Tamiya lacquer paint review
Tried and tested new paint colors
I am a fan of Tamiya’s excellent lacquer spray paint range (TS series) for over 20 years. A few years after I stopped spraying enamels, I enjoyed the easy step of pulling my model car bodies directly from spray cans using TS paints. The finishes were almost universally perfect and fast and easy to achieve. Eventually, I started unloading my TS paints for airbrush use, wanting more precise color matches and better control of application and paint thickness.
I wished for a day that Tamiya could present TS colors in jars for airbrush use. That day has finally come.
Tamiya’s LP paints appeal to modelers who love the company’s range of colors and prefer to use airbrushes to apply paint. Most of the colors I bought were those designed for model car manufacturers, including solid colors, metallics, pearls, and micas. Also a bottle of thinner; bright clear; plain, semi-gloss, and glossy black; and three light colors: yellow, orange, and red.
To test the dyes, I went back to my tried and true method of spraying colors onto disposable white plastic spoons. They are useful as size swatches and for measuring how aggressively a paint will erode plastic before using it on a model. A few colors were thrown over the bare plastic while the others were air-brushing the Tamiya thin gray liner to see how well it covered the gray compared to white. To create sample sugar polishes, I sprayed a shiny silver (LP-48) base coat and applied clear colors over it.
When testing new paints in this way, I mark the spoons with the corresponding color and note if the gray liner goes over them. And after a marathon session of spraying various colors, I had a good idea of how these paints work: Happily, they airbrush beautifully. The paint flows smoothly, has enough pigment to quickly create color, and dries to proper gloss. However, depending on your airbrush and needs, they need to be thinned to thin 1: 1 or 2: 1 paint.
Following the spoon tests, I used the paints in several personal projects, including the ’57 Chevy snap kit. I mixed three of the LP paints to create a special mauve color that I put on Tamiya’s gray liner. I painted the metallic black on the roof panel of the kit directly onto the bare black plastic. After mixing, the colors blend easily; the pigment is so dense that you won’t need more than a single bottle value for a typical 1 / 24th scale model (except for self-induced paint issues).
I am excited that Tamiya’s new LP paints are working well and they will become indispensable in my personal paint supply. They were beautifully sprayed, well-draped, and produced great results.
Black colors include glossy black (LP-1), solid black (LP-3), semi-gloss black (LP-5), and metallic black (LP-40).
Comparison of airbrushed gloss black (LP-1), solid black (LP-3), semi-gloss black (LP-5), and metallic black (LP-40). I have found that flat and semi-gloss blacks are more accurate to the intended gloss than their TS equivalents.
Pure blue on the left (LP-6); It is coated on the right with pearl clarity (LP-49), providing a nice fine pearl for use in dark, solid colors.
Comparison of mica red (LP-42) on the left and pure metallic red (LP-46) on the right. Mica red is a bit more traditional pearl red, while pure metallic red has a warmer look. Compatible with Tamiya’s pure metallic red (TS-95) spray paint, designed for 2016 and later Mazda MX-5. However, for a more realistic match with Mazda’s spirit red, spray a coat of clear red (LP-52) over pure metallic red.
Here you can see the spoon tests for pure red on the left and Italian red on the right, on a gray liner, and for bare white plastic.
Solid colors applied on unlined spoons are pure blue, pure yellow (LP-8), and racing white (LP-39).
Bright pearl white (LP-43), satin shiny silver (LP-48), and solid metallic gray (LP-61).
Mica Blue (LP-41), metallic orange (LP-44), racing blue (LP-45), and pearl blue (LP-47).
Want some goofy candy colors? Spray sparkling silver (LP-48) as a base, and then follow with light yellow (LP-69), light orange (LP-53), or light red (LP-52).
I gave some examples to the modelers for their feedback. Wayne Webers painted the body of a Porsche 911 GT1 from Tamiya in Italian red. Wayne had no problem obtaining a smooth solid surface including spot repair prior to applying the stickers.
Similarly, Joe Fotchky applied metallic orange coated in glossy clear (LP-9) to Tamiya’s new Toyota GR Supra, which provided a vibrant look before polishing.
I mixed a special lilac shade with 50% brilliant silver, 25% mica red and 25% racing blue (LP-45). The rich pigment quickly covered the gray liner on the lower body. It was coated in metallic black and attached to the bare, black plastic roof without any difficulty. For a glossy finish, without affecting the underlying LP colors, Mr. Mr thinned with color thinner (No. 101). I airbrushed it on the Color gloss transparent (No.46).