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Made in gb
[ADMIN]
Da Big Mek






London, UK

Paint Problems
I am a very slow painter who paints in bursts throughout the year rather than anything resembling consistency. As a result, my paint collection contains a lot of infrequently used paints which thanks to high pigment levels end up getting rather unpleasant and either dry out or separate to the point that I need to use a lot of effort or a machine to shake them again, either way it is quite time consuming.

Reaper's Agitator
While testing out some other paints recently, I noticed that my reaper master series paints mixed a lot faster than the somewhat similar vallejo model color paints. Long has it been rumoured that reaper have a pewter skull inside each paint pot as an agitator, but I have never found any photographic evidence of this online. I decided to bite the bullet using a pot that I have rarely ever used, and so I present to you a (possibly) exclusive look at reaper's paint agitator present in each of their paints:



Spray Cans
When you shake a spray can, you can clearly hear the ball bearing inside which helps mix the paint. I figured I would buy some ball bearings and put them in my paints. I ordered a few hundred BBs and then thought to myself... rust? I mixed up some water with a little bit of salt as a catalyst just to see how quickly stainless steel BBs might rust:
New BBs:

Steel BB soaking in slightly salted water:

After 1 day rust was already starting to appear and stained the container:

It turns out most cans use ceramic balls that are a bit harder to acquire in a useful size. Steel rusts, even stainless steel and only marine grade stainless steel is appropriate which is a bit harder and more expensive to find. This left me trying to find a cheap, heavy ball to help mix my paint.

A Solution
After a few trips to the bead store, I found some lava beads which are completely unaffected by liquid as they are simply smooth, round stones. They come in an 8mm size which is big enough to be useful, but small enough to fit through the opening in a vallejo style paint bottle. They weigh considerably more than the pewter skulls which reaper use, so in theory should take less effort to agitate old paint.
A string of 8mm lava beads:

A lava bead soaking in salty water for over a week - no change!:


The next step was simple, just add some more water to my dehydrated paints and drop in a lava bead (or two) to each pot. Here are some before and after photos of a heavily separated foundation paint. The 'after' photo is from just 10 seconds of shaking the closed pot once the beads are inside. The two colour paints are because the green paint consumed the bead, whereas the flesh paint was so separated that the bead did not sink initially. The flesh paint took about 25 seconds of shaking to mix up perfectly so still a very good result.





Next up was testing the vallejo model color paints. These have very high pigment content so separate if you leave them for just a day it seems. Shaking them is always a big pain and takes a lot of effort when they have separated to a great degree. The second photo below shows how to open a pot in case you have not seen it before (or have not had the joy of a pressure build up from a blocked nozzle forcing the cap off and ejecting paint all over your new carpet.. oops). As you can see, the diameter of the vallejo pot is about 12mm, so an 8mm lava bead will comfortably fit inside, even if you have a load of dried paint around the cap. When you put the lid back on, be careful of paint shooting out the nozzle from the increasing air pressure as the cap is lowered. You definitely want to wear gloves when doing this to vallejo models, and have a lot of tissue paper handy. The final picture below shows the paint looking very mixed after about 15 seconds of shaking with a bead inside the pot as an agitator.





Finally, my tests went well enough that I bought a load of these beads from an online supplier. At time of writing the beads cost $4.49 for about 50 beads from beadaholique in the US (they ship worldwide). I have now got bead agitators in all my citadel paints about about 1/4 of my vallejo paints and soon will have them in all my paints. The change in effort required to shake paints to a decent mixture has been very positive and I can highly recommend adding agitators to your paints.

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Made in us
Regular Dakkanaut






Great article.

Something to keep in mind, if you use this for Vallejo. When dispensing the paint, you cannot turn the bottle upside down and must do it at an angle. If you dont, the ball will fall into the tip and keep the paint from coming out. At least this has been my experience. Definitely makes mixing them easier though.

   
Made in nl
Never Forget Isstvan!





The Netherlands

Will this also work for GW paints? The problem is that the paints dry out and/or lose their colour (components separating) right?

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Made in gb
[ADMIN]
Da Big Mek






London, UK

Works perfectly for GW paints. I have added agitators to my foundation paints, standard GW paints (metallics and normal), and all vallejo model color paint types too. Most of the time for GW paints you'll need to add water as well as they dehydrate quite quickly.

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Longtime Dakkanaut






Las Vegas

WOW!!!! Simple, practical and useful every single day of painting! So far, this is my favorite tutorial (and will win my vote unless something better comes along) and I am envious I didn't think of it first!

 
   
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Growlin' Guntrukk Driver with Killacannon





Charlotte

Great find Lego! I'm off to a craft store to find some now...

Waaagh-in-Progress

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Made in us
Major General





Florence, KY

legoburner wrote:Reaper's Agitator
While testing out some other paints recently, I noticed that my reaper master series paints mixed a lot faster than the somewhat similar vallejo model color paints. Long has it been rumoured that reaper have a pewter skull inside each paint pot as an agitator, but I have never found any photographic evidence of this online. I decided to bite the bullet using a pot that I have rarely ever used, and so I present to you a (possibly) exclusive look at reaper's paint agitator present in each of their paints

Not really a big secret. At one time, if you've purchased their empty Master Series paint bottles...



... you'd get them in the bottom of the blister like this...



That particular blister had nine skulls for just three bottles. However I'm not sure if they're in the newer blisters or not.

This message was edited 1 time. Last update was at 2009/05/15 04:11:15


'It is a source of constant consternation that my opponents
cannot correlate their innate inferiority with their inevitable
defeat. It would seem that stupidity is as eternal as war.'

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Overlord of the Crownworld of Gidrim
 
   
Made in gb
[ADMIN]
Da Big Mek






London, UK

I had not seen the empty bottles from reaper before, thanks for sharing. I had looked all over the web for pictures of the skull before but only found discussion rather than actual evidence, so nice to even more pictures of it

WOW!!!! Simple, practical and useful every single day of painting! So far, this is my favorite tutorial (and will win my vote unless something better comes along) and I am envious I didn't think of it first!


I cant win as I'm not allowed to enter, just adding a tutorial for the spirit of the contest and the fun of it.

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Skillful Swordsman





Rockford, IL

Thanks for the great article Lego!

I had tried this myself with stainless steel ball bearings and now all the bottles that I did that with have a nice rust spot at the bottom and really need to be thrown away.

Lava beads it is then! I'll have to check out my local Hobby Lobby first, otherwise I'll go with beadaholique.


Player of many. Master of none. My blog - http://jack-of-all-games.blogspot.com/ 
   
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Incorporating Wet-Blending






Glendale, AZ

Not to burst your bubble Lego, but pebbles from your yard work perfectly fine. Just be sure to wash them thouroughly to remove dirt and dust (and to make sure your pebble is a pebble and not just a very small clod of dirt).

Free>$4.49/fifty.

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[ADMIN]
Da Big Mek






London, UK

Lordhat wrote:Not to burst your bubble Lego, but pebbles from your yard work perfectly fine. Just be sure to wash them thouroughly to remove dirt and dust (and to make sure your pebble is a pebble and not just a very small clod of dirt).

Free>$4.49/fifty.


The cost of buying a second house to get a yard full of pebbles is prohibitive for me and my mud filled garden. The main reason I went with round beads instead of general pebbles was that spray cans use round balls to enhance mixing, and I figure they probably know something I dont. Also, knowing my luck with paints I would pick up a lump of coal or iron or other slowly soluble item which would happily ruin my paints.

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Made in au
Morphing Obliterator





Australia

Ive used lead 'split shots' from fishing gear. I found them very effective. Nice work on this tutorial!

This message was edited 1 time. Last update was at 2009/05/16 12:53:49


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Death-Dealing Dark Angels Devastator




Saltillo, MS


You are correct that stainless steel does rust, but airgun BB's aren't stainless steel, they're either zinc or copper plated soft steel. The plating keeps them from immediately rusting, but when they're outside or exposed to water for a while, they'll rust. Back in the day when we used oil based enamels, it would be okay to use ball bearings or washers because water wasn't in the paint.

I cut open (shot open, really) an empty can of spray paint a few weeks ago and the ball was a hard plastic.
   
Made in us
Major General





Florence, KY

wittzo wrote:I cut open (shot open, really) an empty can of spray paint a few weeks ago and the ball was a hard plastic.

They also use a heavy glass ball as well.

'It is a source of constant consternation that my opponents
cannot correlate their innate inferiority with their inevitable
defeat. It would seem that stupidity is as eternal as war.'

- Nemesor Zahndrekh of the Sautekh Dynasty
Overlord of the Crownworld of Gidrim
 
   
Made in se
Space Marine Scout with Sniper Rifle





Swedn

I put a glass marble in my vallejos as agitator, works great.

This message was edited 1 time. Last update was at 2009/05/28 04:33:59


 
   
Made in us
Ollanius Pius - Savior of the Emperor






Right behind you.

I got some of those Reaper empty bottles awhile ago, and I have to say...I love them.
They're amazing for keeping Vallejo paints good.
   
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Fixture of Dakka



Chicago, Illinois

excellent tip and will definitely be doing this.

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Most Glorious Grey Seer





Everett, WA

Personally, I don't like to shake paint as it introduces air into the mixture. Ten bucks will get you a powered mixer that'll do everything you need.


Reading's for morons who can't understand pictures.

 
   
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Sneaky Kommando





Baltimore, MD

Breotan wrote:Ten bucks will get you a powered mixer that'll do everything you need.



Doesn't this waste paint, as you're dipping something into the pot and then removing it?

   
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[ADMIN]
Da Big Mek






London, UK

I had considered using a powered mixer, but I dont want the effort of cleaning something every time I mix a paint, and vallejo bottles have such narrow heads and are so full of paint that it is a disaster waiting to happen.

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Longtime Dakkanaut






Las Vegas

legoburner wrote:I had considered using a powered mixer, but I dont want the effort of cleaning something every time I mix a paint, and vallejo bottles have such narrow heads and are so full of paint that it is a disaster waiting to happen.


I actually ended up getting Lead Split Shot fishing weights (PSS - 3/0 size) for my Vallejo bottles. Dropped two in each and haven't had a complaint yet (been about two weeks). Don't have any issues with the shot jamming the opening or anything. Hope this helps.

This is still my favorite tutorial. It's super simple but more importantly this tutorial is useful for every painter, every day that they sit down to paint. It spawns different ideas in how to accomplish the same goal and it will most likely improve everyone's painting that uses this or a variation of this. Well done!

This message was edited 1 time. Last update was at 2009/05/30 14:30:11


 
   
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Death-Dealing Ultramarine Devastator




California

Lead is the stuff that is bad for you....if you use them that means no licking your brushes.
   
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Death-Dealing Dark Angels Devastator




Saltillo, MS

Ghaz wrote:
wittzo wrote:I cut open (shot open, really) an empty can of spray paint a few weeks ago and the ball was a hard plastic.

They also use a heavy glass ball as well.


I remember opening one years ago and it was glass, I guess they're cutting back on expenses.

I bought a bag of hematite beads at Hobby Lobby, I couldn't find lava beads, but the hematite fit in the Vallejo bottles and other paints perfectly. That and some water, flow release, and drying retarder resurrected a lot of goopy paint.


Automatically Appended Next Post:
legoburner wrote:I had considered using a powered mixer, but I dont want the effort of cleaning something every time I mix a paint, and vallejo bottles have such narrow heads and are so full of paint that it is a disaster waiting to happen.


There are several companies that make battery operated drink mixers that are just a plastic rod with a split end that slings open from centripital force when it's turned on. It might be easier to clean than the ones with agitators..

I read on another site about using small bungie cords to attach a film cannister to a Mouse sander to use as a shaker. You put your paint in the film cannister, strap it down tight and let her rip for a minute or so. Any air bubbles rise to the surface if the paint's thin enough..

This message was edited 2 times. Last update was at 2009/06/11 06:29:39


 
   
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Da Big Mek






London, UK

Someone really needs to bring out a dremel attachment for mixing GW and Vallejo paint bottles

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Jinking Ravenwing Land Speeder Pilot





San Diego, CA USA

THIS is built for our purpose! This model is about $35 and works beautifully.



http://www.micromark.com/PAINT-SHAKER-110v-AC,6781.html


 
   
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Fixture of Dakka






drinking ale on the ground like russ intended

legoburner wrote:Someone really needs to bring out a dremel attachment for mixing GW and Vallejo paint bottles



Not hard at all get a piece of stainless welding rod cut it to about 3 inches bend a you or v shape on one end that can fit in the neck of the pot or bottle and bobs your uncle.
Use a battery powered dremel or a plugged one at very low speed you might need a cap to cover the hole.

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Serious Squig Herder






Thanks for this tutorial - I've had a lot of problems getting consistent results from one use to the next, and adding an agitator really helps getting them to an ideal consistency.

A just a tip for anyone who can't find lava beads - I used some heavy glass marbles that are designed to go into aquariums (they look like bubbles on aquarium gravel) and they work great. Mine were old, but I can't imagine they cost more than 2-3 dollars for a bag of about 50 it looks like. They fit very well in GW paint bottles, dunno about other brands. And they won't hurt your fish!
   
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Erratic Knight Errant





warrington, UK

gah, where can i get these reaper bottles in the uk? i want to transfer all my gw paints over as the black flip tops are DIRE for keeping your paint.

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Been Around the Block




Chiefland Fl

Schmapdi wrote:Thanks for this tutorial - I've had a lot of problems getting consistent results from one use to the next, and adding an agitator really helps getting them to an ideal consistency.

A just a tip for anyone who can't find lava beads - I used some heavy glass marbles that are designed to go into aquariums (they look like bubbles on aquarium gravel) and they work great. Mine were old, but I can't imagine they cost more than 2-3 dollars for a bag of about 50 it looks like. They fit very well in GW paint bottles, dunno about other brands. And they won't hurt your fish!


You can get glass beads from any craft store for a couple bucks for 50. They come in several sizes
   
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Most Glorious Grey Seer





Everett, WA

legoburner wrote:Someone really needs to bring out a dremel attachment for mixing GW and Vallejo paint bottles
Dremels spin way too fast for this. You put a dremel into a paint pot, I guarentee you paint will fly out everywhere.
Chrispy wrote:Doesn't this [paint mixer] waste paint, as you're dipping something into the pot and then removing it?
Not really. The speed increases with pressure on the pressure bar (the button that makes it work) so unless you fill your pots all the way to the very top you should have room to spin the mixer head slowly and leave the paint inside the pot.
legoburner wrote:I had considered using a powered mixer, but I dont want the effort of cleaning something every time I mix a paint.
Cleanup is beyond easy, just spin it in a glass of water (which is what your brushes are sitting in anyway, right?). In any event, a powered mixer will work far better than putting a bead or bit of metal into your paint.




Reading's for morons who can't understand pictures.

 
   
 
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