo. These should not be overcoated with enamel paint.

Mr Hobby H-line and Tamiya acrylics are a hybrid or a bit "weaker" version of the full on TS or C-line Lacquers. I call them hybrids because they can be thinned with both Water/Isopropyl-alcohol thinners and the stronger Isobutanol or Metyl-isobutyl-ketone based thinners like Mr. Hobby Leveling thinners and Tamiya "yellow cap" thinners. These can also be overcoated with enamel paints without problem even though theyre not "full-on" lacquers.

find out what is in the Mr. surfacer and the instructions for applying it

See below for links to the MSDS of Tamiya and Mr Hobby surfacers


Tamiya Surface Primer (spraycan)

I have a hard time thinking that the effects experienced is due to the primer reacting with the paint. Im looking forward to hearing the feedback from marterrin after trying to paint again.

I've just brought some zero paints and primer so I'll give that ago in a week or so

The Zero Paints Primer is a lot more coarse than the Mr. Hobby Surfacer 1200 so Id recommend you to use it only on parts that can be easily sanded before further application of paint for optimal results and stay with the Surfacer 1200 on everything else. As stated before, I find it very unlikely that the primer is the cause of your problems.

Kind Regards! :)


09-24-2015, 06:06 AM
Emil - you make some reasonable points to some of my posting, and I do not know your knowledge or experience when it comes to paints worldwide - you appear to have a good understanding of what you use for your modeling and what is available to you, but I have a some knowledge of full scale painting which I have scaled down for my modeling purposes and have given me excellent results.
First - the purpose of "primer" is several fold - one a primer "surfacer" is designed to fill "imperfections" just like you and I stated above . Primer "surfacer" as I stated in a previous posting has various amounts and sizes of "talc" powder added to it for the purpose of filling the slight imperfection and depending on the number the larger the "talc" particles are. so Mr. surfacer 500 has larger particles of "talc" powder than Mr. surfacer 1200 - there is also primer "sealer" which is designed to chemically seal all petroleum compounds applied below the primer sealer layer and then also act as a foundation for the "color" paint to adhere to. The "color" paint actually chemically bites into the primer sealer layer. Too smooth of a surface will inhibit a "color" paint layer from adhering properly that is why you can have an item to paint that is perfectly smooth and in its raw state, without any coating, and before you will shoot the "color" a primer sealer is applied - this is too help with adhesion of the "color" layer.
Also - Tamiya fine white primer that we are getting here in the USA is not an acrylic lacquer it is a "synthetic" lacquer - it does NOT clean up with water or isopropyl "rubbing 70%" alcohol like other acrylics (Tamiya - Model Master - Valeo - Etc) - it will clean up with 90% + isopropyl alcohols, but it cleans up much better with regular old fashioned petroleum "lacquer thinners". As the Tamiya fine white primer is a "lacquer" but not a true lacquer as in the ones of the 60's-80's where there was an incredible number of layers "coats" applied to a vehicles bodywork for a complete paint job and the the color layers - sometimes 30+ - would be "wet" sanded and then polished with various grit compounds by buffing wheel machines to a brilliant shine. Very labor intensive paint jobs they were and the cost was very high too.
Then Tamiya's TS spray paints are also synthetic lacquers to my knowledge, at least that is what the labeling is now claiming after the USA EPA department forced Tamiya - to label in English all their paint products or they would not be allowed in the USA - which is what caused the Tamiya paint shortage - all types Tamiya - in the USA about 4-5 years ago.
My final point would be there is a sequence when using paints of different bases - it goes - Lacquer - enamel - urethanes - acrylics - water colors. In that order from lowest layer to highest layer if you do not want paint chemical incompatibility reactions.
I am quite sure there are some paint types available outside the USA that I am unaware of and do not know the characteristics of these paints so should you encounter any of them - then use caution.
Marterrin - I have used "Zero paints" urethane basecoats with great success but any "zero paint" basecoat color that needs to be "glossy" needs to have a "Zero" clearcoat applied on top of the basecoat color coat. I personally use "Zero" 2K - but any brand 2K urethane gloss clearcoat is just fine - buy what is most economical for you and where you live.
Lastly with respect to "zero paints" primer - I have read many posting in this forum where members had issues with the "zero" white primer. Many members had problems with the primer not drying properly - I have never use the "zero paints" primer line so I cannot give an opinion on that product - all I can write is complaints that I read of others and I urge any member whom had issues with Zero primers to please and a posting to this thread about your issues and solutions with Zero primers.

Hope this brings light to the subject and is a help to you.


09-24-2015, 09:47 AM

Were basically talking about the same things using different words. :)
AFAIK in Europe, what you in the US call a synthetic lacquer is called an acrylic lacquer.

Synthetic paints in Europe are usually different forms of alkyd base enamels. Since you know about 1/1 vehicle-painting you might know of 1K PPG Delfleet.
In the EU thats known as a synthetic paint.

Its not easy when English is not your native language. :) I hope Ive not offended you or anyone else. In that case I apologise.

Best regards!


09-24-2015, 08:10 PM
Emil - please I was not offended in any way by your posting adding to the dialog for the new member to the forum - Yes I am very familiar with PPG and that is my preferred manufacturer when I am involved in painting either 1:1 or my modeling hobby.. I really like the "Deltron" and "Delthane" systems - DAU - DBC - etc. These are paint systems that have been around a long time now in the USA, but they are so simple to use once a painter has an understanding of the system.
I fully understand what you are saying about English not being your "first" language.
You did not offend me Emil, and I hope I did not offend you, because that was not my intent.
You added some very helpful information and I was only trying to expand on it further.
I do not know anything about the Mr. gunze products - these are not readily available here in the USA - I have purchased a few of the Mr. gunze products like Mr. liquid putty - Mr.Surfacer - Mr. Color Super Metallics, that I had shipped to me from Japan.
I plan to experiment with these so that I can get an understanding of how the Mr. color paints work.
Emil - the reason why I made clear that the Tamiya fine white primer was a "synthetic" lacquer, was because I did not want to confuse Marterrin with my list of paint type order - Lacquers - enamels - urethanes - acrylics - water colors (latex).

Emil - do not worry I will not take offense to anything you can add to this thread, like I said you have contributed to the discussion in a positive way, and I am quite confident that both of us are just trying to share our paint knowledge and experience with the new forum member Marterrin.
Those of us here in the USA have very limited paint sources because of a government department here called the EPA (environmental protection agency) This government department is trying as hard as it can to make all paint for 1:1 or hobbies all "water" based. The only objection I have to them is that i have never been able to achieve the results with "water' based paints like I have that of petroleum based paints.
Thank you again Emil - for your contribution to the thread - I do not know what is available in the EU so your contribution in my opinion will help the new member more so than what I stated, i only mentioned the Tamiya fine white primer, because until Tamiya was able to get the labeling corrected and translated into English their paints were unavailable to us. I have found the Tamiya fine white primer to be the best I have used for modeling to date for what is readily available to us in the USA - I order "Zero" paints from "Spot" model in Spain - because Hiroboy in the UK says that the Royal Post will no longer send any kind paints via "airmail as the paints have been deemed - "Hazardous" by both the Royal Post and our USPS here in the USA.
This is very unfortunate because of how easy it is to apply the "Zero' paints and clears, and what excellent results these paints can yield.

Cheers Emil my Friend

09-25-2015, 05:38 AM
well a few days ago I managed to do a test I sprayed 9 pieces of plastic scrap 3 with mr surfacer, 3 zero primer and 3 Tamiya red oxide then brushed the offending( stirred very well) semi gloss enamel onto 1 of each, I also brushed chrome silver and metallic brown onto 1 of each. the results is I have the same problem with the semi-gloss on all 3 but silver and metallic brown i have no problem at all, so i am starting to think i have a bad bottle or something.

09-25-2015, 12:38 PM

Thanks for the clarifications buddy. No hard feelings on this side of the pond either. It's all good! :)

BTW Hiroboy seems to ship paint to the US again via FedEx and DHL. Very expensive though. See link below.


Yeah, it sounds really wierd that you keep having issues. Maybe the paint has been contaminated or something.



09-26-2015, 07:06 AM
Emil - Thank you for the info on Hiroboy and them restoring shipping to the USA -
Hiroboy was never cheap with their shipping - even with Royal Post which I found to be very expensive back in the old days when that was all Hiroboy used. I tried to ask Steve to look into "Fed-Ex" or "UPS" etc. but he didn't feel it was worth the effort.
I even tried to get Mac at Mac's Modeling here in the USA to become a distributor for "Zero" paints aka Hiroboy when they started asking for retailers outside of the UK.
Mac took a lot of time to find out from his usual customers if that was something they wanted him to do for them, and despite mixed results from his usual customers, Steve never responded to Mac's emails requesting retailer inquiries ever.
I was purchasing "Zero" paints through "Spot Model" in Spain and they also use DHL - when I placed an order I would spend about 50 euro on paint and 120 euro on shipping - it's outrageous when it comes to the cost of the shipping from Europe, because they use airmail - I usually order my paint long in advance of starting the model I am going to build, and I wish they would offer "surface" mail - it only take about 30 days to the USA.
30 Days is fine by me - as I spend at least that much time acquiring fresh decals and detail parts and photo-etch before I start to build a model. Unfortunately I have not found a "Zero" paints source willing to set up shipping for the much cheaper surface route. The reason why none of the shipping carriers want to carry "zero"paints is because the governments have determined these items to be Hazardous materials, and not approved for travel by aircraft because many commercial aircraft carrying passengers also will carry shipping cargo nowadays. After 911 and the terrorist attack on the Twin Towers in New York city back in 2001 - that changed everything with air transport for both people and cargo.
Anyhow Emil - I will email Steve at Hiroboy and see if I can get things at a better price than Spot Model. Please everyone - I have nothing against Spot Model - they have good prices for the items they sell and their customer service is great. - it is just the cost of shipping to the USA that makes them not economically feasible if I can get cheaper shipping from another "Zero" paints retailer. For those of you living in the EU - please checkout Spot Model if you cannot find what you are looking for or if you have never been to their website before.

As for you Marterrin - I fully agree with Emil regarding you paint issues with the "semi-gloss" paint in question. You have eliminated all variables - it is that particular "bottle" of semi-gloss that has been contaminated somehow and is giving you fits.
So get yourself a new bottle of the semi-gloss you need and you should be just fine with what you are trying to accomplish. be sure and throw away the contaminated bottle of semi-gloss so that you do not get them mixed up in the future.
Oh! just a quick word with respect to the Tamiya "oxide" primer - that should only be for coating "metal" parts if I am not mistaken. I have never seen a Tamiya "oxide" primer for use on anything, but metal parts.


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