During the build of this 1:8 scale Back to the Future DeLorean partwork model, I have used different paints, markers, washes, and powders to add some additional color to the model and correct some inaccuracies versus The ‘A’ Car. Recently, a visitor comment asked if I could share a list of what I used during construction, so here we are!

Each builder is different, and my choices below are not the only options, so feel free to do your model any way you like. These are merely what I thought would help spruce up my own model. I have included links to the products (but you can likely get them anywhere hobby supplies are sold) and links to the issues where I used them. This page will be updated throughout the build.


I prefer to use acrylic model paints over enamels. Acrylics are water-based, so they are non-toxic, easy to clean up, and can be thinned with water, or with 70% isopropyl alcohol to allow for fast drying. The majority of my paint collection is from Tamiya, but I also have some Model Master and Mission Model paints as well.

BrandProduct Number & LinkColorUsed in Issue(s)
TamiyaXF-2Flat White04, 57
TamiyaFine Surface PrimerLight Grey05, 06, 07, 08, 10, 11, 12, 14, 29, 33
TamiyaXF-56Metallic Grey05, 06, 11, 12, 14, 19, 21, 22, 23, 24, 25, 26, 27, 28, 29, 30, 31, 33
TamiyaX-32Titanium Silver05, 06, 12, 14, 17, Wheel Works
Model Master4672Brass07, 10, 19, 22, 23, 24, 27, 46
TamiyaXF-16Flat Aluminum08, 30, 31, 86
TamiyaXF-1Flat Black12, 14, 21, 22
TamiyaX-14Sky Blue19
TamiyaXF-85Rubber Black44, 69, 73, 121
TamiyaXF-53Neutral Grey45
TamiyaXF-59Desert Yellow49
TamiyaXF-86Flat Clear49
TamiyaX-26Clear Orange67, 71
Model Master4852Green Zinc Chromate83
TamiyaX-13Metallic Blue83
TamiyaXF-3Flat Yellow111, 118

While I occasionally use fine-tip paint brushes to apply paint, most of the time I use my Grex Tritium.TG airbrush system. It is a fantastic product, but if you want the whole Grex GCK03 kit with compressor and accessories, it can cost nearly $400 USD.

There are less expensive airbrush systems out there that can easily do the job, from Master Airbrush, Iwata, Paasche, and so on. However, I wanted the Grex’s dual-action pistol grip (I have big hands) and a quiet, adjustable, and reliable compressor with a built-in air-dryer. This system was recommended to me by a trusted hobby shop owner and I have been very satisfied with it.

I also have a basic Iwata Neo CN airbrush that I use with ‘gummy’ paints (especially metallics) in order to keep that gunk out of the Grex.


I build indoors in a spare bedroom, so I needed someplace I could spray paint without killing myself with fumes and covering everything in over spray. I found this great little Master Airbrush Portable Spray Booth and absolutely love it. It folds up for easy storage and includes a thick filter, decent airflow, LED lighting, turntable, and an external ducting system:


I have found that adding small quick spots of color can easily be achieved using a variety of permanent markers. And, with the multitude of colors available (especially the metallics), we can really add some nice details along the way.

BrandTipColor & Product LinkUsed in Issue(s)
SharpieFine PointBlack42, 46, 54, 57, 82, 87, 106, EL Light Mod
SharpieFine PointMetallic Silver43, 45, 48, 57, 59, 83, 100, 102, 109, 112, 125, 131, 134, 147
SharpieFine PointMetallic Gold46, 54, 57, 59, 81, 87, 137, 140, 143, 147
SharpieFine PointMetallic Bronze54, 57, 83, 137, 140, 143, 147


I do not use color washes often, but they are useful if you want to bring out subtle contrast in recessed details. They are applied straight from the bottle and seep into cracks and crevices. Once it dries a bit, you can wipe off the excess with water or alcohol.

BrandNumberColorUsed in Issue(s)
Vallejo Game Wash - Black73.201Black44


Powders are almost exclusively used for weathering, damage, or heat marks, but I also use them to add a color tint to otherwise dull details:

BrandSetColorUsed in Issue(s)
TamiyaDOil Stain53, 125
TamiyaBRust120, 125, 126
TamiyaBSoot120, 121, 122, 123, 124, 125, 126
TamiyaDBurnt Blue121
TamiyaBSnow125 (on the large curved black hoses around the reactor)

19 thoughts on “THE COLORS”

  1. This is amazing thank you!! I can’t locate my original message I sent to you to reply to, so I thought this was the next best place. This is soooo helpful thank you!!!!

  2. Awesome resource. I hope you get credit for the links to the products as I have bought most of them. My question is on some of the smaller details that you paint are you using a brush or airbrush? If it is with a brush do you use thinner with the paints? Thanks.

    1. I thought about doing an Amazon store to help cover the domain registration and hosting costs, but we shall see. If a part is easy enough to paint by hand, I will use a brush and un-thinned paint. If I want a really smooth surface or a larger area, I will use my airbrush. Using the airbrush takes a lot more time to setup and clean up, so I reserve it for when I really need it.

  3. Maybe this is a rookie question, but did you paint a clearcoat on top of all of your painting throughout the build, e.g. over the grey primer on the chassis parts or metallic grey/brass screwheads?

    1. No rookie questions here! I did not, but many people do. Clears do protect the paint, but also adds a sheer (matte, semi, or gloss) to the surface. If it is a part that is expected to be handled or detailed enough that I do not want to repaint, I do clearcoat them. For example, I clear coated the copper grilles on my Enterprise D build as I knew we would be handling the nacelles quite a bit and did not want to damage the detailed masking lines I made.

  4. Could I use a different brand of paint such as Vallejo as I’ve heard that tamiya paints are quite toxic because of the ingredients in them?

    1. You can use any paint you like, but all paints should be used in a well-ventilated area (paint booth, etc). I don’t feel that Tamiya paints are any more or less toxic than other acrylics. Perhaps if you drink them, so don’t do that.

  5. First do you vent your airbrush outside using the booths hose?

    Second a video of your work space & model shelf would be amazing… asking for a ‘friend’


    1. Since I use strictly acrylic paints (which are water or alcohol based), I just use my paint booth and the filter catches everything. I have the vent hose for my little paint booth, but do not use it. I will see about taking some pictures of my work room, it is kind of in disarray at the moment because of the arrival of my new 3D resin printer.

  6. What size needle would you recommend for the airbrush and should I get a gravity fed one. Are there a lot of large pieces to paint or are the majority small pieces? Thanks.

    1. I use the 0.3mm needle my GREX came with and it has worked fine with all but the thickest paints. A larger needle may come in handy when spraying the thicker paints such as metallics, but I tend to just thin them down more and spray additional coats. I did pick up an cheap Iwata Neo airbrush with a larger needle to use with my metallics (the metallics tend to be ‘gummier’ and that way I don’t gunk up my GREX.

      I like the gravity feed (top or side cup models) because they tend to waste less paint. The bottom feed (bottle suction) needs more paint to fill the vacuum tube. However, the benefit of a bottom feed (bottle) is that you can see what you are painting a little easier (the cup is not in the way). It is personal preference really.

          1. The ‘brass’ parts on the real car are actually coated with a zinc-chromate like rust protection coating. I found the brass paint color to be closest.

    1. Each paint is different. When I first started, I mixed Tamiya to about 50/50. As time went on and I understood airbrushing more and more, I started to ‘feel’ how thick the paint should be. Most people tend to go for the consistency of skim milk. Now, I begin at that point and adjust my air pressure, distance to the part, and trigger control to match. It takes some time to get there, but you will!

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