Acrylics are water based, enamels are "some-other-solvent" based...I'm
drawing a blank on the specific solvent right now...sorry.
Choice for useage is really a matter of personal preference...I favor
enamels, though I will use Tamiya clear acrylics for tinting clear
parts, or painting light lenses. Not much else.
Different brands of enamels have different solvents. In the good old days
something like turpentine worked on most paints. Today there are airbrush
thinners and other solvents marketed by the different brands. Many modelers
tend to have an order they would use different paints. You could paint and
enamel or acrylics over a laquer, and an acrylic over an enamel. But not the
reverse.Has to do with the paint disturbing the later below. Thus an acrylic
could be used to put a wash over an enamel. Since water wouldn't disolve the
solvent based layers in place.In many cases it takes up to 7 days for the
paint binder to fully harden or set.
That would be turpentine *subtitute* i.e. white spirit, not turpentine
which is distilled from tree sap and used (afaik) for artists oil
paints. As I have noted elsewhere, white spirit will not work with (for
instance) Revell enamels, which require their own thinner. I attempted
to thin with white spirit for airbrushing and got an olive drab that
would never dry....
Acrylics can be thinned with water and are water-soluble before they
have set, but the carrier is a mixture of water, alcohol and other
organic solvents. Thinning with the proprietary thinner can give better
results, although thinning with water does help it to set less quickly.
Certainly you should never dilute in the tin or bottle with water.
Brief hints for the beginner can be found at the excellent ipms
Polytechforum.com is a website by engineers for engineers. It is not affiliated with any of manufacturers or vendors discussed here.
All logos and trade names are the property of their respective owners.