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New Review: Tru-Color Paints used for Eduard P-400

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Review Author: 
Pablo Bauleo
Tru-Color Paint

I have heard of Tru-Color Paints probably 18 month ago by now and since then I had the chance to review a few different colors and coats from them. They have an extensive line of railroad and car paints and they are continuously expanding their military line (aircraft, naval, armor).

This time, thanks to the kind support of Tru Paint to IPMS/USA I was able to use them for the review of an Eduard P-400 Profipack (model kit review elsewhere in this website). As I was doing a review of paints, I decided to go for a P-400 which was assembled from parts of different airplanes and sported a mix of USAAF and RAF colors.

This is not a specific set for the P-400 (Tru-Colors has a few packs of paints). It was more like I was able to "make my own" set of paints. Below is the list of paints I used in this review:

  • Black: TCP-010
  • White: TCP-005
  • RAF Sky gray: TCP-1288
  • RAF Dark Green: TCP-1281
  • RAF Dark Earth: TCP-1282
  • Olive Drab: TCP-1236
  • Neutral Grey: TCP-1241
  • RAF Interior Green: TCP-1290
  • Interior Green: TCP-1250
  • Gloss coat: TCP-018
  • Flat coat: TCP-017
  • Grey Primer: TCP-256
  • Gunmetal: TCP-1336
  • Burnt Iron: TCP-357
  • Aluminum: TCP-013

 

These paints are solvent-based with an acrylic polymer used as the binding agent. This means that they are smelly (make sure you have proper ventilation and proper protection). The upside of being smelly is that they dry fast.

The binding to the plastic is also pretty good, better than most acrylics I have worked with in the past. In a previous review of these paints I intentionally rough handle a few test parts (bang them against my hobby table, lightly scratched with my nails) and the paint withstood the abuse. I would not recommend doing that on your models on purpose, but if it were to happen by accident, most likely your paint job will be fine.

Another thing you will notice about these paints is that the bottles are larger than the standard hobby bottles; they come in 1 oz and 2 oz.  That means their smallest bottle has about twice (or more) the paint from most hobby paint manufactures. Consider that fact when you think on their price; I was not doing that while looking at the paints in the hobby store at first.

In my spray tests, I've found the paint is ready to be sprayed out of the bottle. After mixing them with a paint mixer they have a consistency similar to partially skim milk.

When you are getting ready to paint, make sure you mix the paint well. You should always do mix the paint well -regardless of the brand. But I would say that these paints truly need that for two reasons: one is color accuracy; the second one is the consistency of the paint. It flows better through the airbrush when properly mix than when just shaken (when only shaken I had a few paint runs in some scrap parts).

The very first coat of paint was actually primer. I clean up the plastic using soap and water and let it dry overnight. I then sprayed the primer in light coats; two were enough to have nice coverage. You can see in the pictures that the primer created a super smooth surface which didn't obscure detail at all.

I gave the primer 24 hrs to fully cure and then I continued the paint with the neutral grey, which to my eyes was a little bit too dark, so I mix it a bit with white. I masked the single wing of neutral grey and I applied olive drab, both on the upper wing and in some randomly selected panels. I then sprayed the RAF Sky, RAF Dark Green and RAF Dark Earth. I waited 24 hrs between coats and I masked with a variety of masking materials each time.

For the masking job I've used: Natural metal foil (selected panels), FrogTape (lower surfaces), 3M Blue Painter (olive drab wing) and Tamiya tape (RAF dark green before Dark Earth). I intentionally tried different tapes to study if there would be any issues with peeling off the paint due to different level of adhesive. There were no issues with any of the different tapes used.

I sprayed the paint at 25 psi (dynamic, not static) and they atomized beautifully. All the colors had good density; a couple of fine coats were all that was needed to get a uniform band of dense color. I should point out that the manufacturer recommended pressure is 28 to 35 psi, but 25 psi did just fine. Although I live in Colorado and altitude might have played a role in getting away with just 25 psi.

Regarding the mix of RAF and USAAF colors, you can see in the pictures the different shades of colors. I don't have paint chips for those specific colors, but they look really good and I know that Tru-Color does a great research job matching the colors of their paints for realistic finishes.

I did use the burnt iron color for the exhausts, but I was not truly sold on the shade. I overpainted with gunmetal and used the burnt iron paint for the propeller spinner. It actually makes for a great weathered red.

Once I was done with all the painting I sprayed a coat of Gloss in preparation for details. The gloss coat behaves amazingly well. No runs, self-leveling and super shinny. After decals were applied I used a Tamiya Panel Line Wash and there was no reaction between the gloss coat and the wash. You can use them with confidence.

A flat coat wrapped up all the work and prepared the surfaces for the application of pastel chalks to simulate distressed paint that you could expect in the southwest Pacific theater of operations.

Another thing to mention about the Tru-Color paints: They are super easy to clean. I just put a bit of acetone in the airbrush cup, let it sit there for about 1 minute and sprayed through the airbrush. I then dissembled the airbrush and I had barely any spot that needed further clean up. And when that was needed, a cotton bud dipped in acetone was all I needed to clean up whatever leftover paint was in the inner works. These paints are probably the easiest ones to clean up out of all the brands I have worked with.

Regarding the paints, the main conclusions I have are:

  • Ready to spray out of the bottle (25 psi was my setting)
  • Great color accuracy and color density
  • They are resistant to normal handling
  • Easy to spray and very easy to clean up afterward
  • Solvent-based, so you need to have proper ventilation/respirator
  • Fast drying

In summary: these paints are excellent. With proper ventilation and a respirator, the strong smell of them is no problem. The advantage of being smelly is that they dry out fast. They have good color density and they atomize fantastically. They do not obscure any surface detail and they are ready to spray out of the bottle. To top them off, the adhesion to plastic is outstanding.

I highly recommended these paints to modelers of any experience level.

I would like to thank Tru-Color Paint and IPMS/USA for the review sample.

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