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Friday, December 6, 2019

Vallejo Flow Improver EXPLAINED!

Vallejo Flow Improver EXPLAINED photo

First off, I apologize for the selfies. I am trying really hard to get comfortable in front of the camera ( both photos and videos ) for my new Youtube channel

Stand aside Chema Cabrero and Angel Giraldez... the new but old kid is here. LOL

Kidding aside, let's talk shop! 

This blog article is part of my Vallejo Colors EXPLAINED series of posts.

Let's talk Acrylicos Vallejo Airbrush Flow Improver.


Gunpla modelers who are new ( and old ) to using the airbrush, swear by lacquers and alcohol based paints! They find it so easy to use with an airbrush. They find it easy to clean. They find these paints have great FLOW. 

Boom! Flow is the keyword here. 

The common misconception ( at least here in the very humid Philippines ) is that Vallejo colors ( or acrylics in general ) are harder to use than lacquers and alcohol based paints. 

So why use acrylics? 

I use acrylics coz I have 3 kids and I want my paints to be NON-TOXIC. I want my airbrush paints to be earth and body friendly. Cheaper non-water base paints, much more ( cheap, not the well established and regulated brands ) lacquer and alcohol based paints are toxic and can be really harmful to you, your family and our mother earttttttthhhhhhh!

Note that a few colors in the Game Color and Model Color line are not suitable for airbrushing. Also note that big brand lacquer and alcohol based paints are only mildly toxic as these are regulated. 

Vallejo acrylics, even the Air variations ( Model Air, Game Air, Metal Color, Premium Color, Colorshift Color, Metal Color and Mecha Color ) dry really fast. 

Vallejo paints are TRUE Water based paints. Unlike other water based paints that are actually alcohol based. You may thin and clean Vallejo paints with water... but I personally recommend thinning with mediums and thinners ( mediums for hand brushing  and thinner and flow improver for airbrushing ).

Some colors ( hues ), if not properly thinned, dry MID AIR. The mid air drying is normal, but... errr... not good. The acrylic is drying too fast. Thus, will give you a grainy ( sandy ) texture. 

Enter... THE FLOW IMPROVER! ( insert evil laugh here )

Vallejo Flow Improver EXPLAINED photo

The Vallejo Airbrush Flow Improver ( let's call it V FLOW ) improves the... hmmm... flow of the paints through the airbrush mechanism. Both the Vallejo airbrush thinner and the V Flow extends the drying time of the acrylic paints. Thus making them smoother to shoot through your airbrush. 

The V FLOW, gives Vallejo paints a smoother feel when airbrushing. 

The V Flow gives an almost "lacquer smooth feel" to airbrushing non-toxic Vallejo acrylics. You can use the V Flow with the Vallejo thinner, specially for thick colors like Blues and Greys. 

V Flow for airbrushing is MAGIC! It is like mediums for hand painting. V Flow also helps in making the airbrush cleaning easier ( use Vallejo Airbrush Cleaner thinned 50:50 with water for cleaning your airbrush after painting ).

Vallejo Colors with V Flow is MAGIC! ( insert evil laugh here again ). 


Again, you can thin Vallejo paints with water ( distilled water is best ), but if you thin too much...
You end up with a weaker paint. Water will thin Vallejo paints nicely. But over thinning with water will also dilute the binder. 

The binder is the one that binds or holds the high quality pigments of Vallejo paints. They help in the adhesion of the paints to the surface. 

So I personally recommend the V Flow and Vallejo Thinner ( and mediums for hand brushing ), as they do not weaken your paints. The Game Air, Metal Colors, Premium Colors and the Mecha Colors are super durable paints when fully cured and if thinned with Vallejo thinner and V Flow. 

Note that curing of paints takes 1 day or a week ( for gloss ). They are almost instantly dry to the touch, but they are best handled after a week of curing


The standard Vallejo thinner is 1 part thinner to 3 parts paint ( 1:3 ).

The Vallejo Flow Improver is 1 part V Flow to 5 parts paiont ( 1:5 )

Super Note: Yellows and Reds thin differently than the thicker blues and greys. With practice, you can thin paints effectively just by looking and test spraying. 


IMHO, I highly recommend you sell ( or better yet throw ) your harmful cheap lacquer and alcohol based paints ( NOT the well established lacquer and alcohol based paints ). By cheap I am referring to non-Gaia, non-Tamiya branded paints. The bigger brands are regulated by government health agencies, before approval to release in the market. 

If you love yourself, you won't airbrush with cheap TOXIC paints. Airbrushing with cheap ( unregulated ) toxic lacquer and alcohol based paints is like inhaling second hand smoke from your airbrush. 

Airbrush only with non-toxic paints ( or mildly toxic branded non water base alternatives ). 

Personally, I airbrush only with VALLEJOS. Always Vallejo. I am experienced enough to know my medium. Experience will make painting acrylics ( of any brand ) more fun. 

Use the V Flow and thinner to make the airbrushing of Vallejo acrylic paints smoother than ever before. Airbrushing non toxic Vallejo Paints is way better than painting with toxic paints. 

Painting with cheap TOXIC paints is potentially very hazardous. Cheap toxic paints are not worth it. 


I hope you found this wordy post useful and informative. I will be explaining ( further ) and using the V Flow and Mecha paints at my Youtube channel soon!

So please subscribe. :)

Thanks as always for dropping by! Until next post guys! Cheers! 

SHOUTOUT as usual!

I only use Vallejo Acrylic paints in all my builds - Acrylicos Vallejo

I get some of my tools from HOBBYMATE Singapore - HobbyMate at Facebook

And get my Vallejo paints from Neutral Grounds Philippines - Neutral Grounds Philippines

I only use Harder & Steenbeck for airbrushing - Harder & Steenbeck Airbrush

Vallejo Flow Improver EXPLAINED photo

Vallejo Flow Improver EXPLAINED photo
Vallejo Flow Improver EXPLAINED photo


foo said...

how are the vallejo primers for gunpla?

DC23 said...

Get the Vallejo Mecha Color Primers. Mecha Color paints are formulated for Gunpla and action figures.

foo said...

ooh okie thanks!

DC23 said...

Welcome bro! :)

Unknown said...

Hey Man, that's a great article. I've been looking for something like this for ages and just found your site the other day.
I'm going to play around with your radios for my Vallejo paints and see if I can get a smooth finish. I would prefer not to use lacquer paints, but they are the only one I can get a nice super reflective gloss finish with.

Oh I spotted a typo in the Ratios section. The work paint in this sentence.
The Vallejo Flow Improver is 1 part V Flow to 5 parts paiont ( 1:5 )

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