Tips and Tricks

For a quick overview of using Turbo Dork paints, see the comments below. If you want more detail along with actual examples, history, and personal experiences thrown in, then check out the  Illustrated Guide.

Do you have questions that weren't answered here? Join the  Turbo Dorks Facebook Group and get advice from other users.

 Tips and Tricks Banner


  • These acrylic paints have their own set of distinct properties and come in three general types:
- Metallics shimmer and shine
- Turboshifts change color under different lighting conditions
- Zenishifts change color over different colored bases and under different lighting conditions
  • Believe us, there is pigment in the bottle even if the paint looks white.

  • Shake the bottle before using. Shake more than you think you should. We include a mixing ball to aid that shaking and you should hear it moving around. 

  • Read the bottle label and use the recommended basecoat color.

- Most TurboShift paints require a black basecoat for their true shifting color to appear
- Mother Lode and Pearly Gate must be used over WHITE for the paint to look white
- Zenishifts work well with a heavy zenithal basecoat.
- Many of the Metallics need a BLACK basecoat for the most vibrant result
- Many other Metallics look most vivid when used over a similarly colored basecoat

Please look at the side of the bottle for info on which colors look best with a colored basecoat, e.g., Pucker over yellow.

  • Your patience will be rewarded if you apply several thin and even coats of paint with either a handbrush OR an airbrush. This is particularly important for the Turboshifts which show more with each new coat.
Handbrushing works best with a large brush to spread the paint as thinly as possible and to remove brush marks

The pigment in our paints is larger than normal opaque paint, we recommend airbrushing with a 0.5 mm needle/nozzle and 25 to 30 psi
  • Use an airbrush or acrylic medium to thin the paint, not water. Water thins too well and will cause our pigment to fall out of suspension.

  • DO NOT USE alcohol or solvent-based paints/sealers/thinners, they make a big mess of your work

  • Clean up with isopropyl alcohol or Simple Green

  • Hang in there and try out all of the painting techniques in your repertoire

  • Dry-brushing, shading, highlighting, glazing, and washing all work great with our paints

  • You can mix/blend wet metallics to your heart’s content; however, mixing wet Turboshifts or Zenishifts can lead to unexpected results

  • You can also experiment with other basecoat colors for the Metallics for some interesting effects

  • Think out of the box as these paints are for more than just tabletop miniatures

  • Don’t give up trying to get good photos, try having the light come from multiple angles. Natural light works great.

  • Please show off your work on social media and tag us @turbodork or #turbodork #turbodorkpaints It helps us a lot and we love seeing your work.