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AK REAL COLORS PROJECT
flippen_waffles
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California, United States
Joined: June 01, 2010
KitMaker: 123 posts
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Posted: Saturday, December 02, 2017 - 06:36 AM GMT+7
Jim offered me an opportunity to try out the new Real Colors from Ak Interactive. I love trying out new paints. Acrylics, enamels, oils, when a new paint hits the market, Ill snag some up. So this was an opportunity I found hard to pass up.



The kit I chose to try out the new paints on is the Cyber-hobby Panzer IV B. Now it should be mentioned that I have tried to build a Dragon panzer iv twice before. Both times the build was abandoned due to fit issues or just the sheer number of parts. But as the saying goes, third times the charm....Hopefully.



This blog starts a few steps into the build, having already completed the daunting task of assembling the suspension and some portions of the upper hull. We are appropriately 837 parts into the build at this stage and have about 14,217 parts left until we can start laying down some paint.

Ok, maybe not that many parts but there are quite a few left. Those that have built a dragon kit before can emphasize with me on this one.

Enough rambling, enjoy the pictures.






I had to shave down the front bump stops a little in order for the front suspension arms to articulate. For some reason the where a little on the long side and the suspension hardly had any travel.



In my rush to clean the upper hull from the sprues, I managed to shave off a portion of the side. A little bit of strip styrene and some filler and you wont even know I goofed.
JoeOsborne
#480
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California, United States
Joined: October 08, 2013
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Posted: Saturday, December 02, 2017 - 06:53 AM GMT+7

Will be interested on how you get on with these paints. I have the Early British set coming for a Quad tractor build. I needed the S.C.C. #2 Brown and they had it so it will allow me to try tihs stuff out (not like I need more paint :-) )

I also have picked up the Real Colors of WW2 book that Jim just reviewed. Still digging through it, so far it's pretty impressive.

Tojo72
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New Jersey, United States
Joined: June 06, 2006
KitMaker: 4,277 posts
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Posted: Saturday, December 02, 2017 - 12:04 PM GMT+7
Great looking project,looking forward to trying them out also.So they also come in sets too.
flippen_waffles
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California, United States
Joined: June 01, 2010
KitMaker: 123 posts
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Posted: Monday, December 04, 2017 - 07:08 AM GMT+7
Joe - I had a chance to look though the AK book and it is very nice. I'll probably try and pick it up before I start laying down paint.

Anothny - Yes, sets as well as individual colors. I'm hoping some of the suppliers here in the U.S. will stock the full range (individual and sets) of colors for us. I like the AK paints buts it's impossible to find a retailer that sells the individual colors.

I should be laying down some paint this week. I have the turret interior just about finished up and am looking forward to trying the Real Colors out.
flippen_waffles
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California, United States
Joined: June 01, 2010
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Posted: Thursday, December 07, 2017 - 04:51 AM GMT+7
Been pretty busy this week and bench time has been at a premium. I was able to get a quick airbrushing session in last night and finally try out the new paints. Initial impressions leave me very satisfied and very impressed.

Dragon is kind (or cruel) enough to supply the turret with a basic interior. It's actually quite detailed, especially inside the coupla. The set I received from Jim includes the ivory color that can be found in German AFVs so I thought it would be fun to give the interior a go.

I plan on using the hairspray technique for the interior chipping, I wanted to base coat the interior in a nice dark black/brown.

To kick things off I airbrushed a mix of flat black and dunkel braun. I didn't pay attention to the ratio, just mixed the two together till I had a color I was happy with.



I mixed in some of AK's high compatibility thinner and began to lay down some paint. At first I had under thinned the mix. The paint flowed through the airbrush just fine but was very splattery. Couple more drops of thinner and we were back in business. The paint was flowing as smooth as 2% milk.

For those interested in my set up, the airbrush is an Iwata HP-C plus converted to a .2 mm needle. Compressor psi was set to 10-12 psi. This is my preferred psi, anything higher and I feel like I'm sandblasting the paint on the model.



In addition to spraying the turret interior, I sprayed some of the other smaller details. These pieces I sprayed in flat black. Now when AK Interactive says "flat black", what they really mean is "staring into a black hole flat". The pictures don't capture how flat this paint really is. Again, the paint was thinned with AK's high compatibility thinner and sprayed very smoothly.

I'm hoping I can get the turret interior done this week and begin painting the exterior this weekend. Most of the major construction is completed, just need to finish up some of the (many) finer details.

Edit: Sorry for the lack of photos everyone, I was in a hurry this morning and was only able to snap a couple before I had to leave.
flippen_waffles
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California, United States
Joined: June 01, 2010
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Posted: Thursday, December 07, 2017 - 06:37 PM GMT+7
So interesting developments tonight in my painting endeavor. I had originally
planned to use the hairspray method for the chipping inside the turret. Had the base coat down, layed down some hairspray, topped it off with the ivory interior color. Everything had gone smoothly up till this point. It wasn't until I wet the surfaces that my plan came unraveled. Instead of the pair coming up in small, chip like sections, it came up in giant pieces. Whole turret basket was basically one giant paint chip.

I was under the impression that the paint would behave more like Tamiya paint does when used with the hairspray technique, however AK's Real Color paints seems to act more like Vallejo paint. The paint seems to want to form a "skin" over the surface.

I didn't snap a pic of the turret when all this happened because I was shocked and a little embarrassed that my very well and college educated plan was foiled. I did however manage to recreate what happened on a smaller piece of scrap plastic. I may have to forego the use of the hairspray technique for now.

IMG_9123
drabslab
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European Union
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Posted: Thursday, December 07, 2017 - 09:03 PM GMT+7
waw, this is a very welcome test!
firstcircle
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England - South East, United Kingdom
Joined: November 19, 2008
KitMaker: 1,940 posts
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Posted: Friday, December 08, 2017 - 01:40 AM GMT+7

Quoted Text

however AK's Real Color paints seems to act more like Vallejo paint. The paint seems to want to form a "skin" over the surface.


That seems disappointing, in that I don't think modellers really need any more paints of that type (it is something of a shame that, in my view, MrHobby paints don't have better distribution and promotion).

Could it be that the white wasn't left to cure for long enough? Trouble is, with this chipping technique there are just so many variables. It always seems to me that it depends a lot on how much hairspray / chipping fluid is used. Deliberate masking of the chips is more reliable, but requires careful planning, e.g with masking fluid, toothpaste, or what have you.

Also shame, in my view, that the flat black is so very flat, in the real world few surfaces are like that.
drabslab
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European Union
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Posted: Friday, December 08, 2017 - 01:49 AM GMT+7

Quoted Text


Quoted Text

however AK's Real Color paints seems to act more like Vallejo paint. The paint seems to want to form a "skin" over the surface.


That seems disappointing,



This is an understatement. but I agree, we don't need paint like that. Old Humbrol sticks like glue and that is what paint is supposed to do.

But don't let us judge too fast, i hope that testign continues
JoeOsborne
#480
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California, United States
Joined: October 08, 2013
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Posted: Friday, December 08, 2017 - 01:59 AM GMT+7
Jon,

I was looking for a reference to priming .... did you prime the parts, and if so what did you use? I just got my Early British colors in.... I'll have a go at this over the weekend and report back.

If this paint can't be reasonably chipped it's indeed problematic, and I would stay with my Mission Model/Mr. Paint/Tamiya paints.

firstcircle
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England - South East, United Kingdom
Joined: November 19, 2008
KitMaker: 1,940 posts
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Posted: Friday, December 08, 2017 - 02:26 AM GMT+7

Quoted Text

Old Humbrol sticks like glue and that is what paint is supposed to do.


Unless you want to chip it - in which case you want it to stick just the right amount, no more, no less, and therein lies the problem... If you use a tough enough paint as the base coat, then use some relatively weak paint, like these water based acrylics, or something like Liquitex, it's then possible to chip it without using any chipping medium or hairspray - just scratch it like in real life, if necessary using airbrush cleaner or nail varnish remover to weaken it.


Quoted Text

But don't let us judge too fast, i hope that testign continues



Agreed...
barrowb98
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Alabama, United States
Joined: April 20, 2015
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Posted: Friday, December 08, 2017 - 07:19 AM GMT+7
I've been testing them recently, but I haven't tried hairspray chipping them yet. I usually use Tamiya thinned with water when chipping. The AK paint can be thinned with water I'd give that a shot see if it's better.

I've had a very similar result happen when trying to hairspray chip over Akan paint. It wasn't the top layer's fault, it was the base layer being too smooth. I think this could be the case as the AK goes on really smooth.
flippen_waffles
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California, United States
Joined: June 01, 2010
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Posted: Friday, December 08, 2017 - 11:11 AM GMT+7
I plan on doing some more testing this weekend. I was just as surprised as everyone else with the results. i have done a little reading on HS technique and vallejo style paints and I know it can be done. We just need to figure out the right combination.

I'll try laying down a flat coat or maybe some Tamiya paints as the base coat,
Something with some "grit" to it. I've been reading a smooth/glossy finish is not ideas for hairspray and vallejo.


Joe - I used some vallejo black surface primer prior to painting the model. I let it cure for 24 hours before I tried the hairspray. The paints need to be thinned reasonably well when airbrushing. It felt like to me I had to thin a little bit more than I normally would, but the paint sprays exceptionally well. As a side note, I do keep a hairdryer near by to help set up inbetween coats.



JoeOsborne
#480
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California, United States
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Posted: Friday, December 08, 2017 - 12:38 PM GMT+7

Quoted Text



Joe - I used some vallejo black surface primer prior to painting the model. I let it cure for 24 hours before I tried the hairspray. The paints need to be thinned reasonably well when airbrushing. It felt like to me I had to thin a little bit more than I normally would, but the paint sprays exceptionally well. As a side note, I do keep a hairdryer near by to help set up inbetween coats.



Jon,

I’m not a fan of the Vallejo surface primers due to adhesion issues, but when you replicate the test use the same ingredients and see if the outcome is different. If its still the same you might change to a different primer- Halfords or Tamiya for instance and see if that makes a difference.

flippen_waffles
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California, United States
Joined: June 01, 2010
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Posted: Sunday, December 10, 2017 - 06:03 AM GMT+7
This weekend has been pretty busy, helping a friend move houses, but I have made some progress on the hairspray method.

Both test pieces received a coat of vallejo surface primer, and both base colors were left over night to set up. One piece received Tamiya Flat Black, the other Real Color Flat Black plus a coat of AK Ultra Matte Varnish. The purpose of the Matte varnish was to try to give the surface a little "grit". Two light coats of hairspray were airbrushed on followed by a coat of Real Color Flat White. Below are my results from the chipping process.



The piece on the left received the Tamiya base coat white the one on the right received a real color base coat.

Instead of brushing water onto the pieces to activate the hairspray, I tried to dampen the brush and use to brush to spot treat the areas were I wanted the chips.

Left piece: it seems as something was attacking the base color as the Tamiya black started to bleed once the chipping began. I'm not sure if it was the AK thinner or maybe the hairspray but not much further testing was done after this point.

Right piece: much better performance. I think the AK ultra matte varnish was the key. I believe the varnish provided the "grit" we were looking for and helped protect the base layer as there was no bleeding of the base color. The paint chipped much better than my first test. However, you'll want to pay attention to the amount of water in the surface, too much and it will want to peel in large pieces. Anytime I saw the paint doing this I would hit it with the hairdryer to get it to snug back down.

Couple observations on the brushed used. It seems that the softer the brush, the more it will want to peel rather than chip. Brushes with short bristles provided the best small chips while the softer bristles produced larger chips. The soft bristle brush was used primarily on the edges while the short bristle brushes were used more in the interior of the piece. Quick stippling motions helped produce the smaller chips with the short bristled brushes.



In the interest of time, I have decided to forgo the hairspray method in the turret. Most of it won't be seen and while I feel as if I made significant progress in my tests, the method isn't quite where I'd like it to be.

I hope this helps give you guys an idea of how the paint performs in regards to the method, but I don't want anyone to view this as the final word of the paints performance. I encourage everyone to try their own methods and develop their own techniques. Who knows, maybe one of you guys will have an idea or develops a new method that leads to something cool.

That's enough of me rambling for one post. I still need to finish up the fenders on the kit and start laying down some base color.
Why did I pick a Dragon kit again?


clovis899
#155
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California, United States
Joined: May 05, 2002
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Posted: Sunday, December 10, 2017 - 10:23 AM GMT+7
Jon,
That was a nice test you carried out. Easy to follow and thanks for showing just exactly what you meant with short bristles. Some of those look like they have had a long and happy life as a brush!! Good idea about using the AK varnish, hopefully it will save someone from ruining a nice paint job.
Cheers,
Rick
JoeOsborne
#480
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California, United States
Joined: October 08, 2013
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Posted: Wednesday, December 13, 2017 - 09:15 AM GMT+7
Jon,

Nice comprehensive tests. I ran something very similar and support your conclusions.

I used these paints:



and I then used a short bristle drybrush paintbrush and a long bristle brush. If you use the drybrush along the edges it works ok. If you use that across a large surface it will all come up. Using a softer brush on a flat surface works ok. You have to learn control a bit.

The only problem I ran into that concerned me was a tide mark the water left.... not too happy about that.

here's the results....




guni-kid
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Nordrhein-Westfalen, Germany
Joined: July 21, 2007
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Posted: Wednesday, December 13, 2017 - 09:12 PM GMT+7
Those are some very valuable tests there and some interesting results. Thanks guys, that's much appreciated!

I have the feeling the AK Real Colors sum up to the following so far:

- you have to thin them more on the moderate to heavy side to get them flowing nicely when airbrushed (we can also watch that step in AKs very own test videos presented here on Armorama via Youtube)

- the colors go on very nicely and build up to a nice and even layer presenting all the detail and drying very evenly

- if you want to alter the final coat by the Hairspray/Chipping-Fluid method you better seal the base coat with something "gritty" first (like AK Ultra Matte Varnish)

- then the AK Real Colors are in for a nice looking chiped final coat, but beware of using too much water when activating the hairspray/chipping fluid (better only dampen the brushes considerably, no water treatment on the model itself)


What remains is the very question of AKs main selling point with their Real Colors: How do the colors look (meaning final coats)? Are they anything near the "real thing"?

Further due are some more tests with weathering techniques like washes (oil, enamel, acrylic), filters, streaking and what not... How do the colors behave then with/without a matte varnish sealing? Questions over questions... I'm looking forward to your ongoing tests!
j76lr
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New Jersey, United States
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Posted: Wednesday, December 13, 2017 - 10:14 PM GMT+7
Sounds like more trouble then its worth ? think Ill stick to Tamiya !
JoeOsborne
#480
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California, United States
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Posted: Thursday, December 14, 2017 - 01:33 AM GMT+7

Quoted Text



- if you want to alter the final coat by the Hairspray/Chipping-Fluid method you better seal the base coat with something "gritty" first (like AK Ultra Matte Varnish)

- then the AK Real Colors are in for a nice looking chiped final coat, but beware of using too much water when activating the hairspray/chipping fluid (better only dampen the brushes considerably, no water treatment on the model itself)




Further due are some more tests with weathering techniques like washes (oil, enamel, acrylic), filters, streaking and what not... How do the colors behave then with/without a matte varnish sealing? Questions over questions... I'm looking forward to your ongoing tests!



Marian,

Just for the record I did not seal my base with any clear coats. If it appears we need to seal the base in order to make this work, I would find that as a negative...only want to have layers that add value to the vehicle.

I'll do some experiments this weekend with filters/washes though, and post them next week.


flippen_waffles
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California, United States
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Posted: Thursday, December 14, 2017 - 06:33 AM GMT+7
My apologies for not posting much lately, I haven't forgotten or abandoned the build. I've made it too far, no turning back now, lol.

Joe - Looks like we both experienced similar results. I still think there is a way for the hairspray method to work, we just haven't found it yet. What did you use to thin the paint with? I found it sprayed best with the AK brand thinner but it also seemed to teeter between nicely thinned and overly thinned paint within a drop or two of thinner.

Marian - Im hoping to get some base coats done this weekend, maybe start the weathering process if time permits. Ill be sure to share my results as I make progress.

Despite the hiccup with the hairspray technique, I still like the paints. They atomize well through the airbrush and dry to a smooth finish. I see more retailers are starting to carry the paints now and I still encourage everyone to give them a try.

Stay tuned for more!