AK Interactive Luftwaffe Camouflages Paint Review
|Date of Review||June 2014 (Updated Sept 2015)||Manufacturer||AK Interactive|
|Subject||Luftwaffe Camouflages||Product Number||AK 2001|
|Pros||Ready for airbrush and paint brush right out of the bottle||Cons||See text|
|Skill Level||Basic||MSRP (USD)||$34.99|
AK Interactive has been producing a very wide range of paints and weathering products over the last several years targeted to the armored fighting vehicle modelers. What you see here is one of the first releases being targeted to the aircraft modeler, and they took on one of the more difficult subjects - Luftwaffe colors.
This set contains eight 17ml bottles of paint with a color selection targeted for early World War 2 Luftwaffe subjects. The colors in this set include:
- RLM 02 RLM Gray
- RLM 65 Pale Blue
- RLM 66 Black Gray
- RLM 70 Black Olive
- RLM 71 Dark Green
- RLM 74 Dark Gray
- RLM 75 Gray Violet
- RLM 76 Light Blue
There are three factors to consider when chosing your paints: color accuracy, paint performance, and price. How do these colors look against the RLM color standards?
|Color||RLM Color||AKI Color|
The first question to ask is 'which RLM standard?' The table above is based upon the Luftwaffe Color Chart published by Eagle Editions Ltd, 1998 which is the standard that most closely matches these AK Interactive colors. Each paint manufacturer must take a leap of faith and choose one of the several published standards where, for example, the Testors and Pollyscale colors were based upon the classic The Official Monogram Painting Guide to German Aircraft 1935-1945 which has since been revised by co-author Ken Merrick. For a quick comparison of the four prominant standards, look here.
You can see in the table above that most of the color hues align. What is interesting is where many paint companies state that they add 'scale fade' to their colors, with the exception of RLM 71, these colors are a shade darker than the standards. I find that weathering tends to lighten colors (depending on the techniques used) and starting with darker-than-standard shades will get you near standard colors when you're finished.
As you know, Vallejo divides their paint line into two groups - airbrush-ready Model Air and paintbrush-ready Model Color. The Model Color thins well with our homemade airbrush thinner (as well as the Vallejo thinner of course) and goes on as well as the Model Air, which means the major difference between Model Air and Model Color is viscosity. Whatever AK Interactive has done, they've found the right viscosity that will brush and airbrush right out of the bottle.
I squirt a little RLM 65 into my Iwata gravity feed airbrush and painted some spare parts. The coverage was smooth and consistent as well as quick-to-dry. I left one surface of one part unpainted, so I grabbed a paint brush, squeezed a little RLM 65 onto the brush and painted that surface right up to the edge of my airbrushing. The results are impressive - the paint self-levels (no brush strokes) and once dry, I can't see the difference between the airbrushed and hand-painted surface. Your results may vary...
Update: I received a good email question on adhesion, so I applied Tamiya yellow tape to several parts and burnished the tape into place. When I removed the tape, no paint came off. I've noted in similar tests that there is some mold release agent being used in the injection-molding processes of many companies now that doesn't seem to wash away when parts are washed in soap and water. Regardless of how I clean my parts before starting a project, I always wipe down the parts with Isopropyl Alcohol before painting. I did so in this test as well and the results are great.
When we first looked at these about a year ago, they were still difficult to find from North American outlets but that has changed. Nevertheless, you need to be mindful of the price as a few online retailers are still charging premium prices (above $34.95 USD). Remember what I said about comparison shopping in my Hobby Shopping Online article? With Stevens International bringing the line into the US, you can find these paints available at several online retailers as well as on Amazon.com. Street prices are even lower now so the price per bottle is comparable to Vallejo. These paint sets are also available directly from AK Interactive's website.