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There are reports that Rustoleum ceased production of all Testors products today, May 7, 2020. Discontinuance of the Model Master, Pactra, and Aztek brands was previously announced on Testors’ Facebook page.

Edited by SkyKing
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Apparently, things have changed in even the past two months.  Our local HobbyTown (Columbia, SC) was informed in March that the only Testors products that would be available were the square bottle enamels (in boxed sets only), generic aerosols, and the glues.  Think back to 1975, and that's what they were laying out as their "new" lansdcape for 2020.

As I've posted on several other forums, this may seem a shock, but there is precious little Testors produced that can not be found elsewhere.

Do you like enamels?  Humbrol is still available, as is Xtracolour.  Also, True North Precision Paints makes an alkyd enamel that, from reports I've read, are as good as the Testors Model Master line.

Lacquer fans abandoned Testors years ago when they squashed the original Floquil line.  Now, we have Mr. Color, MRP, and Tru-Color.

Acrylics users never really liked the Acyl line (I must be one of 50 people who got good results with few problems).  Today, just look around--Vallejo, Mig, Lifecolour, AK Interactive, Mission Models Paints...

Putties?  Testors putty has always been the shop vac of suck anyway, and most people steer well clear of it.

Brushes?  There are literally dozens of places to buy paint brushes equal to or superior than Testors.

Glues and cements?  The last time I used Testors tube glue, I was still buying Monogram model kits for a dollar.  The last time I used their liquid was to thin Squadron Green Putty (the old stuff, $1.98 a tube!) to a brushable consistency.  Since then, I have used (in no particular order of appearance) Weld-On #3, Weld-On #4, Plastruct Plastic Weld, Ambroid, Tamiya Extra Thin.  All are still available (the Weld-On products in quantity through Tap Plastics).

See where this is going?  Even the specialty products like flocking (which has been gone for a few years) can be found elsewhere.  Metalizers have competition from Alclad, AK, and Vallejo.

The only products I have heard lament for (outside the Model Master enamels) are the bottled Glosscote and Dullcote.  I might add the Metalizer Sealer to the list, as it was a superb, near-bulletproof clear gloss.  But even those have equivalent products available.  You just might have to order them.  And there is the rub--more on that later. 

What makes it a shock is that we lose a long-time, well-recognized, name branded product that was available in most any hobby shop and arts and crafts store--and, before that, drug stores, dime stores, discount stores, department stores, hardware stores, convenience stores, toy stores... 

As much as it pains me to say this, in all but a very few cases the brick-and-mortar hobby ship is on life support.  I'm finding that I have to get more and more hobby stuff online.  I do buy from the local shops when I see it, and I try to have things ordered through them when I can, but because they can't get everything, I have to do what I must.  Look at the short list I gave above--those places also used to carry model kits...

By the way, Rustoleum, contrary to what people seem to believe, does NOT own Testors (despite the Rustoleum logo on the recent bottles).  Testors (and Floquil/Polly-S, and, later, Pactra) were acquired in the 1980's by Republic Powdered Metals, now RPM International.

RPM also owns Rustoleum, Zinser, Bondo, and several other related companies.

Edited by Ralph Nardone
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I have to agree overall with Ralph's very succinct analysis.

Where it REALLY affects people is at the local level....whether you have a local shop left, or the Hobby Lobby, or Michaels, or some other store that does carry commonly available hobby paint. The casual model builder, who happen to be the VAST majority of model buyers and builders are going to struggle to find replacements. They won't know where to turn to to get paints (if not locally), nor what choices they have. This goes for paint, glues, and all of those items that Ralph listed as easily replaceable for US, the more serious, informed group of builders.

I don't see it having much impact on ourselves...but it does not bode well for the future growth of plastic modeling in general.

 

Gil :smiley16:

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Man this is sad indeed. I do have quite a stock of Model Master, so that at least gives me time to find another go-to paint that is as easy to use and paints so well without issues like Model Master does.

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I've always  liked their Dullcote and Glosscote finishes for military and car models resp. Will these still be produced?

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On 5/8/2020 at 2:28 PM, Mark Deliduka said:

Man this is sad indeed. I do have quite a stock of Model Master, so that at least gives me time to find another go-to paint that is as easy to use and paints so well without issues like Model Master does.

I'd suggest you try True North. Their paint is an alkyd enamel. I have not tried it myself, but it has received some excellent reviews.

https://www.truenorthpaints.com/

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31 minutes ago, TonyD said:

I've always  liked their Dullcote and Glosscote finishes for military and car models resp. Will these still be produced?

I have no idea.

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What's interesting is that I talked to a lady yesterday at Rustoleum and she told me that they were still producing Testors products and that she had not been provided any updated information as to which colors they might be dropping.  At the same time, she told me that one of their warehouses had been shut down because of covid-19.  That said, I did find the Facebook page where they stated in March that they were dropping the Model Master line. 

As for Glosscote and Dullcote, I wouldn't expect them to survive.  Same for Metalizer Sealer.

While Ralph makes some valid points, I'd suggest the impact will go beyond the typical hobbyist not being able to find paints in his local craft (hobby lobby, etc) store.  For example...and I would suggest I'm not the only one...those of us who build on commission and produce both print books and ebooks.  Granted, most of the time we're preaching to the choir with most of our readers fairly well versed in the more advanced...even esoteric...aspects of the hobby/business.  But our writing does reach many who are on the entry level part of the hobby.  While we can tell them where to buy paints that will replace Testors or Model Master, what are the chances that the cost involved may stop them from pursuing the hobby.  It's one thing to spend $30 or $40...less a 40% off coupon from Hobby Lobby...and another $10 or so on paint in the same store.  But now tell them that they have to spend from $5.69 to $10.25 per bottle...depending or whether you want one ounce or two ounces..plus anywhere from $9.50 to $14.50 for shipping, depending on the number and size of bottles you order.  Worse, most of the Tru-Color paints are prethinned, thus requiring our potential new modelbuilder to possess an airbrush.  As the price of the beginner's project escalates and the local availability of relatively low cost, brushable paint deteriorates, what are the odds that our erstwhile beginner will simply decide that it just ain't worth it?

Our writing, whether it be articles, print books or ebooks, will inevitably focus on the serious/advanced modeler, eventually ignoring the beginning modeler altogether.  This won't be because we want it that way.  Not at all.  Bringing new modelers into the fold is the life blood of this hobby/business.  Without the development of new modelers and the return of those who used to build, we could wind up without a hobby and I...and others like me...could wind up without a business.

As it stands right now, the only paint that can replace Model Master in the form of a brushable, alkyd enamel is True North.  I've used a little of it and love the stuff.  Though it is a little slow to get since shipping out of Maine can take a while.  Incidentally, they do offer free shipping on orders over $100.00, although that doesn't help the beginning modeler.

Well, I think I've rambled enough at the moment.  Your thoughts?

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  • 2 weeks later...

I'm going to deviate from the Testors demise just a bit.  I'll circle back to it, I promise...

For years, we've heard the lament that "the hobby is dying", and to a point, it has--it is no longer a pocket money hobby where I kid with a few bucks ($2 in my day, closer to $20 in this day and age) in his pocket can build and paint a model.  Plastic modeling is going (and has been for two and a half decades, I think) the same direction as model railroading--it has become a hobby that attracts, for the most part, older men with disposable income.  That's not sexist, it is what I saw every day I worked at hobby shops in two states and three cities on three separate occasions between 1995 and 2017.

Who do we have to blame?  Look in the mirror.  We "serious" modelers demanded better-fitting and more accurate kits with exquisite detail and elaborate decals.  We demanded accurate paints that are easily applied with brush or airbrush, that matched all color standards, that flowed like water, laid down like a satin sheet, and stuck to the model like a second skin.  We demanded weathering products that were available in a one-stop shop. 

So, we wound up with $90 hyper-detailed kits that won't assemble correctly if there is so much as the thinnest film of paint overspray on the gluing surface (i.e., they fit like the proverbial glove), $8/bottle specialty paint "systems" with all the requisite additives (reducers, thinners, flow enhancers, retarders, etc.), $20 decal sheets with the most microscopic stenciling you've ever seen, and a range of custom weathering products at $8/pop.  Is this necessarily bad?  No, it is what we as a group asked for.  But what happened is that the companies producing these marvelous products stopped making products to the older standard, which left a void in the market.

What did we do in the past?  WE learned to deal with fit issues.  WE made the models more accurate.  WE added the details.  WE researched the markings and improved them.  WE figured out that dried herbs make great scale leaves, and that driveway gravel makes great ground cover.  WE figured out that we could buy several 4-ounce bottles of dry artists' pigments for less than the cost of one of the custom-mixed AK or Mig bottles.  In case you haven't figured it out, WE=The Modeler.

In our local clubs, we have several new modelers who firmly believe that they cannot become a "Master Modeler" without shucking out the big bucks for the name brand products.  Several of them have learned, but there remain a few who continuously preach the Mig, AK, Wilder, or Rinaldi bibles--and send these firms their dough.  And yeah, in the day we had Paine, Verlinden, Ray Anderson, Roscoe Creed, etc.--but, for the most part, they were using stuff you could find in the local hardware or drug store.  Of that group, Verlinden was the only one to package a standard product and put his name on the box--usually in smaller quantities at an inflated price.

We now have so many different products that, as we used to say in the hobby shop, we now have too much stuff chasing too few dollars.  When you have a company like RPM, with shareholders, you have to answer to them.  If your product isn't making the numbers, you have two choices--keep constantly explaining the perpetual loss to the shareholders, or axe the product.  RPM chose the latter route with the Model Master, Pactra, and Aztek products.  Whether or not the "original" Testors stuff (square bottle enamels, cheap brushes, generic aerosols, and glues) soldiers on remains to be seen--we've seen, in the space of two weeks, conflicting reports.

But again, all is not gloom and doom--see my earlier post.  Just as we learned to do things with what we had on hand, so will the next (perhaps smaller) generation of scale modelers.  Most of us learned that if we wanted to visit the hobby shop, we had to ride our bicycle, or bum a ride.  Modelers now will figure out that the online hobby shops are there and they'll figure out which ones can get them what they want--just as we did with the old brick-and-mortar, Mom-and-Pop hobby shops back in the day.  We learned to save our allowance or wait for birthdays or holidays for those big-ticket items.

It will be a big change, but not an insurmountable one.

Cheers!

Ralph

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Ralph, I know whereof you speak.  I've been in this hobby as a business since 1967 and as a hobby since somewhere around 1949.  I've built most of the reboxed Atlantis box scale kits when they were originally released by Revell and Monogram when they were wood kits with accurate plastic parts included.  In the 50s and early 60s we didn't have dedicated plastic model magazines for aircraft fanatics.  That had to wait for Challenge Publications Scale Modeler in the mid to late 60s.

We begged, cajoled and demanded the very thing that now allow the average hobbyist to produce models that used to be the purview of the true serious modeler.  Today, anyone with enough money, fall together kits, sophisticated supplies and a subscription to FineScale Modeler can become a serious modeler capable of placing well in many contests.  To reach the master modeler level is another thing entirely, but you see where I'm going.

I've used crushed spices for ground cover, sifted dirt from the backyard, etc, ad infinitum and I'm sure that most of we 'older' modelers that are reading this have done the same.  We come from a time when modelbuilding was exactly that.  You started with the raw materials and a set of plans that had to be enlarged using a grid pattern...who remembers that?...and when you were through, no one could believe how you built it.  For example, I once knew a teenager living next to me in El Paso who carved a submarine  from a lashup of two pieces of 2 x 4s with nothing more than a jackknife...pocket knife to our younger members.  By the time it was painted, what you were looking at was a submarine with no indication of what it started as.

The bottom line is this: Creativity resides in our minds, talent is God given and modelbuilding is not determined by how perfect the latest kit is, photoetched instrument panels that require a microscope to read the finest detail or the number of contest ribbons on your wall or trophies on your shelf.  A true modelbuilder is what you are, regardless of whether you do it as a hobby or a business.

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Ralph and Richard:

Love it and a few more thoughts. Like many, I modeled as a teenager and then got out of it until my wife and I had kids and I got a 1/72 Lancaster for Christmas and my boss at work asked if I knew about Jacks  Hobby Castle in Cleveland. I was in awe. Bought my first Finescale which had an article by Bob Steinbrunn on modifying the old Otaki Spitfire with photo-etch. Add to that Jack's carried Horizon's vinyl Universal Monsters. The monsters were $25 and my first reentry kits were around the same price. I remember the horror buying my first $40 kit. This was in the early to mid-1990's

Zoom to today and I plunk down $100 like its nothing (and for resin figure almost triple that occasionally). I completely agree that the fault is "us". If you look at the local winners for many contests as well as what's on the table, Tamiya, etc. is very prevalent. The modeler doesn't have to worry about fit, missing parts that don't exist, etc. The kits fits and it gets right to the paint which is what most seem to enjoy (including me)

Another thing that has really changed is the complete lack of decal support for many of the new kits. Sure- the Tamiya F-14 got love. But there P-38...NADA, Airfix's P-51- go look for old stuff and there are many more. 

And if you want to look at one of my recent purchases, look here- https://anyz.io/

We do live in he new age of modeling and it has changed. I do love it but I really want a new mold 1/48 B-26!!  😄

 

Dave

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  • 2 weeks later...

Plus bunches on the True North paint. Just received some more in the mail today, to back up some running-out-of MM bottles from the stash.   I built models way before MM came about, (but not before the Testor's square bottles!) and did just fine.  We will survive.

What kills me is all the great American brands who were kings in their day, but who are fading fast or gone -- Sears, Penneys, Revell, Monogram, etc. all of whom forgot to dance with who brung 'em and tried to get too big for their britches.  How the mighty have fallen!

 

Ed

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I am transitioning from Model Master also. I have started using Tru-color. I recently used one of their metallic colours  ( applied over their gloss black). Far and away the best natural metal finish I have ever achieved. And their service is excellent .

Nick

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As it stands right now, True North will become my Model Master enamel replacement with Tru-Color for pre-thinned solvent based paint and various acrylic brands when I can't get the job done any other way...mainly flesh/skin tones and occasional weathering colors.

BTW, Ed, I still have some of the square Testors paint that I brought with me from El Paso back in1961 that are still good.  And some Pactra Scale Flats that are also still good.  You don't get that kind of shelf like any more!

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  • 2 weeks later...

Yeah Richard,

I remember sitting around back then mixing 23 parts Testor's white to 1 part red to get a flesh tone to paint aircrew figures! As I said before, we will survive!

However, does anyone know of a good paint source for sage green as in 50's USAF flight suits?

 

Ed

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There were at least two different "Sage Greens" specified for USAF flight suits and jackets, identified as "USAF Shade 1509" and "USAF Shade 1511,"  with 1511 apparently being the predominant fabric color and 1509 the color of thread, anklets, wristlets (cuffs), collarettes. and the tape of the slide fastener, according to MIL-L-27546, the specification for Flyer's Jacket and Flyer's Trousers. So far, however, I have not been able to locate any specification or color chart for these "USAF Shade." I'd suggest starting with Green Drab FS 34086 and adding white until you get a faded green shade that matches a good color photo.

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  • 4 months later...

What is happening is named EVOLUTION guys! Been modelling since the 60's. Seen a lot of stuff come and go since!

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With the enamel sources drying up, I really wish Tamiya would start importing their little square bottles of enamels.  I managed to get a few out of Japan and they are as good as their acrylics and lacquers.  Between their newer jars of lacquer, if they brought in the enamels they would have the model paint market covered. 

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Noel,

Never mind evolution.  The simple fact is that certain types of paint work best for specific results.  Granted, every modeler has their preferences, but my previous statement still holds true.  And consider this: Since enamels and even lacquers are vanishing because "they smell", "they're dangerous", "they cause cancer", "they damage the environment", etc, what happens when they're no longer around and it's discovered that acrylics of all varieties are also dangerous, damaging, etc?  What do we use then?  Water color? 

Will we adapt?  Yeah, you're right.  We will, but that doesn't necessarily mean we'll like the journey.

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Yeah, and the way I see it, "If it ain't broke, don't fix it!"

 

Just when I'm starting to get good at making my models look better than average; they take away that which I'd been using to make them look that good. Now my work will start looking like crap again until I find a new brand that works as well as Model Master has for so many decades.

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3 hours ago, Mark Deliduka said:

Yeah, and the way I see it, "If it ain't broke, don't fix it!"

 

Just when I'm starting to get good at making my models look better than average; they take away that which I'd been using to make them look that good. Now my work will start looking like crap again until I find a new brand that works as well as Model Master has for so many decades.

Duke, give True North paint a try. It is an alkyd enamel much like Model Master. The only drawback is that their distribution is not wide, but they do mail order: https://www.truenorthpaints.com/

 

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Evolution!    Pointed out it was happening, not that I agreed with it judging by a couple of reactions to my post. For the record, I have stacks of good old Humbrol enamels in my stash that will see me through many years yet, but I also embrace some of the newer stuff. All paints have their advantages and disadvantages and we all have our preferences. 

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Noel,

In spite of what I've said previously, your comments regarding evolution are correct to a point.  However, I'd suggest that regulation is more of a factor than evolution.  Case in point is Krylon paint in rattlecans.  They've been around for decades and I've been using the stuff off and on for a few decades myself.  That changed about eleven or twelve years ago when their formula changed by edict of the EPA.  You can read about the entire saga in an ebook I produced...it's available FREE...in your choice of epub, mobi or pdf formats by going here

Also, remember when Testors bought Floquil and then changed the formula and then killed the line entirely?  How about buying and killing Pactra?  This happens in the publishing world as well.  Kalmbach bought two auto modeling magazines, killed one...arguably the best one...and kept the other.  And Kalmbach also made a distribution deal with a magazine I was writing for, started making editorial suggestions and not much later the magazine ceased to exist.  Business decisions or evolution?

Evolution, Business Decisions or Regulation?  Given the current obsessions in various countries to regulate or control everything in sight, rewrite history from a perspective of political correctness and allow big business to absorb small businesses, I suggest that evolution comes in dead last.

Just my opinion.  Your opinion may differ.

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23 hours ago, SkyKing said:

Duke, give True North paint a try. It is an alkyd enamel much like Model Master. The only drawback is that their distribution is not wide, but they do mail order: https://www.truenorthpaints.com/

 

I'll look into it. Right now I'm good with enough for a while. I will definitely look into getting some of these next time I get paid.

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