Tamiya Paints Vs. Testors | the Good, The Bad and The Ugly

· ·

If you’re a beginner painter, you probably have heard much about Testors and Tamiya Paints. 

Both paints are high quality and meet the modern standards of paints designed specifically for miniature and scale models. 

But, you may still be curious about the quality and performance of these paints because they differ. We understand this and that’s why we’ve designed this guide to discuss the similarities and differences between both paint brands. 

Comparison Table Between Tamiya Paints and Testors

FeaturesTamiyaTestors 
SizeIt comes in both 23ml and 10ml sizes1 oz – 2 fl. oz
Price$1 – $4.39$7.97 to $9.97
Dry Time 10 – 30mins10 – 15mins
Density ThinThick
BasedAlcohol Water
Technique Airbrushing Hand brushing 
SkillAdvanced Beginners

Which is the best paint, Testors or Tamiya? | The Results

Winner: Tamiya

Testors paints are right up near the top of the quality paints list. They brush-paint like a dream with no thinning required, airbrush pretty well with a little thinning, and dries fast when used. Their acrylic form means they are easy to clean, and you won’t have to worry about paint toxicity. 

Plus, they come in smaller bottles and at less expensive prices. 

Testors Pros

  • Wide range of colors
  • Dries quickly
  • Non-toxic
  • Easy cleanup 
  • Cheap
  • It comes in a set

Testors Cons

  • Temperamental when airbrushing since they make it hard to get a consistent fine line and dries on the tip
  • The finish is not very durable.

Testors’ smaller sizes and price points are attractive. But, Tamiya edges over it in terms of durability, technique, size, finish and color variants. 

Tamiya is excellent paint for airbrushing and offers a glossy finish, especially for Gundam models. Like Testor’s paints, they are environmentally friendly, easy to clean, and dry quickly. 

But, what differentiates Tamiya from Testor’s paint is their glossy finish which offers top-notch durability. 

Tamiya Pros

  • Easy to clean
  • Non-toxic
  • Bottles are larger, harder to tip over, and easier to use
  • Durable finish
  • It last a long time
  • Dries quickly
  • Can clog airbrush, create rough sandpaper-like paint finish if used with acrylic thinner

Tamiya Cons

  • They get sticky easily
  • Color selection is limited
  • Can clog airbrush, create rough sandpaper-like paint finish if used with acrylic thinner
  • Not good for brush painting
Testors paints

Coverage – Which has better coverage?

Tie | Tamiya = Testors

Testor’s paints auto-level very well, making them a fantastic choice for models. 

They are also good for hiding imperfections because it goes on thicker. Thicker paint = loss of detail. Most of the time, you’ll only need one or two coats to get the desired color and detailed coverage required for your models. 

With Tamiya paints, you won’t require much thinner and still get excellent coverage. Normally, two coats for most colors and about four light coats for special colors like aluminum and silver. But, while Tamiya offers uniform coverage, black covers better than their yellow and red paints. 

Ease Of Use – Which is easier to paint? 

Winner: Testor

For ease of use, Testors paints are better thanks to their water-based solution, which allows for an easy mixture. 

It also means you have enough time to paint the little details in your models without the paint drying out easily. 

Tamiya’s alcoholic solvent means you’ll have to be pretty fast when using them since when they dry, they don’t give you enough time to complete a detailed painting. Hence, you might see more brush strokes on your model. 

Plus, mixing them can be a hassle for a beginner who isn’t familiar with alcohol-based thinners. 

Overall Looks – Which of these paints will look better? 

Winner: Tamiya

The advantage Tamiya paints has over Testor’s acrylics is that they are durable and dry into a nice hard shell. For this reason, Tamiya’s paints take the lead over Testor’s paints. 

Straight out of the bottle, Tamiya’s paints also produce an incredible gloss, so your model looks shiny and lasts longer.  

Testors’ paints also look good, but they give an extremely shiny surface after painting, so your details look very unrealistic. 

Price – Which is cheaper?

Winner: Tamiya

You can get a 23ml jar of Tamiya for $2.30 and some for more. But, Tamiya acrylic paints typically range from $3.99 to $4.39. 

On the other hand, Testors paints tend to be a dollar more. However, they typically range between $7.97 to $9.97

Fast Dry – Which dries faster? 

Winner: Testors

Tamiya acrylic paints will take about 10 to 30 minutes to dry well after every single coat. But, if you want to dry faster, use the lacquer thinner.

On the other hand, Testor’s paints dry to the touch in less than 15 minutes compared to Tamiya’s 30 minutes. 

But, to fully cure, you need to air them for 24 hours.

Tamiya paints

Airbrushing – Which is better for airbrushing?

Winner: Tamiya

For airbrush performance, Tamiya acrylics take the lead since they are designed for use with an airbrush. 

Testors paints can also work in an airbrush, but results are inconsistent, and they dry on the tip of your airbrush nozzles. 

Tamiya is a lot thinner and doesn’t work quite well being brushed on because they dry too fast, making it difficult to get uniform coverage, and thinning layers will be a chore. For this reason, they are made more for airbrushing. 

When used for airbrushing, you can get some fine lines sprayed using Tamiya acrylics. However, they clog airbrushes and create a rough sandpaper-like paint finish if used with a water-based acrylic thinner. 

On the other hand, used with an airbrush, Testors paints spray perfectly, especially when thinned properly. But, they start drying in the airbrush quickly. This is an issue with any acrylic paint, but the effect is more severe with the Testors Acryl paints, making it impossible to get consistent fine lines. 

Color Range – Which has a wider range of colors?

Winner: Tamiya

For color nuts, Tamiya has enough colors, so you can get realistic paint samples on almost anything kit you own, even more than Testors. 

In fact, you’ll find over 150+ colors from Tamiya to paint your miniatures and models. 

The only drawback to Tamiya acrylics’ color range is that they are generic colors. They don’t match any government’s color specifications. So, you’ll often have to mix them to match colors.

Testors, on the other hand, have many colors for your various painting needs, with over a 100+ color palette. 

For instance, you’ll find 11 different shades of black, 19 Blue, 18 Brown, 3 Gold, 28 Gray, 23 Green, 6 Metal, and 3 Orange. 

However, getting all these colors may be challenging since they have removed a good chunk of their color line for some unfathomable reason.

Conclusion

Choosing the best paint for your miniatures and model kits is no easy task, especially because different paints behave differently. 

One manufacturer’s paint would be great at one thing, and another manufacturer’s identical color and finish would be great for another use. 

However, Tamiya and Testors paints are two superior quality paints designed for premium performance. So, no matter, which you choose, you get the best quality worth your money.