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Found 11 results

  1. This Great Wall Hobby's new kit in 1:48, built pretty close to OOB, but for some scratch-building in the cockpit area. It's a great kit with some funny build sequences, but don't let those frighten you off The full build can be found here if you're interested Review sample courtesy of
  2. Lifecolor Acrylic Paints I was first introduced to Lifecolor paints by The Airbrush Company a good 8 months ago, maybe more, and as it happened had an immediate use for the colors that I received from them. Previously I'd never really heard of this Italian company's paint, although I had subconsciously taken them in on visits to the likes of ABC Modelsport. This kit was painted by the author using Lifecolor paints, and an Iwata TR-1 airbrush. A build review can be found here. The paints are available in translucent plastic bottles of a similar shape to Tamiya's dumpy glass bottles, which is great for storage and makes them difficult to spill. The lids are all uniform black, which makes spotting them from above a bit tricky, but of no major consequence if you have either a color marker or a label making machine. They are available singly, or in packs of 6 or 12 colors, with the packs being themed to certain types of modelling, such as WWII German Tanks, or more esoteric subjects like Polish Army 1939. Inside the chubby 22ml bottle is an acrylic paint that is somewhat different from most in that it doesn't dilute with Isopropyl Alcohol (IPA), or cellulose (lacquer) thinners, but will happily dilute with water, or Lifecolor's own thinner. A quick peek under the lid reveals a paint that looks as if it has been shaken and stirred already, although I would always agitate any paint before use just in case there has been any separation of the constituent components. This kit was also painted by the author using Lifecolor paints, and an Iwata TR-1 airbrush. Lifecolor pride themselves on color fidelity, and produce a range of 34 basic colors in matt and 20 in gloss, plus a general range of 101 colors covering many FS numbers (RLM, RAL too where appropriate). In addition is a primer, thinner and thickener for those unusual 3D effects, and an airbrush cleaner. In addition to these "general" colors there are the boxed sets. These cardboard encased sets are beautifully presented, and allow you the choice of keeping your themed paints in one place, so no more scrabbling around for that last German armour interior color - they're all there. The range of boxed sets is large and growing, with 26 sets being shown in their latest catalogue, with more popping up all the time. Whilst there aren't yet any sets for British aircraft WWII and modern, the colors are available separately, and it's just a matter of time before they get around to covering it. How are they to use? You're dying to know how they are to use, I'm sure, so let's dive in. The paints dilute well with water - I use deionised water, and add a precautionary drop of Windsor & Newton acrylic flow improver more through habit than any actual recognised need with these paints. I'm not one for measuring my mixes precisely, as life is just too short, so I use the old faithful "consistency of semi-skimmed milk" as my goal, and that seems to work pretty well, with only one instance of me over-thinning the paint, which leads to a bit of a spidery mess. My own fault, and I should have paid more attention to what I was doing at the time! In action, they airbrush onto primed surfaces very well, and build up an opaque matt finish quite quickly, which will please the spendthrifts amongst you. I don't advocate using any acrylic paint on an un-primed surface, as they aren't as tough as the old enamel paints, but once dry the finish is excellent, but being matt you should be careful when handling the model so as not to get any finger oils on the paint, as it will darken the perceived color. To get around this issue I use a photo-inspection glove on my left hand whilst holding the airbrush or whatever tool I'm using with my right. You can obtain these gloves from most industrial clothing factors, or on eBay, so I'm told, and realistically, we should all be using them anyway to avoid getting our models greasy before, during or after painting. The pigment in the paint is ground finely, and passes through my usual 0.15mm needle perfectly well with very little trouble with a clogged tip, which is the bane of some acrylics. The paints work very well together, and with a little finesse you can achieve a fine mottle, freehand camo, large expanses of a single color, or any variation in between. Mixing your own variations on the colors is as simple as adding a few drops of the lightening or darkening color, whisking it in, and off you go. I'll not leave the brush painters dangling in this review either, as I have used my bristled friends with some of the colors on a couple of figures, so that I could at least have an opinion. The paint brushes well right from the bottle, although I prefer a little thinning with distilled water to slow down drying. The first coat is translucent but uniform, with the second coat covering the majority of any primer showing through. Any remaining patches can be touched in with a third coat, and as the paint dries quickly, it doesn't take long to achieve full coverage. Of course there is bound to be a little variance between colors due to the pigments and chemicals used, but coverage is good, and the paint achieves good thickness (I really mean thinness) so that detail isn't obliterated. Mixing highlight/lowlight colors for shading figures with a brush is again easy, and the slight translucence is conducive to a smooth finished graduation of tone, providing you don't try and change hue too quickly. I'll leave the discussion of particular color shades matching swatches and black & white photographs to others, but I will say that every color that I have picked out meets with my perception of its "true" color, and I've been impressed with attention to detail in some sets where the same base color is offered in a number of hues to match different materials or the age of a particular cloth, or piece of combat equipment. I've amassed a pretty good selection of the boxed sets over recent months, and will add a few words about each one I have as appropriate, and a color listing to give you an idea of the depth of research and choice available below. For those eager to see my conclusion however, here it is now so you don't have to scroll through potentially uninteresting paragraphs. Conclusion I love Lifecolor paints. They are now my paint of choice for airbrushing, and I would be happy to continue using them for brush painting due to the fantastic range of colors available. Of the various acrylic colors I have used from Xtracrylix, Tamiya, Vallejo, Airfix, I would say that only Vallejo offers better brush performance, and Vallejo comes close when used in the airbrush. The paint seems to get on perfectly well with my Harder & Steenbeck airbrush and my Iwata, seldom clogging unless I'm blowing air & no paint for too long (my fault!). For an acrylic paint the finish is tough (primed models are my modus operandi), and cleanup is easy with a little water, and the residue removed using a little Premair acrylic airbrush cleaner - I've yet to try Lifecolor's own. I'll update this review as and when I receive new sets, so keep checking back. WWII US Army Uniforms Set 1 Contains: Olive drab light mustard, HBT dark shade, Olive drab M1943, Pink, Chocolate. WWII US Army Uniforms Set 2 Contains: Olive drab yellow tone, olive drab green tone, olive drab green tone (darker), russet brown, olive drab red tone, HBT light shade. Polish Army 1939 Contains: Polish uniform wz36, Polish uniform wz19, helmet dark green, equipment light khaki, officer's field uniform, summer uniform linen. German WWII Tanks Set 1 Contains: RAL 8020 Gelbbraun, RAL 7027 sandgrau, RAL 8000 Grunbraun, RAL 7028 Dunkelgelb, RAL 8017 Rotbraun/Schokoladen braun, RAL 6003 Olivgrun. German WWII Tanks Set 2 Contains: RAL 7021 Schwartzgrau, RAL 7016 Anthrazitgrau, RAL 8002 Signalbraun, RAL 7017 Dunkelbraun, RAL 8012 Rotbraun, RAL 7008 Graungrun khakibraun. Axis Tank Interiors Contains: (German) RAL3009 Oxid Rot (primer for engine bays etc.), RAL1015 Elfenbein (fighting compartment), RAL7009 Graugrun (Radio housings etc.), RAL5012 Lichtblau (some final drive parts), (Italian) RAL2001 Rosso Minio (primer), Bianco Avorio (fighting compartment). German WWII Luftwaffe Set 1 Contains: RLM 70 Schwarzgrun, RLM 71 Dunkelgrun, RLM 65 Hellblau, RLM 02 Grau, RLM 79 Sandgelb II, RLM 80 Olivgrun. German WWII Luftwaffe Set 2 Contains: RLM 74 Graugrun, RLM 75 Grauviolett, RLM 76 Lichtblau, RLM 81 Braunviolett, RLM 82 Hellgrun, RLM 78 Hellblau. German WWII Uniforms Set 1 Contains: Tropical Tan 1, Field Grey 1, Field Grey 2, Field Blue (Luftwaffe flight suits), Brown Service Shirt, Tropical Tan 2. German WWII Uniforms Set 2 Contains: Panzer Uniform, Light Brown, Dark Brown, Light Green, Dark Green, Extra Dark Brown. Italian WWII Regio Esercito Uniforms Contains: UA413 Khaki N. Africa, UA414 Tela Grigio Verde, UA415 Tuta Carrista, UA416 Verde Telo Mimetico, UA417 Khaki Telo Mimetico, UA418 Marrone Telo Mimetico. WWII Battle of Britain Royal Air Force Set Researched by Angelo Falconi. Contains: UA546 FS34079 Dark Green, UA547 FS30118 Dark Earth, UA548 FS34102 Light Green, UA549 FS30257 Light Earth, UA550 FS34424 Light Earth, UA551 FS34226 Grey Green. WWII Royal Australian Airforce Set 1 Contains: UA513 FS20099 Earth Brown, UA514 FS24092 RAAF Foliage Green, UA515 FS25550 RAAF Sky Blue, UA516 FS36118 Dark Sea Grey, UA517 FS35042 Dark Ocean Blue, UA518 FS35231 Sky Blue Azure. WWII Royal Australian Airforce Set 2 Quite a few RAF colors amongst this set for obvious reasons. Contains: FS 30118 RAF Dark Earth, FS 34092 RAF Dark Green, FS 36493 RAF Sky Grey, FS 24110 Interior Green, FS 34087 US Olive Drab, FS 36173 US Neutral Grey. Middle East British Vehicle Camouflage Contains Light Stone 61, Terracotta 44, Slate Grey 34, Light Grey/Silver Grey 28, Portland Stone 64, Desert Pink. NATO and M.E.R.D.C Mobility Equipment Research & Design Command - as well as the basic Nato black/green/earth red, there were lots of other variations, which the committed modeller can depict with this set Contains: FS37030 Black, FS30051 Brown, FS34094 Green, FS30277 Sand, FS30257 Earth Yellow, FS30117 Earth Red. Soviet WWII Army Contains: Dark Olive FS34102, Dark Olive Variant FS34096, 4BO Variant FS34257, 4BG Light Khaki FS34259, 6K 6RP FS30117, 7K Green Yellow FS23578 Israeli Army Vehicles & Uniforms Contains: UA901 IDF Sandgrey1, UA902 IDF Sandgrey2, UA903 IDF Green, UA437 Dark IDF Green, UA438 Medium IDF Green, UA439 Light IDF Green. US Navy WWII Set 1 Contains: US Navy Gray 5, Light Gray 5L, Ocean Gray 5O, Dark Grey 5D, Sea Blue 5S, Deck Blue 20B. US Navy WWII Set 2 Contains: Haze Gray 5H, Navy Blue 5N, Pale Gray 5P, Mahogany Stain, Flight Deck Blue 21, Neutral Haze Gray Kriegsmarine German Navy Set 1 Contains: Hellgrau Silbergrau DKM50, Dunkelgrau DKM51, Hellgrau DKM50 Var., Mittelgrau DKM51 Var., Dunkelgrau, Schiffsbodenfarbe Rot 5 Kriegsmarine German Navy - U-bootwaffe Set 2 Contains: Schiffsbodenfarbe III Grau, Schlickgrau 58, Blaugrau 58-1, Dunkelgrau 52, Dunkelgrau 53, Teerfirnis Tf 99 Faded.. Imperial Japanese Navy WWII Set 1 Contains: UA643 Sasebo Grey, UA644 Kure Grey, UA645 Yokosuka Grey, UA646 Maizuru Grey, UA647 Linoleum Deck, UA648 Antifouling Hull Red. Imperial Japanese Navy WWII Late War Set 2 Contains: UA649 Camo Green Type 1, UA650 Camo Green Type 2, UA651 Beimatsu Deck Tan, UA652 Hinoki Deck Tan, UA653 Camo Green Type 21, UA654 Camo Green Type 22. Finnish WWII Army Contains: Kenttäharmaa TY80001 Field grey, Harmaa N:o1 Grey, Sammaleenvihreä N:o2 Moss Green, Hiekanruskea N:o3 Sand Brown, 4BO Venäläinen vihreä Russian Green Finnish WWII Air Force Contains: Oliivin Vihreä (Olive Green), Vaalean Harmaa (Light Grey), Vaalean Sininen (Light Blue), Musta (Black), Keltainen (Yellow), Oranssi (Orange) Flesh Paint Set This set makes mixing of flesh colors almost redundant, with two tones of base, two highlights, and two lowlights. From there you can produce almost any skin tone other than African, which would need richer, darker browns as the lowlights. Contains: Flesh 2o Light, Flesh 1o Light, 1o Base, Flesh 2o Base, Flesh 1o Shadow, Flesh 2o Shadow. Tensocrom Active Surface Agents Sets 1 & 2 A series of pigments, dissolved in a special medium that allows the modeller to put glazes of color on their models. Set 1 contains: Medium (no pigment), Sand, Earth, Grass, Rust1, Rust 2 Set 2 contains: Oil, Smoke, Kerosene, Fuel, Burnt Brown, White Oxide Rail Weathering This one will be excellent for dioramas and weathering, although I don't know where some of the colour names came from. Contains: Frame Dirt, Track Dirt, Sleeper Grime, Roof Dirt, Weathered Black, Brake Dust. Weathered wood Excellent for rendering wooden parts of vehicles, as well as wooden sections of dioramas. Some examples of the finishes achievable are detailed on the back of the box. Contains: Warm dark shade, Warm base color, Warm light shade, Warm light shade 2, Cold base color, Cold light shade. Hemp Ropes & Tarps A range of shades to create realistic rope and material effects on your models and dioramas. Contains: Dark Umber Hemp (UA752), Medium Brown Hemp (UA753), Dirty Hemp (UA754), Worn Out Hemp (US755), Weathered Hemp (UA756), colourless Hemp (UA757). Leather Satin finish paints to give a natural tone to leather garments and goods. Contains: Leather Warm Brown (UA763), Leather Brown Shade (UA764), Leather Reddish Tone (UA765), Leather Yellow-Ochre Tone (UA766), Leather Cold Light Shade 1 (UA767), Leather Cold Light Shade 2 (UA768). White Wood (CS38) Matt finish paints with a high pigment content, including the following colours: Old Peeled Deck (UA774), Old Lightened Wood (UA775), Rough Light Grey (UA776), Rough Light Brown (UA777), Stripped Wood (UA778), Wooden Grey Umber (UA779). Leaking Grime, Stains & Damp (CS39) A mixture of matt and statin finishes, depending on application, containing the following colours: Lime Green (UA746), Dirty Green (UA747), Brown Green (UA748), Vegetable Origin Damp Green (UA749), Vegetable Origin Damp Yellow (UA750), Dark Mold (UA751). Stone Grey (CS40) Matt finish paints with a high pigment content, including the following colours: Blue Stone (UA780), Brown Stone (UA781), Dark Sand Stone (UA782), Green Stone (UA783), Reddish Stone (UA784), Light Stone (UA785). Master Mixer Set This set should be useful for the inveterate mixer of paint shades. It contains 6 empty Lifecolor bottles, plus 6 labels, 6 non-absorbent white test cards to try out your mixes, 6 miniature pipettes, and a dropper, which is a small length of threaded rod with a rubber grip. As stated above in the main body of the review, there isn't a specific British set available, but the color chart listing reproduced below is entitled "British Aircraft WWII and Today", so should be of great interest to modellers of RAF subjects, and is pictured at the top of this review. LC35 15044 Oxford blue LC74 17178 Silver UA088 30109 Identification dark red UA092 30118 Dark earth UA097 30266 Middle stone UA019 30277 Hemp UA089 30279 Desert sand UA107 33448 Light stone UA140 33538 Insignia yellow UA091 34079 Dark green UA008 34092 Extra dark sea grey (must be a typo - it's actually green) UA095 34424 Sky UA045 35164 PRU blue UA098 35231 Azure blue UA022 36118 Dark sea grey UA046 36173 mixed grey UA093 36187 Ocean grey UA094 36270 Medium sea grey UA079 36314 Barley grey UA026 36375 Aircraft grey LC02 37038 Black - night Some of these colors have a different name on the bottle, but if you search by the UA or LC number, you'll soon find the correct one. I've petitioned The Airbrush Company for some RAF sets, so will cross my fingers that they come to pass. Review sample courtesy of:
  3. Arism Viz Portable Cordless Compressor Sparmax Via The Airbrush Company Eventually, most modellers consider a compressor to drive their airbrush of choice, as air cans are too expensive, and they just don't have the finesse of a good air source. Generally speaking, compressors are big heavy things that you leave in one place connected to mains electricity for the majority of its working life, and quite a few of them are rather noisy into the bargain. That's been an accepted part of modelling for quite some time now, but what if you wanted to use your airbrush away from electricity, or in a hotel room, on holiday or just outdoors? Without a battery source, an inverter or an extension cord, you're out of luck under normal circumstances, but with the Viz (not the bawdy magazine), you have options. The Viz is a light-weight compressor that is reasonably quiet, not silent, and can be used either with a mains adapter, or most interestingly, with a battery pack that is available for a reasonable price and gives you the ability to go cordless. Yes. Cordless. A battery powered compressor, which is something you don't come across very often in the mainstream and at a reasonable price. Firstly though, let's discuss the compressor. Arism Viz Compressor If you read my review of the ARISM Min Compressor, you'll have an idea of the style, although this is a larger size, but it is also feels substantially lighter, as it weighs the same 2.5kg as the Mini. The fascia is metal on the Viz, and it has lightening holes drilled in the front that also act as cooling vents for the motor. There is a nifty Smart Stop airbrush rest on top of the compressor that has an on/off switch built in, so the act of putting your airbrush in the cradle switches off the compressor. I think that's a brilliant idea that saves fiddling with the on/off switch, reduces build-up of pressure in the hose as well as the build-up of operational heat, and also saves premature wear of the compressor parts when the brush is not being used. A strong black plastic carry-handle is also on the top of the device, far enough away from the airbrush rest to provide no interference. On the front panel is a single 1/8"BSP outlet thread, which fits the supplied hose, and virtually all the industry standard hoses out there if you need a longer one. A pressure dial is above the outlet, and this is adjustable by using the supplied Silver Bullet moisture trap. On the back is an on/off switch and a DC power socket that connects to either the AC adapter, or the battery pack, depending on how you are using it. Noise is pretty reasonable at a stated 45db, which I can believe from my own experience with various compressors and their noise. It isn't quiet, but neither is it obtrusive, and sat on its vibration damping rubber feet, you won't be irritating the people in the next room whilst using it. I'm used to a silent compressor, and this was akin to someone blowing a quiet raspberry from across the room, which was easily tolerable when compared to some compressors that claim low noise. The power pack that converts your auto-sensing 100v or 230v mains electricity to 12v DC plugs into the lead using a standard PC "kettle plug", so if you're travelling to other countries you can pick up a spare lead with their plug on the end for buttons. A 5.4mm coaxial plug fits into the socket on the back of the compressor, and as it is 12v, you could even make up your own lead to take power from a 12v cigar lighter, Hella socket, or even a leisure battery if you wanted to get the maximum use out of it. The stated maximum pressure is 50psi (3.4 Bar), moving 16-18 litres of air per minute, which should be plenty for the average airbrush user, and the pressure is regulated by adjusting the dial on the small Silver Bullet moisture trap as mentioned above. The only downside of this is that the regulator is actually only a bleed valve, so there will be air coming from your trap during use, which may kick up dust or debris if incorrectly oriented. The supplied hose is fine for most users, and screws directly into many airbrush air valves, with a few exceptions for which there are adaptors available. Its braided finish will ensure that it lasts, and the smooth finish of the material means that it slides over itself and nearby obstacles easily to reduce tangling. As there is no receiver in the compressor, the hose acts as the buffer between the piston's output and the airbrush, which might lead to stuttering concerns until you try it. In use the air flow is smooth, with no visible stuttering, even when swiping the airbrush over paper at high speed. The line sprayed is continuous with only the faintest evidence of a very slight variation of spray pattern. Under normal usage this will not be seen, and I have used it to paint the UE 2 that I have been building on the site recently, so can attest to this. The clatter of the piston does transmit to the airbrush handle however, but that doesn't seem to translate to the spray pattern, so as long as you are aware of it, it is a non-issue. When the hook on/off switch kicks in, it maintains pressure in the airline until you pick up the airbrush again, so there is no rising and falling air pressure, which means that your spray pattern should remain consistent throughout your session. If your airbrush has a MAC valve under the nose, you may have to put the brush into the rest at an angle, but as long as your paint cup has a lid, that's not a problem. Portability is good due to the light weight, although if you are using the AC adapter, you have more than just the chassis to carry around, but the box has a handle on the top, so could be reused for your accessories. If you are using the battery pack, the cord between them is short so moving the compressor with the battery attached is a two-hand operation, unless you either strap them together or use Velcro to attach them as I intend to once the review is completed. The casing of the battery has vents on the underside, so as long as those aren't blocked, overheating shouldn't be an issue. The Battery Option (Sold Separately) Battery use is simple and easy to switch to, although the battery packs and their charger are available separately, but at least you can choose how many batteries you want to have on hand. The charger is a small black socket that leads to a small rectangular box with an indicator LED and short fly-lead with a socket at the end to plug your battery pack into. The LED shows red when charging, and green when it has switched to trickle charge/maintenance mode when the battery is fully charged. The battery packs are 12v as you'd expect with a total capacity of 2ah/2,000Mah, and in use I have found you get around 30 minutes actual spraying from a charge if you remember to put the airbrush on the hook when not using it. Charging is fairly rapid with the charger putting 500Mah into the circuit, so if you have two or more on hand, you can rotate them to keep spraying, although in reality an airbrushing session is unlikely to last that long. Who should buy one? If you're a road-warrior modeller that spends a lot of time away, this could be for you, as it is quite portable and takes up little space in your luggage (20cm x 12cm x18cm). If you like to do a bit of modelling on holidays, or just sometimes model away from electricity, this could be a useful tool in your arsenal as long as the missus doesn't object to you bringing it along, but if you already model while you're on holiday, your argument should be that you want to at least do it well! Finally, if you just have a spray job a reasonable away from a source of power, then you can have a minimum or 30 minutes of happy spraying with this little unit. I'm sure there are other reasons why you might want one, but that's all I can think of now. Conclusion It's an endearing little box of tricks, and I can't help liking it for a number of reasons. Clever design of the hook switch, the compact size and the availability of battery power are pretty cool features, even if the latter is only for occasional use. The lack of receiver doesn't seem to impact performance unless you move your airbrush around like a madman, but I would have liked to see a more professional approach to pressure regulation given the price, as bleeding air from your moisture trap seems a little old-fashioned. Overall though, highly recommended. Review sample courtesy of
  4. Wilder Weathering Products As well as doing all things airbrushes Airbrushes.com also stock a selection of paints and other modelling products. One selection is made by a company I have never seen before called Wilder. Wilder do a range of weathering products which seem to be all the rage now. The first two bottles are an enamel based wash. They are grease and old grease. The grease is a standard greasy brown, and the old grease goes that grungy dark brown/black colour that old grease does have. They are thin to begin with and can be further thinned with any oil based thinner without any hint of pigments showing up as solid. The weathering oils are just that, oil paint. These are quite thick in the tube and a little will go a long way when you thin them down. They can be thinned with oil based thinner to what ever consistency the modeller wants. Despite heavy thinning there was no trace of pigment coming out of the solution as a sold, and yes they do dry fairly fast as per the packaging. The drying time will vary with your chosen thinner, and how thin you take them. Conclusion These are quality products, the pigment is very fine and does not separate out of the weathering oils when they are thinned. The washes are thin and flow very well. Highly recommended based on the samples supplied. Review sample courtesy of
  5. Airbrush Cleaners Premi-Air Two new items just in from Premi-Air, Airbrushes.com own brand, to help keep your airbrushes in tip top condition, even if you’ve been lax enough to let paints dry within the tip. The first is a Foaming Cleaner whilst the second is a much stronger product called Airbrush Liquid Reamer. The Foaming Cleaner is designed to be used as an end of session cleaner for extra thorough cleaning away of water-based products, such as alkali soluble acrylics. Using the straw provided, you can direct the foam at the airbrush nozzle and front components where the bottle attaches when using bottom feed airbrushes. If you use a gravity feed airbrush, then you can direct the straw down through the cup. The foam then expands throughout the airbrush components, and after five minutes or so you just spray warm water through the airbrush. The Airbrush Liquid Reamer is also an end of session cleaner, but for use with solvent and oil based products. Used in the same way as the Foaming Cleaner, I would advise users to have their mask on as it does contain some nasty stuff, namely Xylene and acetone. If you haven’t cleaned out you airbrush thoroughly you can leave the product in longer until it has eaten its way through the gunk. If you’ve left it a really long time it may take a few goes to clean it out properly. Conclusion Both of these product are a must have in your modelling tool kit. Be careful when using the foaming cleaner as a little goes a long way and you wouldn’t want to cover the bench in foam. The reamer worked really well on a couple of my airbrushes that I thought I’d clean, but apparently not quite well enough. Very highly recommended Review sample courtesy of
  6. Cleaners, Paints and Powders Alclad II Alclad have been around for a while now and they continue to improve and build their product range. Here we look at a new cleaner, paint, wash and weathering powder. The new airbrush cleaner is designed to be used after using other Alclad II products. If it’s anything like other Alclad II products you will need to keep your mask on when using this. As to what’s actually in it there is no information on their website, on anywhere else for that matter, but I imagine there’ll be some Xylene and acetone, much like other cleaner of its type. It does state on the label that it is not to be used as a thinners. The new paint range, Mil-Spec, has been made to be used straight from the bottle with no thinners required. Whilst I only have the matte black, it does spray very nicely and does indeed go a very satisfying matt finish. Another new range is the Warpigs Hogwash. Once again to be used straight from the bottle using a brush. The wash is then left for a bit before the excess is cleaned off with a cotton bud. According to the bottle it stays malleable for 36 hours. The dirt and grime we have here looks pretty good, but I haven’t had a chance to use it yet, but have to models on the bench that could do with dirtying up. The new weathering powders are also in the Warpigs range and we have been sent the Dust powder. The dust is contained in a re-sealable 20ml plastic pot, and is very fine indeed, so be careful when opening. Just dab a small amount onto a brush or pad the ever shake to brush onto the model. Seal using you preferred varnish. Conclusion Four very useful products that give some idea to what the rest of the new ranges are like. Just ensure you use a good facemask when using the cleaner and paint. Highly recommended. Review sample courtesy of
  7. Liquid Pigment Sets LifeColor I've been a LifeColor user for some years now, and I really like their handy boxsets that include pretty much all you need to accomplish a task. These new sets are a bit of a new thing however, as they profess to be "Liquid Pigments", which is a new term to me. They are odourless, and can be washed off with water if wet, or removed using a special Remover liquid once dry. This gives the modeller a lot of leeway in weathering their model, applying effects here and there, or all over and then cutting any over application back as needed. They apply on a satin or gloss surface for best effect, and there is no stipulation of enamel or acrylic paint, so they're good to go for all surfaces. Each set contains six bottles with green lids containing 22ml of product, which I suspect will go a long way if used sparingly, and can be thinned with water if a more subdued effect is required. You can apply the liquid with a paintbrush or airbrush to achieve different effects, so their usefulness is quite varied. They are also able to be used as filters if diluted, and you can mix the colours together to obtain new shades for a specific use. If you decide to put a different colour over the original application, you'll need to fix it with a coat of varnish so that the shades don't bleed together, so you'd better be happy with the original coat before you fix it! The Remover is included in each set, and is a clear almost odourless liquid with just a faint hint of the chemicals that make it up. This is probably best used with a brush or cotton bud to remove any excess pigment after it has dried. The sets are themed for a particular subject, and are aimed primarily at Armour modeller, although like so many modelling techniques they would be equally at home on a heavily weathered aircraft, ship, vehicle or diorama. Brief instructions are given on the back of each box in Italian and English, with a few colour photos of the process to assist you in understanding their use. Detail Emphasiser (LP01) Contains: LPW01 Burnt Umber, LPW02 Black Umber, LPW03 Burned Olive Green, LPW04 Black Grey, LPW05 Colonial Dark Sand, RE Remover. Rust Wizard (LP02) Contains: LPW06 Deep Rust, LPW07 Eroding Light Rust, LPW08 Eroding Dark Rust, LPW09 Orange Marks, LPW10 Yellow Marks, RE Remover. Rain and Dust Makeup (LP03) Contains: LPW11 Rain Marks, LPW12 Road Dust, LPW13 Light Earth, LPW14 Dark Dust, LPW15 Soot, RE Remover. Hulls & Wooden Decks (LP04) Contains: LPW16 Fouling Green. LPW17 Surfaces Shadower, LPW18 Wooden Deck Darkener, LPW19 Wooden Deck Shadower, LPW20 Dried Salt, RE Remover. Wings & Fuselages Detail Emphasizer (LP06) Contains: LPW26 Black Liner, LPW27 Grey Liner, LPW28 Paynes Grey Liner, LPW29 Landing Gear Dust, LPW30 Blue Burned Exhaust, RE Remover. You can purchase the sets, or get individual colours to either suit your needs or top-up your sets after use, as well as getting the Remover separately in case you run out. Conclusion I haven't had chance to use these yet, so will report back when I have. That said however, LifeColor do make some good products, and I'm not expecting to be disappointed. I'm actually looking forward to using them – now where did I put that Jagdpanzer IV? Review sample courtesy of
  8. MAX-4 Airbrush Sparmax via the Airbrush Company Sparmax are a huge producer of airbrushes and compressors under other brands, but as you'd expect they also produce products under their own brand, and the Airbrush Company sell their range from their website. The MAX-4 is designed to be a budget airbrush, although there is very little about it that feels budget. It arrives in a small poly clamshell case inside a card sleeve with the Sparmax logo and colour scheme, and a choice of either MAX-3 or MAX-4 noted on the side. As you may have guessed, the number relates to the needle/head size, and in this case we have the MAX-4 with a 0.4mm needle. Sliding the box out of the sleeve you are greeted again by the logo, and a view of the airbrush through the translucent box, which is held firmly closed by a flexible clasp. The airbrush is cradled in a precision cut foam insert, with another thin layer beneath along with the instruction manual and exploded parts diagram. There is also a nylon cleaning brush with a chisel-point hidden away in the rear, which I missed initially until I read the side of the box properly. Also included is a choice of a solid or crown-shaped needle caps, a small spanner to undo the air-cap, and a strange straight-through replacement piece for the air-valve that bypasses the trigger and leaves the line always on. While you have the compressor on, your 'brush will emit air. I've seen this before on other 'brushes, and don't really see the need for them, but what do I know? If you agree, just ignore it like I do, and leave it in the box! Without that odd accessory, you have a top-fed dual-action airbrush of standard construction , with a 7ml colour cup and an adjustable pre-set knob on the handle that is usually only present on my expensive 'brushes. Breakdown is pretty standard, and cleaning is easy too, as the integral paint cup has a nice flat area at the bottom, which makes it easy to keep clean. Tension on the trigger's pull-back can be adjusted by screwing the internal adjustment screw that you'll find inside the handle in or out. I prefer mine with plenty of resistance, so I screwed that straight in as soon as I re-assembled it. The needle is held in place with another knurled screw inside the handle, and other than choosing whether you want a crown-shaped or solid needle cap to protect your needle, that's all the set-up you need initially. I prefer the crown needle cap purely because you can see the state of the needle a little easier through the gaps in the sides. In-use, the trigger has a nice positive actuation to begin air-flow, and slides easily back and forth within its machined slot even at maximum tension, backed by a needle-stop that is captive to the piston on which the needle is secured. That's a handy feature, as non-captive stops sometimes either get lost during cleaning/fumbling, or can be tricky to get back in place until you are familiar with how it fits. The preset handle has a knurled knob on the end that you wind in or out to control how far back the needle can travel. This is especially handy when you are attempting squiggle, mottle, or any other task where you will need a continuous paint pattern, but it doesn't have the click-on/off that more expensive 'brushes have, which permit you to switch the effect on and off at a whim. Under normal airbrushing conditions, it's worthwhile checking travel of the needle before you start a session, to ensure that you aren't going to run into the stop at an inconvenient point. The needle is 0.4mm, which is about as wide as you would want to go for an all-purpose airbrush, but it gives a good spray pattern with excellent atomisation at around 1 bar/15psi with correctly thinned paints – the consistency of semi-skimmed milk is a good guide. The colour cup has a slightly domed cap which is a friction fit, and has a small air-bleed hole in the top to avoid build-up of vacuum as paint is drawn through. The cap is easily removed with light finger pressure under the rim, but this gets more difficult if you leave paint to dry around the rim like I did. As previously mentioned, clean-up is a breeze due to the easy break-down, although I find the tiny paint nozzle used in this brush a tad annoying purely due to the ease of loss, and the fact that my fingers aren't as nimble and my eyesight as good as it used to be. Practically, they are no more or less efficient than other designs, and the spanner fits perfectly with no slop that could result in burred flats over the long-term. If parts loss bothers you, the Airbrush Company sell a nice cleaning mat with a raised edge that should allow you keep all your parts safe from loss or damage due to dropping. The needle is sturdy and easy to insert/remove, with spares available from the Airbrush Company, as are the other consumables, such as the o-ring that paint-proofs the trigger area and sits in front of the brass needle-guide. The needle-guide is removed by inserting a small flat-bladed screwdriver into the groove in its top and unscrewing it. Tease out the old o-ring and push the new one in, being careful not to cross-thread the guide as you re-insert it. A new paint nozzle will cost you less than £10, and a new needle will be under £8 at the time of writing, while the o-ring is a reasonable £5.29, and made of a chemical resistant PTFE mix. Conclusion My usual airbrush is an H&S Infinity 2-in-1 so you might expect a bit of snobbery, but this is a great little 'brush that should give you good service without breaking the bank, without seeming cheap in any way. They are also available in bundles with compressors, starting at very pocket-friendly prices, with a choice of colour of compressor body! Highly recommended. MAX-3 MAX-4 Review sample courtesy of
  9. ARISM Mini Compressor Sparmax via the Airbrush Company Sparmax are a huge producer of airbrushes and compressors under other brands, but as you'd expect they also produce products under their own brand, and the Airbrush Company sell their range from their website. These compact compressors fall between the tiny "fish tank" style compressors and the tanked compressors that weigh a ton! Ariving in a reasonably small and attractive looking box in the Sparmax Black and shades of orange scheme, which has a convenient carry-handle projecting from the top to ease your burden, the unit is further protected by a cardboard inner sleeve and polybag. Included is a two metre braided hose with a female 3/8" fitting at either end, and a three-pin plug that is already attached to the integral power cord. The compressor is enclosed in a painted metal housing with black plastic end-caps that have intake/cooling vents moulded in, with a simple on/off switch at the back, pressure adjustment knob and air outlet on the front. A carry-handle is bolted to the top of the device with a airbrush holder slot moulded in, which stands overall at just over 17cm from the desk, is 16cm deep (front to back), and 9cm wide, hence the "Mini" part of the title. It weighs in at 2.5kg (5.5lbs in old money), and won't take up much room if you're thinking about using it when you're away on business for example. The pressure control knob is surrounded by lines, but no pressure levels are given, so it'll be trial-and-error setting up the correct pressure for your needs, but once set you'll seldom need to vary it. Two things that the compressor doesn't have are probably not of that much importance to the intended buyer, and that is a moisture trap/regulator and receiver, or air tank as they're more colloquially known. The former isn't massively important in temperate climates with lower moisture levels, and adding one shouldn't be a problem if you need to, but does increase the weight, footprint and thereby reduce portability. The receiver is usually used to give two advantages. Firstly, it prevents the need to run the compressor constantly by building up pressure to be meted out by a regulator as needed. Secondly, it removes any pulse in the airflow caused by the back-and-forth of the piston, which can be a problem with some tankless compressors. Having used this in testing the MAX-4 airbrush, I haven't detected any pulse, which may well be attenuated by the 2m hose acting as a mini-receiver. A longer hose would further assist in this if you find it occurring at certain settings however. The compressor is easy to switch on and off after use, and the instructions state that you shouldn't use it continuously for more than 30 minutes without giving it a chance to cool down. That should see you through even the most complex of tasks in the real world. Noise It's an important aspect of using a compressor if there are going to be people about, and let's face it. We're people too. Some compressors are virtually silent at around 28db, emitting as much noise as a fairly quiet PC fan. Others are like a jackhammer going off inside your head at 58db+, and would get irritating very quickly, even if you were the only one in the house. The ARISM is very considerate in this respect, emitting a quiet burble that wouldn't disturb reasonable people, as it lacks any real bass vibe, so doesn't resonate through the desk into the fabric of the building. Compared to my spray booth's (cooker hood) exhaust fan, it is pretty quiet, and should be fine to use in the next room to others. [ In Use Set-up is easy, and the supplied hose mated well with the compressor without the use of the recommended PTFE tape. Stopping and starting was a breeze, although once or twice the piston stalled because I had left the air-hose pressured, which resisted the piston's attempts to start its stroke. Emptying the line allowed it to start normally, so that's just something to watch out for. I found the pressure dial borderline superfluous, as the majority of the dial wasn't producing enough pressure to atomise the paint properly, so it was almost an on/off switch. Peak flow of 12-14l/min (0.42-0.49cfm) probably plays a part, but whacking the dial as far as it would go gave me plenty of working pressure, so have a twist until you are happy with the results. I didn't notice any evidence of pulsing in my paint finish, although if you direct the air jet minus paint at your cheek (one of your most sensitive parts for detecting airflow), you can feel it ever-so-slightly pulsing. Its light weight and compact nature makes it handy for use on the go, and I took advantage of this and used it for a little paint touch up outside on the drive to good effect. Conclusion You are likely looking at this compressor as either your first foray into airbrushing, to use as a backup or to use in a portable or limited space situation, and for that it is really quite good. It is small, keenly priced, quiet enough to keep you out of trouble with the neighbours, and eminently portable. What it is not, is a fully-fledged compressor that you could use all day every day, with fine pressure control and everything built in, so if that's what you want, this isn't for you. If you buy it for its intended purpose though, you should be well-pleased, and as you can have it in a number of different colours* to match your… well, mood or whatever, it's quite a fashion conscious little unit. You might want to grab a Max-4 airbrush while you're there. Highly recommended. Review sample courtesy of * Available in Snow White, Electric Orange, Sakura Pink, Burgundy Red, Sky Blue, Star Silver (the colour of the review sample), Royal Blue.
  10. Stainless Steel Tweezers Wilder Tweezers can be a very personal item, and finding a good pair can be full of disappointment if you don't get the opportunity to try before you part with your cash. I have one pair that I guard jealously from careless (small) fingers, and curse vociferously if I drop them inadvertently for fear of ruining the tip, which has happened a few times so far to such an extent that I have had to reform the tips, which resulted in them being a little smaller than they were. Please excuse the grainy scan from the small inlay card. This new range of tweezers from Wilder have pointed tips (my personal favourite for close work), and come in a range of five types. They are non-ferrous, so they won't stick to your magnetic tool holder, and are allegedly acid resistant, although I have no way of testing that! Made from a fine quality steel, they are coated with a textured black lacquer that terminates short of the tip, which is hand finished to a fine point. Out of the packaging they have a small plastic cover to protect the tip both from damage and from damaging you if you slip while you're opening the pack. These things really are quite sharp, and if you slip they will draw blood. My standard test for grip is to try and pick up a hair on the back of my hand, which both the straight (02) and angled (04) types managed to do very well. They fall easy to hand for a medium sized Neanderthal like myself, but anyone with a large hand may find the 03 their best option because it is a shade larger than the others. Whether it's the black finish, but they seem smaller than they actually are, but they say that black is a slimming colour, even though it doesn't seem to work for me. In use they have a nice smooth action that doesn't require too much pressure to close, without being overly slack, and in their relaxed state are approximately 12mm apart, allowing you to grip and hold larger items. My previous favourite tweezers only open to 6mm, which is sometimes inconvenient, so these Wilder tweezers could find a place in my regular arsenal of modelling tools. Conclusion A very nicely tooled and presented set of tweezers with a choice of five from the range. Keeping the little covers would be a good idea to help with longevity and blood loss, although the metal seems plenty strong enough to serve you for many years. Not cheap at a shade over £10 at time of writing, but good tools last for years. Highly recommended. Review sample courtesy of
  11. Douglas TBD-1 Devastator

    Douglas TBD-1 Devastator 1:48 Great Wall Hobby The Devastator was an interwar design for a torpedo bomber that entered service in 1937 during the “Yellow wing” phase of American Naval aviation. Although a capable aircraft, it was outclassed almost as soon as the Americans entered WWII with only around 130 being procured for use by the US Navy. It was a slow beast, and not the most manoeuvrable, which although it performed quite well in its first uses against the Japanese, subsequent attacks suffered heavy losses, rapidly diminishing the numbers, and after the sad but heroic sacrifice of squadron VT-8 (the subject of this kit) during the Battle of Midway, the Devastator was withdrawn from active duty with fewer than 40 airframes still in existence. As mentioned above, this release is of the VT-8 aircraft that flew at the Battle of Midway, sacrificing themselves to throw the Japanese fleet into disarray and draw fighter cover off station, allowing later attacks to sink or cripple three of the Japanese carriers. These aircraft had distinctive twin .30cal machine guns, that were fitted just prior to the ill-fated attack. These parts are included in the kit, as are the standard single gun, which isn’t mentioned in the instructions. The kit arrives in a standard top opening box with a fetching digital painting of a torpedo laden Devastator flying uncharacteristically over a burning carrier. Inside are four sprues of mid-grey styrene parts, a separate cowling part, a sprue of clear parts, two frets of Photo-Etch (PE) brass, two white-metal wing hinges, a small sheet of decals, and a larger sheet of pre-cut and numbered canopy masks. The package is completed by a colour reproduction of the box artwork and a handsome full-colour instruction booklet, which again has the artwork reproduced on the top of the front page. On first look, the parts are exceptionally crisply moulded, with slide-moulding used on the two torpedoes and the three .30cal machine guns. The clear parts allow the modeller to pose the canopies open using seven individual parts, or closed using one very large part. Both sets are very thin and clear, and the inclusion of the masks will be a godsend, as each part has a minimum of four panes, with all of the attendant framing that requires. Construction starts with the cockpit, and a significant number of the kit’s part count will be used here, due to the quantity of separate parts. The pilot and navigator’s seat have a full set of PE harnesses, and the pilot’s seat is attached to the mid-bulkhead by the correct frame. Separate rudder pedals, plus various large control levers and the control column are also provided, and the gunner’s “baby seat” turret is again made from a number of parts, and has a PE lap-belt arrangement. Following the instructions, you will install the twin .30cals here, but if you decide to model a non-VT-8 aircraft, the twin-mount should be left off, and a single .30cal (part D7) with a goose-neck mount can be fitted in its place. Of course, you’ll also need to source your own decals. The fuselage sidewalls have ribbing detail built in throughout the whole length of the substantial cockpit, but there are a number of ejector pin marks here. I suspect that these have all been placed either in places where they won’t be seen either because additional parts are placed over them, or because the addition of the cockpit “topper” will render them invisible. If they still bother you however, a piece of styrene strip glued in to replace the missing portion of ribbing should cure it for most modellers. The cockpit sidewalls are festooned with lots of parts, from boxes to control quadrants and wheels, making for a nice busy area without resorting to aftermarket. The small side-windows in the pilot’s compartment are installed at this point, but you’ll need to make your own masks for both sides of these, as none are included on the sheet. The pilot’s instrument panel is split into two parts on the kit, with the upper part set forward from the lower. A full set of dial decals are included on the kit sheet, which is a great boon to the modeller, and a feature that other manufacturers would do well to follow. The separate cockpit floor is a little strange, and consists of a “tray” with a ribbed surface that sits under the feet of the pilot and navigator in the deep recesses of the fuselage, with a single window in the front, allowing the pilot a view from the underside of the aircraft. The radio gear is all moulded in one block, but detail is good, although there are no decals for the two dials in the top box or the data placards on the fronts. The final acts before closing up the fuselage is installing the arrestor hook into its small notch, and a wedge-shaped piece of PE lining to the underside window tunnel, which also has a pair of aerodynamic doors to allow it to be posed open or closed. Aligning the cockpit’s enclosing top deck must be done carefully here, to minimise the seam between it and the edges of the fuselage. Several plastic and PE parts are then added to the cockpit deck, including a large sighting unit for the pilot, and strengthening to the roll-over protection. Once the fuselage is closed up, the engine components are added one by one. The exhaust collector ring is attached to the front bulkhead, and has recessed exhausts either side. The recesses aren’t very deep, so some may wish to drill them out further, using the existing depression as a guide. The engine itself is made from seven styrene parts and has an additional PE wiring loom added to the front. The individual cylinders are crisply moulded, and once the additional moulding reservoir “pips” that help prevent short-shot moulds are removed, the seams can be scraped clean in preparation for painting. The cowling is supplied as a separate part, and has been slide moulded to obtain excellent surface detail all around. Open or closed cowling flaps are included separately, and are glued to the cowling before installation at the modeller’s choice. The clear parts, as already mentioned are supplied either in seven separate pieces, or as one continuous mould. Separate canopy masks are included for each option, as presumably, the sizing is slightly different for each option. The central wing section is a single part on the underside, with the two upper wing stubs as separate parts, and the flaps separate again. A cylindrical intake on the starboard underside of the wing is installed with a PE mesh grille at the end of the intake greeting enquiring eyes. The aerodynamic doors over the pilot’s lower window have PE skins attached to them to improve detail, which really compels the modeller to leave them open, even though it spoils the look of the aircraft slightly. The wing stubs are closed off by a pair of nicely detailed wingfold bulkheads, with matching pairs on the outer wing segments, which are of course made from top and bottom halves. If you are posing the wings folded, the white-metal fold mechanisms will hold the wing at the correct angle, and strengthen what is usually a weak point on models with folded wings. Some nice little PE parts are also added to the wing fold area, improving the detail and giving the area a better scale look. Again, it would be a shame not to fold at least one of the wings here. The ancillary or “sticky out bits” are next on the agenda, including the prominent aerial on the front fuselage, the sighting tube that penetrates the canopy (which has a hole moulded in), and of course the wheels, which can be built up in either up or down pose just by cutting off one of the retraction struts. Here appears to be a little weak spot of the kit, because the wheel recess – I hesitate to call it a bay, as it is simply a cut-out under the wing, has no detail within the wing, other than what is moulded into the underside part. I’m not sure at this time whether there should be any detail here, but it will look a little blank to the inquisitive viewer. The next job is the torpedo recess under the fuselage. If you want to depict the aircraft loaded with a torpedo, there is a shaped part, and if unloaded, there is a flat blanking piece. The two torpedoes provided are the Mark 13, which proved problematic to begin with, and the version with the rudders behind the props were the initial batch. The later modification to add wooden fin stabilisers slowed the torpedo on entry to the water is also included, although the wood grain texture is only engraved on the outer edges, and the inner edges have some ejector pin marks that could possibly show up on the finished item. If you elect to leave the torpedoes in the spares box, there are a pair of bomb carriers in the box that can be added to the fuselage underside, but you’ll have to source your own 500lb bombs, as none are included in the box. The decals are made in China (as is the kit), and appear to be in good register, with thin carrier film. Based on past experience, the decals should settle down well over the ribbed wings with a little Mr Mark Setter. The long black walkways are provided as decals, as are the multi-coloured prop tips, although if you wanted to paint them yourself, there are very faint lines where the demarcations are. If you would prefer to paint your national markings and the walkways however, GWH have thoughtfully included a set of masks next to the canopy masks to do just that. Circles and stars are provided, so the process would be a coat of white, apply the star correctly oriented, a coat of dark roundel blue over the star and apply the roundel, being careful to line them up properly. Then apply the top coat and finally unmask the roundels once you’re done. From the decal sheet (or masks) you can portray one of two aircraft from VT-8, 8-T-14, the mount of George Gay, the sole survivor from that fateful mission, or T-16, piloted by LCDR John C Waldron, the commander of the squadron on that day. This link to the International Group for Historic Aircraft Recovery (TIGHAR) is quite interesting, as it shows a submerged Devastator that the society wants to recover, and includes some interesting detail pictures that may be of use if you're planning on super-detailing your model. Conclusion Although the Devastator was a comparative failure as a fighting aircraft, this kit seems to hit all the right spots in terms of detail (with a few remarked upon exceptions), simplicity of construction, and quality of moulding. It’s a fitting tribute to the brave men that lost their lives on VT-8’s most famous attack, and should sell well. The inclusion of two frets of PE parts, the alternative canopy parts, masks etc., are all good to have, and the care with which the canopies are packaged, in their own bag and then a further protective expanded foam bag will ensure your kit is well protected until you’re ready to build it. Choice of two extremely nicely moulded torpedoes is a nice feature, although a pair of bombs for the underside would have been helpful. I understand that the twin mount for the rear gunner was a late addition to the squadron’s equipment, so if you’re modelling the aircraft prior to the raid, please check your references to see if they’re installed, and use the alternative parts if required. Highly Recommended Review sample courtesy of
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