tips for working with enamels?

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Thread: tips for working with enamels?

  1. #1
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    tips for working with enamels?

    hello all!

    still working on various red hoods and yesterday i picked up some red metallic enamel to see how it would look.

    but i haven't a clue how to work with it and the results are a bit uneven, my fingers look like i have been tearing apart small animals, and i'm pretty sure i have a good contact high going on right now.

    anyone want to share any tips? i'd be grateful.

    also, this stuff is wicked. i'm having serious doubts that it would be safe for use on typical 1/6 sculpts. will it eat hot toys plastic? i'm still waiting for my iron man sculpt (yeah, i finally broke down and went that route), but i'll look for safer paint if this is a bad idea.

    thoughts?


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  3. #2
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    Re: tips for working with enamels?

    Buy lots of thinner (turpentine), use separate brushes from your acrylics, paint in a well ventilated area and wear a mask to avoid headaches etc.. latex gloves or barrier cream are a good idea and stay well away from any ignition sources as it's also very flammable! Enamels are harder than acrylics but not as tough so they crack easily.
    PS wash your brushes and hands in thinner straight away then use soap and warm water.
    pukingdog: What I like about your build threads, is that they start out like chaotic car wreck footage, which morphs into great figures. Your style is fearless.

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    Re: tips for working with enamels?

    Quote Originally Posted by shovelchop81 View Post
    Buy lots of thinner (turpentine), use separate brushes from your acrylics, paint in a well ventilated area and wear a mask to avoid headaches etc.. latex gloves or barrier cream are a good idea and stay well away from any ignition sources as it's also very flammable! Enamels are harder than acrylics but not as tough so they crack easily.
    i guess that open flame in the background is a bad idea ~ hahahahaha. the bottle even has warnings all over it.

    i is dum.

    thanks shovelchop81! definitely using cheap throwaway brushes with this, but clearly could use more ventilation (and less fire).

    : D

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    Re: tips for working with enamels?

    Quote Originally Posted by lastintheirclass View Post
    i guess that open flame in the background is a bad idea ~ hahahahaha. the bottle even has warnings all over it.

    i is dum.

    thanks shovelchop81! definitely using cheap throwaway brushes with this, but clearly could use more ventilation (and less fire).

    : D
    Crikey! I thought that was a reflection of a light bulb!
    You can use the thinner to "water" down the paint and make it last longer as you do with acrylics.
    pukingdog: What I like about your build threads, is that they start out like chaotic car wreck footage, which morphs into great figures. Your style is fearless.

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    Re: tips for working with enamels?

    since what you need is total covering, why not spray paint?

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    Re: tips for working with enamels?

    Hallo!

    Being several thousand years old, I go back to the Way Back Daze when all we had for out plastic model kits were a few choices of gloss Testor's enamels that were 10, then 15, then 25 cents in the hobby section rack at the local 5 & 10 or drug store.



    And were so happy when they started to offer.. flats.

    They tend to be a thick paint, and do not do all that well brushed- especially with not so soft artificial non-hair soft brushes to avoid brush strokes.
    Thinning with solvents help, but then the type of solvent can effect base paints below it or "corrode" some plastics/styrenes.

    And they make a "hard candy shell" type effect that can cover fine detail work and moldings.

    Oh, enamel will spray over lacquers, but lacquers will crack up and craze underlying enamel.
    Kurt

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    Re: tips for working with enamels?

    Quote Originally Posted by shovelchop81 View Post
    You can use the thinner to "water" down the paint and make it last longer as you do with acrylics.
    weirdly it's too runny as it is. i don't know why i thought it would be thick like nail polish. ha!

    Quote Originally Posted by navetsea View Post
    since what you need is total covering, why not spray paint?
    i went to five different places and none of them had metallic red. one place had what they called metallic red ~ it was a weird salmony color.

    Quote Originally Posted by Kurt-Heinrich1917 View Post
    Hallo!
    Thinning with solvents help, but then the type of solvent can effect base paints below it or "corrode" some plastics/styrenes.
    good to know ~ thanks!



    hopefully you can see that the end results turned out decent enough. you can't see the flaws unless you're right up close and personal. otherwise it's got a nice sheen on it.

    dunno if the iron man head will be easier or harder to paint. this stuff dries very plasticky, so i'm thinking the usual trick of blu-tacking the eyes, etc. out is not going to fly well.

    : o p

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    Re: tips for working with enamels?

    Try coating with clear gloss(spray can).Tamiya has 'pearl gloss' I think,adds the glitter.

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    Re: tips for working with enamels?

    When I first got in to the hobby I tried painting a pair of German climbing boots with enamels, and the paint remained tacky for YEARS! Just be careful what you paint.

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    Re: tips for working with enamels?

    Enamels dont quite stick well on rubbery parts I think

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    Re: tips for working with enamels?

    Quote Originally Posted by ActionMan View Post
    When I first got in to the hobby I tried painting a pair of German climbing boots with enamels, and the paint remained tacky for YEARS! Just be careful what you paint.
    Quote Originally Posted by dandid View Post
    Enamels dont quite stick well on rubbery parts I think
    I've still got a Hasbro Storm Trooper that a guy painted black with enamel years ago and it's a disaster, paint still sticks to everything! I recomend spray paints too, you can get them online just do very light multiple coats.
    pukingdog: What I like about your build threads, is that they start out like chaotic car wreck footage, which morphs into great figures. Your style is fearless.

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    Re: tips for working with enamels?

    Looks good in your photos. Enamel has really awesome coverage capacity quickly. Maybe consider airbrushing it in the future if you aren't satisfied up close. You could also purchase an aerosolized can and seal with a pearlescent top coat.

    Enamel on vinyl and soft plastics is a no-no. I found out the hard way awhile ago

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    Re: tips for working with enamels?

    weirdly it's too runny as it is. i don't know why i thought it would be thick like nail polish. ha!
    Are you sure you stirred it enough? Enamel is a lot heavier than acrylic, the results look great though.
    pukingdog: What I like about your build threads, is that they start out like chaotic car wreck footage, which morphs into great figures. Your style is fearless.

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    Re: tips for working with enamels?

    if you can't find red metallic spray paint, then you should get a silver metallic, and red candytone
    use silver metallic first then coat it with translucent red candytone, you get a wet look red metallic, where the metallic part seems deeply buried that way, I find it cooler than metallic paint.

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    Re: tips for working with enamels?

    Quote Originally Posted by navetsea View Post
    if you can't find red metallic spray paint, then you should get a silver metallic, and red candytone
    use silver metallic first then coat it with translucent red candytone, you get a wet look red metallic, where the metallic part seems deeply buried that way, I find it cooler than metallic paint.
    That's what I was goint to suggest, but replace the silver undercoat with gold paint instead.
    (It clear reds come out better painted over metallic gold.)

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    Re: tips for working with enamels?

    Quote Originally Posted by ActionMan View Post
    When I first got in to the hobby I tried painting a pair of German climbing boots with enamels, and the paint remained tacky for YEARS! Just be careful what you paint.
    this is what i am most afraid of. though it seems to have dried hard and non-sticky, i don't think i would trust it to last like that forever.

    Quote Originally Posted by 8-bit commando View Post
    Looks good in your photos.

    Enamel on vinyl and soft plastics is a no-no. I found out the hard way awhile ago
    thanks! and good to know about the vinyl and softs. i was trying to avoid buying a whole can of paint for a small job, but it'll probably be worth it to go that route and i can redo this one as well.

    Quote Originally Posted by shovelchop81 View Post
    Are you sure you stirred it enough? Enamel is a lot heavier than acrylic, the results look great though.
    i feel like i shook it and stirred it forever, but yeah, it was very runny (hence the mess). i had to put like seven coats on it before it started to stick. thanks though, i'm happy with how it came out for now too, though i know it can be improved.

    Quote Originally Posted by navetsea View Post
    if you can't find red metallic spray paint, then you should get a silver metallic, and red candytone
    use silver metallic first then coat it with translucent red candytone, you get a wet look red metallic, where the metallic part seems deeply buried that way, I find it cooler than metallic paint.
    Quote Originally Posted by Cerberus View Post
    That's what I was goint to suggest, but replace the silver undercoat with gold paint instead.
    (It clear reds come out better painted over metallic gold.)
    oh, this is an interesting technique! maybe i can try this next since i can get these fairly cheap without having to order them.

    thanks all! i can get spare hoods for this version of the red hood, but i would hate to ruin my jason todd red hood since i'll only have one first shot at him.

    : D

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    Re: tips for working with enamels?

    Quote Originally Posted by Cerberus View Post
    That's what I was goint to suggest, but replace the silver undercoat with gold paint instead.
    (It clear reds come out better painted over metallic gold.)
    agree on that too, will look warmer on top of gold.

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    Re: tips for working with enamels?

    Quote Originally Posted by navetsea View Post
    since what you need is total covering, why not spray paint?
    I've been experimenting a bit with painting myself with mixed results. I was wandering the same thing. Spraying gives you the best opportunity at an even application.. plus you can avoid those pesky streaks that have a way of showing up once every thing dries. Enamels does funny things once applied to some plastics.. Never seems to dry completely. I painted a helmet last year that still isn't dry enough to avoid finger prints upon touching it
    " Take care of Business, Or the Business will take care of you.. "

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    Re: tips for working with enamels?

    If an enamel paint hardens like it supposed to, I've never seen any go south afterward (i.e. turn soft again).

    I too have painted something along the line and that paint just would NOT dry. I finally stuck it in an oven at about 150 degrees - not hot enough to melt the painted object. At that point, it did, indeed cure and is not tacky to this day.
    __________________________________________________ _____________________
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  22. #20
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    Re: tips for working with enamels?

    Quote Originally Posted by dadrab View Post
    If an enamel paint hardens like it supposed to, I've never seen any go south afterward (i.e. turn soft again).

    I too have painted something along the line and that paint just would NOT dry. I finally stuck it in an oven at about 150 degrees - not hot enough to melt the painted object. At that point, it did, indeed cure and is not tacky to this day.
    Interesting, makes sense as all the solvent will be forced to evaporate from the painted item. I've got an open flame gas oven so it would probably just go boom!

    pukingdog: What I like about your build threads, is that they start out like chaotic car wreck footage, which morphs into great figures. Your style is fearless.

  23. #21
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    Re: tips for working with enamels?

    Ok this is going to be a bit long winded, but lots of useful paint information here. I can't remember where I found this article but well worth the read:

    There are so many paints on the market, what should I use? What are the properties of various paints? I'll talk about some I've used.
    • In general paints are separated into 3 categories: (water-based) acrylic, enamels and lacquer. Acrylics can also be artist acrylics (such as Liquitex or Golden) and modeling acrylics (such as Tamiya and Gunze Aqueous).
    • Paints have a drying time, which is the time it takes for the paint to dry (duh). But it also needs to cure so that it can settle chemically. Before paint is cured, it's risky to handle the paint surface.
    • Paints are composed of pigment, binding agent and thinning agent. The pigment is the coloration of the paint. But to bind paint to the surface you need the binding agent, which is usually the gooey liquid on newly bought paints. Thinning agent is the thinner. It's not recommended that you pour thinned paint back into the jar because it'd shorten the life of paint remaining in the jar, but lacquer-based paint doesn't have this limitation.
    • There's also artist oil which I discuss in the oil painting section.
    • There's no such thing as "the best paint", each paint has their pros and cons, and the one that works for you is the best, and it is determined by how you build kits. If you're a beginner I'd recommend modeling acrylics below because they're the safest (least toxic), readily available and quite easy to work with.

    Artist acrylics (Liquitex/Golden)
    Many U.S. garage kit builder uses this kind of paint. Readily available in the states. The ModelMania videos works with them.
    You can thin them with water, but it's better to thin with either alcohol or Windex (the blue tint does not affect paint). Airbrush medium is available for airbrushing. Lacquer thinner will react with them, but will result in disgusting gunks of latex.
    Recommended if you don't build kits very quickly and are in general careful in handling parts. I gave up on these paints because I'm neither.
    Pros:
    • Non-toxic
    • Many colors available
    • Good skintone colors
    • Relatively cheap
    • Many additives available to achieve different effects.
    • Relatively quick drying
    Cons:
    • Poor adhesion - these paints forms a latex-like film that's not very sandable and does not adhere well to surfaces
    • Long curing time - takes a day or more depending on the weather
    • It's more annoying to clean from the airbrush than modeling paints because of the latex-like properties.

    Modeling acrylics (Tamiya/Gunze/ModelMaster Acryl)
    Tamiya is widely available in the states but Gunze Aqueous less, yet the latter is superior. I have not tried Acryl but heard it's kind of like Gunze.
    You can thin them with water, but shouldn't. It's better to thin them with either alcohol or Windex (the blue tint does not affect paint). You can also thin them with lacquer thinner for ultra fast drying, but lacquer thinner is toxic.
    Recommended if you're starting out.
    Pros:
    • Non-toxic
    • Gunze Aqueous is superior for handbrushing since it self-levels.
    • Relatively quick drying
    Cons:
    • Poor adhesion - they scratch off easier (Tamiya in particular, Gunze is a bit tougher)
    • Long curing time - takes a day or more depending on the weather
    • Tamiya is poor for handbrushing

    Enamels (Tamiya/Testors)
    Testors is very popular and cheap, though I prefer Tamiya
    You can thin them with mineral spirits (i.e. "paint thinner"), or lacquer thinner which is more toxic but decreases drying and curing time.
    Recommended for touch up jobs.
    Pros:
    • Cheap
    • Good for handbrushing since it self-levels (because it's slower drying)
    • Forms a tough film once it dries
    Cons:
    • Long curing time - takes several days at least to a week.
    • Long drying time
    • Toxic

    Lacquer(Floquil/Automotive paints/Gunze Mr. Color)
    I use Mr. Color extensively, but they are hard to find in the states and I import all of them.
    I love it due to its quickness of drying and curing, and its tough film. It can be sanded after it dries. Gunze offers two different types of thinner for it, namely Mr. Thinner and Mr. Color Leveling Thinner. The latter is basically Mr. Thinner with some retarder added in. The retarder slows drying and serves 2 purposes: (1) makes it easier to hand brush (so that the brush strokes will hopefully level off and disappear before the paint dries). (2) makes it easier to airbrush. You can thin Mr. Color with lacquer thinner or Mr. Thinner, but unless your paint is very thin, Mr. Color dries in mid-air before it hits the paint surface, causing either strings or grains. I get much better results with color leveling thinner. I recommend getting the color leveling thinner even if it's slightly more expensive. If you can't, get a bottle of mild retarder from Gunze, and add a few drops to your thinner/color mixture.

    Mr. Thinner is a synthetic lacquer so it won't eat styrene like lacquer thinner does. But Mr. Thinner is expensive and isn't available in a lot of places in the States. However, if you've mastered airbrushing well enough to not spray a big reservior of paint on the paint surface, you can really use lacquer thinner as a cheap alternative. The thin layer of lacquer is not strong enough to eat your styrene surface. Also, I use lacquer thinner with mild retarder to thin Mr. Surfacer as a primer.

    Mr. Color dissolves slightly in alcohol however, so I don't paint acrylics on top of it anymore - if I screw up the acrylics layer, I still can't use alcohol to wipe off the mistakes. Oil/Enamels is fine however.

    Finally, all the other paints are unusable if they're dried inside the bottle. Adding thinner to them don't do much because they're changed chemically already. But Mr. Color will "reactivate" if you do this, making them quite economical.
    Pros:
    • Very fast drying and curing (minutes)
    • Good for handbrushing with color leveling thinner
    • Forms a tough film once it dries
    • Excellent adhesion
    Cons:
    • Not easily available
    • A bit expensive
    • Very toxic

    Mixing Paint
    I use dead or cheap brushes to transfer and mix paints. The big cons is hair can come off and land on your models, but brushes hold paint well. Sometimes when I need to transfer paint at a ratio, I either eyeball and pour from the jar, or "dip my brush in red twice, and yellow once, mix..."

    Cleaning Paint
    The traditional wisdom is keep 2 or 3 jars of thinner. Jar 1 is the dirtiest thinner, you swirl and twist your brush in it to rinse off most of the paint. Then rinse the brush in jar 2 and your brush is mostly clean. At Jar 3 your brush is completely clean.

    Using Different Paints
    It's advantageous to keep several different lines of paints. You can paint acrylics on top of enamels, and wipe off any mistakes with thinners for acrylics without affecting the enamel layers, which makes detailing relatively painless. Lacquer thinner will dissolve both enamels and acrylics, thinners for enamels however does not affect acrylics (and lacquer) and vice versa (rumors are that some acrylics are affected by mineral spirits - test first - I've never encounter such acrylics) Therefore, anything can go on top of lacquer, enamels can go on top of acrylics and vice versa.

    Glossiness
    To get a good finish you want to be able to control the glossiness of your paint. Most lines of paints have glossy and flat versions, e.g. Tamiya, Gunze. But flat yellow can be gotten from gloss yellow by adding a flat base, so there is no need to buy both. In artist acrylics, you mix the paint with matte medium.
    You can also get an ultra glossy surface by coating the paint surface with Future Floor Wax. You can brush it on as it self-levels very well, or your can airbrush it straight out of the bottle. It can be thinned like an acrylic paint. You can also get a flat clear coat by adding flat base to Future.

    Special paints
    Pearl-Ex pigments: These are produced by Jacquard and available in many art stores (or Misterart) These are powdered pigments, so you need to add a binding agent and some thinning agent to use it. You can mix them with paint - the effect is variable depending on the opaqueness (how well the paint covers) of your paint, and the quantity of powder you need to add vary accordingly. Don't try to add too much however, because it can clog your airbrush. You can also add them to clear colors and achieve a wide variety of shiny pearlescent effects. I have also drybrushed the powder on with oil drying agents.
    Maziora colors: These are proprietary paints for automotives. In the US they're marketed as Chromallusion paints. These colors can change colors at different angels, providing some very interesting effects. The gradation in the color change is more interesting and will give nice hues (difficult to describe without a picture), and looks better than the Duo colors offered by Jacquard. Gunze offered 5 of the 9 colors, but they're very expensive (like $20 for a small bottle.)

    Hope this was useful...Andy
    " and just what would you do with a Brain, if you had one"? "Prince, harley....come on....Cooper you are such a goofball
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    Re: tips for working with enamels?

    The prior post covered many of the qualities of the various paints but I believe it leaves out a few things which are crucial. Pardon me for getting long winded.

    I am certainly no expert, but have used and wasted an awful lot of paint on models and action figure accessories, so here goes:

    First of all, as stated earlier, I started with the simple Testors square bottles of paint on $1 or 79 cent model airplanes. (That should give you an idea of how long ago.) This was simple enamel paint.

    After repeatedly buying the same colours of Testors square bottles and mixing some of my own, I found that their shelf life is really only a couple years before the paint starts to settle or separate which is too short. With 40 or so bottles, you always need to replace them sometimes even before you have used them. The primary colours seemed to have better shelf life than the camouflage and matte colours. Humbrol and Pactra are at least as bad for shelf life.

    When Testors Model Master enamels first came out, I found that its shelf life was pretty much indefinite. The pigment is much finer and the paint doesn't separate as easily. I believe the current price for these is around $4 per bottle. It is pretty easy to have $150 worth of paint at this price but you don't notice because you only buy them in ones and twos.

    With model cars, I once tried painting the lettering on the tyres. The paint stayed tacky for years as someone else mentioned. The reason this happens is because the enamels will pull the plasticizers out of soft / flexible plastic and the paint stays smeary and never dries.

    The same thing happens with soft plastic on action figure parts such as hands and heads. Even on some hard plastic accessories such as guns, you are not safe because when you leave them in the figures' hands for a few days, the paint will be damaged by the soft plastic in the hands. That is why some manufacturers will wrap parts of the guns in clear plastic where the figures' hands will touch them while the figures are in the box.

    The solution to this is acrylic paints. Again, I use Testors Model Master though I have only about 15 or 20 bottles in various colours. They work pretty well in painting faces, eyes, eyebrows, etc. (I am not any good at painting eyes.)
    Tamiya paiints are also pretty good, but since it isn't a good idea mixing different brands of paint and thinners, I tend to use a lot more Testors Model Master.
    I also have a bunch more single bottles which I sometimes use when there is no need to mix anything. No matter what the name of the colour is or the FS code on the bottle, don't count on different brands of paint looking quite the same when they are dry. Sometimes this works to your advantage when you want different areas of a piece to look slightly different.

    Brushes:
    Buy some good ones though not overly expensive ones because they WILL wear out. Enamels will destroy brushes faster than Acrylic / water based paints. I generally don't spend more than about $3-$5 on a brush and tend to buy them in sets. There used to be a pretty serious difference between natural hair (camel, sable, etc.) brushes and synthetic, but I don't believe there is much difference any more. A true artist may disagree, but either is good enough for me. Most of mine come from craft stores such as Pearl Arts, AC Moore, or Michaels. With the discount coupons they mail you, usually you can get some really good deals. Hobby shops sell the same quality stuff but at a significant markup.

    Sometimes Q-tips work well enough to save wear on the good brushes. The bulk pack cruddy brushes also may work well enough at times.
    When you are shopping with your wife / girlfriend, you may find some really tiny disposable brushes at the make-up store that might also be useful.

    Mixing Paint:
    I do most of it in little containers or on an improvised palette. Brushes work well for transfering paint. I have a bunch of cheap camel hair brushes that aren't much good for anything else. I even have a few plastic syringes (free from your local pharmacy for dosing children's medicine) for the same purpose but have never wanted to mix enough paint to need them.

    Thinner:
    In theory, you can thin Acrylic paints with water. I do not. I use thinner that is the same brand as the paint. The same applies to enamels. Thin only the amount you intend to use. You can't UN-thin it.

    Brush Cleaner:
    I use bulk paint thinner (from gallon cans) for enamels and just plain water for acrylics. Brush cleaner should not be used for paint thinner even if it is the same brand!

    Alternatives:
    Nail polish is often a pretty fair enamel if you are looking for really cool shades and aren't painting large areas. Properly used, they tend to dry pretty smooth. You can get some really useful colours this time of the year (around Halloween).

    Craft acrylics such as Anita's and other $1 per bottle stuff doesn't tend to adhere well to plastic though it seems to work well enough on wood. They also tend to dry with a matte finish and not as smooth as the good model paints.

    Hope this helps.
    - Ivan.

  25. #23
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    Re: tips for working with enamels?

    fantastic info & tips guys

  26. #24
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    Re: tips for working with enamels?

    Quote Originally Posted by 8-bit commando View Post
    fantastic info & tips guys
    seconded! thanks!

    : D

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    Re: tips for working with enamels?

    can someone save those great informations in tutorial section please?

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tips for working with enamels?
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