Recently I took a punt on whether a nail varnish shaker would work to shake up my model paints, which I store on their sides (short answer .... it does).
For whatever reason, some of my paints mix quite well with a simple shake and don’t even seem to separate and settle out in the first place, the pigment being quite happy to stay suspended in the acrylic medium.
Others just separate at the slightest chance and when used, just ooze out the medium, with the pigment rich stuff staying inside the bottle. Vigorous shaking never really seems effective enough and causes a hell of a pounding on the wrist! So much so, sometimes I avoid a colour simply because its too much hassle to get it working properly.
I keep a dropper bottle with a solution of 80% water and 20% flow aid and on a regular basis, add two drops to all of my paints, which helps a bit to keep things moving, particularly with my GW paints.
Anyway, a good solution to the shaking thing seems to be the nail varnish shaker and thinking about it, it should be, as the principles of shaking a bottle of nail varnish and the paint dropper should be the same.
I am not particularly advocating this unit in the picture, it just happens to be the one I bought on behalf of someone who was looking for a Christmas gift for me.
The body is quite heavy, so it feels robust. On the top it has a cradle for the bottle to sit in and a button that activates the unit while ever it is depressed. On the rear side is a trap door that will take 4 x AA batteries (or D type as the box describes them).
However, the unit comes with a power lead and plug, which seems a better alternative to the batteries unless you need to be very mobile.
Above - a standard Vallejo dropper strapped into the cradle.
There are three soft rubber straps, one to use and two spares. These are very ‘grippy’, which I suppose they need to be if holding a glass nail varnish bottle. They stretch and have adjustment holes in them, so seem able to accommodate a variety of bottle sizes.
I am adding 1 stainless steel ball bearing (from AK) to each of my dropper pots as a permanent aid to breaking down the paint. I put a red dot on each bottle as a note that it has had one added.
I have tried to capture the vibration in this shot, rather unsuccessfully, however, I can say that this white dropper bottle had been stored on its side and all of the paint had settled along the bottom edge of the dropper.
After around 15 seconds of using the machine, the paint was properly mixed and mobile and is now a more effective ‘white’ in terms of coverage than it had been previously. So a success.
Other examples are Desert Yellow, which has persistently stayed separated for ages, with the yellow on the bottom of the bottle and a sort of more mobile greeny fluid ( the medium) in the other half. The machine had fully mixed this paint dropper in around 10 - 15 seconds. It also got my metallic ‘Oily Steel’ mobile again, although that took a bit more time.
Overall I am guessing that the paints will last longer, be better pigmented in use and my wrist (repetitive strain injury) will appreciate the machine doing all of that heavy lifting.
I suppose I better go and paint something now!