Blended Canvas is supported by its readers. Please assume all links are affiliate links. If you purchase something from one of our links we make a small commission from Amazon. Thank You!

Can You Use Acrylic Paint on Airfix Models?

Airfix models provide a range of fun and interesting miniatures such as trains, planes, rockets, spaceships, warships, automobiles and other kinds of transportation. Ergo, when you get one, assembling and painting it appropriately will be your prime concern.

So, the top question often is, can you use acrylic paint on Airfix models? Yes, you can! It makes coloration a breeze since these are water soluble, which means they dry fast. The following article will discuss this along with how to paint the model and other tidbits of info.

Even though the traditional way is with plastic enamel, it tends to be messy, inconvenient and it takes forever to dry. Not to mention the horrid odor they produce.

Brief Overview of Using Acrylic Paint on Airfix Models

Since Airfix models came onto the scene in 1939, the kits contain a small selection of paints by a company called Humbrol. However, in recent years, the paint quality is rather substandard, with an unpleasing thin application. Therefore, using acrylics can make up for the poor caliber.

How to Paint Airfix Models With Acrylic Paint

The mini guide below shows you how to paint Airfix models step by step. But, refer to the instruction manual from the Airfix model kit for detailed procedures. However, always devise your own method and tinker around with these instructions to see what works best for you.

1. Assemble

Always assemble the larger parts of your model prior to applying paint. Go back to the instructions since these will layout the order of assemblage and painting. This is because certain pieces may actually gouge the paint or it won’t look as professional as it could.

Therefore, you should put each section and piece in a line so you paint them chronologically. This will allow previous pieces to dry as you move onto the next once you begin the painting process.

2. Select Your Painting Method

Then consider how to apply the paint. You can do this with a traditional brush, but many Airfix enthusiasts insist on an airbrush for this. However, airbrush compressors are costly and it may not be practical for only one model. But, if you plan on doing many of them, then invest in an airbrush.

Airbrushing reduces drips and streaks as well as it covering the surface evenly. It provides a nice finish to the final product too. Yet, there’s something about a traditional paintbrush, adding that special handmade touch. If you go this route, use stiff bristles that hold their shape.

Things to Note

If you choose airbrushing, you’re going to need some masking tape and plenty of old newspapers. Ensure the area you do this in has good ventilation too.

For brushes, you’ll also want some old newspapers along with a large container of cold water and paper towels. The container should comprise something like glass or ceramic so that it’s easy to clean later on. Avoid hot water, plastic or silicon as these may interact with the paint’s chemistry in ways you will not like.

3. Prime & Paint It

Next is priming and painting. Primer is optional but it is highly advisable, especially if you’re going to use Humbol acrylics. This will give a nice opacity to the model’s paint and will reduce the appearance of streaking or running.

I highly recommend using Liquitex Primer. It’s made for acrylic paints, and it’s very high quality.

Click Image for More Info

Stir your paint for at least 30 seconds with a toothpick prior to application. This will make sure all the pigment and medium blend together well to reduce instances of streaking and dripping.

When applying paint, use only a little bit. This will also mitigate running and dripping on the surface. If you use too much, it cannot only create a globular appearance but it can also hide valuable details you want to display.

Advantages of Using Acrylic Paint

Quick Drying Time

Acrylic is a dream to use because of how quickly it dries. You can paint an entire piece and have it ready to go within an hour or so. This is beneficial if you’re short on time or don’t have the space to allow for longer drying with plastic or oil-based paints.


Because acrylics are water-based, you don’t need a lot of chemicals for mixing, thinning and cleaning off your painting media, like a brush. All you need is a container of water, which makes it simple yet cost effective.

Easy to Clean Up

Another great advantage to acrylic paint is how easy it is to clean up. There won’t be any paint residue left to ruin or stain surfaces and fabrics. Even if you spill a little paint, you’ll be able to clean it up without leaving behind a mess.

Wide Range of Colors and Finishes Available

Last, but certainly not least, is how acrylic paint comes in a huge range of colors and finishes. This can further your creative desires by getting as detailed as possible. Plus, you can mix different hues to come up with your own if you’re looking for a specific color to match that WWI warship, for example.

Do You Seal Painted Airfix Models?

You can seal an Airfix model with Mod Podge or other acrylic-based sealer. However, it isn’t necessary. But, these do provide a nice finish to the piece, especially if the green color you chose doesn’t have a matte finish. Sealers can provide that delicate touch.

Final Thoughts

Painting an Airfix model is straightforward. However, you want to be deliberate in your approach, especially if you’re new to it. This means you can and should use acrylic paints since these will dry much faster than other types. These have a huge color range, you can find them almost anywhere and clean up is hassle-free.

Your biggest considerations here will be whether to use a primer and/or sealer before and after painting. Also, decide how you want to paint it with a traditional brush or an airbrush machine. Remember to assemble all you large pieces first and then create a chronological line of all the pieces.

Make sure to follow all my tips and recommended products to ensure your painted project turns out great! Also, don’t forget to check out my other articles for all your painting Q&A’s. Happy painting!