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AK Interactive Xtreme Metal

AK Interactive Xtreme Metal Colors Paint Review

By Michael Benolkin

Date of Review January 2016 Manufacturer AK Interactive
Subject Xtreme Metal Product Numbers See below
Pros Enamel-based metalizers Cons See text
Skill Level Basic MSRP (USD) $12.00 ($13.00 for cleaner)

Review

AK Interactive produces an interesting array of modeling paints and finishes in their growing product portfolio and here's their latest - Xtreme Metal. You may remember that AK Interactive has produced metallics before in their True Metal series, but those are wax-based metalics that come in paste form that can produce around 100ml worth of airbrush-ready paint from each tube.

In this new Xtreme series, AK Interactive has produced a new line of enamel-based metallics which are airbrush-ready out-of-the-bottle. These paints can be airbrushed directly on plastic (with the exception of Chrome and Polished Aluminum which require a black base coat for the highly reflective finish) compared to lacquer-based metallics which require a barrier coat to protect the plastic from melting.

AK Interactive Xtreme Metal AK Interactive Xtreme Metal AK Interactive Xtreme Metal

The colors in this series now include:

  • AK 470 Extreme Cleaner (100ml)
  • AK 471 Black Base (30ml)
  • AK 472 Gold (30ml)
  • AK 473 Copper (30ml)
  • AK 474 Bronze (30ml)
  • AK 475 Brass (30ml)
  • AK 476 Steel (30ml)
  • AK 477 Chrome (30ml)
  • AK 478 White Aluminum (30ml)
  • AK 479 Aluminum (30ml)
  • AK 480 Dark Aluminum (30ml)
  • AK 481 Polished Aluminum (30ml)
  • AK 482 Duraluminum (30ml)
  • AK 483 Gun Metal (30ml)
  • AK 484 Burnt Metal (30ml)
  • AK 485 Pale Burnt Metal (30ml)
  • AK 486 Jet Exhaust (30ml)
  • AK 487 Metallic Blue (30ml)
  • AK 488 Matte Aluminum (30ml)
  • AK 669 Titanium (30ml)
  • AK 670 Stainless Steel (30ml)
  • AK 671 Metallic Smoke (30ml)
  • AK 672 Pale Brass (30ml)
  • AK 674 Metallic Purple (30ml)

I gave these metallics a test-flight in a recent build review of the Mercury-Atlas kit to see how they'd perform compared to Alclad II. The second stage was painted with the Xtreme Metal Black Base as a primer coat but I wasn't happy with the results. Rather than a gloss black finish, the Black Base dried as a flat finish with a texture which I buffed out with a 3200 grit wet-sanding pad to a glossy finish. Next time I'll use Tamiya X1 Gloss Black.

Over the black I applied Xtreme Metal Polished Aluminum and once again I ended up with a slightly textured surface. This time the texturing worked to my advantage as I used a chrome buffing powder and not only did I get a great surface, I also recreated the banding seen in the machined Atlas airframe (before the second stage frosts over). Since there were parts of the model that required assembly after the second stage was metalized, I invariably was left with some glue blemishes on the finish. This is the true test of the product: I touched up the few blemishes with the Polished Aluminum and buffed again with the chrome powder and all traces of the problems were gone. I could also mask over the paint (using Tamiya yellow tape) with no problems of paint pulling up when removed.

The first stage was painted Vallejo Primer Gray which was buffed out with a 3200 grit wet-sanding pad, then gloss-coated with Future and buffed again. Over this I applied Xtreme Metal Dark Aluminum and then applied a Steel buffing power. I could have applied the Dark Aluminum to the bare plastic (an advantage over lacquer-based metalizers) but I wanted to see how the product worked over acrylic paint. No problems whatsoever.

I handled my model with no gloves and had no problems with fingerprints or metalizer rubbing off. The AK Interactive product is robust to say the least. The inevitable question from modelers working their first bare metal projects, should I clear-coat the metallic finish? You don't need to protect the finish but there is the question of decals. I prefer to apply decals onto a coat of Future and then apply a second coat over the decals to seal/hide the edges. For this test, I wanted to see how the Future would work over the Xtreme Metal finishes with and without buffed powder enhancement. I applied the Future, applied the decals, and then my second coat, no problems or chemistry clashes. The one thing experienced modelers will tell you and it was true here, clear coats over metalizers will dull down the finish.

I did find one more blemish after the clear coat was applied, so I sprayed a touch-up onto that area over the top of the Future, buffed the finish to match the surrounding airframe, then applied another coat of Future over the touch-up. The AK Interactive metalizers work well under and over acrylics (Vallejo and Future at least).

The final test was how the finish would respond to enamel-based washes. I used a panel line wash over the airframe (no problems since that was covered in Future) and over the engine bells which were not coated with Future. The wash did not affect the metalizer on the engine bells (aside from highlighting details).

I'm pleased with the AK Interactive Xtreme Metalizers. Their formulation is nearly odorless and very easy to use in my Iwata Eclipse HP-CS (application) and HP-B Plus (touch-up) straight out of the bottle. Like any metalizer, these products must go down over prepared surfaces as any flaws will show up clearer under silver finishes and your surfaces must be clean (I rubbed down the surfaces with Isopropyl Alcohol before painting).

Give these metallic paints a try as they are a nice alternative to lacquers. Definitely recommended!

My sincere thanks to AK Interactive for these review samples!

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