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Billing Boats Paint Line

Billing Boats Paint Line First Look

By Michael Benolkin

Date of Review April 2011 Manufacturer Billing Boats
Subject Hobby Paint Line Product Number -
Pros Solid coverage, good adhesion Cons Thins/Cleans w/Acetone
Skill Level Basic MSRP (USD) $3.29/bottle

First Look

Billing Boats USA recently sent us a set of their hobby paints to try out. We not only tried them out, we've added their colors to our color database, and I'll get to that shortly.

These are 1/2 ounce (14.7ml) bottles with 32 releases in the series so far. As you might imagine, these are good colors for the wooden and ABS plastic boat kits also produced by Billing Boats, but there are a few colors in the line that hint at other markets (like ours).

The paint in the series include:

  • BB01  White
  • BB02  Duck Egg Blue
  • BB03  Emerald Green
  • BB04  Orange
  • BB05  Tan
  • BB06  Hull Red
  • BB07  Sea Blue
  • BB08  Brunswick Green
  • BB09  Bright Red
  • BB10  Matt Lemon
  • BB11  Black
  • BB12  Pale Gray
  • BB13  Trainer Yellow
  • BB14  Matt White
  • BB15  Silver
  • BB16  Gold
  • BB17  Clear Poly (Gloss Coat)
  • BB18  Mediterranean Blue
  • BB19  Matt Aircraft Blue
  • BB20  Satin Brown
  • BB21  Crimson
  • BB22  Flat Black
  • BB23  Copper
  • BB30  Dark Ad Gray
  • BB32  Lime
  • BB33  Matt Mid Green
  • BB35  Signal Red
  • BB36  Mahogany Stain
  • BB37  Navy Cool Gray
  • BB38  Cobalt Blue
  • BB39  Primer
  • BB40  Thinner

I shot every one of these colors through my Iwata airbrush with a .3mm (fine) needle without thinning. Each one went through without problem and coverage was quite impressive. I shot the Duck Egg Blue over Black and didn't require a second coat to hide the black underneath. The paint applies very smoothly to the surface, dries smooth and fast, and stays put afterwards. I haven't tried using this paint over/under acrylic or enamel paints yet, but that is coming soon.

One of the reasons I shot each color was to create paint chips to measure the color values for our online color database. While many of the usual hobby paint sources produce similar colors as everyone else (RLM, selected FS595, etc.), I am interested when there are colors that go outside those bounds. When I ran these colors through the VVS (Soviet Air Force) database, I found one of the greens to be a near-perfect match for the green used for wheel hubs as well as radomes on 1970/80/90s fighters. The Matt White matches up with the dilectric white for radomes/antenna fairings. The orange is perfect for the Eduard MiG-21MF in Egyptian colors. We'll be matching these paints to other standards to see what other gaps we can fill.

What is somewhat unusual is that these paints are thinned or can be cleaned using Acetone. There are now odorless acetones available now as this paint shares its chemistry and ruggedness with a different paint usage - finger nails! As many of you married modelers know (and have smelled), finger nail polish/colors are also acetone-based. What I found interesting was when I cleaned the airbrush between colors, I simply dropped acetone into the paint cup and watched the paint dissolve. Enamel-based paints don't clean that effortlessly or quickly. I clean acrylics with Windex (with Ammonia) and acrylics dissolve about as quickly as the Billing paints do in acetone. The only exception to the acetone cleaning solution is BB36 Mahogany Stain. It is much thinner and oil-based (as I understand) so it is perfect for wood surfaces.

If you're looking for some new colors or rugged colors that will stick to a wide variety of surfaces, give the Billing Boats paints a try!

My sincere thanks to Billing Boats for these review samples!