Category Archives: painting

Paint review – MRP: Cream, AK Interactive: Cremeweiss

Well, I have not used either of these brands of paint before, so I was curious how they work.

MRP

After some serious shaking, the results were less than stellar, as you can see.

However, I was unperturbed and undeterred, since the reviews were generally good, and people tend to like this brand a lot. Not to mention my experience with AK’s primer taught me something important: if you think you have shaken it up, shake it some more…

So that is what I did. I bought a nail polish shaker, and used that for a minute to mix up the paint.

The results were great. The paint sprayed very nice straight from the bottle. (I painted up the leftover hatches and whatnot from the Takom Panther and the bottom of a leftover hull for the purpose of this post.)

To quickly do a side-by-side color comparison, I sprayed AK’s cremeweiss and the MRP cream next to each other onto a panzer IV hull . The AK paint is really nice, and as this paint is not pre-thinned for airbrush, so some water was necessary. (I have been using this paint as a base color for the Panther interiors, so I did have some experience using it.)

As you can see the AK paint has a more yellowish hue, while the MRP paint is more off-white. I am not sure which one should be used for German interiors. As you can see from the photos of the Tiger 131 restoration, the color is a somewhat yellowish/brownish white, but not as white as the MRP one, and not as yellow as the AK one. (And then there is the million-dollar question about the accuracy of the paint colors the restaurators used…)

I suspect, considering the scale effect, the real color is somewhere between the two; the AK paint is way too yellow in 1/35 scale. It is probably spot on if you put it next to the real vehicle, but with the scale effect considered, it is too dark and too yellow – some lightening with white is required for sure. (Which is something people usually do anyhow, since most paints need to be adjusted for the scale effect.)

Regardless, both paints are great. They spray great, they cover well, which is a big thing when you are discussing whites, and I found no problems using them. Overall I will be happy to buy from either of these paint ranges in the future. I am quite set on Tamiya right now, as experiments with other brands left me sticking with what worked before. Now I am a bit more open for trying more brands.

Paint review: AK Interactive True Metal range

I really like these paints. They are wax-based, so they behave more like a gel than a paint, and they handle very well. They do look metallic, their coverage is great, any mistakes can be removed with a bush wetted with turpentine, and they can be mixed easily. For large surfaces I found that they should be diluted with turpentine somewhat, and applied in two coats. Interestingly basecoat does not seem to matter – which is an awesome news as basecoats are very important for most metallics.

According to AK you can polish them to a shine, but I found that any gentle polishing will rub some of the paint off; it does not work for me as well as it is shown in their video. If you rub it, some of it does come off.

So back to my colors. I used gold, old bronze, copper, iron, steel and gun metal on my old Panzer IV hull. I did rub a fine cloth on the lower part to show how it polishes up half an hour after applying the paint – the results are not as good – some of the base coat shows off as the paint rubbet off.

I also repeated the exercise a day later – the paint was more resilient (obviously), but there was no dramatic change in shine. (I took some photos using flash as well, as it does bring out the metallic effect better.) Once completely dry, some gloss varnish for metallics does bring the shine out, though.

There is a relatively big range of metallic colors, but I do have some issues with some of the shades. The gun metal should be much darker in my opinion, and the iron is much shinier than the steel color. Plus a bright chrome paint is missing from the palette. More about shades later.

Photos of the paint in diffused lights

Polishing the paint after 24hrs of drying

I took some photos using the flash as well- it brings the shine out better

(You can see where the paint wore off due to the polishing.)

It is probably a good idea to apply varnish developed for metallic paints if you cover larger surfaces; for my purposes it was not yet important to do so.

So what is the paint good for?

(I use these paints for almost all my metallics: engine parts, worn parts like return rollers, figures -literally anywhere where a metal surface is needed. The ease of application and cleanup makes these paints very attractive for me.)

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Well, it is great for drybrushing -it gives off a great metallic effect on tracks and whatnot. It can be used to simulate the worn metal surface on road wheels, idlers and drive wheels; the application is simple, the effect is convincing. If you make a mistake, the excess paint can be removed with a brush slightly wetted with turpentine, and it really saves time and effort when you have countless of roadwheels and return rollers to paint. It is also very useful to paint headlights.

With the Ford Speedster I found that painting thin lines using gold it was indispensable: any mistakes were easily cleaned up with a wet brush (wet with turpentine, that is), so the end results were nice and straight. This how I could paint the lines on the fender and the Ford sign with relative ease.

They are also great for painting shells…

I mainly use these paints for figure painting – as I said I goes on very well, and any mistakes can be easily corrected. (I am a better model builder than figure painter, mind, even though this does not say a lot.)

I was using a drybrush method to paint the Custodian and Stormcast Ethernals – they are admittedly not finished; I was just experimenting with the paint. (I will give them some more attention at some point.) But the TS Terminators and Abaddon were also painted with True Metal colors. The different shades (gold and old bronze) can be mixed in different quantities resulting in nice blends.

If you want to cover large areas (for example an airplane) use it with an airbrush; this I have never tried.

All in all they are very, very good paints. (I still do not understand how the paint did not rub off in the AK video…)

Now to something interesting. Do you recall I mentioned the gun metal being too bright for my taste? Well, there is something neat you can do with these paints: you can mix them with regular artists’ oil paints… making it possible to either “metalize” any color with an iron/steel, darken the metal color with black or burned umber, or to create different hues of whatever metal color you wish to use. This really expands the usability of these paints – which makes me pretty proud to have thought of this. (Not a big discovery, but still.)

I took a photo in diffused light and using flash. The paint mixes with oil very well; it is a quite promising way of creating metallic shades. Gold mixed with black yields different shades of bronze; iron mixed with black creates dark, gun metal shades; the red was just a random color I wanted to try. The best part is that you can even polish the true metal-oil paint mixes to a shine.

So there it is. Overall I am quite happy with these paints; especially with the option of making my own hues and colors using oils.

Review: Vallejo Model Wash – European dust 76.523, oiled earth 76.521

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Acrylic weathering products, while being very attractive due to not being hazardous, tend to have a big issue: surface tension. Solvent-based products, washes spread much better, and they do not leave “tide-marks” like water-based products do; therefore I was pretty interested in how Vallejo’s dust washes perform.

In short: very well.

(OK, you can stop reading the review if this is all what you wanted.)

I used the road wheels of an old Panther build I left unfinished (but will finish, I promise) to see how these washes perform on a complex surface. I simply applied them with an overloaded brush, and let them dry. It spread nicely, just like a solvent-based wash. (Perhaps Vallejo used a surfactant.) The results are nice: subtle, dusty look.

 

The second and third photo shows the difference between treated and untreated road wheels (one of the reason I chose this as a test-bed: to have a control group right next to the treatment group), and the last photo shows the differences between heavy application (1), light application (2, somewhat diluted with water), and nothing (3).

 

I also tried three consecutive, heavy applications with the following results

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It might be a good look for a vehicle in very dusty, dry environment, but probably not the best way to use it the product like this. The best way to use these washes is to form a subtle accumulation of dust in crevices, not flooding the surface with them. As a general rule: using more than one technique with a light touch to achieve a certain look will more likely create a realistic finish than using just one technique with a heavy hand. This means that these washes will not provide a single step solution for creating dusty-looking surfaces, I am afraid.

 

I also tried the washes on a piece of scenery a Witcher figure will be walking on, to see if they can be used on the groundwork for good effect. (The paint on the resin base is by no means finished; I was just testing some paints on it.) Regardless of the underlying paintwork, I think I can safely say that these washes can add a little more realism to the soil both in tone and in texture -see the above rule.

Overall, these washes are pretty neat; worth checking out.

AK Interactive Acrylic Primer – Dark yellow

 

Well, this thing gave me the hardest times for a long time… it just did not come out right out of the bottle. It is supposed to be a primer you can spray right out of the bottle, and even after extended shaking, it came out all runny and thin; hardly something you would like to have with a primer.

But last week I gave it another go. I shook the bejesus out of the bottle, and tried it again.

The results were quite satisfactory. In fact, they were great. Unlike the Vallejo primer, which forms a thin membrane of paint over the surface (kind of like the Mig Ammo paints), this goes on like “normal” acrlyics, more like a Tamiya paint, and dries absolutely flat. Both are great, it is only a matter of preference.

Overall, I really like this primer now. The only downside is that the bottle is designed in a way that makes it difficult to see the bottom; it is hard to tell if the paint is mixed up correctly.
So all I can say is that you have to shake it, shake it, and shake it some more before using, and with this thought I will leave you with a relevant video clip.

 

 

 

 

Vallejo Acrylic Polyurethane Surface Primer – German panzer grey

Since the post about the gear acquisition syndrome I thought I might as well make a more conscious effort to write short reviews of the stuff I bought. (There are a few, but they were never the main focus. Nor will they become the focus, but I might as well write about them in a more organized manner.) I do not intend to write long reviews; just my impressions with a couple of photos included. (If you have products you want to have reviewed, just contact me.)

Let me know if this idea works…

 

So. Vallejo Primer.

What can I say? It’s great. So far I had no issues with it; it works like a charm. It is a thick liquid, which can be applied straight from the bottle by brush or airbrush -a big plus, in my mind. Simple, no chance of mucking up the dilution, which is a great plus. (It matters a lot, especially with primers.)

It forms a really tight gripping surface on the model for paint to stick on, and can be used for pre-shading in one step. Several colors are available; I only have this one. The German Grey can be used as “scale black” in many cases, by the way. I also use it as a chipping color when I don’t feel like adding rust browns to the model; if you use the hairspray technique with it, the results are pretty convincing.

It dries quickly, but you really should wait a day before applying further coats of paint.

See examples from this blog: FV4005, Turtle, T-55AM, Straussler. FT-17.

In short: recommended.

Agitating -paint

Well, I am making a slow progress with the Nautilus and with the Panthers I am building, but need some time to take photos and whatnot.

 

Meanwhile a useful tip for the paint jars.

 

As we know, paint settles, and it is quite difficult to properly mix it. So people use agitators.

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No, not this guy. Other type of agitators. Normally stainess steel balls, dropped into the paint jar. You shake the jar, and the ball mixes your paint. (Professional advice: you can buy nail polish shakers for peanuts on aliexpress, so you don’t even have to do it by hand.)

This can be an issue since even stainless steel can actually rust in acrylic paints -it happened to me before. (I guess it is a matter of how good the steel is.) Regardless I found a solution: lava beads.

 

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They come in different sizes, they are tough, they do not flake, splinter or rust. The perfect solution for agitating your paint.

 

(Another great option is using an electric milk frother.)

Atrocity at Istvaan III

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Not a model, but what the heck. I played around with acrylic pencils and pastels since I wanted to try them for weathering, anyhow. (AK Interactive is issuing a new line of acrylic pencils, and I realized I actually have a full set from an art store, but never thought of using it for modelling. Go figure.) The paper is special paper for watercolor painting.

The scene is one of my favorite from the early Horus Heresy books (I think it’s from the “Flight of the Einstein”): after realizing they have been betrayed, a dreadnought is calmly waiting for the virus bombs to hit.