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  1. WWII Luftwaffe Late War Colours Acrylic Paints (AK11718) AK Interactive This is a new set from AK Interactive’s new 3rd Generation Acrylics, this time depicting the common colours used by the Luftwaffe during the later period of WWII when supplies were short for every aspect of the Nazi war machine. There was a development of colours to protect their aircraft on the ground from the overwhelming Allied bombardment, and standards became a little more lax (laxer?), partly because aircraft were being made in smaller factories and workshops to spread their effort around so that it wasn’t as vulnerable to enemy action. Records became sketchy too, partly due to the destruction of many records as the Allies rolled over their territory both by the Germans themselves as part of their "scorched earth" policy, and by damage to the infrastructure during the fighting. There is a lot of conjecture about shades thanks to this and other factors, and it’s a cause of many an online argument when people come to virtual blows interpreting black and white photos as one shade or another, or assuming every regulation was followed to the letter despite the situation. The set arrives in a cardboard box with a clear plastic inner tray containing six 17ml bottles of paint to which I’m going to add glass beads, as I like those because they make paint mixing easier. The design of the packaging is simple and based on an overall white theme, with the usual orange AK logo with the negative silhouette of an AK-47 in the centre prominently displayed, as well as the Air Series logo that refers to the fact that this is an aviation set, not an airbrush specific set (someone else's branding of their pre-thinned paint has a similar name). That’s something that could otherwise be misinterpreted. The 3G Acrylics brand logo is also present, with the product code above and the strapline “Scale Reduction Factor” below. This refers to scale colour, which can be a divisive theme, although I’m personally OK with that. Essentially, it refers to the perceived lightening of a colour applied to a scale model, as if seeing it through “scale air”, or aerial perspective, which reduces the saturation of any colour over distance - a well-known technique used in art, especially to depict the effects of distance in scenery and other distant objects. Some folks may not subscribe to it however, and that’s ok too. While there are six bottles in the box, there are only three RLM numbers depicted, which might be confusing initially, but there are a number of variations on some codes. In the box there are the following shades: AK11828 RLM76 Version 2 AK11829 RLM76 Late War Variation AK11835 RLM81 Version 1 AK11836 RLM81 Version 2 AK11837 RLM81 Version 3 AK11838 RLM82 I won’t comment on which of the versions are “correct", but you have options to paint your model with any of the well-known alternatives that have been researched by AK. I’ve sprayed out each of the colours on a spoon that has been prepared by buffing with a fine grade polishing stick that keys the surface at a microscopic level, giving this new acrylic paint extra adhesion, which is very effective. This new generation also brushes extremely well, which I tested with the FAA set I reviewed recently. They scratch with heavy fingernail pressure of course, but it takes effort that no other acrylic would resist, and some would definitely scratch up much more easily. Masking and tearing it off roughly also results in zero paint damage providing you have prepped the surface properly of course. In action the paints spray well, using the usual light coats initially, then thicker coats once the misted-on colour has dried a little. Again, the prepped surface and the paint are tough as old boots as far as acrylics go, and scratch testing them brings off very little in the way of paint. I also ran a sanding test on this set, and rather than just peeling off like most acrylics do, these sand off gradually, lending their use to any touch-ups or screw-ups you might perpetrate without having to substantially strip-back the paint as part of the preparation work. Conclusion A useful set for the Luftwaffe enthusiast or just your average modeller that wants to paint their late WWII Luftwaffe model without having to hunt down the relevant shades individually. Convenience is king. Highly recommended. Review sample courtesy of
  2. WWII RAF Coastal Command & RN Fleet Air Arm Colours (AK11728) AK Interactive It’s been a while since we’ve reviewed any products from Spanish Paint & Weathering company AK Interactive, but they haven’t been sat idly twiddling their thumbs. They’ve been working on a new range of acrylic paints, which they refer to as third generation acrylics, aiming for excellent coverage, what they describe as awesome grip, and a promise of no clogging of your airbrush if you paint using one. They also state that they’re great for use with a paint brush undiluted, but they should be diluted with water or their own thinners if using with an airbrush, which I’ll be testing later with my usual devil-may-care semi-skimmed milk thickness being the goal, and using Ultimate Thinners as my usual thinners of choice. Each pot arrives in a 17ml dropper bottle with sharp contours at the shoulder and a cruciform profile to the white screw-top cap, which is also knurled near the bottom to improve grip further. The labels wrap around the body of the bottle giving general information about the new range, plus its name and product code near the top, and a bar code along one short edge. Overall, it’s a nice look, but that’s not why we’re here. The set arrives in a cardboard box with a clear plastic inner tray containing six bottles of paint to which I’m going to add glass beads, as I like those because they make paint mixing easier. The design of the packaging is simple and based on an overall white theme, with a slightly retro font on the front that is a little hard to read. The usual orange AK logo with the negative silhouette of an AK-47 in the centre is prominently displayed, as well as the Air Series logo that refers to the fact that this is an aviation set, not an airbrush specific set. That’s something that could be clearer. The 3G Acrylics brand logo is also present, with the product code above and the strapline “Scale Reduction Factor” below. This refers to scale colour, which can be a divisive theme, although I’m personally OK with that. Essentially, it refers to the perceived lightening of a colour applied to a scale model, as if seeing it through “scale air”, or aerial perspective, which reduces the saturation of any colour over distance, a well-known technique used in art, especially to depict the effects of distance in scenery and other distant objects. Some folks may not subscribe to it however, and that’s ok too. The set includes the following colours: AK11844 RAF Sky AK11848 RAF Sky Grey AK11849 RAF Dark Slate Grey AK11850 RAF Extra Dark Sea Grey AK11868 White (FS17875) AK11029 Black The first item of note is that this set includes both black and white. Is this going to be a theme, as with one or two other brands that will leave you with masses of unused duplicate bottles of paint? Well, we’ve got five larger sets of between 6-8 bottles per set in for review, and this is the only one that includes black and white. That’s a good thing from a duplication and waste point of view, and also makes it an ideal first set to get for your average Britmodeller so that you can use those colours to lighten or darken other colours. Also, don’t forget D-Day stripes, which were a thing in the summer of 1944 and were definitely black and white. Now we need to put some paint on a “model”. I’ll be using plastic spoons, so please accept my apologies that it’s not a WWII FAA subject. I’ll also be priming everything with Alclad Grey primer, which is what I’m using at the moment. I’m a firm believer in priming models to improve adherence and harmonise the colour and texture of the model before painting. I’ll also do a quick test without primer to test this fêted adhesion they talk about, which will be tested by burnishing down some Tamiya tape then ripping it off in a careless manner – think waxing strips if you’ve ever seen that happening. In Action Through an Airbrush The paint leaves the bottle quick thickly, and I’d imagine that brush-painting would require a little thinning to keep the brush-marks to a minimum. For airbrush use they need to be thinned quite a lot, so a little goes a long way. As I write this I’ve sprayed out three colours and had no problems using the Ultimate Thinners, although I’ve put too much in one, which has made coverage slower. Coverage is best achieved by light coats, starting with a mist coat so that the paint doesn’t bead on the surface. I read somewhere that this is the best way to spray them, but I can’t find that anymore, so I suspect it was on their site. The paint is pigment dense, as advertised, and goes down well on a prepared surface, which I keyed with a light sanding with a fine stick. It also covers well on un-primed surface which was also keyed in the same manner. Talk amongst yourselves now while I finish spraying out the other colours and brush them out on the other side of the spoons. I had a few issues with the white, which could do with being a little more pigment dense, because by the time you’ve thinned it down, it’s a little translucent. It took several coats to complete the spoon in the photo, and if you look really closely you will still be able to see a little of the primer through it in places. It’s entirely possible that I’ve over-thinned it, but I don’t think I did. I’ve been wrong before though, so I’ll leave it to you to decide. Now I’ve finished, I can report back that all the colours are nice, spray out matt, and with the exception of the white, they cover well. In Action with a Paintbrush I’m not a brush painter. The only time I pick up a paintbrush is for detail painting, weathering, or for a review like this one. I’ll be using an AMMO #6 Synthetic Filbert brush for this job, as they’re a reasonably wide brush but without sharp edges, so when laying off to reduce brush marks, it doesn’t leave tramlines. At this point I’ve given each spoon one coat, and they all seem to have a very slight satin sheen. What is surprising in a good way is that the Sky, Sky Grey and Black were very dense, and could probably be left at one coat, although I’m going to give the Sky Grey another coat because I can still see slight variations in tone. The other colours have covered pretty well, but you can still see the white plastic through, and that’s not bad at all. Now all the remaining spoons have their second coat, they’re pretty good. Only one spoon needed a third coat, mainly because I put more paint on before it was properly dry, so it pulled the first coat up in a few places, so you can blame that one on me. I’m really impressed with the coverage, and managed to get a reasonably smooth finish, even though I’m by no means an expert. In daylight the paint looks good, again bearing in mind my inexperience with hand painting things. In Action - Conclusion Each spoon has been scratched now, and while the paint does lift with the passing of my thumbnail, there’s not an acrylic around that wouldn’t suffer the same and probably worse under those circumstances. The primed airbrushed spoons survived the scratching slightly better, but the hand painted spoons stood up pretty well. These acrylics are at the strongest end of the spectrum, but you must prepare the surface properly, as the paint just rubbed off on a spoon I forgot to prime. Whilst not as shiny as your average spoon, a slick model surface that may have finger oils or mould residue won’t hold any kind of paint very well. I also sprayed out a couple of spoons without primer, and where I hadn't quite managed to get the buffing stick in, the paint didn’t stick well. Again, that’s to be expected. Where I did prep the surface however, the un-primed spoons took the paint very well, and it appears that it is almost as well adhered as the primed spoons. That should prove interesting to those of us that don’t like to prime. Buff your model, and as long as the colour of the styrene is uniform, you should be able to cover it in a few coats with confidence. The next test is to see how they cope with masking tape. Using a 18mm roll of Tamiya kabuki/Washi tape that you can get at most model shops, I burnished the tape down firmly and left it for a while to get a good grip. Then I ripped off the tape with abandon, as described above somewhere, and there wasn’t a bit of lifting evident on primed airbrush paint, or the un-primed hand brushed paint. Only the RAF Dark Sea Grey had a very slight (barely noticeable) colour change thanks burnishing of the adhesive into the surface, so that’s all gone very well overall. The fact that the un-primed spoons survived unaffected says more about the adhesion of the paint and the value of micro-keying the surface than I ever could. From your side of the screen the colour of the paints is difficult to gauge because 99% of the screens out there haven’t been colour calibrated, but on my ageing Samsung panel the colours appear almost identical to the spoons in my hands right now. They also look good to me from an accuracy point of view, but I’m not one to obsess over colour and certainly wouldn’t be confident about a shade that has been decided upon by looking at a black and white photograph or an aged chip of paint. I also wouldn’t know how to measure a colour on the Munsell scale, but to my untrained eye they look ok. I do have an Art A Level if that’s any comfort! Final Conclusion I like these paints in use, their bottles are also practical and attractive, although I’m not massively keen on the font used on the box artwork. It reminds me of WordArt, but as that’s immaterial, so we’ll ignore it. There’s a whole range of these colours available for the aircraft, AFV and other modelling genres, and we’ll be reviewing some other sets soon. Highly recommended. Review sample courtesy of
  3. My next build is the venerable Airfix F-80C: This was part of my mid-90's stash-building spree. It may be my favorite straight-winged jet of all time (even over my Banshee!), so I'm super excited to build this. Plus I will be trying AK interactive extreme metal for the first time as well. Not that there's anything wrong with Alclad -- I love it -- but I've found that I can't quite get the "Almost-shiny-but-partly-worn" look from Alclad. Mirror finishes and really worn finishes, yes, but that elusive in-between... no. Here's an example of what I mean: Lockheed F-80C 47-545 (11488799454) Bill Larkins [CC BY-SA 2.0 (https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/2.0)], via Wikimedia Commons I've tried lots of pre-shading ideas, but they either didn't work or weren't consistently reproducible. I suppose I could experiment with some post-painting effects, like maybe some dot filtering or something. I don't know. Back to the AK paint, however -- I saw several builds using the stuff and it looked closer to the picture above than I can get with Alclad, so I thought I'd give it a shot. I've also looked at lots and lots of photos and have a pretty good idea of how to shade the different panels to match the metal shades I see. More on that later. So, weeknights are busy and I typically only have about 10 -30 minutes to do anything at the bench. So, I started Sunday night but only now have had time to post any progress. Sunday night I painted all the Zinc Chromate parts, and painted the landing gears with decanted Tamiya Silver Leaf paint. The seat was terribly inaccurate, so I thought I could make it a little less so after looking at some reference photos. Here's the original seat: I added some arm rests with sheet styrene: Monday night I did an oil wash on the zinc chromate parts, then sealed them with dull coat: ... and a little detailing in the cockpit tub: and painted the seat. The seat in the photos I have looks like it was olive drab against the zinc chromate cockpit floor, which seemed odd, but that's what I went with. Tuesday night I painted the details in the landing gear bays. My reference photos showed that many of the lines were silver, but the lines don't match between the photos and the model, so I had to wing it. Last night I did some dry brushing and silver paint chipping on the seat... And fabricated some ejection seat handles to put on: Of course the opening for the cockpit is small, so all this detail maybe for nothing.... I also epoxied some lead fishing weights in for nose weight. I hope to get the fuselage buttoned up tonight. I've heard good things about this kit and it seems like the fit will be fairly good. I also heard that the intakes can give some trouble. The raised detail is incredibly fine, and I'm sure it will get wiped out when I do any sanding on the seam. It is so fine I won't be able to replace it,so I may have to just sacrifice some of it. @Stalker6Recon and @Corsairfoxfouruncle -- you asked to be tagged on this one... so here you go!
  4. Asphalt Effects Weathering Set (AK 8090) AK Interactive If you’re an armour, air or a vehicle modeller, there’s bound to be a time where you want to depict a model that has been used extensively on the road, whether it’s a dry, wet or even frozen surface. The accumulations of dusty dirt, traffic film and mud are a common theme of road use, and are difficult to achieve in-scale. This set from AK is designed to help you achieve this. I have to start this with an apology to AK though, as they sent these samples in November (IIRC) 2019, but as I was refitting my workshop they absent-mindedly got put in a box that has been "elsewhere" until now. I’m sorry! You’ll be seeing a number of other AK items over the coming week or two, so keep an eye out. The set arrives in a clear plastic clamshell box, and inside are three 35ml plastic bottles with black screw-top lids that are safety sealed until you open them for the first time. Although they are tagged “Race Set”, they’re equally useful for the genres mentioned above, so even if you’re not a car modeller, read on. Two bottles are filled with pigments while the other is filled with an acrylic splatter liquid and labelled “Dirt”, a name that it lives up to with a general brownish grey colour viscous liquid inside. In addition, there is a small folded instruction booklet that for my own comfort I read with my Optivisor on, as my eyesight is shocking these days and the text is necessarily small. I have received so many other weathering sets from other companies that came without any instructions whatsoever, so it was refreshing to see some help being given without expecting you to buy the latest book or magazine to find out how to use the product you’ve just paid for. I’ve scanned it for your delight, to give you an idea of how to use them if my description confuse you. The splatter effect is splashed on either by flicking a stiff brush with your thumb, or by using the air from your airbrush to liberate tiny specks from any kind of brush, giving you better control over the location of the landing zone. The pigments, one labelled Asphalt Road Dirt, the other City Dirt are a grey brown and light greyish shade respectively. They can be used dry to flick or dab onto the wet splashes or other parts of the vehicle, or wetted with white spirit and used to create larger clumps or splodges around wheel-arches or side skirts. If you’re doing a vehicle with an accumulation of mud in the arches, this is the ideal method, adding little and often, with snow coloured pigments from your own stock added along the way if it suits your needs. Conclusion A handy one-box solution that doesn’t leave you clueless how to use it, and with a generous helping of each component in the large screw-top pots. Highly recommended. Review sample courtesy of
  5. Chipping Essentials Weathering Set (AK138) AK Interactive Weathering your model is a key component of achieving a realistic-looking result, whether you want to depict it in an almost new condition, or go to extremes and portray a beaten-up piece of junk that is almost ready for the scrapyard. How heavily or otherwise you weather your models is entirely up to you, but chipping of paint on military vehicles is present almost from the factory due to the slightly careless nature of crew and operators who are more focused on the task in hand than keeping their vehicle factory fresh. Chipping is a technique that is easy to do but more difficult to do well, having to remember to keep your work in-scale with the size of the model. Following the discovery of the “hairspray technique”, many different varieties of the same thing have arrived on the market. AK Interactive have taken a slightly different approach and packaged together a choice of two types of fluid along with a couple of paints that will be perfect for the substrate below the fluid and top coat of paint. The set arrives in a clear clamshell box with a hanger, plus a small instruction booklet to help you get to grips with the technique. The 35ml bottles have a screw top, and one contains Worn Effects fluid that permits very fine scratches and signs of wear to be achieved, while the other is full of Heavy Chipping fluid, which is thicker and allows the modeller to distress the final paint surface much more aggressively. The two paints for the substrate are in 17ml dropper bottles in silver and rusty brown shades, with an orange screw-cap. They are marked as a new formulation that is made in their own factory, where they stress that they make paints exclusively for their own brand. I guess people have seen the bottles, put two and two together and got five. Now you know. They can be used under the top coat with a layer of chipping fluid between them, or for the post-chipping detailing where rusted or fresh edges are exposed by the paint that has been removed through use. The instructions show demonstrations of the methods for each fluid, with small photos of the substrate, the work in progress and the finished surface after moistening the top layer of paint and disturbing it with a paintbrush. It also demonstrates the finished techniques for using the rust and aluminium coloured paints as a post-chipping medium, showing what can be done. Owning this sets won’t make you an instant-expert, so you will need to test and practice the technique until you are confident enough to use the technique on your models. Conclusion Chipping of paint gives any model an added sense of realism, as long as it is appropriate for the subject and in-scale with the kit you’re using the technique on. Having all the necessary constituents in one handy pack is very convenient too. Highly recommended. Review sample courtesy of
  6. Exhaust Stains Weathering Set (AK2037) AK Interactive Until the uptake of the electric motor, most vehicles have and continue to use some kind of hydrocarbon-based fuel such as petroleum/gasoline, diesel, jet fuel etc. The spent fuel and exhaust gases are expelled through pipes or exhausts, and as perfect combustion is impossible, there is always at least a little soot or burned residue left behind. The more rustic or badly-tuned the engine, or if it is using poor quality fuel (late WWII German fuels for example), there is of course more residue. If this isn’t cleaned off after every use, the build-up can be quite noticeable and, in some cases huge quantities of blackish/brown soot is accumulated. This set is assembled from five 35ml bottles and arrives in a long clear clamshell box with hanger at the top for display purposes. The front is covered by a large sticker with photographs of various types of exhaust staining together with the content listing to inform you on what’s inside. In the box you get the following: AK2038 Smoke Pigment AK2040 Exhaust Wash AK2041 Burnt Jet Engine Pigment AK2042 Dark Rust Pigment AK2043 Ocher (Ochre) Rust Pigment The single wash is a pigment-dense brown enamel based wash that should be used before adding the layers of pigment that are presented in the remaining four bottles. The smoke pigment is a dark-bluish grey colour that can be used to depict soot and staining of the exhaust gases running back from an outlet. The Burnt Engine pigment and the Ochre pigment are useful to define the detail inside jet engine exhausts, which often have a light brownish shade in places that reach the highest temperatures, so check your references and apply them accordingly. The last pigment is Dark Rust that can be used in conjunction with the Ochre to create rust effects on a less well-maintained or abandoned engine. The pigments can be used neat and applied using an old brush, but can also be mixed on a palette with high quality white spirit to create a more concentrated finish that can be shaded later by using a clean brush dampened by white spirit, feathering and fading the dried pigment as you see fit. Conclusion Another handy set from the AK stable, with plenty of each colour in the generous 35ml containers. My sample had a little extra Ochre pigment loose in the box, probably due to a mild malfunction or spasm in the packaging department. There was also a bit extra within the bottle too, almost up to the lip. Highly recommended. Review sample courtesy of
  7. Gauzy Glass Coat and Intermediate Agent AK Interactive There was a time when Klear/Future were about the only clear gloss varnishes that people raved about, but since the formula was changed by the manufacturers J C Johnstone in the UK, some people don't like it and some do. Stocks of the original are limited, and going for silly prices, so people look for alternatives. AK Interactive have clearly (sorry – pun unintentional) been doing just that, and have found quite an interesting liquid, which they have named Gauzy. Firstly, I have no idea where the name comes from, but Gauzy it is, and it is available in two flavours (DO NOT drink it!) with differing properties and uses. Glass Coat Gauzy Agent As the name suggests, this is for your canopies and clear parts, which are almost always over-scale, and often not of the highest clarity. The bottle is a stout polypropylene cylinder with a full-diameter screw-cap lid that is initially protected from accidental spillage by a tear-off strip moulded into the lid. It contains 100ml of gauzy, in a form that is well-suited to the shape of most canopies, with insertion an removal facilitated by the wide mouth. The liquid is quite viscous and of a milky consistency, so don't let go of the part you are dipping unless you want to spend the next 5 minutes searching for it with tweezers. The fluid becomes clear as it dries, and dipping the parts improves the clarity by flooding all the tiny imperfections in the surfaces inside and out that would otherwise scatter the light. This is due to the self-levelling properties that evens out peaks and troughs on a microscopic scale. You need to drain any large puddles or areas where its surface tension prevents gravity from evening it out, but this can be done with a lint-free paper, or kitchen roll if you're careful. Set the part on a piece of absorbent material, propped up on a cocktail stick or coffee stirrer to aid draining, and then place a clear container over it to prevent dust from adhering. When dry the canopy can be masked and painted just as normal, but if it isn't marred along the way by your ministrations, it should remain crystal clear, or at least substantially better than it was. If you make a mistake with painting and want to start again, you can re-dip your canopy to remove the Gauzy, although this will also deposit thin layers of undissolved paint into the bottle, so use it as a last resort, or decant enough for the task to avoid ruining a bottle. Also, don't fall into the trap of passing it through the Gauzy a number of times (like folks did with Klear), as it just dissolves the old layer and leaves you with a new one. Conclusion - Glass Coat Gauzy Agent Super stuff in a very useful container that also resists tipping with the attendant mess. It dries to a very strong glossy finish that does exactly what it is intended to – fools the eye into thinking the glazing is thinner than it is. You might notice in the photo that there is a little blemish at the rear of the canopy, which is down to my lack of familiarity with the medium. I left an accumulation without wicking it away, please feel free to learn from my mistakes. Intermediate Gauzy Agent I suspect that Intermediate refers to the viscosity of the fluid, as it is definitely thinner, and not quite as opaque as the canopy dipping variant. It arrives in a more standard Polyethylene Terephthalate (PET) container with plastic cap and tear-off retention ring for safety during shipping that you can see in the picture above because it had been opened by then. It is suitable for application by brush or by airbrush, and I have had two successful tests that prove their assertion. Application by Brush With little/no preparation I applied the Gauzy to an old 1:72 He.111 wing (the tip), using a 3mm flat bristle W&N "One Stroke" paintbrush, which performs beautifully in case you wondered. One coat gave a sheen that would be suitable for most decaling jobs, although the sheen was a little patchy. After two coats the shine was much more regular and very glossy. Cutting back between coats would have produced a glass-like sheen I'm sure, as the sheen was already good after my slap-dash attempts. Application using an Airbrush The Gauzy can be sprayed without thinning, and goes on quickly even with the 0.2mm needle of my H&S Infinity. One coat gave a satin shine, while two surpassed the shine of the second coat by brush. The first coat was lighter than the second, which was wet, allowing the Gauzy to level itself while curing. There was a little variation in the shine that could have been due to a little accident I had while cleaning the brush, so I then gave it a third coat that went on beautifully. It really is a joy to spray. Test Notes My workshop was at about 25c at the time of the test, and I had been sanding earlier, so there was plenty of dust around, so you'll have to excuse me if there are any motes now trapped in the finish. Clean up is with water, or any acrylic airbrush cleaner (I used the Premi-Air Foaming cleaner for this test), but as with all clear coats, don't be lazy and let it sit for too long, as it will make cleaning up much more trouble. The wing was painted previously with Ultimate Primer to a matt finish, which was buffed very lightly with a piece of kitchen roll. Conclusion - Intermediate Gauzy Agent This is my new favourite clear gloss, and I'm only sorry I don't have much more of it. It dries quickly to a high shine when correctly applied, and sprays easily. There's not much more you could want from a clear gloss. Yes, I know I've pictured the canopy version in the shine test, but it's just there to show the reflectivity of the finished surface. Review sample courtesy of
  8. Engine & Metal Weathering Set (AK087) AK Interactive Simulating metal and grotty engines is a great technique for adding realism to your models, as almost no engine is free of oil and dirt, especially back in time before engines were fitted with décor panels with holes for oil, water and washer fluid. This set is a great aid in that task, and arrives in a long clear clamshell box containing five 35ml bottles with black screw-topped lids and a white twist off safety seal. Two bottles contain pigment, while the remaining three are full of enamel washes. In the box you have the following: AK-082 Engine Grime A dirty brown wash that allows the modeller to put dirt and oily grime into the corners of your vehicles, not just in the engines, as some vehicles seemed to be dirt magnets. AK-083 Track Wash A rust brown wash to give your track links definition and depth before adding dry dirt. AK-084 Engine Oil A slick wash that dries glossy to add those spills and dribbles to a finished vehicle. AK-085 Track Rust Pigment A brown fine-grained pigment for adding rust into the nooks of your tracks. AK-086 Dark Steel Pigment This metallic pigment contains no metal, but has a ready shine that you can increase by additional polishing thanks to the fine-grained pigment. This is another useful and convenient set from AK, which integrates all the items you will need to complete your engines and track as easily as possible, and without unnecessary hunting around for mislaid colours, unless you remove them from the box of course. The fineness of the pigment grind helps to get the results you need, and all the bottles have plenty in them for a number of projects. You can see the tracks wash in use here: Engine Grime & Oil here: Dark Steel is shown here: There isn’t a specific video for the use of the rust pigments, but a quick google should turn up something suitable. As with all of these things, it’s being cognisant of the likely locations for rust, oil and dirt accumulations, not just slapping it all over and hoping it looks good. Use your references to see where to use your set, and remember that you can reduce the effect and feather the edges with a little white spirit, so you don’t have to worry too much about over-applying. Of course, owning this sets won’t make you an instant-expert, so you will need to test and practice the technique unless you are already accustomed to the basic principals, in which case the testing phase shouldn’t be necessary. Looking at the video makes you realise that they're pretty simple techniques, so have at it! Conclusion Dirt and rust that is appropriate for the subject and in-scale for the model you’re depicting is a great boost for realism and even new vehicles have a tiny bit. Having all the necessary constituents in one handy pack is very useful too – just add white spirits to taste (don’t eat it!!!!). Highly recommended. Review sample courtesy of
  9. Aluminium Palette (AK613) AK Interactive Paint mixing is a chore if you’re always struggling to find a suitable surface, which makes palettes a desirable tool, especially if they have multiple wells so you can keep a number of shades of the same base colour on the go at once. Will 10 wells do you? Well? That’s how many you get in this utilitarian 17cm diameter (6.75”) palette that’s available from AK. The wells are arranged in a circle and it is supplied in a clear bag with header card with no frills. Aluminium ensures that it’s rugged, and well able to stand up to multiple trips to paint-town, and it would probably also stand up to a journey through your dishwasher, but don’t tell your other half I said that. The wells are pressed into the surface, and a central flat, stepped area can be used for further mixing if you desire. The outer edge is rolled under to prevent injury and to give the palette some extra rigidity that shows when you flex it. That’s it. I can’t think of anything else to say about it, other than the fact that it is also cheaply priced so that if you leave your paint too long and can’t be bothered cleaning up (you terrible person!), it’s almost disposable. Conclusion Speaking as a modeller that scratches about for somewhere to mix paint for detail painting or touch-ups, this is a handy thing to have around. Buy one or lots, just don’t play frisbee with them! Very highly recommended. Review sample courtesy of
  10. Hi all Wanted to share some recent experiences having shelled out on some AK products. back in Feb I ordered some weathering products and one item was a heavy chipping effects set which included the chipping fluid etc. On opening the set the lid for the chipping fluid had not been correctly set so all of the liquid had emptied out. In the bin with that then. Now to this week I reached for the "Worn Effects" fluid and on opening up I found the jar contaminated with dear knows what. So that ended up in the bin too and only glad I spotted it before it ended up in the airbrush. So personally its a 100% failure rate from AK and since then others have told me that QC is certainly their Achilles Heel. Would be interested to know of other peoples experiences with poor quality from AK. Its an expensive enough hobby to be throwing stuff in the bin before you even get to use it. Pics in spoiler
  11. REAL Colors of WWII - Aircraft AK Interactive Last year AK Interactive launched the "Real Colors" range of Acrylic Lacquer paints after working to get in their words "The Accuracy" in the paints produced. To accompany the paints there are two books one on the Air colors and the other on the AFV colors. Please note we have not gone all "American" here on BM however this is the spelling that AK have chosen to use in their publicity, though readers will no doubt be relieved they reverted to "colour" in the book. The book is a large A-4 sized hard back publication with 292 pages. There are 42 colour profiles, several document reprints, and 390 b/w and colour photos, many of which are very rare. All of the printing is first rate with many quality photographs in black and white, but also full colour. Colour chips are also interspersed in the text at appropriate locations, Nick Millman who is a good source of information of colour and paint here on Britmodeller has contributed to the text of the book with archival research. He has kindly sent me some information which has been of help. With regards to the colour printing of paint chips he has said "Colour chips are printed rather than paint which also introduces a margin of error but I think the printers have done an excellent job with them and generally I was well satisfied. However and in particular Neutral Grey 43 came out much darker than expected compared to my original chip." The other contributors to the book are; Maciej Goralczyk, Gerald Hogl, Jurgen Kiroff, and Mihail Orlov. While the colour printing is rightly stunning don't let that overwhelm the excellent text in the book as he has mentioned there are some "unusual nuggets" of research in there. Included is the latest information on the Luftwaffe’s late war colours, which have been reproduced as scale colours on the basis of the original paint factory recipes. In addition for the very first time, unparalleled research on the Soviet Air Force colours by Mikhail Orlov is introduced to non-Russian readers. The book is broken down into 4 main sections to cover German Aircraft, US Aircraft, British Aircraft, and Soviet Aircraft. There is some differences to how each is examined down to the different approach the authors have used. However I feel that some variation is a good thing rather than 4 repetitive chapters. German Aircraft Colours in WWII This section is broken down into 6 main sections, some of these have further sub sections. The main sections are; Pre War & Early War Colours. New Needs, New Colours (mid war). Late War Colours. Interior Colours. Official Colour Specifications & Camouflage patterns. Scale Colour Effect. US Aircraft Colours in WWII This section is broken down into 5 main sections, again some of these have further sub sections. The main sections are; Introduction USAAC/USAAF Camouflage Colours. US Navy Camouflage Colours, USAAF/USN Insignia Colours. US Aircraft Interior Colours. British Aircraft Colours in WWII This section is broken down into 12 main sections, again some of these have further sub sections. The main sections are; Introduction. Camouflage Colours. Temperate Land Scheme. Temperate Sea Scheme. Day Fighter Scheme. Desert Colours. Photo-Reconnaissance Colours. Air Sea Rescue Aircraft. Transport Aircraft. Grey Green. Identification Colours. Code Letters. Soviet Aircraft Colours in WWII This section is broken down into 10 main sections, again some of these have further sub sections. The main sections are; Terms and Definitions. Until 1940. 1940. 1941-1942. Winters of 1941-42 and 1942-43. 1942. Winter of 1943-1944. 1944-1945. Frontline Experience. A View From The Inside. Conclusion There is no doubt that there has been some quality in depth research involved in this book with regard to the colours and how they were used. The quality of the book is first rate when it comes to the colours being shown as long as you understand the limitations of the printing process. Overall Very Highly Recommended. Review sample courtesy of
  12. Dry Ground, Light Earth & Sandy Desert Acrylic Diorama Terrains AK Interactive (AK8015, AK8021 & AK8022) Dioramas can seem like a dark art to some (I'm speaking personally there), but with the right tools and some handy hints and tips – look out for my later review of the AK Interactive book Diorama FAQ – they can be surprisingly simple, although that might just be the folks that have the talent making it look that way. These acrylic pastes fall into the tools department and they can be used as the textured base for any diorama that has natural groundworks. Each pot contains 250ml of product and arrives with a screw-down black plastic lid that is protected by a zip-off safety device that prevents it losing the cap and creating a huge mess until you are ready to use it. A quick pull of the serrated end will have the lid released, which unscrews quickly on a coarse thread that is liquid proof when snugged down, with the paste filled right to the brim. The cap requires no membrane, and once you have removed the lid you can see the goop, which smells a little like emulsion paint, but as that's also acrylic the olfactory similarities are hardly surprising. Each type has a different colour, which can be beneficial if you're minded to use them neat without any further painting, but if you do intend to paint the finished groundwork, which most folks will, the difference in colour can be used to differentiate between the textures when mixing them on the same base. The wet bases put to one side overnight I used a metal modelling spatula to decant and spread the paste around my test bases after mixing it thoroughly before use. It did however appear to be well-mixed straight out of the pot, but it's better to be sure in any event. A small amount goes a long way over the flat surface of the 8.5x5.5cm styrene test cards, which I had pre-roughened with a coarse sanding stick in various directions. I left them to dry overnight because I'd finished applying them late on, but it is advisable to give the paste plenty of time to cure, especially if you have laid it on thick over your base. It appears to be capable of adhering to many surfaces as you'd expect from an acrylic medium, and I have seen it used on polystyrene foam of varying densities and colours such as that used to insulate walls or lofts. If the surface is keyed it will improve adhesion, which was my motivation for roughing up my test cards, and PVA can be used on other substrates to provide additional assistance. Dry Ground (AK8015) Light Earth (AK8021) Sandy Desert (AK8022) The next day the test cards were dry and the texture was more obvious thanks to the gassed off water content. The thicker areas were still slightly soft underneath, so take that into account if you're slapping it on a bit thick and allow extra time for drying before you proceed, and consider the likelihood of really thick sections cracking, if you want that to be a feature, otherwise (you can see that in the Sandy Desert test card) you should apply it in thinner layers. The colours give a decent tone for a simple diorama, and if you're painting them the self-coloured paste acts as a good base from which to begin, or completely obliterate at your whim. I gave the cards a bit of a flex after photographing them and the adhesion was excellent so I only managed to break off a small section at the edges with some grim determination and excessive force. They still smell a little of drying emulsion, but you have to put your nose right up to them to sample the aroma. I'll be using these and some other AK products to craft my first (completed) diorama base for an upcoming project alongside the new AK Real Color paints that we announced for them a little while back. Should be fun! Conclusion A very useful tool to lay down the groundwork of your natural dioramas, with ease of application and a difference in colour to assist in differentiation between textures. Dry Ground Light Earth Sandy Desert The Full Range Review sample courtesy of
  13. Hey all, I’m currently looking for a good source for WWII VVS colors, and I’ve come across two brands that seem to have all the colors I’d need. Hataka and AK Interactive both have sets for both early and late colors in acrylic. Given that they represent a reasonable investment, I’d be interested in hearing anyone’s opinion and experience with these paints. Thanks in advance for any input!
  14. Hello, Looking for a few tips on how to make the AK Air Series acrylic paints more reliable in the air brush. I'm using a Harder & Steenbeck and have tried various pressure settings and thinners(except the AK-712 because it's out of stock) such as X-20A. So I was wondering if others have tried these and the results they are getting? They are "suppose" to be ready-mixed of course.... lol Thanks
  15. I've seen this and it would work wonders on a build I'm doing currently although I'm in the early stages of it. I was wondering if there is an off the shelf option that people are aware of or will the hairspray technique work just as well? http://www.scalemodelshop.co.uk/100ml-washable-agent-ak-interactive-ak236.html
  16. GazB

    Real Color Issues

    So I finally cracked out the Real Colors. Adding my Ultimate Thinners to the pots as I do with Tamiya/Gunze, and set about spraying. First issue I noted is that my pipette seems to suck up a lot, but refuses to spit much of it back out, almost like its clinging to the inside of the tube. As a result, painting just a small Humvee canopy resulted in the pot going down to its default fluid level, which was almost the equivalent of one third of the jar. I also experienced some spattering and paint build up in the end cap. I did ultimately managed to get a fairly good coat down, but it didn't perform anywhere near as well as my Tamiya or Gunze normally does. Mind you, the Tamiya flat black I'd been using perfectly suddenly decided it wanted to spit and spatter as much as possible as well, making the coverage woefully inconsistent. I don't quite understand it at times. I clean my airbrush after every session and quick flush it between colours. Granted this is my slightly older Revell one, which I'm using temporarily until my replacement nozzles arrive, but still. One minute it works great, like when I put down the coat of Tamiya NATO green. But with the black and the Real Color, the performance was less than adequate despite being thinned in the exact same way. Anyone have any tips for avoiding the spattering? I dare not try painting any kind of camouflage currently. Gaz
  17. What's the general consensus on AK Interactive paints? Not the Real Color line but the dropper bottle ones. Do they behave exactly the same as the Mig Ammo, or are they slightly different? Reason I ask is I'm eyeing their woodland camouflage figure set, but don't want to spend that amount if they're going to be a bit dodgy. I've heard stories about the paints being lumpy or clogging, but this was from a few years ago. I once picked up a few Vallejo paints and they were horrendous. With the Mig Ammo paints I tend to put a few drops of Ultimate Thinners in the cup to improve the flow, and I would reason the same goes for AKI. I watched an official AK video showing their paints in action, but while they worked flawlessly, you do wondered how true it is given that its the company channel. Any clarity on the matter would be appreciated Cheers, Gaz
  18. Ahoy all, I have a question. I've just purchased the RealColors NATO set and I'm wondering how suitable they are for U.S. vehicles. As we know, Tamiya does the three colours as well, which I normally use. The reason I ask is because in the past I'd heard there was a slight difference between the U.S. version of the tri-colour scheme, and say the German one. Looking at the paint codes on the NATO set, they aren't FS numbers but RAL, and they look a bit duller/darker than the Tamiya equivalent. A Wikipedia search IDs the green as RAL 6031-F9 'Bronze Green', the brown as RAL 8027-F9 'Leather Brown' and the black as RAL 9021-F9 'Tar Black', and mentions these were specifically a Bundeswehr combination. So would these ones still be accurate for U.S. vehicles, which often appear brighter, or more suited for the likes of the Bundeswehr? Cheers, Gaz
  19. Hi all. I've been thinking of purchasing the AK interactive NATO wash, but I'm curious to know if my Mig Thinner for Washes will work with it, considering the latter is for enamel washes (and Mig washes are a pain to locate) and the AK wash is enamel based. I'm hoping so, as this would avert the need for the AK thinner and let me use the cash for another product. But I'll defer to the expertise of others. Any help would be greatly appreciated, thanks Gaz
  20. Hi Folks here is another of my occasional forays into 1/48, the Airfix Gloster Javelin FAW9. I have been wanting to do this particular aircraft for quite some time as it was the only operational Javelin to have a natural metal finish (for the last few years of it's career at any rate) and a Javelin was the first ever aircraft I can remember seeing flying over Brechin when I was a nipper. XH898 was the personal mount of 228 OCU's CO, Sqn Ldr George Beaton, when based at RAF Leuchars in the mid 1960's. The kit is without a doubt the best Airfix kit I've ever made, it almost fell together and the engineering of the kit is quite amazing. It does have some areas that are tricky to assemble, I had a bit of trouble getting the front fuselage to line up properly with the aft section so ended up with a step and I would liked to have left the exhaust cans off until after the painting was completed to save a bit of masking. I added some seatbelts made out of foil and a pair of Master pitot probes as I broke the kit ones but other than that it's OOB. I was going to add the aerials that Airfix didn't provide but couldn't confirm which ones were fitted so left them off for now. Paint is AK Interactive's Extreme Metal paints and the roundels are from an Xtradecal sheet as the Airfix ones were very thick and wouldn't play nicely. Airfix got the colour of the canopy framing wrong on the instructions as they say it should be black when the colour photos of XH898 show it to be Dark Green with the same colour band around the rear of the radome. This is by far the biggest kit I've built since returning to the hobby (how the guys that build 1/32 B17s etc do it I don't know!) and found it quite a handful during the build as the space I have for modelling is really geared up for building 1/72 Bf109s and suchlike. I also found taking the photos a challenge and Mrs B is suitably unimpressed with it taking up a lot of room in the display cabinet too. I hope you like her. And one for the Lineys, there's always one joker! Duncan B
  21. Ref.AK148001 Source: https://www.facebook.com/AKinteractive.official/photos/pcb.1062704810417911/1062704483751277/?type=3&theater V.P.
  22. Ref. AK148002 Source: https://www.facebook.com/AKinteractive.official/posts/1062704810417911 V.P.
  23. Hello all Haven´t done much modeling lately but stll manage to finish this 109 in Galland´s colors. Last year I bought AK´s Luftwaffes camouflge color sets and wanted to try them out and a had an old 1/48 hasegawa 109E kit in my stash for ages (not my scale),so i give them a go and here is the result: Also used some items from the Eduard photoetch an decals came from a techmod sheet because the kits decals were to yellow and broke apart in the water. Nose yellow is humbrol 154 and True Details tyres. Really liked AK´s paints. Enjoy the photos. Hope you like it!! Regards FBorges
  24. Aces High Magazine. WW1 Centenary. Perhaps best known for their paints and weathering products, AK Interactive have now moved into publishing their own aviation modelling magazine 'Aces High'. Issue 2 is themed 'WW1 Centenary' and is devoted to models from that era. Five different aircraft builds are featured in 1/32 and 1/48, these being the DH.2, Sopwith Pup, and Hannover CL.II form Wingnut Wings, and Fokker DR.1 and Nieuport 23 from Eduard. More than this though, there is a feature on figure painting, a 1/32 fuel cart, and a 1/72 Mack Bulldog truck. This is a great idea, as although many of us are primarily aircraft builders, we like to add accessories and figures to our showcases. The magazine seems to be squarely aimed at people who actually build their models, as there is only minimal text to introduce each subject. The bulk of the pages are reserved to explain and illustrate how to achieve some of those tricky results that you see on top class models. Sequences of photographs are used to show step by step how to build and paint an engine for example, or wooden propeller, or wheels, and so on. I particularly like the section explaining how the Wingnut Wings Hannover was rigged, as this is an area I know I need to improve on myself. I really like this method of explanation, several times I found myself thinking 'oh, so that is how it is done' as I read through the articles. Each finished model is shown from several angles, the DH.2 is a particularly impressive piece of work. The printing throughout is on good quality glossy paper, with full colour photographs and supporting text keyed to each picture. 72 pages are provided, of which only 6 are used for advertisements, and that includes the back cover with a rather nice Wingnut Wings ad on! 'Aces High' is available through AK Interactive's own website, and I notice that Amazon and EBay also list it. The 'Next issue' teaser at the back of issue 2 tells us that issue 3 will be themed on late war Japanese fighters, figures, and vehicles. This is a very impressive new magazine, clearly written by modellers for modellers, and I wholeheartedly recommend that you get hold of a copy and see for yourself. It's a good read and you are almost certainly going to pick up some very useful new tips. Review sample courtesy of
  25. Luftwaffe Colours 2 AK Interactive Paints can be a very personal item to the modeller who can and will stick with one particular manufacturer or at the very least a specific type. The choice of paint in the current market is huge. Well, now there is another set of acrylic paints to choose from, released by AK Interactive, who are probably better known for their weathering products and are also increasing their line of paint. The set comes in an end opening box, with the 17ml plastic bottles contained in a plastic tray inside. This set has been designed for German aircraft, and contains eight Luftwaffe colours, RLM 72 RLM 73 RLM 78 RLM 79 RLM 80 RLM 81 RLM 82 RLM 83 According to the blurb on the bottles they can be both brushed or airbrushed which please a lot of modellers. Once the bottles have been shaken very well colour density looks pretty good, and if they are anything like their armour colours they spray and cover well. Although I haven’t used them with a brush, I cannot see why you shouldn’t be able to get a good finish with them. On the back of the box there is a useful colour chart of which colours go together and depict six aircraft in various schemes. These being two desert schemes for the Me-109, one for an F and one for a G, one scheme for the Arado Ar-196, one for the Junker Ju-52, (the float equipped version being shown), one for the Arado Ar-234 and one scheme for the Fw-190D. Also included in the package AK interactive sent to us were two bottles of thinners. The standard thinners, in a 60ml bottle is specifically for thinning the paints when using an airbrush and, according to the information on the side of the bottle has been designed to prevent clogging and jamming. The second bottle contains 100ml of what AK Interactive call their Nitro Thinners, a nitrocellulose based thinners which can be used with, again, according to the information on the bottle ,any other brand of acrylic paint. It can also be used to clean brushes and air brushes after use. How well either of these thinners works will only be known when I use them, which will probably be on my next build. After which I will be able amend this review accordingly Conclusion This is another set of very useful and well thought out selection of paint colours. The ease of use I’ve had with their previous paints should mean that when I get to use them the results will be just as pleasing. Since my next build will be for a review, it will be good to try these products at the same time. Highly recommended, subject to testing Paint set Thinners Nitro Thinners Review sample courtesy of
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