Knowing which paints are best for your project with so many options can be challenging. Tamiya paints are well-known for their quality and used to paint models for decades. That’s why some people have been asking if Tamiya paints are good. The answer is yes, but there’s a catch.
Tamiya paints are good and are one of the best paints to use with airbrushes and normal brushes. Furthermore, they have a wide variety of colors to choose from, which is ideal for achieving the design we want. This is why they became one of the industry standards for model painting.
This blog post will talk about the advantages and disadvantages of Tamiya paint. What makes it good and bad. By knowing their strength and weaknesses, you will know if this paint is suitable for your project.
Are Tamiya paints good?
Tamiya paint is good since they work well with both paintbrushes and airbrushes. Furthermore, their paint is strong and doesn’t chip easily. They also have a wide variety of colors to choose from. However, using it has a learning curve since you can’t use it straight from the bottle.
Tamiya paint is a type of acrylic paint. However, it has some subtle differences, such as its solubility. Also, unlike most acrylic paint, Tamiya paint does not use water as its thinner.
Instead, it is an alcohol-based paint. Unfortunately, this means some primers, thinner, and topcoats used on acrylic paint might not work well with Tamiya paint.
Since Tamiya paint has some differences from acrylic paints, we can’t use the advantage and disadvantages of acrylic paint.
If you’re interested in the general properties of Acrylic paint and how it differs from enamel paint, feel free to check this post: Acrylic vs. Enamel paint.
Tamiya paint has its own strengths and weaknesses, which we will discuss in the following sections.
Advantages of Tamiya Paint
The advantage of using Tamiya paint is it is very versatile in the sense that you can use it with an airbrush or a paintbrush. Furthermore, it has a wide variety of colors to choose from, which is ideal when selecting paint.
Tamiya paint is so good that it became one of the industry standards when it comes to modeling.
Well, here are the strengths of Tamiya paint.
1. Tamiya paint can be used with a paintbrush or an airbrush
This might not seem significant, but a paint suitable for both airbrushes and paintbrush means both beginners and professionals can use this paint.
Most beginners don’t have enough money to spare for airbrushes and could only afford a paintbrush.
The good thing is Tamiya paint can be used on both methods.
Thus, Tamiya paint is very versatile. You don’t have an airbrush. You can still use the paint. If you don’t have a paintbrush, you can use an airbrush.
This offers flexibility, especially on the modeler’s part, which is big.
However, the paint has some limitations, which we will discuss in the disadvantages section.
2. Tamiya paint doesn’t chip easily
Compared to other acrylic paints, Tamiya paint is generally more durable and doesn’t chip easily.
One of the disadvantages of acrylic paint is that they are generally less durable than enamel paint.
Tamiya paint is different since its solubility is quite different from other acrylic paints.
This means they don’t easily chip away and melt if water is applied.
Thus, if you want durable paint with a wide variety of colors, you won’t go wrong with Tamiya.
3. Tamiya paint is widely available
Another advantage of Tamiya paint is that its color is widely available.
You can easily find their paint in local hobby stores and online.
This is great, especially for beginners who would like to try modeling.
Furthermore, since they are widely available, there are many tutorials online on how to use them properly.
This makes Tamiya the best paint for beginners.
4. Tamiya Paint has a wide variety of colors
Acrylic paint tends to have a wide variety of colors, and since Tamiya paint is acrylic paint, they also have a lot of colors to choose from.
This means the sky is the limit for the build you want. If you have a specific color in mind, then almost always, Tamiya has a paint for that.
Also, with a wide variety of colors, you can easily mix these colors to make the color or pigment you want.
Thus, if you want a wide variety of colors produced by acrylic paint and the durability offered by enamel, you will be happy with Tamiya paint.
5. Tamiya Paint is suitable for beginners
With a wide array of tutorials and the paint’s availability in almost all hobby stores, Tamiya paint is suitable for beginners.
Furthermore, you can use a regular brush with Tamiya paint to start painting.
6. Tamiya paint lasts a long time
While it is true that Tamiya paint is quite expensive, that doesn’t mean that it will not last a long time.
A single bottle of paint can last a long time since the paint is so concentrated.
So, even if the bottle you get is small for the price, you need to put some thinners to use the paint.
Generally speaking, Tamiya paint can’t be used straight out of the bottle. You need to thin it before using it.
That’s why you would only need new paint to finish a model.
So, even if the bottle is expensive, a single bottle can last a long time and can be used on multiple builds.
However, because you need thinning, this has a set of disadvantages which we will discuss later.
7. Tamiya pain corresponds with the industry modeling standards
Tamiya paint is not only beginner-friendly, but it is also loved by professionals.
Not only is their paint quality is not notch, but they can also be used on professional-grade airbrushes.
Since almost all modelers use Tamiya paint, it can be considered as one of the industry standards for modeling.
Thus, a beginner who learned how to use this paint can use Tamiya paint on almost all builds and can keep up with expert modelers.
Finally, it’s not hard to use Tamiya paint since there are many tutorials online on using it properly.
However, this doesn’t mean that Tamiya paint doesn’t have its set of disadvantages which we’ll see later.
Disadvantages of Tamiya Paint
The disadvantage of Tamiya paint is that it is expensive, with a single 3/4 oz bottle costing around $10. Furthermore, they can dry on the bottle’s lid, making it hard to open later. Lastly, they require using other Tamiya products to achieve the best results.
Here are the disadvantages of Tamiya paint.
1. Tamiya Paint can dry on the lid and make it hard to open later on
When you use Tamiya paint, it is impossible not to put paint on the lid accidentally.
If we let the paint dry on the lid, it can be hard to open later on.
This can be a problem and a reason to rebuy the paint even if the old paint isn’t empty.
The best way to counter this is to thoroughly wipe the lid to prevent the paint from drying there.
However, this is a hassle which makes it a disadvantage.
2. Dried paint on the lid can contaminate the paint
Paint drying on the lid can contaminate the paint leading to paint clumps when drying.
These clumps will affect the color consistency and not produce good quality results.
Thus, together with the first disadvantage, it is advised to wipe the lid after every use completely.
This will prevent two of the disadvantages of Tamiya paint.
Now, let’s go to the next disadvantage.
3. Tamiya paint has a learning curve to be used
Despite the numerous tutorials on using the paint, it can still be hard for beginners.
For one, Tamiya paint can’t be used straight out of the bottle.
Since the paint is highly concentrated, you need to use a thinner to finally achieve the required consistency for painting.
This means regular spray paint is easier to use since you only need to shake and spray.
This is where the problem with Tamiya paint really starts.
4. Water can’t be used as a thinner for Tamiya paint
Unlike other acrylic paints, Tamiya paint is alcohol-based. This means water isn’t ideal as a thinner for Tamiya paint.
This is where the problem starts.
Generally speaking, water can be used to thin acrylic paint since they’re water-soluble.
Tamiya paint is different and usually needs to use a Tamiya thinner to achieve the best results.
Furthermore, since it is not water-soluble, it also needs Tamiya primer and topcoat if you want the best results.
While you can use other brands like Mr. Color GX 100 or 112 for glossy finish and 113 for matte top coats, Tamiya topcoats will still produce the best results.
This is also why many people see Tamiya paint as expensive since you need to use their products to achieve the best results.
However, when we talk about quality results, Tamiya paint delivers.
5. Smells different from other paints
Unlike other acrylic paint that is water-based, Tamiya paint is alcohol-based.
This means Tamiya’s paint smells a bit different from other paints.
This can be a disadvantage to some people who don’t like its smell.
6. Tamiya paint dries slow
Another disadvantage of Tamiya paint is it dries slow.
Curing usually takes around 24 hours. Some give it up to 48 hours to be sure.
Taking a long time to dry allows more errors, such as accidentally messing with the paint.
In comparison, a typical acrylic paint fully cures at 2 hours. Some can fully dry in just 30 minutes.
Tamiya paint’s drying time closely resembles enamel paint which usually dries in about 24 hours.
With these, you already know the strengths and weaknesses of Tamiya paint.
Thus, using Tamiya paint solely depends on your preferences.
However, I still think that Tamiya is a good paint brand.
Why? Let’s go to the final section for my conclusions.
Is Tamiya a good paint brand?
Tamiya is a good paint brand because you can use its products on almost every build. Not only do they have a wide variety of colors to choose from, but they also have topcoats and primers that work extremely well with their paint. In addition, they are a good brand because they provide everything you need in model painting.
Despite the disadvantages I listed, I still believe that Tamiya is one of the best brands you can use for your build.
I also believe that beginners should try them since they are easy to use, even with paintbrushes.
However, I also know that they will provide better results on airbrushes.
If you decide to use acrylic paints such as Tamiya, it is recommended that you prime and coat your models. Thus, make sure to have the primer and topcoat ready.
What’s next? Tamiya paint can be used with a normal brush, but how good is it when used with a paintbrush instead of an airbrush? I made a different post about the topic, which you can find here: Are Tamiya Paints Good for Brushing?