The sheer variety of different paint ranges on the market these days for modeller's is staggering. Given that most of these ranges are also available in different types, such as acrylics, enamels etc., then the problem for the average modeller is compounded. Which to use? Which ones are good? Which are better? Lifecolor may have the answer.
I returned to the hobby a only a few years ago after a prolonged absence of many years. A similar story is told by many modellers. I was amazed at the sheer variety of materials available now to the modern modeller. In the few short years I've been back in the hobby, the paint market in particular has seemed to grow exponentially.
I've tried most brands and types of paints, and I could never really say that I've been totally happy with any of the paints I've used for airbrushing. These paints from Lifecolor might just have changed that.
The Lifecolor range of Acrylic paints is still expanding. However, they do things differently, in that alongside their large range of Acrylics they also produce 'themed' sets of paints. At a recent show, I was given the opportunity of obtaining 3 sets of these paints thanks to Robin Carpenter at Cammett Ltd. The sets were CS-03 German WWII Tanks set 2, CS-04 German WWII Uniforms set 1, and CS-05 German WWII uniforms set 2. Each set is well-packaged in a small box containing 6 22ml containers of pre-thinned acrylic paint.
The paints can be thinned with water if necessary, so I wasted no time in decanting a small amount into a clean bottle, and trying them out.
To begin with I used a dark grey or Panzergrau, which was the closest colour I could find to the paint I usually use as a pre-shade. Each paint is given a RAL equivalent, so the shades should be as close to possible to the colours you need for German armour. With the pressure set to 20psi, it proved a little difficult to maintain a nice, steady flow, so after cleaning the airbrush with water, I added about 15 parts water to the Lifecolor paint and tried again. Absolutely smooth flow. I was painting an old Panzer IV hull from the spares box, having nothing else ready for paint, and attempted to paint it exactly as I would have using my usual paints.
After finishing the coat I put aside the hull to dry for no longer than 20 minutes. After this period I examined the surface that had been sprayed. My usual paints nearly always leave a residue of fine powder which I remove with a soft clean brush before applying further coats or colours. This had left absolutely none whatsoever. The surface was perfectly smooth, perfectly flat, and to me resembled the result you'd expect from an airbrushed coat of enamel paint. Testing it with a fingernail revealed excellent adhesion too.
German WWII Tanks - Set 2 RAL7021 Panzergrau Schwarzgrau - Base colour 1940-43
RAL 7016 Anthrazitgrau - Base colour 1939 with Signalbraun
RAL 8002 Signalbraun - Disruptive pattern over Dunkelgrau 1939
RAL 7017 Dunkelbraun - Disruptive pattern over Dunkelgrau
RAL 8012 Rotbraun - Red oxide primer base colouor 1944-1945
RAL 7008 Graugrun Khakibraun - Disruptive pattern over Grunbraun Afrika 1941 German WWII Uniforms - Set 1 UA 401 Tropical Tan Shade 1 - Tunics, trousers & shirts
UA 402 Field Grey Shade 1 - M35/36-42 tunics, trousers, M36-42 Greatcoats
UA 403 Field Grey Shade 2 - M35/36-42 tunics, trousers, M36-42 Greatcoats
UA 404 Field Blue - Luftwaffe tunics, trousers
UA 405 - Brown service shirts
UA 406 Tropical Tan Shade 2 - Tunics, trousers & shirts German WWII Uniforms - Set 2 UA 407 - Panzer crew jackets & trousers
UA 408 Light brown Parka & assault jackets
UA 409 Dark brown Parka & assault jackets
UA 410 Light green Parka & assault jackets
UA 411 Dark green Parka & assault jackets
UA 412 Extra dark brown Parka & assault jackets
All the colours in each of these sets is also available separately, should you need to replace some colours more than others.
I really like the way the colours are matched to specifics, such as RAL equivalents for the vehicles, and specific uniform items for the Uniform sets, but the thing that most impressed me about these was the finish I ended up with on the vehicle hull. It's tough and extremely smooth. They do work out very slightly more expensive than some other brands, but for a perfect finish it's well worth it. I'm switching to these. Highly recommended.
My thanks to Robin Carpenter of Cammett Ltd for the review samples. Cammett Ltd. carries the full range of Lifecolor Acrylic paints, see above for link.