Italeri Acrylic Paint Line First Look
|Date of Review||March 2012||Manufacturer||Italeri|
|Subject||Acrylic Paints||Product Number||See below|
|Pros||Solid coverage, self-leveling||Cons||Fragile until cured|
|Skill Level||Basic||MSRP (USD)||$4.59/20ml bottle|
At one time, Italeri distributed the Testors line of Model Master Acryl acrylic paints in Europe and their kit instructions reflected the Model Master paint numbers accordingly. Recently Italeri developed their own paint line which fills in a growing number of color gaps in the Testors Acryl line. Interestingly enough, the paint numbers for each Italeri color match up with the corresponding Acryl color so that their instructions are still valid with these new paints. There are 90 colors released in the series so far and we've added the Italeri colors to our online paint charts for your reference.
I decided to give these paints a try to see how they perform. The instructions have you thin these paints before airbrushing as they are set up out of the bottle for brush painting. I squeezed some Panzer Yellow 4796AP directly into my airbrush cup to see what would happen. It took a little extra air pressure on the airbrush but the yellow laid down smoothly on the model's surface. What's more, when the bottle says Flat, the color is indeed dead flat but it isn't a rough surface. The smell of the acrylic is a slightly sweet odor and not at all objectionable so it should be acceptable to your family when used in the house.
Speaking of odors, there has been some conjecture online about who is producing these paints for Italeri with some folks believing these are from Lifecolor. I gave these paints the sniff test and they are definitely not Lifecolor. They smell different than Gunze Aqueous and Tamiya acrylics as well. They do smell very similar to Vallejo, which is another source many have guessed and I'd say this is a stronger possibility.
Back to the test - the Panzer Yellow laid down very smoothly and did nothing to obscure any details - and this was without thinning! When I attempted to do the same test with the Panzer Gray 4795AP, the airbrush finally plugged up. This was an intentional test as I've had another brand of acrylic behave very poorly under similar conditions and wanted to see what would happen here. First, the Italeri paints respond to Windex (ammonia-based window cleaner) the same as the better acrylics and the airbrush was clean and functioning very quickly.
I used Tamiya Acrylic Thinner to thin down the Panzer Gray (and turned down the air pressure back to 15PSI) and the results were outstanding. Same smooth coverage, dead flat appearance, and no other issues observed except one - I was only shooting one coat of each color and I found it easy to scratch off the surface of the model until it is fully cured. On the other hand, the paint is self-leveling and when I airbrushed over the scratches I put into the paint, there were no visible scars leftover in the paint's surface. Very nice. Since the Italeri acrylics responded well to the Tamiya thinner, I shot a Tamiya Metallic Gray onto the model and there was no reaction or problem mixing the Tamiya and the Italeri paints.
It was time for some paint torture. I shot a gloss coat of Alclad II Gloss Kote over the model to provide a barrier coat for the acrylic paints. Once again, no issues arose so these Italeri paints behave as well as the other better acrylics out there. I applied a coat of weathering wash using oil paints thinned in Odorless Mineral Spirits and the barrier coat would have failed at this point if there were any interoperability issues. You can see the test subject and more about the test here.
The paint in the series include:
I'm definitely going to put these Italeri paints to work under other conditions but so far I find they are interchangeable with other acrylics I use regularly like Vallejo, Gunze Aqueous (Mr.Hobby), and Tamiya. While the paint can be easily scratched, it is also one of the easiest to touch up without leaving any sign of the event. To be clear, once the paint has cured, it appears to be less vulnerable to scratches though the top coat of Alclad Gloss Kote added to that protection. I shot the test colors directly to the plastic surface without a primer coat, so you may find it to be more resilient over primer as well.
If the price of the paint has you concerned, you might want to think again. These bottles are 20ml for $4.59 USD and on the surface, that sounds expensive. Testor Model Master paints retail for $3.69 USD, but they have less than 15ml per bottle, so the Italeri paints are cheaper per milliliter. In contrast, Vallejo Model Color runs $3.60 USD per 17ml bottle and this works out slightly cheaper than the Italeri acrylics and even less expensive compared to the Model Master paints whereas the Vallejo Model Air also runs $3.60 USD per 17ml, but it is already pre-thinned so you're paying more for the convenience of airbrush-ready paints.
In any case, this is a versatile product that doesn't require any special steps (if you're used to Tamiya/Gunze/Vallejo paints) and is ready for brush painting out of the bottle and airbrushes well with a little thinning.
My sincere thanks to MRC for these review samples!