Vallejo makes several different types of paints- some for hand brushing, some for detailing and some pre-thinned for air brushing. Model Air is a range of liquid acrylic colors developed especially for airbrushing and has very finely ground pigments and an acrylic resin which has been designed for durability.
The set reviewed here is for modern US Navy Colors and contains eight 17ml squeeze bottles of:
- 71.097 - FS 36118 - Medium Gunship Gray
- 71.114 - FS 35237 - Medium Gray
- 71.120 - FS 36320 - Dark Ghost Gray
- 71.121 - FS 36440 - Light Gull Gray
- 71.276 - FS 36495 - Light Gray
- 71.277 - FS 36231 - Dark Gull Gray
- 71.279 - FS 37875 - Insignia White
- 70.615 - USN Light Ghost Primer
This set includes color schemes for most of the US NAVY and USMC aircraft in service. After looking over the packaging which has great color call outs for different types of planes like F-14’s, S-3’s and others that this set is made for, I looked at the bottles. I love these dropper style bottles. When using for airbrushing, these are simple to shake up and put directly into the airbrush with no mess or spillage.
To give the paint the acid test, I needed to try on a model and one reason I volunteered for this set was that I was deep into building Kinetics’ 1/48 F/A-18C. The cockpit was painted with the FS-36231 set and I had initial trouble spraying with a Sotar 2020 airbrush due to having the tip protector style nozzle on which has two prongs on either side. These would collect paint as it was sprayed and blob onto the model after some spraying. Simple remedy was to change to the unguarded tip and the material sprayed great. I recommend spraying and building layers slowly. When done, you get a nice low gloss satin finish which is wonderfully smooth. I let it dry overnight and it was good to the touch by the next day. And no smell at all. I used the USN Light Ghost primer for the bottom of the F-18. It is a little thicker being that it is a primer and I did add one or two drops of water to the airbrush. It sprayed well and covered well also. The top was painted with FS 36320 Dark Ghost Gray and the same results were easily obtained. I wanted to test how it handed feathering in an edge between the upper and lower colors. It worked great with minimal to no issues and showed a nice soft demarcation.
To test my newly painted plane, I wanted to test a couple things. First, I masked off the tan on the radome tip and several smaller areas on the plane using Tamiya yellow tape. After painting, the tape was removed and no paint was removed so adhesion was very good. I clear coated with Testors gloss coat. The natural paint surface is smooth but I was worried the satin finish would cause silvering. I added the decals and also wash and it looked great with no adhesion issues on the paint of silvering. I flat coated when done.
Highly recommended. Acrylics have come a long way from their original formulations which had all sorts of difficulties. This set is air brush ready with just a little shaking needed. It sprays well, has great smoothness and adhesion. It takes decals and washes well. If you are going to paint modern US Navy or USMC aircraft, this set will do the trick and make you a convert to acrylics.
My thanks to Vallejo for the opportunity to use this set and IPMS/USA for the chance to review it.