Sunday, May 6, 2018

Last Humbrol Painter

I feel like I'm one of the last Humbrol only painters in the Historical Miniature Wargaming hobby.


I have not heard of anyone in the hobby painting strictly with enamel paint (mostly Humbrol brand).  I have no problems using the paint and have been using it since the 1980s.  Yes everyone in the hobby swears by acrylic paint, but you don't have to use it.  I own zero acrylics that I use to paint miniatures and have never painted figures with acrylics.  Maybe acrylics are better and someday I may switch, but for now clear sailing with Humbrol, Colorcoats and Model Master.  I've painted 1:3000-28mm, Aztecs to Vietnam, and Trireme's to Carriers with enamels.


I know I'm not a great painter and I don't try to be a great painter.  Over the years I have improved my technique.  I don't need acrylics to make my figures look better, I am happy with the way they look.

It is not easy being in the hobby where virtually everything references acrylic paint.  Maybe I could post some hints for enamel painters, but as I said, I'm not a great painter.

Here are the negative statements I've read about enamel paint with my responses.
  • Smells bad.
    • Barely. The smelly part is when you clean the brush. You get used to it.
  • Messy.
    • Huh? Not really...until you spill a pot of paint.
  • Blends and mixes poorly.
    • I'm an amateur, so I rarely blend/mix...but doubt it is an issue.
  • Dries to a gloss finish.
    • Some pots say Matt but ends up glossy.  Just a bad pot or pot needs more stirring. Just try again, no problem.
  • Goes on thick.
    • Thick or thin, this can be a challenge.  Too thin, shake/stir the pot more or leave the cap off for awhile.  Too thick, then thin it down or throw the pot away.
  • Paint brushes don't last as long.
    • Really? Never thought of that.  I'm thinking brushes wear out based on what you are painting and your painting technique.  I'm probably bad on brushes, but so what?
  • Not meant for small miniatures.
    • What in the world? No problems painting the British WWII circles on 1:1250 planes.
  • Harder to work with.
    • Maybe that is the case.  Never thought to switch to acrylics because it would make my painting easier.  I'm fine with the hardness level of the paint.
  • Paint chips.
    • Only seen it happen on soft plastics.
  • Quality is not good.
    • Majority is fine. 
  • Thickness covers detail.
    • In some instances, yes, but I'm not phased by it.  I'm not going for prize winning pieces.

If someone was starting off in the hobby and was trying to decide between enamels and acrylic, I would probably recommend going with acrylics. For acrylic painters, there are a lot of good paint choices and resources.

If I die an enamel painter...no regrets and I'm sure I'll be the last Humbrol painter in the hobby.

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