Lacquer Thinner

Published: January 23rd, 2017     
Product Image
Product image
Reviewed by: Dick Montgomery - IPMS# 14003
Company: Tamiya
Price: $9.00
Product / Stock #: 87077
Product provided by: Tamiya America

Tamiya has long offered a wide range of acrylic paints and acrylic thinners. Recently I experimented with Tamiya's Lacquer Thinner, item # 87077. As a rule, I tend to use the paint thinner produced by the same company that produced the paint being used.

I found that the Tamiya lacquer thinner worked very well, indeed, although its use is different than the acrylic thinner I'm used to using. Do not let the fact that it is a Lacquer thinner dissuade you from using it with your standard Tamiya acrylics. It works just fine.

The lacquer thinner is noticeably "stronger" than the acrylic thinner, both in how it interacts with Tamiya acrylics and how it smells. And it should be said here that if you can smell the paint you are airbrushing then you should wear a mask. Also, users are strongly advised not to have an open flame nearby as lacquer is combustible.

Using the same compressor settings that I used with acrylic paints, I found that the lacquer-thinned paint laid down with a distinctly more "glossy" appearance. I found that the paint went through the airbrush a little smoother, although this could be due to the cleaning that I gave the airbrush before use. If you've ever used Tamiya's rattle can Gloss Black, TS-14, then you will understand that the paint being used had a "harder feel", once dried, than do most of the Tamiya acrylics I use.

The model being painted featured a WWII camo pattern and the paint held up well with no paint being pulled off when the tape was removed. The time between paint application and tape application was about 24 hours, and then about 48 hours before the tape was removed.

Decals went on well, and it may be my imagination but the lacquer-thinned paint didn't need as much polishing out prior to decaling as I am accustomed to.

Checking Tamiya's webpage which features this product, there are some claims made. I found that these claims were supported by my experience with the product.

Those claims I checked out are:

  1. The lacquer thinner can remove paint from brushes and other painting tools. I cleaned my airbrush with the same lacquer thinner that I used to thin the paint. I found that the paint did, indeed, clear out most of the paint residue without much scrubbing.
  2. The lacquer thinner can thin Tamiya putty. I do not use Tamiya putty so I could not verify that aspect of the statement. I use an acrylic auto body putty and I found that the lacquer thinner worked well, thinning the putty if the mixture of putty to thinner was monitored and controlled.
  3. The lacquer thinner will dilute lacquer based-paints. I found this to be true with the Tamiya acrylic paints I use and I also tested some non-Tamiya lacquer paints. The lacquer thinner worked on those non-Tamiya products just as it did on the Tamiya paint.
  4. I did not test the claim that the lacquer thinner would clean the paint and remove oil from the model surface.

I had no reservations about using Tamiya Lacquer Thinner. Tamiya has a long history offering useful products and I was not disappointed with the lacquer thinner. I have found that I tend to use the lacquer thinner when the paint-job is more complex, without hard lines between the colors, while I tend to use the regular Tamiya Acrylic Thinner when the color scheme is more of a single color, or with hard demarcations between colors.

Look for that distinctive yellow cap! I highly recommend this product and repeat the admonition that a mask should be worn when airbrushing paints thinned with it. Thanks to Tamiya for making this product available to IPMS for review.

  • Bottle photo
    Bottle photo

Comment viewing options

Select your preferred way to display the comments and click "Save settings" to activate your changes.

Retarder Type

Lacquer thinner is a bunch of solvents and no set blend. The retarder type uses some slower solvents and that allows better smoothness and a little slower drying. Knowing Tamiya, the rest of the properties should remain the same except drying time


Tamiya Lacquer

I am a car modeller and for years my go to paint has been Model Master but now that it is discontinued and very hard to find, I have been looking for another product, I have used Scale Finishes and it has worked well and also some of the commercial spray cans (decanted) with moderate success.
When I heard of the new line of Tamiya I ordered a couple bottles to give it a try. I normally thin with generic lacquer thinner but happened to have a bottle of Tamiya thinner I picked up by mistake and decided to try them out.
I must say that I was pleasantly suprised by the outcome. Once I had figured out the mix the paint worked wonderfully.
I did a 2-tone on a 62 Thunderbird model with light and dark gunmetal. the paint went on easily and settled well with minor orange peal. I was able to handle the model just a few minutes after painting and the finish was fairly glossy.
If first impressions are any indication I will be using the Tamiya TL more and more as I get used to it.
I give it a thumbs up.

Tamiya Lacquers

It's always best to use the paint manufacturer's thinners as they're formulated for their paint. Hardware store thinners can be used for clean-up but shouldn't be used to thin the paint. If you're getting orange peel it means the paint is drying slightly before it hits the surface and doesn't have the chance to level-out. Try moving the airbrush closer and moving it faster to get smooth, thin, wet coats. Watch the surface at an angle as you paint to see the 'shine' as the paint lands. Thinners with retarders slow lacquer drying so they can level-out before drying, and are worth trying. I like Mr. Color Leveling Thinner for use with all lacquers. Another trick is to mist on a light coat of clean lacquer thinner right after the paint to smooth the surface. Good luck!

Lacquer Thinner Retarder Type.

Hi, I noticed that there is another version of this Tamiya Lacquer Thinner, called 'Retarder Type'. I wonder if beside the added retarding property, its other properties stay the same as the original Tamiya Lacquer Thinner. Any thoughts?

Post new comment

The content of this field is kept private and will not be shown publicly.
  • Web page addresses and e-mail addresses turn into links automatically.
  • Allowed HTML tags: <a> <blockquote> <br> <cite> <code> <dd> <div> <dl> <dt> <em> <li> <ol> <p> <span> <strong> <ul>
  • Lines and paragraphs break automatically.
  • Allowed HTML tags: <a> <em> <strong> <cite> <code> <ul> <ol> <li> <dl> <dt> <dd>
  • Non-latin text (e.g., å, ö, 漢) will be converted to US-ASCII equivalents (a, o, ?).

More information about formatting options

This question is for testing whether you are a human visitor and to prevent automated spam submissions.