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3Jun/170

AK Interactive Agitator Balls / Stainless Steel Shakers

As I am currently working on a few historical projects, and therefore using paints from brands like Vallejo and other companies that use drop bottles instead of pots, I ran out of agitator balls.

What are agitator balls? They are small metal balls that are put inside the drop bottles and help stir the paint. I used to use the ones from PK Pro, but got myself some from AK Interactive during my last shopping at Radaddel.

For 5 Euros, you receive 250 steel balls, which is a pretty good price (PK Pro charges 7,95 for 150 balls). They come in a small bottle with screw top as you can see.

AK47 Agitator Balls / Stainless Steel Shakers AK47 Agitator Balls / Stainless Steel Shakers

Why do I need these and can't I just shake the bottles? Well, you can, but the paint tends to seperate (more easily) into the liquor and pigments, especially those thinner model colours that are used for model kits / scale models. Some people have build their own shakers, as you can see in this video on youtube. The problem is, that even if you give it a good shake, often enough the paint isn't stirred up properly.

For this purpose I have chosen a few paints that have seperated and used a drop of paint each. Just to show you what we're starting from. In some cases, even if you shake them a lot by hand the results doesn't really move far from that.

AK47 Agitator Balls / Stainless Steel Shakers AK47 Agitator Balls / Stainless Steel Shakers

To add the balls with the drop bottles, you can pull of the upper part of the dispenser. At best you grab a paper tissue, as this can be messy. Just add a ball or two. With Airbrush colours usually a single shaker is enough, but with the model or game colours, I tend to use two balls. I've taken a comparison shot, in the upper row you see the paint direct from the bottle and and in the lower row the same colours after the shaker treatment.

AK47 Agitator Balls / Stainless Steel Shakers AK47 Agitator Balls / Stainless Steel Shakers

Conclusion
The agitator balls are not a new thing, Reaper used to add little skulls they casted from pewter into their bottles as shakers and PK-Pro was one of the first to sell the steel balls. I'm quite fond of the result and the price of 5 Euro for 250 balls is great, even if you add two shakers into a single bottle, that gives you an enormous range. And you can re-use the balls, simply give them a good rinse in thinner to clean off any paint.

Some people use small pieces from unwanted metal miniatures (or the slabs that go into the slota bases), but those are usually to light to be of proper use. You can build or buy one of the mechanical shakers, like in the video mentioned earlier, but at a price of 5 Euros that is a much easier way to go and the use of shakers improves the result noticeably.

Got mine here and can only recommend the buying experience: Radaddel.

Link: AK Interactive

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