RFCM discussion => General discussion => Topic started by: Mike Tanner on August 18, 2018, 06:17:33 PM

Title: Humbrol Enamels
Post by: Mike Tanner on August 18, 2018, 06:17:33 PM
Does anyone here still use Humbrol enamels to paint their Wargames figures/vehicles? I have been out of the loop for a very long time and I am curious about the change from enamel to acrylic paints.

Back in the 70s I remember Humbrol being the only paint brand being sold in shops supplying Airfix models and soldiers. When did acrylic paints like Vallejo begin to show up, and how long did it take them to dominate the market?

Title: Re: Humbrol Enamels
Post by: Colonel Kilgore on August 18, 2018, 08:54:28 PM
I started with both Humbrol and Coat d'Arms acrylics in the early '90s. I think Vallejo came along a little later, but this could simply be a reflection of what was readily available in France / by mail order from the UK at the time.
Title: Re: Humbrol Enamels
Post by: Duncan on August 18, 2018, 09:32:26 PM
I used the Humbrol enamels for ages well into the GW era. I seem to recall that although our local shop stocked Citadel, Ral Per the and a couple of other lead figures brands I cannot recall the names of they only sold the enamel paints right up until the mid 80s. Must have been when Warhammer RT came out I think that they started to stock the GW paints? Around then anyway. Interestingly they still sell both and the enamel paints are still very popular especially with the older person, by that I mean pensioner age. I recall a couple of years ago a friend of mine, (in his mid 70s.) Was into painting Napoleonic figures in 1/32nd scale. I bought him a box and associated paints to go with them, (GW and Army Painter ranges.) and he then later told me how he had thrown them away as they were useless and stripped the figures back to base to use his existing enamel paints. I guess each to their own.
Title: Re: Humbrol Enamels
Post by: Radar on August 18, 2018, 10:34:50 PM
As a shorter and considerably thinner person I used Humbrol enamel (although why did I buy gloss lime green?) as it was what was available from the local model shop and the big post office nearby. Bought some acrylics from Skytrex along with a load of Heritage Napoleonettes. Nice paint, no idea what brand.

Now I only use acrylics - easier to clean up being the major selling point. Plus Humbrol seem to have quite a scattergun approach to colours and finishes. Now if they still made French artillery green I'd buy some!
Title: Re: Humbrol Enamels
Post by: pbeccas on August 19, 2018, 03:07:54 AM
Yes.  When I bought Blood Red Skies from Warlord Games I went all nostalgic and bought humbrol to paint the planes as the colours are pretty much designed for model aircraft.  As soon as I cracked the first tin I got that lovely smell that took me back to my school years.
Title: Re: Humbrol Enamels
Post by: martin goddard on August 19, 2018, 07:52:00 AM
I still use Humbrol metallic brass and silver. They seem to create  a shine a wonderful  not possible with acrylics.  The down side is that i have to use them after varnish. Varnish seems to  "lift" the colour and cause a bleed.
Title: Re: Humbrol Enamels
Post by: Mike6t3 on August 19, 2018, 10:04:42 AM
I use slightly thinned Humbrol enamel as a Primer. Never found anything else which works as well on metal figures.
Title: Re: Humbrol Enamels
Post by: Leslie BT on August 19, 2018, 11:04:52 AM
I use them occasional and yes the smell of the solvent brings back all those memories of years ago. Acrylic does not do it.
For the metals I have been using the Rose metal powders mixed with some acrylic varnish as the medium as the powders are dry and can be mixed with any liquid.

Title: Re: Humbrol Enamels
Post by: Leman on August 19, 2018, 12:10:10 PM
Began all my painting in the 60s with Humbrol enamels and a pot of Rose gold powder (which I am still using - one pot lasts a lifetime). At Northern Militaire (Oldham) in the later 70s I first came across acrylics, at that time produced by Colour Party Paints. These were a fantastic find as, at that time, they had a very large range of historical military colours and I had not yet discovered the joys of highlighting, dry brushing and washing. First came across Vallejo in the late 90s.
Title: Re: Humbrol Enamels
Post by: Westie on August 19, 2018, 12:22:52 PM
Don't really use them now - much prefer their acrylics. If you are not used to acrylics, you will find it quicker and easier to clean your brushes. They also have a much quicker drying time (minutes instead of hours) - although this means you will have to clean your brush more often whilst painting (quick dip in water followed by a quick wipe) it also means you don't have to wait hours to start painting the next colour(s) on your figures (e.g., belts, webbing, mistakes, etc.). Although I tend to use Vallejo paints more nowadays (these come in a 'dropper' so you have to squirt a small amount on your paint palette - I use small pieces of card for palettes), I still use Humbrol for certain colours - plus you also have the familiarity of a little paint pot with them.  :)
Title: Re: Humbrol Enamels
Post by: Mike6t3 on August 19, 2018, 06:00:28 PM
And once the Humbrol paint pot is empty/dried up it can be used upside down with a blob of Blu Tak to hold figures whilst painting.
Title: Re: Humbrol Enamels
Post by: Leman on August 19, 2018, 08:37:08 PM
That was a bonus, as was its durability, but having to use thinners to clean brushes was a real pain.
Title: Re: Humbrol Enamels
Post by: Colonel Kilgore on August 19, 2018, 08:58:09 PM
My Dad persuaded me to use White Spirit to clean brushes and thin paint, to save money. It was a terrible false economy. I no longer skimp on anything to do with painting, as the time investment far outweighs any modest short-term financial saving.
Title: Re: Humbrol Enamels
Post by: Radar on August 19, 2018, 09:03:16 PM
Agreed that some of the metallics give a finish that acrylics can't match.

I've tried a few acrylic metallics and the best have been Foundry and Vallejo. Good but even they aren't quite as good as Humbrol enamels.
Title: Re: Humbrol Enamels
Post by: Leman on August 20, 2018, 10:29:03 AM
I was given a tip for armour (particularly medieval plate) which looked great but did take a while, i.e. simply burnish the metal figure itself. This needed to be varnished, and there was also the chance that the varnish might tarnish over time. I tried it with some 28mm Citadel Italian Renaissance light cavalry (really heavily armoured) and I must say they came out extremely well. Nowadays I would treat with Citadel Nuln Oil Wash rather than varnish. Another tip I was given was to apply armour highlights using a silver pen, i.e. one which you shake before use and then apply by pressing lightly so that the ink/paint comes out in not too big a rush. Again, this gives a fantastic finish and is pretty durable. It cannot be varnished so should be the last thing applied to a figure.
Title: Re: Humbrol Enamels
Post by: Leslie BT on August 20, 2018, 06:58:04 PM
Yep, those silver and gold pens are excellent for highlighting.
Title: Re: Humbrol Enamels
Post by: Big Mike on August 23, 2018, 08:13:23 AM
It is interesting how the Humbrol enamels still feature in shops today despite the acrylic take-over. Possible due to nostalgia (Grandad, who no longer really makes models but has decided to  buy his grandson their first plastic kit for Christmas along with the recommended paints which are usually
Humbrols). I bought some green and brown enamels in desperation to finish off WW2 RAF fighters. The colours were spot on and took me back to my childhood. Too much stirring and cleaning though. Nostalgia isn't what it used to be.
Title: Re: Humbrol Enamels
Post by: Radar on August 29, 2018, 10:55:02 PM
Just tried to get hold of some Humbrol acrylic dark earth (29?), noticed that Humbrol appear to moving their acrylics into the CdA/ Foundry/P3 pots.
Lots of colours out of stock on Humbrol website, and you guessed it, dark earth was one of them.

There are a few colours in the new pots, 30% extra free. Currently the same price as the smaller older style pots.

Updated: just learnt the Humbrol acrylics are made in Manchester. So I'm guessing the same firm that makes CdA and Foundry
Title: Re: Humbrol Enamels
Post by: Radar on December 05, 2018, 06:50:55 PM
The Holy Grail of Humbrol acrylics is available again. Dark earth 29, now available in CdA/Foundry/P3 pots (more paint in a pot too!).

 ;D :D ;D :D ;D :D
Title: Re: Humbrol Enamels
Post by: Smiley Miley 66 on December 06, 2018, 04:44:56 AM
You know Humbrol do a lot of the Old colours in acrylic now ? As well as some newer colours too.
Title: Re: Humbrol Enamels
Post by: Leslie BT on December 15, 2018, 11:25:44 AM
Mike you must have a lot of figures and vehicles being painted then as you use the dried-up and empty paint pots!!