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General Aircraft: Tips & Techniques
Discussions on specific A/C building techniques.
Humbrol enamel: rant of the day
European Union
Joined: September 28, 2004
KitMaker: 2,184 posts
AeroScale: 1,587 posts
Posted: Thursday, July 09, 2015 - 12:31 AM UTC
Humbrol enamel: the best possible paint in the worst possible jar.

Pouring paint in an airbrush can always makes a mess, the lids of those jars hardly fit ..

Why they insist putting their paint in such bad jars I don't know but I have about had it. I never succeed using a complete jar of paint; I regularly find one with concrete hard paint inside because those lids don't fit

OK, back to modelling now
Indiana, United States
Joined: June 15, 2015
KitMaker: 76 posts
AeroScale: 4 posts
Posted: Thursday, July 09, 2015 - 12:48 AM UTC
Not that it will help, but I stopped using Humbrol for years in airbrushes.
I was fed up of having to filter them to make sure no pigments would clog the nozzle (even after a good stir). Plus the cleaning is/was a PITA (well that was before me being introduced to Alclad II of course).

Never had an issue with the pouring though...
Beersheba, Israel
Joined: August 26, 2006
KitMaker: 119 posts
AeroScale: 30 posts
Posted: Thursday, July 09, 2015 - 01:54 AM UTC
In 30yrs of modeling I have never had a proplem with humbrol enamels and my airbrushes but quite a few times I have had tinlets dry out because they didn't close properly but that's my only complaint.
Staff MemberEditor-in-Chief
England - South West, United Kingdom
Joined: May 14, 2006
KitMaker: 10,954 posts
AeroScale: 290 posts
Posted: Thursday, July 09, 2015 - 02:20 AM UTC
Don't pour use a syringe and store the paint upside down.
Staff MemberManaging Editor
Santa Cruz de Tenerife, Spain / Espaņa
Joined: July 04, 2013
KitMaker: 1,288 posts
AeroScale: 4 posts
Posted: Thursday, July 09, 2015 - 04:29 AM UTC
I stopped using them for the same reason... just keeping the lids clean was a pain. Vallejo system or Tamiya are much easier to work with, but I lack the old Humbrol enamels for dry brushing.
Alava, Spain / Espaņa
Joined: August 12, 2010
KitMaker: 104 posts
AeroScale: 37 posts
Posted: Thursday, July 09, 2015 - 05:46 PM UTC
I add myself to the ranting.

- Opening the tinlet will most probably deform the lid. Once the the lid has been deformed, it wonīt fit well again.

- Tinlets get dirty if you try to pour paint from them. The groove is a paint trap.

- If you stir the paint vigorously or try to recover the porridge from the stick, half of the times it will somehow end... in the groove.

- But my worst complaint about Humbrol is their inconsistency and the variability in their catalogue. How gladly they change the identification numbers, the coding system. When you try to use someone's build as a reference, most people write just "I used Humbrol XXX", not bothering to mention which specific Humbrol range it is. Sometimes they donīt even specify if they are classic enamels or the new acrylics.

Well, I have tinlets 25 and 30 year old. Most surely my Humbrol XXX is not the Humbrol XXX that is used in my reference build. Or, if such reference is a few years old, probably that number (or the whole paint range) has been discontinued...

New Jersey, United States
Joined: January 20, 2013
KitMaker: 1,459 posts
AeroScale: 1,442 posts
Posted: Thursday, July 09, 2015 - 05:48 PM UTC
I really like their paints, but those tins do seem designed to spill paint and clog the covers, making a tight seal on closing a challenge. I never thought a syringe was the solution because of all the cleaning required of that.

Arizona, United States
Joined: February 13, 2013
KitMaker: 791 posts
AeroScale: 213 posts
Posted: Thursday, July 09, 2015 - 07:34 PM UTC
I sort of agree on the container design but still use them. I still have tins going back to the '70's that are still usable. I find using a eye dropper ( http://www.amazon.com/Walter-Products-Glass-Eye-Dropper/dp/B002GDFC6G ) to be the best at transferring paint out of the tin (pretty much with most other paints brands except the newer 'Vallejo' design containers).
If you hate the container design, might as well throw WEM (or whatever they are called now) into this rant. Oh and yes store them upside down.


Staff MemberAssociate Editor
New York, United States
Joined: December 04, 2010
KitMaker: 11,666 posts
AeroScale: 7,410 posts
Posted: Thursday, July 09, 2015 - 10:21 PM UTC
I tried Humbrol paints just once, and dealing with those lids just wasn't worth it. Currently and for the foreseeable future, I'll be air brushing with Tamiya Acrylics. I do need to clean the lid and top of the jars every so often with lacquer thinner.

As for using model paints, I've never poured them from their containers, but like Robbie, I use cheap glass eyedroppers. And yes, I count drops to properly mix my paints.

To clean a glass eyedropper I just remove the rubber top and use whatever paint thinner made for the paint I'm using. Store bought lacquer thinner works on virtually all modeling paints.

Ontario, Canada
Joined: July 22, 2012
KitMaker: 771 posts
AeroScale: 763 posts
Posted: Thursday, July 09, 2015 - 10:30 PM UTC
I refuse to use these paints for the very same reasons - I hate those stupid little tins. I mix my paint usually with a flathead screwdriver. They fit into every other paint jar and none of them are filled so far that they spill every time you try to stir them.

They also never seal properly.

There are also so many other brands that work so well, I can see no reason to use Humbrol.

I also find that they don't thin as well as any of the other brands.

In short, I'm glad it's not just me.
England - East Midlands, United Kingdom
Joined: March 23, 2003
KitMaker: 2,124 posts
AeroScale: 788 posts
Posted: Sunday, July 12, 2015 - 12:38 AM UTC
I use humbrol quite a bit, and other brands that are in the same tins, (wem, xtracolour) how I deal with getting paint out is to simply use a 2 1/2 inch nail, stir the nail in the paint, pull it out, hold it over the plastic bottle tops I use for mixing while a few drops fall off, do this as often as necessary, then just wipe the nail with a bit of tissue-

you can see how clean I can keep my tins using this method, this tin of 78 has been quite well used, but there's almost no overspill in the trough.