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ipmsusa2

The Death Of Testors Continues...Step By Step, Bottle By Bottle

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In case you've been checking the Testors.com website and wondering why it hasn't been updated for God knows how long, here's why.  The current Testors website is located on the Rustoleum website at https://www.rustoleum.ca/product-catalog/consumer-brands/testors/ and if you're still a user of Model Master Enamels, you aren't gonna like what you find.  As of this moment, here's the categories that are listed for enamels and the number of colors available:

Model Master Enamels

Flat colors: 27

Gloss colors: 2

Semi-Gloss: 1

Figure Enamels. Believe it or not, they also lumped naval enamels under the figure enamels heading.

Figure colors: 6

Naval colors: 4

International Military Enamels

WW-II US & United Kingdom colors: 5

U.S. Military Colors: 7

WW-II Luftwaffe & Panzer colors: 11

WW-II Italian/Japanese/Russian colors: 3

Modern Armor/Gulf War/Russian colors: 2

Auto Enamels

Automotive colors: 27

 

And if that isn't enough, there is one category of paint that is completely missing: Metalizer.  Not only is Metalizer gone, so is Metalizer sealer, which is a perfect neutral clear coat that can be brushed over decals without having to spray the entire model.

Things don't stop there either.  Four days ago, Michael McMurtrey listed 76 acryl colors that were being discontinued.  Today, the new testors website listed only 62 colors and some of those were also on the discontinued list.

 

Richard Marmo

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Edited by ipmsusa2
Meant to request notification of replies. Hit the button too quick.

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Too bad.  I've used MM for over twenty years.  I hope some US based company picks up the line up.

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I've used MM since it's inception as my go to paint for my business.  Can't remember when they first created it, but I suspect some 40 years or so.  Since I will have to switch to TruColor, my paint costs for commission work will probably double.  As for what it will do to any ebooks I create....

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I don't like their paints anymore so no effect for me. Using Tamiya and others

 

Dave

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There are alternatives to Model Master, both the enamels and acrylics:

True North ( https://www.truenorthpaints.com/ )--I gather these are nearly the same formula as the Model Master enamel line.  There's also Tru-Color ( http://trucolorpaint.com/ ).  Squadron is carrying Humbrol.  Tamiya now markets a lacquer in jars in the LP line--the colors are keyed to their acrylic numbers.  MRP, an acrylic lacquer, is one of the current darlings of the hobby, and GSI Creos still markets the Mr. Color lacquers.  Can you go to your local hobby shop and get these?  Probably not, but how many of us still have a local, full-line hobby shop to begin with?  I know Tru-Color has been engaged with local shops, I have never seen a shop with their product stocked.

For the acrylics, take your pick:  Vallejo, AK Interactive, Ammo by Mig, Tamiya, GSI Creos' Aqueous or Acrysion lines, Mission Models, Lifecolour...again, the local shop won't have many of these (Tamiya and Vallejo seem to be common, the others--not so much).

And yeah, it is sad to see an industry icon leave our hobby, but there are other products out there.  I remember when the Model Master enamels made their debut in the early 1980's (1982, maybe?) and the information blitz that Testors launched to make sure we all "got the word" on the hows and whys of the line.  I remember when they killed the original Floquil and Polly-S lines, then re-launched them in the 1990's, only to kill them again a decade later.  I remember when they killed the Pactra Acrylics.  I remember when Testors launched their first branded acrylic in the early 1990's--the short-lived and little lamented Model Master Acrylics--and then the more successful Model Master Acryl line a few years later.  I remember when they discontinued Floquil and PollyScale.  But I found other products to replace them.  We can moan and groan all we want, but RPM isn't going to change their collective mind any time soon.  It isn't about anything more than the bottom line--I would imagine they invest a serious chunk of money into the scale model paint lines, and if the return on the investment isn't there, the shareholders squawk.

Sad, but it is time to move on.

R

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Ralph,

Everything you say is true.  But it's the transition period that kills you, particularly when you have to get almost all your paint by mail.  Case in point, I needed one lousy bottle of Model Master Steel for a Cadillac Ambulance I'm building for both a client and a magazine article.  No time to wait for mail order...never mind $9 shipping for a $4 bottle of paint.  I needed it now.  I found what I needed at a not so local Hobby Town and it was the ONLY bottle of the stuff they had.

When it comes to my modelbuilding guides, I will have to incorporate a section in each of them discussing the changes in paint availability as well as where to find what they need.  Do I need to carp about all of this?  Well, yes and no.  Yes because it directly affects me financially and timewise.  And no because this is simply the way the free market works.  If it doesn't sell or sell well enough, it doesn't survive.  In other words, it's just business.  But that doesn't keep our personal ox from being gored.  How badly each of us is gored depends on our individual requirements.

Where Model Master is concerned, the pertinent question now is just when the Model Master line in particular and Testors in general are no longer recognizable names.  IMHO, MM will be lucky to make it to January 2020.  As for Testors?  They'll probably continue to stay around, but their focus will be on crafts and of virtually no interest to the serious modeler.  Just my thoughts.

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One of the guys at my LHS told me today that Testors & Model Master has been sold by Rustoleum to PPG (ppg.com).  I can't find anything online to confirm this, however.

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I can't find anything either, but it wouldn't surprise me.  Keep in mind that Testors/Model Master is a very small cog in the RPM International wheel.  RPM is a holding company that aggressively deals in acquisitions of other companies.  Today, they also are rather aggressive regarding the disposal of companies under their umbrella that are underperforming.  Put another way, it's all about financial performance.  The goal today is to keep the shareholders happy, pay high dividends and maximize profits.

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I am putting this information into our Willow Run Bomber Plant Chapter newsletter with credit to you. Thank you for this information for those of us that still use Testers enamals. Hopefully my stash lasts me the rest of my lifetime. 

Joe Rivers

President - WRBP IPMS

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Joe,

Keep in mind that the only things we know for sure are as follows:

The Rustoleum/Model Master online catalog that I listed in the post that started this thread is the latest documented list of MM available colors that I'm aware of.

Hobby Lobby has virtually eliminated MM enamels, but still have a wide range of Acryl colors. 

Hobby Town...at least in my location...carries all of the MM enamels, but every time you check the paint aisle there are more "discontinued" stickers.  Also, Hobby Town...as do most if not all brick and mortar hobby retailers...order their paint from distributors such as Stevens International.  If the distributors don't carry it, chain store retailers like Hobby Lobby and Hobby Town can't get it.  This is, of course, not a 100% rule, especially where the resin/photoetch/decal aftermarket and paint manufacturers such as Tru-Color and Tru-North is concerned.

Robert's post re:Rustoleum selling Testors & Model Master to PPG has yet to be confirmed.

Finally, your stash may not last your lifetime.  Chemical changes...generally forced by the EPA...have resulted in many paints going bad in the bottle before you ever open it.  Someone at Hobby Lobby  told me that they have paint that goes bad on the shelf before they  can sell it.  I, personally, have bought three or four bottles recently of MM flat black and had one or two go bad in the bottle before I had a chance to open it.  Conversely, I have paint that I use on occasion that is anywhere from 30 to 50 years old and the stuff is still good.  What paint brands?  The earlier Model Master, small square bottle Testors and the late, lamented Pactra Scale Flats.  Also the original formula Floquil.

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Given the lack of any information to confirm the purchase, I'm very skeptical of the sale.  In retrospect, I shouldn't have posted my comment without any evidence.  I apologize for that.

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I agree with the danger of shelf life. I have old Pactra paint that my Dad bought in the 1960's and it's still usable. The worst paint that I have seen for long term life is Humbrol. I have Model Master's that are 15 years and older that are still good as new. When the stocks dry up... then it's time to move on to something new. I am interested in trying the new True North paint line. Any news about this new line?

Joe Rivers

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Joe,

I started another thread here in the early part of September about True North.  I had just gotten a number of colors in and had not had a chance to used them yet, mainly due to my wife's second knee replacement surgery.  Still haven't gotten to them, but I did open a couple of bottles.  Just from the appearance alone of the paint in the bottle, it appears that it is very similar to Model Master.  Based on the True North website and a telcon with their president, I have a very positive first opinion of the product.  I will be using the paint for my next ebook and will also report in this forum about my experience and opinion.

Richard

Edited by ipmsusa2

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As I said in and earlier post, hobby shops get their products from distributors.  One of the main ones in the U.S. is Stevens International.  It's one of the major sources for the Hobby Town chain, Hobby Town being the shop where I keep seeing an expanding number of 'discontinued' stickers on Model Master Enamel paints.  Out of curiosity, I checked the Testors list of available Model Master paints in the standard 1/2 oz bottles.  Including certain colors that are listed by Hobby Town as discontinued...and including automotive colors...there are a grand total of 72 colors available to order.

That's 22 fewer bottles than I listed in my initial post, when the count was 94.  Worse, keep in mind that NO Metalizer colors were listed on the latest Testors website, but 11 are listed on the Stevens International site.  That means that the non-metalizer MM colors have dropped by an additional 1/3 to 61 instead of 94.

By the way, the original Testors website...testors.com...is still up and hasn't changed one whit, while the one that you have to access thru the Rustoleum site is more reflective of what's readily available. 

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On 10/2/2019 at 7:12 PM, JoeRivers said:

The worst paint that I have seen for long term life is Humbrol.

I have som 60-year-old Humbrol paint that is as good as the day it left the factory. If you make sure the rim of the tin and the inside of the lid are clean before putting the lid back on, and apply a little pressure to the lid to make sure it is sealed, there is no reason why Humbrol won't last indefinitely.

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Something I had not done for my original post on the death of Testors..which turned out to be a mistake...was to check on clear coats.  The enamel #2936 High Gloss Clearcoat in a spray can no longer exists, though you can still get a 1/2 oz bottle of Gloss clear enamel. 

On the lacquer side, automotive lacquer sprays have dropped from 32 to 19.  And that includes their 2 part system colors that require Ultra Gloss Clear Coat for a proper finish.  Gloss Classic White lacquer and the required clear coat  are two of the dearly departed products.  But, you can still get the Wet Look Clear and High Gloss Clear.  At least for now.

Yeah, I know.  I can hear you asking about Dullcote and Glosscote.  They're still on the Rustoleum website, along with the same products in 1 oz bottles.  But for how long is another question.,

So why am I carping about the disappearing Model Master/Testors paints?  Because between the time I started an ambulance for a client and getting near to having it done, paints that I'm using on it have disappeared, making me change horses in midstream.  Worse, an article on the same project is having to be revised to incorporate the paint changes, as well as using valuable editorial space to let readers know what's going on.

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