by: Matthew Toms [ ]
In recent years, acrylic paints have become more and more popular. Paint manufacturers have vastly improved the quality and performance of acrylic paint and a full range of colors are available from a variety of companies.
Traditionally, model paints have to be thinned to be airbrushed. Many paints that airbrush well do not brush paint well. Questions always arise, even for the experienced painter, of what to thin a certain paint with and what ratio to thin it. Afterward, what to clean the airbrush with becomes a concern. These three variables change from brand to brand, and even differ among colors of the same brand.
Welcome Devil Over the Atlantic Hobbies to the model paint scene. Their new line of paints are an automotive acrylic custom mixed in AFV colors. Made to be airbrushed right from the bottle with no thinning, they can be reduced and cleaned up with water. Brian Moore, the companies' founder, sent me some samples and asked me to put them through their paces. I received two colors - German Dark Yellow and Forest Green.
Following the instructions, I decided to just load the paint and shoot away. Armed with my 3 airbrushes - Iwata Revolution CR (.5mm), Tamiya HG (.3mm), and Grex XN (.2mm) I went ahead with several tests.
First I'll get right to the point. DOA paints are absolutely fantastic and I am thoroughly impressed. Straight from the bottle, I put the Dark Yellow in the .5 and .3 airbrushes and started pushing paint. I ranged between 10 - 20 PSI to test. The paint flowed beautifully and there was not one clog or spatter, not once. I could detect almost no odor at all.
Coverage and opacity were excellent, with three light coats giving complete coverage. Viscosity is just right, with no runs, sags, or drips, but forming a thin, tight, smooth skin on the model surface. Adhesion was perfect. This paint was very forgiving and easy to handle. An outstanding finish was nearly effortless to achieve.
I wanted to see how well DOA paint performed on different materials, so I added brass handles, a brass barrel, and stainless steel screen to my test target. Without primer, DOA paint was versatile and adhered to everything perfectly. Two coats and the metal surfaces were covered. I was impressed that although the paint covered so well, it did not block up the tiny holes in the barrels' flash suppressor. After drying overnight, I tried rubbing the paint off and scraping with a thumbnail on both plastic and metal. This paint isn't going anywhere - the finish is smooth and sturdy.
Clean up was next. True to their word, DOA paints clean up quickly and easily with just water. Flushing the paint cup and shooting 3 cups of water through left no paint in the airbrush. Windex and Medea Airbrush Cleaner are effective in cleaning DOA paint as well, but plain water works fine.
Next I tried the Forest Green paint in the .2mm airbrush to do some disruptive lines. The paint still did not clog the .2mm airbrush, which was surprising, and I was able to get 1mm lines with no problems. I know if I thinned the paint a little so that I could drop the pressure I could achieve .5mm lines. I did not go back and touch up any of the lines as I normally would, and the results were still excellent.
On to the next test, brush painting. I pulled a Dragon grey styrene part from the spares jar and used a #6 red sable flat brush. DOA Dark Yellow brushed on smoothly and covered in two coats 10 minutes apart. The paint self leveled well and brush marks were minimal. Again, no thinning was done, the paint was straight out of the bottle.
As a comparison, I also brushed on two coats of Tamiya Dark Yellow thinned 50/50 and Lifecolor Dark Yellow unthinned. DOA paint was much easier to use than the Tamiya and was comparable to the Lifecolor. As Lifecolor is my favorite paint, I was again very impressed.
The DOA paint dried markedly darker and browner than the Tamiya or Lifecolor paints. At first it looked "wrong", but I performed a Google Image search for RAL 7028 and found numerous matches. I suggest you do the same and decide for yourself. Possibly my one and only concern with this DOA color is that it starts out dark, and washes may darken it even further. This is easily adjusted, though.
Beyond its very pleasing performance, DOA paint has several other very positive selling points. As already stated, it needs no thinning and airbrushes and brush paints straight from the bottle. It comes in 1oz. or 2 oz. bottles. The 2 oz. bottle is priced at $10.00 USD, making it less expensive, in some cases vastly so, than all the competition.
Being a new line, the color range is currently small but expanding every month. Customer requests are added to the line on a regular basis and the company will also produce custom orders. I asked Brian if he could reproduce the long dead and sorely missed Humbrol Track Color. A week later it was part of the line and available for sale. Now that's service! I can't wait to buy some.
Devil Over the Atlantic paints are available direct from the manufacturer. Highly recommended.