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Model Railroading > Fixative Shootout (Part 3)

Date: 10/06/20 23:07
Fixative Shootout (Part 3)
Author: tmotor

This is a continuation of the previous Fixative Shootouts,
Part 1:
Part 2:
The results of the first and second Shootouts had Dead Flat emerge a the clear victor.  One of the posted comments suggested trying the Vallejo Airbrush Thinner product as another candidate, since that is what Vallejo recommends as a fixative for their line of weathering pigments.  Turns out that other manufactures of paint products that target the Armor/Aircraft market also offer "Fixers" for their line of Pigments.  So, let’s try these Fixers and see what happens.
The Test “Car”
As in the previous shootout, a section of 1” PVC pipe served as the “car” to apply the samples.  It was sprayed flat black, and heavily weathered with (same as before) Pan Pastels (740.5) “Burnt Sienna” above the waistline, and Pan Pastels (820.5) “Neutral Gray” below the waistline. 

Edited 1 time(s). Last edit at 10/07/20 10:39 by tmotor.

Date: 10/06/20 23:07
Re: Fixative Shootout (Part 3)
Author: tmotor

The products are placed behind their sample, in the order applied.  From left to right:
Dead Flat
The First Place Finisher from the previous shootouts is the baseline. 
Vallejo Airbrush Thinner   [$2.99, 0.6 oz bottle, $5/oz]
TO member “Lighter” posted that Vallejo recommends this as the fixative for their weathering powders, so it was applied with an airbrush.  Came pretty close to Dead Flat.  Certainly a contender. 
Liquidtex Airbrush Medium [$10.25, 8 oz bottle, $1.29/oz]
This is also from Lighter’s post, speculating about the ingredients of Dead Flat.  It seemed like it was worth a try.  Applied with an airbrush.  Color shift was dark. 
Umberto “Dry Texture Spray” [$10, 8 oz spray bottle, $1.25/oz]
This is from a hair salon (borrowed from my sister).  However, I decided to give it a try just on the off-chance it would perform well.  Pretty much identical results to AquaNet.
Tigi “Catwalk” [$10, 9.2 oz, $0.98/oz]
Another hairspray contender.  Not much difference.
It would be easy to come to the conclusion that most other hairsprays will perform in a similar manner. 
Titebond Wood Glue [$6, 16 oz, $0.38/oz]
As an experiment, wood glue was diluted about 1-part glue to 5-parts water, and applied with a micro-brush.  (I knew this would create a bit of a blotchy look, but couldn’t bring myself to run it through an airbrush.)  The theory was, being water-based, it would not cause a dark color shift, yet create a thin layer of protection.  As theorized, the color shift was very slight, consistent with previous water-based fixatives.  In fact, it was nearly as good as Dead Flat.
Titebond All-Purpose White Glue [$2.50, 8 oz, $0.32/oz]
The success of the Wood Glue lead to a similar 1-part glue to 5-part water experiment with White Glue.  The White Glue would presumably be free of the amber “color” of the Wood Glue and therefore have less color shift.  But there must be some ingredient in the White Glue that caused the darker color shift.  Though it was still good, the Wood Glue was noticeably better.
Several Armor/Aircraft paint manufacturers offer their version of the Vallejo “Fixer”.  Seemed like they were also worth giving a try. All 3 were applied with an airbrush.
AK Interactive AKI-048 Pigment Fixer ($8, 1.2oz, $6.70/oz)
This the fixative they recommend for their weathering powders.  Color shift was a bit darker than expected.
MIG 3000 Pigment Fixer ($6, 1.2oz, $5/oz)
Could have come off of the same assembly line as the AK Interactive Fixer, since the results were nearly identical.
502 Abteilung ABT-P249 Pigment Fixer ($7, 2.4oz, $2.90/oz)
A respected name among Armor Modelers, figured theirs was worth a try.  Performed well.  Though there was a slight darkening, it did better than the AK or MIG; and similar to the Vallejo.
And the winner is…
In the previous Part 2 of this shootout, there was a 10-place tie for last place.  However this time Dead Flat had some real competition.   Makes sense that the paint manufacturers that offer products to Armor/Aircraft modelers would have decent performers (otherwise they would not sell).  Vallejo Airbrush Thinner and 502 Abteilung stood-out as having minimal color shift.  The diluted wood glue was a pleasant surprise.  Dead Flat still came out on top, but by a closer margin than Part 2. 
If Dead Flat were to cease production, I would seriously consider using diluted wood glue, applied with a spray mister bottle.  The color shift was minimal, it left a flat finish, and wood glue (in one form or another) will be on the market for a very long time; and for the price, is pretty tough to beat. 

Edited 3 time(s). Last edit at 10/07/20 10:38 by tmotor.

Date: 10/07/20 00:31
Re: Fixative Shootout (Part 3)
Author: Lighter

Excellent! Thanks for doing my work for me vis a vis the military paint manufacturers recommendations.  I'm coming up to the weathering stage on a hopper where I will use some pigments. I do have the Rustall dead flat and that still looks like the winner. I've never used it so it's time to give it a go.

As long as I'm spending your money - I wonder if the sort of pigment makes a difference? Pan pastels have a binder and filler - not much compared to stick pastels - but pan pastels are a variety of pastels, not pure pigments. I do know that stick-pastels, the cheap ones, have lots of filler and binder and do all sorts of unuseful things on a model. Interesting that you mention Abteilung 502. I've just gotten one of their fairly pricy pigments to give a try and compare to cheaper pigments from AK Interactive which is the owner of Abteilung. My mainstay are CMK pigments which used to be carried by Walthers. A very quick internet search did not turn up a USA dealer with much stock. I've just started "testing" Abteilung, AKI, and Vallejo pigments - just a couple samples of each. My unscientific thought is that these Spanish pigments are less dusty than the CMK. And a heck of a lot less dusty than powdered chalk and most (not all) of the artist's pastels I've used.

One more time; thanks for doing this testing. Weldbond, eh?

Edited 5 time(s). Last edit at 10/07/20 00:52 by Lighter.

Date: 10/07/20 11:29
Re: Fixative Shootout (Part 3)
Author: gnguy

fantastic work.  Thanks for all the time and money you put into this.  It greatly benefits us all.

Mike Stewart
Oakley, CA

Date: 10/07/20 22:34
Re: Fixative Shootout (Part 3)
Author: tmotor

Lighter Wrote:
> Excellent! Thanks for doing my work for me vis a
> vis the military paint manufacturers
> recommendations.
> As long as I'm spending your money - I wonder if
> the sort of pigment makes a difference?

Funny you should mention that.  Stay tuned for Part 4.  ;-)

> One more time; thanks for doing this testing.

You are very welcome!  :-D

It has been on my To-Do-List for years, and this whole COVID-19 business gave me an excuse to find the time to finally test some samples.

Date: 10/07/20 22:44
Re: Fixative Shootout (Part 3)
Author: tmotor

gnguy Wrote:
> fantastic work.  Thanks for all the time and
> money you put into this.  It greatly benefits us
> all.
> Mike Stewart
> Oakley, CA

I was going to run the tests anyway, and I assumed it would be of interest to others.  (Based on the number of Views, I'm not the only one curious about fixatives.)
TO members have been very generous with their informative responses whenever I post inquires.  I hope to return the favor in some small way by sharing my findings.  

Edited 1 time(s). Last edit at 10/07/20 23:01 by tmotor.

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