Few could have missed the large range of colours and weathering products aimed at armor modelling from AK Interactive
. Recently the company has started a line of products called the “AK Air Series”. This series contains both weathering products as well as colour sets for aircraft modelling. So far, three sets have been released one for the RAF and two for the Luftwaffe.
The set contains eight 17ml bottles of acrylic paint. The bottles are the same kind as the dropper bottles used by Vallejo. Colours included are RLM 02, 65, 66, 70, 71, 74, 75 and 76. According to the labels on the bottles these colours are made with a new formula and should be equally good for brush painting and airbrushing. The labels also claim that the shades are done with scale reduction factor in mind.
As the colours are done with scale effect taken into account I won't compare the colours to colour charts from the likes of Ullmann, Kiroff or Merrick but rather concentrating on how they look together.
I sprayed each colour except RLM 66 onto a square inch of matt photo paper so that I could photograph them side by side. My first impression was that the RLM 65 was looking nice and bright which would make for good contrast with the upper colors. I also noticed that RLM 71 was a bit too bright making it look a little pale in both a 71/02 scheme as well as a 70/71 scheme. RLM 75 is a bit dark and losing all contrast against the RLM 74.
To solve the problem with RLM 71 I simply mixed it with RLM 70 at a ratio of 50/50 and achieved something that looked a lot better to my eye. The dark RLM 75 could be equally easy solved by adding a bit of RLM 76 to it. The colours can be seen below including my own 50/50 mix of RLM 70 and RLM 71.
Note: There's countless ways for these photos to not display properly on your monitor so they're to be considered a rough guide at the most
As I had an Eduard 1/48 Bf109E ready for paint I decided to try these colours on to get a better idea of how they work. I sprayed the RLM 65 thinned with Ultimate Thinner and it worked nicely and covered well despite the bright nature of the paint.
During further trials I couldn't get quite a good consistency for detail work while thinning the paint with Ultimate Thinner. I then tried ammonia based window cleaner which seemed to work great at first but led to trouble with colour separation.
Finally, a quick round of Google showed that Tamiya acrylic thinner should work well with AK Interactive colours. I tried it and it certainly worked well! I thinned the colours heavily and sprayed everything but the main wing splinter pattern freehand. For RLM 71 I used my 50/50 mix and it looked much better than RLM 71 straight from the bottle.
There can still be a few issues with clogging if the needle isn't perfectly clean but overall I’d say spraying these colours was a pleasant experience. The result can be seen below. There's no weathering except for pre-shading. I think it's worth noticing how even the satin sheen of the colours is, even though it's sprayed with various thickness for the pre-shade to work.
If you only want to cover a surface quickly and don’t have to worry about over spray or free hand work the colours can be sprayed straight from the bottle. It’s very useful for quick work on cockpits and landing gears for example.
These colours are really nice and the problems noted can be fixed by mixing with other colours included in the set so there's no need to buy extras for mixing. I only hope that AK Interactive
will consider selling these colours in individual bottles as well as in sets because I'm quite sure I'll run out of RLM 65 long before the other colours.