When it comes to wood colours, we tend go for quite saturated tones for aircraft models. This makes sense where the wood was protected by varnish, so the structures and propellers are usually quite rich and colourful. But, when wood is left untreated and exposed to the elements for any length of time it begins to bleach and lose its colour.
Lifecolor have released a set of six acrylic paints dedicated to replicating the appearance of “white wood”, aiming at the extreme end of the spectrum for bleached wood, so the colours are very unsaturated pastel tones with quite subtle differences in hue.
The set comprises: UA774 - Old Peeled Deck
UA775 - Old Lightened Wood
UA776 - Rough Light Grey
UA777 - Rough Light Brown
UA778 - Stripped Wood
UA779 - Wooden Grey Umber
Each plastic pot has a screw lid and contains 22ml. The paint is creamy and brushes well. You can clean your brush with plain water, so long as the paint hasn't had a chance to dry. It proved a little too thick to airbrush straight from the pot with my Iwata TR-0, but thins easily with either Lifecolor’s own thinners or Windsor & Newton's Acrylic Flow Improver, both of which reduce any tendency for head-clogging. Lifecolor point out that their thinners will not remove dried paint, but clean-up is very easy with isopropyl alcohol.
I brushed two coats onto plain white paper to ensure full colour density and allowed the paint to dry thoroughly before judging the results.
I was very pleased with the final colours. The paints dry with a satin finish and “Old Peeled Deck” and “Wooden Grey Umber” look instantly good choices for any wooden structures that have been left out in all weathers. The paler colours could serve for extremely bleached wood in their own right, especially if you take “scale effect” into account, or you could used them for highlighting the darker tones.
I should note that the colour patches on the boxtop are purely a guide and shouldn't be taken too literally. Judged in some lights, the paints themselves are more subtle - particularly the palest tones. In fact, used individually, you could probably substitute, say, Old lightened Wood for Rough Light Grey or Stripped Wood and not really notice - but set them next to each other and there is a distinct difference that could create some very interesting and useful effects.
I can never resist looking beyond the intended uses of paint sets like this, and my immediate thought when I looked at the test swatches was that the colours would also be excellent for depicting linen and canvas. As such, they’d be almost ideal as an arsenal for fabric tones, so will be particularly useful for Early Aviation modellers.
The paints arrive in an attractive flip-top box with instructions in English, French, Italian and German on the bottom. While the colours can also be purchased individually, the boxed sets are a good way to store the paints so that they are easy to find (as I’ve found to my cost when I’ve removed pots from previous sets and thrown away the boxes - needless to say, they’ve got dispersed and muddled up, so I waste time hunting for the colours I want).
Lifecolor’s “White Wood” set offers a selection of subtle colours which will be useful both for their intended purpose of depicting bleached wood for dioramas and vignettes, or for painting fabric surfaces.
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Highs: High quality acrylic paints that work well with brush or airbrush. A selection of subtle and useful colours.Lows: None noted.Verdict: Looking beyond their intended use for bleached wood effects, the colours will also serve as a great basis for painting linen and canvas.
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About Rowan Baylis (Merlin) FROM: NO REGIONAL SELECTED, UNITED KINGDOM
I've been modelling for about 40 years, on and off. While I'm happy to build anything, my interests lie primarily in 1/48 scale aircraft. I mostly concentrate on WW2 subjects, although I'm also interested in WW1, Golden Age aviation and the early Jet Age - and have even been known to build the occas...