by: Todd Michalak [ ]
Life Color manufactures a full line of acrylic hobby colors for the scale modeler including flat and gloss colors as well as weathering effects and pigments. In the past couple years, Life Color has branched out their line of paints to specialized sets which focuses on specific parts of our builds spanning all of the genres of modelling.
The Airbrushes.com, who so generously provided us with the Rust Wizard set for review, is a family owned, family run business carrying out a tradition of supplying artists and hobbyists with a wide range of airbrushes, compressors and a host of accessories for close to 70 years. Along with providing a large list of high quality tools for airbrushing and painting, The Airbrush Company and Airbrushes.com provide several lines of paint geared towards arts and crafts, automotive, the food industry and most importantly, Scale Modelling.
Rust Wizard – Liquid Pigments
We are very fortunate to be living in what seems to be a Golden Age of modelling right now. There are numerous companies providing not only full lines of paints and weathering products, we have an outstanding array of all-inclusive sets of items aimed at allowing the modeler vast options when choosing paints and weathering products for their models. Sure, there are some folks look at these sets as marketing gimmicks or the “lazy man’s” way out when it comes to painting and finishing their models. However, I look at these sets as more tools for my bench. There is nothing wrong with having a set of pants or set of ready mixed weathering products to draw form when attempting to finish our models. There is no debate here…if you like to mix your own, great! If you like to grab a bottle and paint or add an effect continuing your fun…just as great!
Moving on, recently I was fortunate enough to obtain a set of Life Color’s newest line of products from their series Liquid Pigments, the Rust Wizard set. This set is a collection of non-smelling acrylic washes containing five 22ml bottles of their Liquid Pigments and one 22ml bottle of Adjustable Remover. The set comes in a sturdy flip-top box with all six of the bottles nestled securely in a sectioned cardboard insert.
These Liquid Pigments, work very similar to traditional washes as they are basically a translucent fluid that is to be applied over a finished paint job in an effort to weather a model. Unlike traditional washes where paints have been thinned down, these Liquid Pigments are the actual base pigments used for creating the paint in a solution. The final result is somewhere in between a normal was and dry pigment application.
Liquid Pigments can be applied to the surface of the model either through the use of a paint brush or airbrush. With airbrush applications, slight thinning with water or Life Color’s own airbrush thinner can be used. Please note though, that these effect are still liquefied pigments, and in such, they work much as paint would in your airbrush. I recommend after application with an airbrush, that you perform a full cleaning of the airbrush to eliminate any possible residue that can build up and clog the brush for future uses.
When applying these Liquid Pigments with a brush, translucent coats are applied to the areas where you would like the effects building up the color in layers. While these effects respond to straight application over a dry surface, dampening the area slightly allows for easier manipulation of the effects as well as a little more control depending on where you are using them; such as in panel lines and corners. A brush damp with water or the Adjustable Remover in a panel line, corner or around surface features will allow the application of the washes to flow nicely throughout the dampened area by way of capillary action of the fluids.
If you put too much on, the product is easily removed with dry or damp brush which will soak up the excess. You can use this same method to soften the wet edge of the washes after the application. As I mentioned above, this set comes with Life Color’s Adjustable Remover. This is used to adjust and/or remove and applied Liquid Pigments from the surface after they have dried. These washes will dry to the touch in a couple of minutes as well as being solid in their finish. The Adjustable Remover will allow the modeler to manipulate the effects after the drying process up to a couple days without a problem.
Since colors and how one views their model finish is subjective, there is no actual order of operation to the colors being used; however, some folks might find the application of dark to light easier to achieve the finish thy desire. Also, not all of the color need to be used at one. Variation can be achieved through a random-like application.
As I mentioned briefly above, these Liquid Pigments bond to the surface quite well. This makes for an excellent way to introduce other dry pigments into these wet effect in an effort to gain texture, easily while providing a tight bonding of the dry pigments to the surfaces. The fact that these effect are water-based acrylics, allows for mixing of the washes with other acrylic paints as well. All of these secondary type application can only expand upon the individual’s color palette.
While always being a little excited when trying out a new product, I too can be a bit skeptical at first. Nothing worse than picking up a new product and finding out I don’t like it or it won’t work for my needs. Fortunately, I found the Rust Wizard set of Liquid Pigments from Life Color to be a great asset to the growing pile of tools I have to choose from on my bench. I liked the fact that these effect fall somewhere between the traditional washes we use and the application of dry pigments giving me another range to work in for my finish. The rust colors of this set are very pleasing and even better, the combining qualities of the water-based acrylics widens the color and texture palette greatly. The Adjustable Remover works very well in being able to clean and manipulate the Liquid Pigments on the surface, even after they have dried. Water will work up to a few minutes after application, but the Adjustable Remover will work up to a day or so after the fact. I will put my recommendation on Life Color’s Liquid Pigments Rust Wizard set based on the ease of use, color range and price. A great little set for anyone looking to expand their rust making toolbox.