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  1. Panzerjäger (ISBN: 9788412372717) Weapons & Organisation of Wehrmacht’s Anti-Tank Units (1935-45) Abteilung 502 via AK Interactive Even before WWII the Nazis realised that towed artillery could be difficult to move around, and that self-propelled artillery was both easier to deploy and faster between locations, with none of the fuss and hassle of folding the trails and stashing the ammo and equipment back in the towing vehicle. Initially these were smaller calibre guns mounted on captured chassis of obsolete tanks such as the French R35 and the Czech T38, which were often ridiculous-looking vehicles due to the size of their casemates. Later models used obsolete German tanks such as the Panzer I, II and III, eventually using the Panzer IV, which was still relatively modern. Their final attempts to create the ultimate Panzerjäger met with mixed success, such as the StuG and Hetzer types that were well-regarded, the Jagdpanther and Jagdpanther, whilst impressive and terrifying, were not efficient use of their dwindling resources both in terms of men and materials. The Jagdpanther was over-complicated, and the Jagdpanzer was simply too heavy for its drive-train, leaving many of them stranded on the battlefield, abandoned by their crews. The Book This book by Ricardo Recio Cardona and illustrated by Carlos de Diego Vaquerizo catalogues the history of the type from its genus in the mid-30s to the end of WWII. It is not a picture-book, but there are many interesting pictures throughout with informative captions accompanying them. The text in between the photos and illustrations concerns the creation of the battalions and units that would form the backbone of the German Self-Propelled Gun force. It also details the different vehicles that they used, including the captured vehicles that were stripped of their upper structure and had casemates of varying sizes installed instead to house whatever artillery piece was flavour of the month. The book is hard bound with a matt black cover that is covered with profiles on the front and photos on the rear with 112 pages of thick satin-finished paper within, plus two blank card leaves separating the pages from the cover. The quality of the contemporary photos is excellent for the most part, although some have a little grain and pixelation due to their source material being less than we expect from modern hi-def digital sources. The illustrations are excellent and highly realistic, with their captions usually detailing the sources that gave the artist inspiration. Many of the photographs are candid in nature, showing the troops and crews at rest or hard at work maintaining, or even operating their vehicles. Other photos depict the vehicles after the war in either an abandoned or destroyed state, and all of these are perfect inspiration for dioramas for any modeller. The text is informative, although as it has been translated from another language, occasionally an unusual choice of words pops up that jars ever-so-slightly to a native speaker. It’s easy enough to understand though, so isn’t an issue, just worth mentioning. It's amazing how many different types the Germans fielded during the war, and it’s hardly surprising that they found it difficult to support them with spares and repairs. Conclusion This is a very interesting book that will keep your mind entertained as well as your eyeballs. Tons of pictures in between the text, and a great deal of information throughout the pages. It’s a little poignant and sad seeing the happy smiling faces of the crews, many of whom wouldn’t have made it through the war, and it’s scary how young they all were. In our increasingly online world, you’ll be interested to hear that you can buy these books digitally by using the AK Interactive app on either iTunes of Google Play. There's a link from the site. Highly recommended. Review sample courtesy of
  2. Modern Royal Air Force Aircraft Acrylic Colours (AK11755) AK Interactive It had been a while since we’d reviewed any products from Spanish Paint & Weathering company AK Interactive, but they hadn’t been sat idly twiddling their thumbs. They’d 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 use 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’ve successfully tested with my usual vague “semi-skimmed milk thickness” goal for the thinned paint, and using Ultimate Thinners as my 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, with 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 eight bottles of paint to which I’m probably going to add glass beads, as I feel that they make paint mixing quicker and 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, and could confuse new users. 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. For example, would the “scale reduction factor” be the same for a 1:72 and a 1:24 aircraft? Would the difference be visible? So many questions, so little inclination on my part to answer them. This set is packed full of British RAF colours for your modern aircraft, not that we’ve got many, or many different types left! Surprisingly, the term modern incorporates a lot of post WWII and Cold War shades, as the examples on the back of the box show, with an old Vampire next to more modern options. The set includes the following colours: AK11840 RAF Dark Green AK11843 RAF Medium Sea Grey BS381C/637 AK11851 RAF Dark Sea Grey NS381C/638 AK11852 RAF RAF PRU Blue BS381C/636 AK11853 RAF Light Aircraft Grey BS381C/627 AK11854 RAF Camouflage (Barley) Grey BS381C/626 AK11855 RAF Dark Camouflage Grey BS381C/629 AK11856 RAF Camouflage Beige (Help) BS381C/389 These paints are just as easy to apply by airbrush or paint brush, and once dry they are very tough as acrylics go, especially if you key the surface beforehand with a buffing-type sanding stick. A primed and buffed surface is slightly ahead in terms of adhesion, but not by much so it’s good news all round whether you’re a modeller that primes religiously or not. In addition to airbrushing well without clogging, the paint goes on well with a paintbrush, needing one or sometimes two coats depending on the colour, and brushing out well with very little in the way of brush marks if you use a broad filbert brush. I’m not normally a brush-painter, and was really pleasantly surprised at how well the paint went down despite my lack of experience. Conclusion I like these paints and their bottles are practical and attractive, although I’m not massively keen on the fonts used on the box artwork, but that’s just my personal taste. This set gives you plenty of (mostly grey) shades for the modern RAF, and once you add some white and black for colour modulation, they’ll be very useful for the RAF modeller. The recently reviewed RAF Coastal Command & RN FAA includes a black and a white bottle, if that’s convenient or appealing. There’s a whole range of these colours available both individually and in sets for aircraft, AFV and other modelling genres, some that we’ve now reviewed, and the rest we’ll be getting to soon. Highly recommended. Review sample courtesy of
  3. British at War Volume #2(AK130003) AK Interactive World War II saw the British forces engaging in a huge variety of combat in most theatres of war, sometimes using British designed and manufactured equipment, other times with imported Lend/Lease hardware to battle the evils of the Axis powers. This book is edition #2 of tomes that are becoming a series as additional volumes become available. Sadly, we missed volume #1 but here’s number two, and it’s packed with articles on a pretty large handful of builds from many talented modellers. It arrives in a thick card cover that has glossy exterior and folded-in dust-jacket style flaps, and inside are 184 pages on glossy paper, fully printed in colour with English and Spanish text on the left and right sides of the pages respectively. After a short introduction, the book is broken down into the following sections: Captured British by Rubén González Hernández 06 A 1:35 Mirror Models CMP Ford F15A in Caunter camouflage on a desert base. Road to Mandalay by Lester Plaskitt 24 A 1:35 Takom M3 Lee in dark green finish passing a temple statue of Buddha’s face in Burma. Popski’s Jeep by Kristof Pulinckx 46 A modified 1:35 Tamiya Willy’s Jeep in the service of Popski’s Private Army, conducting guerrilla warfare behind German lines on a muddy base. Perfect Recon by Rudi Meir 60 A 1:35 Bronco Staghound covered in stowage and depicted on a sloped woody base. Bright Side of Life by Roy Schurgers 72 A 1:35 Tamiya Quad Gun Tractor that is broken-down and baking in the desert sun while a soldier sits in the shade lamenting his lack of water. He’s being watched by a group of hungry-looking vultures. Crossing the Rhine by Rick Lawler 80 A 1:35 AFV Club Churchill Mk.VI with tape camouflage and some US soldiers hitching a ride into Germany. Desert Patrol by Michal Tafil 96 An A10 Light Tank in 1:35 by Gecko Models, wearing a rather worn Caunter scheme and passing a Vulcan 2-Pounder field gun in a tumbledown desert location. Road to Hell by Jia Sheng Wu 114 A Scammell Pioneer tractor towing a 7.2inch howitzer through a bog in 1:35 on an ammunition box-based diorama base. The Longest Day by Chao Xu 134 A 1:35 Tamiya Cromwell Mk.IV with some substantial PE upgrades, including deep-water wading gear in a similar bog to the Scammell, being examined by a pair of soldiers. Dragoon Guards by Jorge López Ferrer 152 A detailed diorama with buildings as background and a 1:35 Dragon M3 75mm Gun Motor Carriage Half-Track that has a large British roundel on the bonnet. Tracked Archer by Kreangkrai Paojinda 166 A 1:35 Tamiya Valentine Mk.I Archer Self-Propelled 17pdr gun on a small cobbled street that has seen better and less war-torn days. Each section is a walk-through of the builds, including any groundwork that accompanies the model, with results that are competition-worthy without exception. There are plenty of tips for building better models and dioramas, and in between the sections are a page or two of crisp, detailed photos of other British themed dioramas that would be worthy of articles in their own right. There are a lot of AK Interactive products visible in the pages as you’d expect, but it isn’t a total AK love-fest, and where additional kits and accessories are used to augment the builds, they are pointed out so that you can pick them up yourself if you’re so minded. The photos during the builds are numbered and cross-referenced with their captions, and photography is first rate throughout, while the captions are concise and informative, although I can’t speak for the Spanish text due to my poor foreign language skills. Conclusion A few of the greens in the pictures appear to be overly bright and verdant, possibly down to post-processing of the photos, but in general the look of the book is first rate and the technical quality is excellent. Highly recommended. Review sample courtesy of
  4. WWII German Uniform Acrylic Colours (AK11759) Personal Mixes by Calvin Tam AK Interactive This is another box of AK Interactive’s third generation acrylics, aiming for excellent coverage, with what they describe as awesome grip, and a promise of no clogging of your airbrush if you use one. They’re also 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’ve successfully tested with my usual vague “semi-skimmed milk thickness” goal for the thinned paint, and using Ultimate Thinners as my 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, with a bar code along one short edge. Overall, it’s a nice look, but that’s not why we’re here. This is a bit of a monster set that arrives in a large flat rectangular box, with an impressive eighteen bottles filling the interior, plus a small booklet showing some possible uses of the paint on some impressive-looking figures of unknown scale (they look larger than 1:35 to my eyes). If you’re wondering who Calvin Tam is, he’s a master figure painter that is a well-regarded professional in the genre, and you can find out a little more about him and see a photo of him at work by flipping over the box to expose the underside. Calvin’s prowess with a paintbrush is in evidence across the packaging, and most of us can only aspire to be a fraction as good at painting, but it’s a bar we can all aim for and be inspired by. Having the correct colours in an excellent brand of paint will help us get a few steps up the ladder towards that lofty goal. The usual orange AK logo with the negative silhouette of an AK-47 in the centre is prominently displayed, as well as the 3G Acrylics brand logo and Calvin’s name, with the product code above and the number of bottles below that. The booklet is a sheet of A5 folded into three and printed on both sides with figures that have colour balloons and arrows leading to the colour in question, sometimes with multiple balloons converging on a camouflaged smock or trousering. This expansive set includes the following colours: AK11411 Light Green AK11420 Waffen Green AK11424 Grey Green AK11419 Waffen Red Brown AK11418 Ocher AK11409 Orange Tan AK11189 Dark Prussian Blue AK11417 Waffen Brown AK11425 Field Grey Base #1 AK11412 Medium Green AK11115 Light Earth AK11036 Ice Yellow AK11008 Grimy Grey AK11021 Basalt Grey AK11027 Rubber Black AK11004 Ivory AK11407 Black Uniform Base AK11414 Splitter-Muster Base These paints are just as easy to apply as base coats by airbrush or paint brush, although paintbrush is the most likely for this application in the later stages, and once dry they are very tough as acrylics go, especially if you key the surface beforehand with a buffing-type sanding stick. A primed and buffed surface is slightly ahead in terms of adhesion, but not by much so it’s good news all round whether you’re a modeller that primes religiously or not. In addition to airbrushing well without clogging, the paint goes on very well with a paintbrush, needing one or sometimes two coats dependent on the colour, and brushing out well with very little in the way of brush marks evident on larger areas if you use a broad filbert brush. I’m not a regular brush-painter these days, although I used to be a figure painter in the distant past, and was really pleasantly surprised at how well the paint went down despite my lack of recent experience. Conclusion I like these paints, their bottles are practical and attractive, and this large set gives you the shades you’ll need to complete your German WWII figures, which will be very useful for the figure modeller. There’s a whole range of these colours available both individually and in sets for aircraft, AFV and other modelling genres, some that we’ve now reviewed, and the rest we’ll be getting to as they arrive at HQ. Highly recommended. Review sample courtesy of
  5. Luftwaffe Pre-WWII Aircraft Acrylic Colours (AK11715) AK Interactive This is another boxing of AK Interactive’s third generation acrylics, aiming for excellent coverage, what they describe as awesome grip, and a promise of no clogging of your airbrush if you use one. They’re also 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’ve successfully tested with my usual vague “semi-skimmed milk thickness” goal for the thinned paint, and using Ultimate Thinners as my 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, with a bar code along one short edge. Overall, it’s a nice look, but that’s not why we’re here. This is a smaller set that arrives in a rectangular box with a square base, with four bottles filling the box, obviating the need for a length of foam to prevent them from rattling about. 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 garish. 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. 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. For example, would the “scale reduction factor” be the same for a 1:72 and a 1:24 aircraft? Would the difference be visible? Those are questions you’ll need to find answers for yourself, as I’m certainly not going to try and tell you how to paint your model. This set includes the following colours: AK11814 RLM61 AK11815 RLM62 AK11816 RLM63 AK11817 RLM65 (1938) These paints are just as easy to apply by airbrush or paint brush, and once dry they are very tough as acrylics go, especially if you key the surface beforehand with a buffing-type sanding stick. A primed and buffed surface is slightly ahead in terms of adhesion, but not by much so it’s good news all round whether you’re a modeller that primes religiously or not. In addition to airbrushing well without clogging, the paint goes on well with a paintbrush, needing one or sometimes two coats depending on the colour, and brushing out well with very little in the way of brush marks if you use a broad filbert brush. I’m not a natural brush-painter, and was really pleasantly surprised at how well the paint went down despite my lack of experience. Conclusion I like these paints and their bottles are practical and attractive, although I’m not massively keen on the fonts used on the box artwork, but that’s just my personal taste. This set gives you the shades you’ll need to complete the interiors of your WWII US aircraft, and once you add some white and black for colour modulation, they’ll be very useful for the modeller. The recently reviewed RAF Coastal Command & RN FAA includes a black and a white bottle, if that’s convenient or appealing – this is Britmodeller after all. There’s a whole range of these colours available both individually and in sets for aircraft, AFV and other modelling genres, some that we’ve now reviewed, and the rest we’ll be getting to soon. Highly recommended. Review sample courtesy of
  6. WWII RAF Aircraft & RAF Desert 3rd Generation Acrylic Colours (AK11723) AK Interactive This is another boxing of AK Interactive’s third generation acrylics, aiming for excellent coverage, what they describe as awesome grip, and a promise of no clogging of your airbrush if you use one. They’re also 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’ve successfully tested with my usual vague “semi-skimmed milk thickness” goal for the thinned paint, and using Ultimate Thinners as my 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, with a bar code along one short edge. Overall, it’s a nice look, but that’s not why we’re here. There are two sets available, the smaller of which is a subset of the larger one. The larger set arrives in a cardboard box with a clear plastic inner tray containing eight bottles of paint to which I’m probably going to add glass beads, as I feel that they make paint mixing quicker and easier. The smaller set arrives in a rectangular box with a square base, with three bottles in the box, and a length of foam preventing them from rattling about, as the box is designed to accommodate up to four bottles. 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. 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. For example, would the “scale reduction factor” be the same for a 1:72 and a 1:24 aircraft? Would the difference be visible? Those are questions you’ll need to find answers for yourself, as I’m certainly not going to try and tell you how to paint your model. WWII RAF Aircraft Colours (AK11723) This set includes the following colours: AK11840 RAF Dark Green AK11841 RAF Dark Earth AK11842 RAF Ocean Grey AK11843 RAF Medium Sea Grey AK11844 RAF Sky AK11845 RAF Azure Blue AK11846 RAF Middle Stone AK11847 RAF Cockpit Grey-Green WWII RAF Aircraft Desert Colours (AK11726) This set includes the following colours: AK11841 RAF Dark Earth AK11845 RAF Azure Blue AK11846 RAF Middle Stone These paints are just as easy to apply by airbrush or paint brush, and once dry they are very tough as acrylics go, especially if you key the surface beforehand with a buffing-type sanding stick. A primed and buffed surface is slightly ahead in terms of adhesion, but not by much so it’s good news all round whether you’re a modeller that primes religiously or not. In addition to airbrushing well without clogging, the paint goes on well with a paintbrush, needing one or sometimes two coats depending on the colour, and brushing out well with very little in the way of brush marks if you use a broad filbert brush. I’m not a regular brush-painter, and was really pleasantly surprised at how well the paint went down despite my lack of experience. Conclusion I like these paints and their bottles are practical and attractive, although I’m not massively keen on the fonts used on the box artwork, but that’s just my personal taste. This set gives you the shades you’ll need to complete the interiors of your WWII US aircraft, and once you add some white and black for colour modulation, they’ll be very useful for the modeller. The recently reviewed RAF Coastal Command & RN FAA includes a black and a white bottle, if that’s convenient or appealing – this is Britmodeller after all. There’s a whole range of these colours available both individually and in sets for aircraft, AFV and other modelling genres, some that we’ve now reviewed, and the rest we’ll be getting to soon. Highly recommended. Review sample courtesy of
  7. Modeling the Scooter – Aces High Magazine (AK2939) In The Spotlight #2 AK Interactive The A-4 Skyhawk was developed by Douglas as a replacement to the highly successful Skyraider, bypassing the original intended replacement, the turbo-prop powered Skyshark, which was mired in development issues related to the reliability of the gearbox. The Skyhawk was designed with simplicity in mind, which it achieved by wrapping a small airframe around a powerful jet engine, going on to serve with many countries and in many theatres, including Vietnam, use by the Argentinians in the Falklands, and extensive service with the Israeli Air Force. The Book This book by Daniel Zamarbide is part of the Aces High magazine line from AK Interactive, and covers the history and modelling the A-4 in many forms, scales and operators. It is perfect bound in A4(ish) portrait format, with 110 pages of glossy colour printing within. The front inside cover is emblazoned with an advert for AK’s new 3rd Generation Acrylics range, some sets from which we’ve been reviewing over the last few weeks, with a few more sets still to come. The book starts with an introduction, a colourful visual guide to the layout of the book, which includes builds of three very different models of the Skyhawk, interspersed with photos and discussion of the real thing, including what the various models got up to during service. The book is broken down in detail as follows: Introduction Index Colour Profiles Skyhawks in Scale Kits, Decals, Aftermarket, Books, Simulators, Games and memorabilia. Skyhawk History A-4C Little Hawk at War – A-4C Fuerza Aérea Argentina A build of the 1:32 kit from Trumpeter -E kit with a conversion Skyhawk History A-4E Little Hawk at War – A-4E US Navy A build of the 1:32 -E kit from Trumpeter Skyhawk History A-4N Little Hawk at War – A-4N Israeli Air Force A build of the A-4M with conversion from WolfPack A-4Q Summary Build of the 1:48 Hasegawa kit A-4E Marines Summary Build of the 1:32 Hasegawa kit As you can see, the 1:32 Trumpeter kits are the only ones covered in detail in this volume, although there are two different base kits and some interesting conversions, but it would have been nice to see some work in other scales in the main chapters of the book. That said, the quality of work is exceptional, and as with all techniques, they translate well to most other scales if you’re a 1:72 or 1:48 modeller with Skyhawks on your mind. Each build is preceded by an extensive section describing the aircraft with plenty of photographs of the airframe in question, most of them contemporary, providing plenty of additional information to start your build with. The modelling sections have a different coloured outer edges to allow fast flipping to the relevant one when necessary, which should save a few seconds each time, all being well. There’s a lot of historic information included in the preambles, and we can all learn a little no matter how much we think we know. The builds have a uniformity of scale, but other than that they are substantially different from each other, and with the addition of a couple of customised pilots for two of them, there are some serious skills on show throughout the pages. Products from various aftermarket companies are used, including our friends at VideoAviation who supply the bomb load for one of the builds, and as you’d imagine, there’s a heap of AK Interactive products on display, including their Real Color, 3G Acrylics, washes, varnishes and others products, although there are some other brands on show too for a bit of diversity. Conclusion The book supplies plenty of information that can be used and adapted to your own modelling skillset to a greater or lesser extent as you see fit. There’s a fair amount of information within the pages too, and of course the visuals are professional, with crisply focused and well-composed photos that illustrate the techniques in use. Highly recommended. Review sample courtesy of
  8. WWII US Aircraft Interior Acrylic Colours (AK11734) AK Interactive This is another box of AK Interactive’s third generation acrylics, aiming for excellent coverage, what they describe as awesome grip, and a promise of no clogging of your airbrush if you use one. They’re also 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’ve successfully tested with my usual vague “semi-skimmed milk thickness” goal for the thinned paint, and using Ultimate Thinners as my 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, with 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 probably going to add glass beads, as I feel that they make paint mixing quicker and 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. 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. For example, would the “scale reduction factor” be the same for a 1:72 and a 1:24 aircraft? Would the difference be noticeable? So many questions, so little inclination on my part to answer them still. This set is brighter than some of the sets we’ve reviewed lately and is packed with the various basic shades used within WWII US and US supplied lend/lease aircraft, of which there were many. The set includes the following colours: AK11857 Bronze Green AK11858 Zinc Chromate Yellow AK11859 US Interior Yellow Green AK11873 Dull Dark Green (FS34092) AK11335 Interior Green (Light Green FS34151) AK11064 Salmon Pink Primer (Beige Red) These paints are just as easy to apply by airbrush or paint brush, and once dry they are very tough as acrylics go, especially if you key the surface beforehand with a buffing-type sanding stick. A primed and buffed surface is slightly ahead in terms of adhesion, but not by much, so it’s good news all round whether you’re a modeller that primes religiously or not. In addition to airbrushing well without clogging, the paint goes on well with a paintbrush, needing one or sometimes two coats depending on the colour, and brushing out well with very little in the way of brush marks if you use a broad filbert brush. I’m not a habitual brush-painter, and was pleasantly surprised at how well the paint went down despite my lack of experience. Conclusion I like these paints, and their bottles are practical and attractive, although I’m still not over keen on the fonts used on the box artwork, but that’s just my personal taste. This set gives you the shades you’ll need to complete the interiors of your WWII US aircraft, and once you add some white and black for colour modulation, they’ll be very useful for the modeller. The recently reviewed RAF Coastal Command & RN FAA includes a black and a white bottle, if that’s convenient or appealing – this is Britmodeller after all. There’s a whole range of these colours available both individually and in sets for aircraft, AFV and other modelling genres, some that we’ve now reviewed, and the rest we’ll be getting to soon. Highly recommended. Review sample courtesy of
  9. 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
  10. 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
  11. 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!
  12. 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
  13. 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
  14. 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
  15. 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
  16. 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
  17. 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
  18. 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
  19. 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
  20. 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
  21. 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!
  22. 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
  23. 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
  24. 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
  25. 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
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