and AK interactive USA
are relative newcomers to the modelling world, but with a host of top modellers involved in this new company, not least of which is Mig Jimenez, you know they will come up with some new and exciting products. Iain Hamilton of AK interactive USA sent me some items to review from this new range when I communicated with him ref a feature on some of his work.
In this review I will be taking a look at four of these new products:
• AK011 White Spirit
• AK015 Dust Effects
• AK016 Fresh Mud
• AK017 Earth Effects
Covering the basics of these products they are all supplied in a 35ml plastic jar with a screw cap, and are enamel based. Each colour can be darkened or lightened by mixing the product to various ratios with other products in the range in order to increase the options for the modeller. The three effect products I am looking at here are all supplied pre-thinned for use with both hand and spray brush. After use all materials used for application of the product will need to be cleaned using white spirit, you could of course use the white spirit supplied with the range but any white spirit will do for this purpose.
White Spirit (thinner):
Firstly I will cover the AK011 White Spirit from the range. I suspect most of you are thinking its white spirit what’s the big deal, why should I buy white spirit from the range rather than using any old brand? The white spirit included in the range has been formulated to thin the products in the range further perfectly while not being so hot that it could destroy the finish, or too cool that it does not mix perfectly. You could use other brands of white spirit with these products but the finish may not be of the same standard as you could achieve with the white spirit from the range.
AK015 Dust Effects:
Dust Effects is an enamel effect with the sample I received only taking about 10 seconds of shaking to completely distribute all of the pigment into the carrier and be ready for use via either application method, I know it was fully distributed as the bottom of the jar was clean. The product is designed to replicate the dry dusty effect seen on vehicles travelling on dry mud roads or terrain where the dust collects on the wheels and hull to various degrees, or where wet mud has dried leaving behind a dust coat, and on the jar is a picture of this effect created by Mig Jimenez.
AK016 Fresh Mud:
Fresh Mud is an enamel effect to simulate fresh mud on your model, and can be used in combination with plaster of paris to create a 3 dimensional coat of mud on your model rather than the two dimensional effect achieved using the product on its own. The product again distributed the pigment into the carrier with just 10 seconds of shaking, which to me at least is a selling point worth considering as there is nothing worse than to have a product that gets gradually thicker as the carrier is reduced at a greater ratio than the pigment. Again, on the bottle is an effect achieved using this product by Mig Jimenez.
AK017 Earth Effects:
Earth Effects is an enamel effect which in combination with other products in the range helps to give a natural colour variation to your finishes. It can of course also be mixed with plaster of paris to give you a three dimensional finish. This product, unlike the other two, did take a little longer shaking to fully combine carrier and pigment prior to use. Again there is a picture on the bottle of an effect achieved with this product by Mig Jimenez.
I used the three effects by simply hand brushing each of the three products onto separate wheels of an old DML E100 which had been painted with Tamiya paints. I painted each wheel completely and left them to set up for 30 to 60 minutes, and then I used the white spirit on half of each wheel just to see what effect was achieved. I also used the three products on the tracks, painted a small section that had been pre painted with Tamiya NATO black.
The curing time of the three products is very varied. The AK015 Dust Effects sets up in a very reasonable time of 20 minutes which can be reduced to about 5 minutes if placed under a 40 watt bulb. The AK017 Earth Effects is a close second running in at about 25minutes and 8 to 10 minutes if the bulb is used to provide heat. The AK016 Wet Mud just like the real thing takes the longest to cure, taking a good 60 minutes without heat (depending on the ambient temperature) and 20 to 30 minutes with the help of the 40 watt bulb. I have no idea why AK016 Wet Mud takes so much longer to cure than the others but I will try to find out.
My impressions before I used the white spirit with the three effects on the tracks were pleasing for two of them (AK015 Dust Effects and AK017 Earth Effects) and a feeling of uncertainty as to the result of using AK016 Wet Mud because it dries to a semi gloss finish which without a context to place it against made it hard to judge.
The effect that is having the biggest impact on me is the Dust Effect which I was initially skeptical of, I prefer the dust effect before wiping with white spirit as it looks to me like the dried mud effect you get on tracked vehicles on Salisbury Plain as it is a chalk plain. The effect also reminds me of how tracks look on vehicles used in sandy environments.
The Fresh Mud effect is a love hate product for me, I really like the effect on the tracks without it being wiped over with white spirit, and on the wheels I prefer the effect after white spirit has been wiped over. The Earth Effect is another effect I really like, as it is very subtle regardless of whether white spirit is used on it or not.
The dust effect looked when used on the wheels to my eye to be better without being washed with the white spirit as the white spirit makes the effect disappear almost completely. The fresh mud initially looks to be the same colour when applied as the Earth effect but when washed over with the white spirit it takes on the look of a muddy puddle splash which when used in the correct setting should look appealing. The one I really like is the Earth effect which with no effort at all gave a nice pleasing colour contrast both with and without being wiped over with the white spirit.
I do not have a model on which to use the effects pigments mixed with plaster of paris, but I see no reason why this should not work perfectly well and give you a more than satisfactory finish.
An interesting selection of products that I am sure will increase in range as the company continues to grow. The ease of use is good with the only downside being the smell as they are all enamels, which of course will require good ventilation even more so if used with an airbrush. I suspect that as more people start using these products and the numbers who purchase the DVD covering the use of products from this company as reviewed on this site by Jim Starkweather will result in some very good effects.
AK interactive Enamel Weathering Techniques DVD