Aircraft Paints

Published: March 25th, 2017     
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Paint Bottles
Reviewed by: Chad Richmond - IPMS# 10346
Company: MCW Finishes
Price: $7.50
Product provided by: MCW Finishes

This review covers the following MCW Military Paints:

  • MIL-1102 Lichtblau RLM76
  • MIL-1105 Grauviolett RLM75
  • MIL-1010 Graugrun RLM74
  • MIL-5003 40% Flat Clear - Flat

The paints are available at $7.50 per bottle.

What modeler can't use some more paint? It's just like kits. You can't have too many. I have always been ready to try a new brand of paint just to see if it is easier to spray than whatever happens to be my chosen paint at the time. Since I have yet to find a flat coat that I like, I was especially anxious to review the flat coat and I had a couple of Luftwaffe subjects close at hand, so the RLM 74/75/76 combination was a real no-brainer. Here's the catch, though. These are high-gloss lacquer paints! If you are an environmentalist or have emphysema like me, this may not be your favored choice. They are PPG Lacquer made. Maybe a little background is needed first before we fire up the masking tape and the compressor.

MCW Automotive Finishes has been producing factory correct automotive paints for more than twenty years. These paints are PPG Duracryl lacquer like the original automotive paint. They are all high gloss and are mixed to factory specifications. No clear coats are required. Kinda sounds like Xtracolor doesn't it? The big difference is these dry almost instantly; no waiting overnight or for a full day between coats. The paints are packaged in 1 ounce bottles and are airbrush ready. No thinning required. Though it's not required, a good quality primer is recommended. MCW has one of those in its line, too. It is a sandable lacquer primer that is great on plastic and resin. The paint comes in a one ounce bottle, and unlike many other paint distributors, these bottles are full!

Mike Guest took over the company over a year ago, and he started branching out into other realms of modeling. The start has come along very well and continues to grow. There are Aircraft colors for American, German and Japanese and armor colors for American and German. Mike is also working on railroad colors, as well.

Before I started doing anything on this review, I decided to check out the website. The original site given by Dick Montgomery was www.mcwautomotivefinishes.com. I went to the site and could not find anything but automotive colors. After several exchanges of e-mails, I found out that the real website was https://mcwfinishes.com. However, for some reason I could not get either of my laptops, iPads or iPhones to connect with that website. More e-mail exchanges followed involving me, Dick Montgomery, Dave Morrissette and Mike Guest. I was the only one who could not get on the website. I had discovered that MSW did have a Facebook site that did keep the viewer up to date on what was happening. Then, as I started typing this review, I tried the new website again, and there it was! How long I will have access, I do not know. But, this is where you will find the complete list of military colors, primers and clear coats.

Now, on to the paints. Over a period of more than a year I have been toying with a Hasegawa Bf-109G6 that I had done a lot of scratch building on and wheel well work that I just had never finished. A lot of that had to do with being ready to do the canopy, which is a process that I hate. Anyway, here was the test vehicle right at hand. Before I did that, I cut three pieces of plastic sheet to spray each color for a chip comparison with Monogram's Official Painting Guide To German Aircraft 1935-1945. I primed each of the pieces with Alclad gray primer prior to shooting the MCW colors. Each plate has five coats of the color. I then coated them with four coats of MCW's Flat Coat. As you can see from the pictures, there is some difference in each of the colors from the guide. The RLM 76 seems a little more green. The RLM 75 is fairly close, but the RLM 74 is considerably lighter. It is almost the same as the RLM 75. I haven't figured that one out yet, because looking at the bottles, there is a definite difference. We'll see what it looks like when it's on the model.

On to the model. I also primed the model and all of the other parts with Alclad's gray primer prior to the MCW colors. I really don't like pre-shading, but I figured this would be a great test of the paint, as it is super thin. The RLM 76 went on extremely well, and I was surprised at how well it did cover. By the sixth coat, I was satisfied. The RLM 76 was sprayed at 15-20 psi, as were all of the other colors. And, these are all mist coats with about five minutes drying time in between. It wasn't as glossy as I had expected, but I didn't get in close and spray a wet coat like I would if I was doing a car model. The paint is really thin, and even though there were a lot of coats sprayed on, no detail was lost. In fact, with the pre-shading, panel lines really popped out. When I went to mask the demarcation line for the RLM 74 and 75 on the fuselage, some of the RLM 76 pulled off with the tape. But, it was not the MCW color, it was my primer! I discovered another advantage to MCW colors. They are so thin and dry so fast that wet sanding the area to be repainted was very easy and when sprayed over the bare plastic, it covered extremely well and the area to be resprayed had disappeared.

Having been snake bit with the RLM 76, I decided to use Blue Tack for all of my other masking. Not as accurate as tape, but I didn't want to take a chance on pulling up any more RLM 76. After spraying the RLM 74 and 75, the color distinction between the two colors was very prominent and looked to be correct. After the basic colors were sprayed on in the hard line markings of this particular aircraft, I went to the task of applying the mottling. Here's where I ran into problems, which may have just been my skills with a new paint. I could not spray good, fine mottling patterns. Whenever I closed the tip down to do fine work, it seemed to clog, regardless of low or high pressure. I found this common with both airbrushes. I had less trouble with the Evolution. But, the patterns that I usually don't have problems with whenever I use Tamiya or Gunze aqueous colors or Mr. Color, I had problems with MCW. Mike said the colors should cover well over themselves, and they did. There were a few places where I got some really transparent spurts, but they were easily covered up. After sharing that information with Mr. Guest, he found he could solve that problem with using a slower thinner to mix the paints. He sent me a scan of a piece of practice paper, and he was able to do some really fine work with two different airbrushes.

I applied decals to the finished paint scheme without spraying a gloss finish. I knew I would have some problems, as the finish was not high gloss, per some of the earlier problems. However, I had a very minimum of silvering due to the smoothness of the finish, even though it was not all glossy. I think the paints will be great for monotone finishes, where you can spray it on heavier, or at least closer. I used several different types of panel line enhancers and washes, and all of them worked very well with the MCW finish.

I finished off the Bf-109 with the 40% Flat finish, but it was way too glossy for me. It is, after all, 40%, so what did I expect? So, I finished it off with Alclad's flat finish.

The time I received these paints, they could not be shipped overseas, but Mike has worked that out. His paints can now be shipped overseas, so go to the website and follow the instructions for shipping. Another thing that is interesting is that you can also get him to mix factory formulated colors for certain autos for a special order price. I will be taking advantage of that for a '31 Ford Vicky for a friend.

Here are MCW's painting instructions:

  • MCW Finishes - Acrylic Lacquer
  • Painting Instructions.
  • MCW paints are airbrush ready. No need to add additional thinner.
  • Spray at 15-25 psi depending on your airbrush.
  • A good lacquer primer should be applied before painting. MCW can supply this if needed.
  • Spray close to your work. 2-3 inches. This paint dries very fast. You want to spray "wet" coats. The paint is thin, but it is hard to make it run.
  • You can go over the model in multiple passes without waiting for each coat to dry.
  • You can wet sand between coats for an extra deep gloss. This paint will not hide details even with 4-6 coats. All of our paints, even military colors and gloss. For military models, this will help with decals and weathering.
  • MCW makes 20%, 40%, and 60% flat clear coats for military kits.
  • Clean your airbrush with any lacquer thinner. "big box" thinner is not as high quality as the thinner we use to thin the paint with. It is ok to clean your brush with but is not recommended to thin MCW paints.
  • Please call us at 330-830-7755 with any questions.

My thanks to Mike Guest of MCW Finishes and IPMS/USA for the review samples. I'd also like to thank Mike for his patience and his troubleshooting the paints himself. These are highly recommended for those who have a good amount of experience in airbrushing fast drying paints.

  • Paint Color Comparison 1
    Paint Color Comparison 1
  • Paint Color Comparison 2
    Paint Color Comparison 2
  • Painting the Bf-109 1
    Painting the Bf-109 1
  • Painting the Bf-109 2
    Painting the Bf-109 2
  • Painting the Bf-109 3
    Painting the Bf-109 3
  • Painting the Bf-109 4
    Painting the Bf-109 4
  • Finished Bf-109 1
    Finished Bf-109 1
  • Finished Bf-109 2
    Finished Bf-109 2
  • Finished Bf-109 3
    Finished Bf-109 3
  • Finished Bf-109 4
    Finished Bf-109 4

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