WWII Japanese Pilots Acrylic Paints Set

Published on
Review Author(s)
Product / Stock #
Company: ICM - Website: Visit Site
Provided by: ICM - Website: Visit Site
Paint set

The Ukrainian kit manufacturer ICM has recently expanded their catalog to include a range of acrylic paints and varnishes. ICM has begun packaging sets of paints to finish specific kits in their range. In this review, I try out the paint set on ICM’s figure kit “WWII Japanese Pilots and Ground Personnel”.

The set comes in a small rectangular box with examples of the included colors printed on the front and a painting guide for their figure kit on the back. The set includes six 12ml bottles of paint. The bottles are open-topped (no dropper-tips). The undersides of the lids have a raised ridge that does a pretty good job of keeping the paint from getting on the threads of the lids.

The included colors are:

  • #1050 Saddle Brown
  • #1026 Oily Steel
  • #1061 Green Brown
  • #1052 Hull Red
  • #1041 Buff
  • #1072 US Dark Green

The instructions on the box advise that the paints are prepared for brush application and that they should be diluted with water or thinner 40% to 60% for airbrushing. The paints are thick and I found them to need thinning for brush painting. Some paints were so thick that I needed to thin them before I could use a pipette to transfer them to my airbrush. I added a little water and a steel mixing ball to each bottle to make them easier to shake up before use.

I tried various thinners for diluting the paint. The thinners intended for water-based acrylics that I tried (AK 3G, Vallejo, and Mig) and tap water all work well for this paint. I also tried rubbing alcohol, Tamiya X-20, and Mr. Color Leveling Thinner. These thinners caused the paint to break down or clot.


For testing these paints, I first primed the figures and then base-coated them with their basic uniform colors using an airbrush. Since the consistency of the paint straight from the bottle is thick and varies from bottle to bottle, I can’t give exact thinning ratios for airbrushing. Each of the paints will require some experimentation. Once thinned down to spray, these paints work as well as other water-based acrylics. The paints level out well as long as the coats aren’t too thick. I’ve tried paints from other ICM sets for painting camouflage patterns. I found that when spraying free-hand, the edge of the spray pattern has a noticeable graininess to it. Varying thinners or adding retarder didn’t seem to make much difference in how well the paint atomized. For spraying a multi-color camouflage pattern, masking would be required. I tried spraying very fine lines and mottles with this paint and found it to be challenging. I found it difficult to find the sweet spot between tip-dry and spider webs. Someone who is used to using water-based acrylics for this sort of work may have better luck than me, but I couldn’t pull it off. Adhesion over a primer is good. Paint will pull up off un-primed areas.


To finish the figures, I brush-painted using the colors as recommended on the back of the box. The ICM paints went on smoothly when thinned with water on a wet palette. I mixed the ICM paints with AK 3G and Vallejo acrylics with no problems. I expect that ICM’s paints can be freely mixed with other water-based acrylics too. The paints are thick, so transferring drops to a wet palette will make brush painting easier. The raised lip on the underside of the cap makes a convenient little paint reservoir for dipping the brush into. When painting small details this is less wasteful than dispensing a drop from a dropper-style bottle that would mostly go to waste. The paints have good pigment density and have good opacity even when heavily thinned. The “Oily Steel” color has a noticeable graininess to it and may have a different medium than the non-metallic paints. It seems to have a greater surface tension than the other paints and can’t be thinned as much before breaking down. It is still a useful paint, but not as easy to use as the non-metallic paints.

Color selection

The provided paints are good for the basic uniform colors and some of the details. To finish the set as the box art illustrates will require some flesh tones, some dark and light colors for shadows and highlights, and a brass color for the sword hardware. Although marketed for Japanese uniforms, the colors in this set would be useful for a variety of subjects.

I’d like to thank ICM and IPMS/USA for providing these paints for review.


Add new comment

All comments are moderated to prevent spam

This site is protected by reCAPTCHA and the Google Privacy Policy and Terms of Service apply.