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By John 5426 Jan 2014 11:42 a.m. PST

Hello all,
A little help, if you can? my old tin of Humbrol Enamel gold, has finally bit the dust, so I ordered a new one off E-bay. 2 days later, it rocks up, all good.
But its nothing like as strong and bright as the old one, is this common with Humbrol now? is it a health and safety thing? it drys to a very weak sheen, like the old acrylic golds.
Can anyone offer a good, strong, bright, enamel based alternative?

Many thanks


Oberst Radl26 Jan 2014 11:52 a.m. PST

Testor's enamel metallics, the ones in the tiny glass bottles with screw caps. (I usually put a dab of Vaseline on the threads to keep them from seizing up). Brightest gold, silver and brass I've seen.

Karnophage26 Jan 2014 12:02 p.m. PST

Have you tried the Vallejo Alcohol based metallic colors? They have a very natural sheen to them.

Mardaddy26 Jan 2014 12:13 p.m. PST

I am ALWAYS seeking out new metallics to try out and I second the quality of Testors for a dense, bright sheen. One coat is all that's needed.

Despite this, I tend to go with acrylics for metallics because they are much easier to layer and blend, but if I am doing a large area or one uniform coat, I go Testors.

IMO the Vallejo copper is the best performing of all the Vallejo metallics, the others are hit and miss with me.

The Vallejo (alcohol-based) containers are not the eyedropper, they are HUGE… I have trouble using enough to warrant buying them before they start to dry up; in my experience, they end up with performance issues after time.

Not so with Testors, last is as good as the first.

HistoryPhD26 Jan 2014 12:40 p.m. PST

Sadly, this is now common with Humbrol metallics. I got a tin of polished chrome that no amount of stirring would urge beyond the "oily silver water" stage. I'm with Oberst Radl and Mardaddy, old-timey Testors glass bottles are the way to go for metallics.

Archeopteryx26 Jan 2014 1:08 p.m. PST

For acrylics, the Vellejo Air series of metallics is good. I think they are better than Model Color equivalents – apply them undiluted with a brush.

I use Foundry acrylic metallics too, and have found them good – dense and full of pigment.

Broglie26 Jan 2014 1:09 p.m. PST

I always found with Humbrol metallic paints that it is best not to stir the paint at all but to dip in a match stick and drag up a small bit from the bottom of the tin. It is a bit tiresome but then worthwhile unless you are painting large areas.

jowady26 Jan 2014 1:27 p.m. PST

I use Model Masters Gold, Brass, Steel and Aluminum enamels. INO they do a great job, generally giving a great finish in one coat.

Personal logo deadhead Supporting Member of TMP26 Jan 2014 1:43 p.m. PST

OK, this might sound weird (remember I am Deadhead and if you know what that signifies………..I should be)….have you ever tried gold leaf? Available in any hobby shop and, in 28mm, only useful for some larger areas (eg back of a carabinier's cuirasse or a brass dragoon helmet)but amazing in some applications. try it…….

Goober26 Jan 2014 1:47 p.m. PST

I've seen a lot of model builds in the Airfix Magazine use gold printers ink. Apparently it gives a very warm, shiny finish and covers well.

Feet up now26 Jan 2014 3:02 p.m. PST

For bronze and gold a little silver undercoat works wonders .

Personal logo deadhead Supporting Member of TMP26 Jan 2014 3:34 p.m. PST

Last two posts….yes! Both very, very, good suggestions. Real blasts from the past, before acrylics were invented………

CeruLucifus26 Jan 2014 10:01 p.m. PST

The Liquitex soft body metallics are very very good.

Generally speaking, you get better results with metallic paint if you undercoat black first. Any clear or translucent streaks look normal if there's black underneath.

Archeopteryx27 Jan 2014 3:16 a.m. PST


Thanks for the tips… I've gone and ordered some gold leaf…. What do you use as a fixer?

1815Guy27 Jan 2014 5:34 a.m. PST

Ive. Been using Rose powders for donkeys years. Still the best for all sorts of metallics. A bottle lasts forever…… If they are still available dont hesitate.

Personal logo deadhead Supporting Member of TMP30 Jan 2014 6:13 a.m. PST

Archeopteryx (great name BTW)apologies. Kept meaning to reply. Gilding paste from "Pebeo" (French but we'll forgive that, it was a long time ago and 200 years have passed) bought from local Hobbycraft, but I am sure many manufacturers, any art store.

Archeopteryx30 Jan 2014 11:15 a.m. PST


Muchas gracias! Have corralled daughter at art school to track down said potion…..

Half dinosaur, half turkey – that's me.

General Jumbo30 Jan 2014 12:26 p.m. PST

I had the same trouble, but this is not the only Humbrol enamel to disappoint me lately. The latest batch of matt scarlet in the hobby shops is a dreadful brown, from which long stirring sessions fail to coax out any red. Some of their military greens are a bit iffy as well. Do they still do checks to ensure compatibility with their former standard shades?

Lamberto31 Jan 2014 12:09 p.m. PST

I've been using Humbrol for decades and find most of them fine, but I have to say the metallics recently have been dreadful. Grateful for the helpful tips.

WillieB31 Jan 2014 7:46 p.m. PST

Bronze powder mixed with linseed oil. You'll never go back to anything else. Believe me.
Same for silver. Mix with blue and brown oil paint to get the very best steel colour. The Bronze can be mixed with browns, blues and green for old bronze , copper and brass.
I pot will last you a lifetime but do ge the finest granulation possible. I always try to get the '6000' granulation but '4000' is still doable.

heavyhorse01 Feb 2014 2:48 p.m. PST

I use enamel based hobby paints for metals like buttons or gun barrels and swords and rub and buff metallic pastes for a dry brush effect on armored bronze or iron..with a black undercoat

Personal logo deadhead Supporting Member of TMP01 Feb 2014 3:41 p.m. PST

WillieB, this is something totally new. Fascinated. This whole thread is proving fascinating as it develops, but yours' is the most novel idea I have encountered! Tell us all more………show a picture if possible? Fascinated…

Archeopteryx02 Feb 2014 4:30 a.m. PST

Bronze powder is the base pigment for most metallic steel/copper/bronze/gold paints, I believe. So essentially you would be making up your own paint? Aluminum powder is used too I think. I've some non-metallic pigments already which i use mostly for weathering (weathering products are mostly repackaged (and repriced!) artists pigments) but not tried these. I've linked to a UK supplier here (can do other pigments too). link

Mike Petro02 Feb 2014 12:16 p.m. PST

Sadly, the enamels KILL my brushes.

Matt Adlard03 Feb 2014 7:49 a.m. PST

Sounds strange but try buffing with a cotton bud, helps bring out some of the shine.

fogsoldiers07 Feb 2014 11:52 a.m. PST

I use a gold from artistic colours LeFranc and Bourgeois…

Fizzypickles10 Feb 2014 6:22 p.m. PST

Vallejo Model Air metallics for me. Finley ground and flowing with none of the hassle of solvent based paints.

Sobieski26 May 2014 4:58 a.m. PST

When I want a brilliant gold (usually for highlights on royalty's armour) I use some stuff my mum got me at an artist's supply shop. It's almost mirror-bright, so needs a light and sparing hand.

VonBlucher26 May 2014 9:51 a.m. PST

I use Rose pigment as a final highlight, you have to lightly overspray with dulcoat when completed as it can run if you spray too heavy.

Fizzypickles26 May 2014 10:56 a.m. PST

Vallejo Model Air Metallics here too.

Warpaint Figures26 May 2014 12:13 p.m. PST

Have to say the old GW metallics were always the db's. Foundry aren't too bad but tend to be a bit gungey in the A shade.

Old trick for gold is a brown bascoat. Shows bronze and gold up nicely and a thin Windsor and Newton Nut Brown ink wash at the end really makes them pop.

Warpaint Figures02 Jun 2014 7:46 a.m. PST

Generally black is good for silver. But you can use a white base coat depending on your technique. Example of that is dipping/brush on dip.

I find the golds don't have the right level of pigmentation in them to hold well enough on the black in thin enough coats. Personal choice. White undercoat certainly works well for golds, especially with brown ink wash afterwards.


Personal logo ochoin Supporting Member of TMP18 Jul 2014 7:03 p.m. PST

@ Oberst Radl.

Love the tip about putting Vaseline inside the cap. This will save me money & lower the frustration quotient.

laptot19 Jul 2014 6:00 a.m. PST

Try Rub n' Buff metalic pastes that come in tubes. Found at Micheal's.

Kensboro09 Sep 2014 7:28 p.m. PST


Somebody mentioned Rose Powders (metallic), do they still exist?

I used to work for Blick, and we carried them for awhile; but this was probably 20-years ago.

I can't find them on a Google search; all I come up with is Rose colored eye-shadow :(

seneffe13 Sep 2014 11:16 a.m. PST

I was a Humbrol stalwart, the intensity of colour and the covering power were excellent.
Humbrol shifted production to China a couple of years ago and quality took a nosedive unfortunately, both for enamel and acrylics- real cheap kids craft quality stuff now.

Personal logo deadhead Supporting Member of TMP13 Sep 2014 3:30 p.m. PST

Well I never knew that……….

Undoubtedly, Humbrol paints are not what they were. Now maybe I know why.

Bad Squiddo Games14 Sep 2014 2:52 a.m. PST

The vallejo air range gives a really really smooth cover!

HANS GRUBER16 Sep 2014 8:54 a.m. PST

I like Army Painter metallics. I think they are simliar to the old GW. I use their gun metal and plate mail a lot.

John Treadaway19 Sep 2014 2:40 a.m. PST

Use a good metalic silver – Sterling Silver from Army Painter is nice, as is GW's Mithril (or whatever it's called nowadays).

Then – for a real golden shine – when it's dry paint Yellow Clear Tamiya laquer over the top.

I do it for gold visors.

This is not a very good picture, I'm araid, but it's all I have to hand:


John T

WillieB19 Sep 2014 5:41 p.m. PST

Well those Rose pigments were what I was using until they ran out.
Can'y find then anywhere anymore.

Luckily my artshop has the same powdered metallics in stock but only three colours. A straigt shiny gold, silver and something they call bronze but is actually red copper.
Mixed with oil paint you cab ger nearly every shade you need from a dark dull bronze to a very shiny goldhiglight if you mix with silver.
For darker metal just add Dk blue and Burnt Umber and highlight with a lighter colour. Mix with purefied linseed oil then add the piant.

The Excellent Rose 'shades' like the superb Light Antique and such are regretully gone.
I'm still hoarding a single nearly empty bottle of 'Dark Antique….

WillieB19 Sep 2014 5:47 p.m. PST

Apparently the Rose Miiatures are still available from John Eden link
buy no sign of the metallic powders

VonBlucher20 Sep 2014 7:29 a.m. PST

I was the one that mentioned Rose metallics above as I'm a paint hoarder, I have an open bottle of each besides an unopened one. The MMSI show here in Chicago is in a few weeks, so I'll ask around at the show about them. I originally picked them up at a shop 20 some years ago that specialized in large scale figures and books.


Marc the plastics fan19 Jan 2015 7:55 a.m. PST


Central London, for those UK based gamers looking for metallics. A real old curiosity shoppe – a tourist location for holidaying gamers

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