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Tool Review
Trains Tracks Liquid Pigments
Trains & Tracks Liquid Pigments
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by: Frederick Boucher [ JPTRR ]


Originally published on:
RailRoad Modeling

Introduction
Lifecolor, a division of Astromodel of Italy, enhances their huge selection of acrylic paint and pigment sets with Liquid Pigments, a new product series. Trains & Tracks, set LP05 is one of the growing series. It consists of five "paints" and a liquid pigment remover. These liquid pigments allow model railroaders to weather and enhance rolling stock of any country and any era.
    The set for railway modellers contains five suitable colours to emphasize and make dirty locomotives, freight and passenger wagons. These tones are especially designed to highlight the wagon body and carriages. The smoke tone is mainly dedicated to steam trains, but it can also be used to emphasize or weather around the little details on trains of any era. - Lifecolor.

What is Green Chemistry?
    The new adjustable Green Chemistry pigments technology allows you to obtain a wide range of colour effects. For best results we suggest using these with Reflecting Agent PG110. - Lifecolor

Trains & Tracks Liquid Pigments
This set of six 3/4 fl oz (22 ml) screw top bottles is packed in a good looking flip-top box. English and Italian text on the back of the box generally explains how to use Liquid Pigments.

This set includes:
    LPW 21 Smoke
    LPW 22 Carriage Grime
    LPW 23 Brake Dust
    LPW 24 Frame Dirt
    LPW 25 Rail Dust
    RE Remover

A set cost $25 American (17.50 including VAT) while additional pots of pigment can be purchased for 3.40, with Remover available for 2.00.

LifeColor does not explain what Green Chemistry is. Regardless, although these 'paints' are water soluble, LifeColor includes RE Remover, which LifeColor recommends use of, especially when the pigments have dried. Remover can also be used to blend the liquid pigments.

The idea of a Liquid Pigment (LP) seems to be that of a concentrated wash that does not leave a hard edged puddle yet creates a smooth gradation when dry. Very finely ground pigments are suspended in a thin acrylic solution. LifeColor formulates them to be applied by brush, airbrush or sponge without thinning.

LifeColor paints demonstrated in previous reviews (Please see [ MORE REVIEWS ], above or below) have performed very well through my airbrush. I have not tried airbrushing with other LP sets; the application illustrations on the back of the box all appear to demonstrate brush application. This time I decided to demonstrate Trains & Tracks with an airbrush and sponge.

Application
Until this review I had not yet tried LPs with an airbrush. For this review I used three methods to apply the LP: brush, an airbrush and a sponge. LifeColor states that it is preferred to apply these to a satin or glossy surface. I applied these washes to HO boxcars and locomotives. The JP&T boxcar and steam loco chassis are custom painted with a flat finish while the silver KO&G boxcar and the Santa Fe loco are OOB (Out Of the Box).

First I airbrushed these LPs with low pressure. You can see by the photos that these LPs are very "wet" and beaded on all surfaces. I experimented with different nozzle-to-surface distances and pressures but nothing helped. These LPs did not perform as I expected and always beaded and pooled. Because they are essentially ink/dye/washes, perhaps this is not surprising - they just aren't viscous enough to resist beading. That said, they did not continue to disappoint!

I brushed LPs onto the side of the KO&G boxcar and SF loco, and worked the drying airbrushed LP atop the loco with the brush. Like previous LP reviews, brushing allowed the LP to cover better. Brushing the LP creates rainy streaks that looked good on the sides but not on the top of the loco.

To affect a different effect, I used a sponge to "particulate" the LP. That created a nice smutty soot-grime layer on top of the loco and on the side of the silver boxcar. It looks very good to me.

The wet LPs pooled well into protrusions, into nooks and crannies, and along edges. They are easy to manipulate by blending or removing with Remover. Once dry, normal handling did not rub any off. None of the models shown have received a sealing coat.

Finally, I brushed LPW 25 Rail Dust straight onto a piece of track.

Instructions
These are printed on the back of the box. The English and Italian text is very fine and challenging to read.

Lifecolor does offer sets of instructions on their Facebook page, accessible through Liquid Pigments Official Guide, below.

Stability
Freshly shaken or stirred the pigment-carrier saturation was great. However, a couple of the LPs quickly began to change while I was using them. For example, please look at the three-photo image of LPW 21 Smoke changing from a nice sooty black into a gray; this occurred within two minutes. LPW 24 Frame Dirt also separated while in the color cup of the airbrush. At first I thought the LPs were unstable yet they dried according to the advertised color. I put a drop of each on a smooth off-white tile and shot them while they were fresh and wet under artificial light. The next day I shot the dried drops under a clear sky. You can see that by those two photos that the colors on the tile, wet then dry, retained their as-advertised hues.

Conclusion
Trains & Tracks Liquid Pigments set is a greatly appreciated set that affords railway modelers another set of tools for painting grimy layers of dirt beloved by model railroaders.

Liquid Pigments are easy to use and perform very well when applied by brush and sponge. I do not think they cover well when airbrushed; perhaps they would if they were shot onto a very matte finish. I must admit that I think these are meant to be used purely as washes. I did not do so a the time of this review, although I have two examples of use as pure washes drying as I type this.

However, they are easy to manipulate and blend. Both Remover and water work well as thinner. Depending on the surface they adhere to, Liquid Pigments seem very durable and permanent without a clear coat when dry.

Aside from the performance with airbrushing, I am happy with the results I achieved with them. I will recommend this set for modelers of rail subjects.

Please remember, when contacting retailers or manufacturers, to mention that you saw their products highlighted here - on RAILROAD MODELING.
SUMMARY
Highs: Liquid Pigments are easy to use and perform very well. They are easy to manipulate and blend. Both Remover and water work well as thinner.
Lows: They are too "wet" for airbrushing.
Verdict: TRAINS & TRACKS afford modelers yet another painting tool for simulating weathering specific to railroads.
  Scale: N/A
  Mfg. ID: LP05
  Suggested Retail: $25.00 / 17.50
  Related Link: Liquid Pigments Official Guide
  PUBLISHED: Jun 13, 2016
NETWORK-WIDE AVERAGE RATINGS
  THIS REVIEWER: 86.98%
  MAKER/PUBLISHER: 89.44%

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About Frederick Boucher (JPTRR)
FROM: TENNESSEE, UNITED STATES

I'm a professional pilot with a degree in art. My first model was an AMT semi dump truck. Then Monogram's Lunar Lander right after the lunar landing. Next, Revell's 1/32 Bf-109G...cried havoc and released the dogs of modeling! My interests--if built before 1900, or after 1955, then I proba...

Copyright 2017 text by Frederick Boucher [ JPTRR ]. Images also by copyright holder unless otherwise noted. Opinions expressed are those of the author(s) and not necessarily those of ModelGeek. All rights reserved.


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