Aircraft: A-10 Thuderbolt II, Paint Set #1 – Flipper Scheme in Gray
Tru-Color paints are a solvent-based acrylic paint, so are a bit hot and need to be used in a well-ventilated area or spray booth. Unlike other paints I use (AK Real Colors, Tamiya, MRP), it is recommended that these be sprayed at between 28-35 psi, and I’ve seen others recommend 30-40 psi. Tru-Colors makes paints said to be airbrushable, and another range said to be brushable. This A-10 set is of the airbrushable variety.
The Tru-Colors aircraft paint sets seem to all come with 6 colors, and those in this set include the following:
- TCP-431 Matte White
- TCP-1209 FS-36270 Medium Gray
- TCP-1226 Titanium
- TCP-1227 FS-36495 Light Gray
- TCP-1319 FS-36081 Aggressor Gray
- TCP-1336 FS-37200 Gunmetal
Tru-Color says their paints can be sprayed straight from the bottle, but I found it difficult to get the paint through my airbrush, even at these higher pressures. I decided to see how they performed if I thinned them in ways that I’m used to thinning the Tamiya or AK paints, and then try to adjust air pressures until their airbrush performance improved.
My usual technique is to prime my subject with black primer and then “black-base” it using a lighter color to mottle within panels (typically white). For putting a color coat over a black-based subject, I’m usually working at 25-30% paint and the rest thinner/retarder (for Tamiya, AK RC or Gunze paints). If I’m just laying down a dense color coat and don’t care about the black-basing showing through, I’m working at about 50% paint. So I started my first test of Tru-Color with a 50% mix (using their thinner – I borrowed a bottle from a friend). What I found is that even at 50% it took a lot of passes of paint to get a good coverage. That would seem to indicate that if you can get it through the airbrush with a higher paint percentage, it should perform decently to get a solid coverage without having to keep overspraying.
My next attempt was to see how it performed as the black-base mottling color (using the white from the set). Unfortunately, because I work with 1/72 scale models exclusively, I need to get tight control for this kind of work, and I never found the right paint/thinner ratio combined with air pressure and small needle required to really allow me to get small, tight mottles while getting the paint through the airbrush without spidering. My paint mule is a 1/48 scale bird, and even at that it was a chore.
Once I had the mottles down, I went to a 25% mix to lay down the top color with another gray (my typical mix for over-spraying black-basing). As I expected, at 25% it would have taken me forever to build up paint coverage as I wanted. I thickened the paint back up to about 50% or so, and it did begin to cover better, but still took many more passes than the paints I’m used to working with. The image of the paint over mottles below shows half of the mottles with many layers of the 25% mix, and the denser coverage with the 50% mix.
Finally, I sprayed one of the metallic colors included (the Gun Metal). I first sprayed gloss black as a primer, then the following day sprayed the Tru-Color paint. I thinned it 50% and laid it down. It did lay down nicely and covered without too much effort, but it had an unusual glittery effect as it was going down. Once it dried it looked about like what I would expect.
From what I’ve read and heard from other’s experience with this paint, there are apparently some uses for which it performs very well – maybe dense coverage for trains or auto bodies (neither of which I have any experience with). For my purposes of military aircraft, I don’t have a compelling reason to add another brand of paint to my bench that requires its own thinning products and that is designed to perform in entirely different pressure ranges than I’m used to using. And I’m not certain I could find the correct needle size / paint-to-thinner ratio/air pressure settings I would need to work well in my scale.
Although Tru-Color’s website recommends acetone for clean-up, I found my standard 91% alcohol worked fine and is less pungent.
Tru-Color lists a host of hobby shops on their website that carry their paint, or suggest you can buy direct from them.
Thanks to Tru-Color for providing the set to review. I am looking forward to at least finishing an A-10 in the gray Flipper scheme!