I have been getting so many inquiries on how to use Vallejo paints for Airbrushing so I thought I might as well post a quick tutorial / tip on how I use them.
I have used a lot of kinds of paints for the past few years. I started with spray cans ( airbrush vs spraycans ), and ended up airbrushing with acrylics and lacquers. However during my 2 year Gunpla Hiatus, I fell in love with Vallejo acrylic paints. I use them for hand painting my miniatures. Vallejo acrylics hand paints like no other paints. They have a self leveling property that reduces the risk of brush strokes. The results with hand painting Vallejo acrylics are simply magical.
Vallejo has so many kinds of acrylic paints for model kits. See my post HERE on the kinds of model paints Vallejo has on the market. I prefer using the Vallejo Model Air as a couple of drops of thinner and they are perfect for airbrushing already. The Vallejo Game Air which I have not tried yet should be the same with using the Model Air ( albeit stronger and more scratch resistant ).
Vallejo Model AIR and Game AIR are perfect for your AB.
Using Vallejo Model Color, Game Color, Varnish, and Panzer Aces are a bit more tricky for your airbrush. I do have a lot of Model Color and a few Game Color ( used for hand painting minis ) so I had to learn how to use them with an airbrush. Hand painting huge Gunpla is too time consuming, albeit you would get pretty good results with practice.
Let me give a standard ratio on thinning Vallejo Model Color, Game Color and Panzer Aces. All these paints can be used in airbrushing. Unlike the Model Air and Game Air which are pre-thinned, these colors just need a bit of thinning to produce smooth nice finishes for your kits. The standard ratio ( for me at least ) is 2 parts paint + 1 part distilled water + 1 part thinner.
2 parts paint + 1 part distilled water + 1 part thinner
The key point is to thin the paints to have the consistency of skim milk. Through practice, you do not need to count the ratio of paint, distilled water and thinner as you will be able to tell while mixing that it will work well while airbrushing. Not too thin as your paint will run, not too thick as your paint might clog your AB ( lol ) and not too much Vallejo Airbrush Thinner as it will dry very slowly. It is important to note that the Vallejo Airbrush Thinner acts as your paint retarder. Without the thinner your paint will clog your AB or will dry even before it hits your model kit, thus resulting to a grainy finish ( yuck! ).
Vallejo Airbrush Thinner = Acrylic Paint Retarder
Using the Vallejo Varnishes for your airbrush has a different ratio. Just a couple of drops of retarder will do. The basic ratio is 5 parts varnish + 1 part retarder. The Vallejo Matte Varnish is so nice and gives you a very flat finish. The Satin and Gloss Varnish could be replaced with Pledge Wipe and Shine as those are thinner and are more AB ready.
Hope these post helps with your Vallejo inquiries. Until next post guys! Just enjoy the hobby!