Mr Paint, Various Colours from Uschi van der Rosten

Mr Paint, Various Colours
Uschi van der Rosten
Catalogue # See article for references and price
Available from Uschi van der Rosten


Modellers, like me, can tend to be very much stuck in their ways when it comes to the staples of their hobby. Since I came back to the hobby about 7 years ago, and I found out that Humbrol had changed formulation, I was coaxed into using Gunze paints, which, along with Tamiya, I have been using ever since. The stuff sprays like silk and the coverage is superb. I have tried other brands, such as Lifecolor, and I really haven't got on with them very well. In fact, it really solidified my resolution to continue using what I had grown accustomed to, and I rarely venture from it nowadays. A good friend of mine, Alex Glass, from Uschi van der Rosten, tempted me to try something different, however. I always get a bit of a feeling in the pit of my stomach when I come to test new paints, so how would I far with this new brand?

Read more: Mr Paint, Various Colours from Uschi van der Rosten

"Easy 3" Contrast and Desaturation Sets from Lifecolor

"Easy 3" Contrast and Desaturation Sets
Catalogue # LC-MS03 (US Army) and LC-MS04 (Soviet AFV)
Available from The Airbrush Company for £8.45 each



If you build scale armor and pay any attention to goings on online, chances are you're at least familiar with the concept of color modulation. If you're not, put simply, it's a style of painting that is supposed to more accurately represent the way light and shadow interplay across a vehicle's various surfaces. To my mind, it's essentially the figure painting concept of midtones, highlights and shadows applied to armored vehicles, and as with figure painting, it's an effect I feel can be overdone.

Read more: "Easy 3" Contrast and Desaturation Sets from Lifecolor

Acrylic-Polyurethane Surface Primers from Vallejo

Acrylic-Polyurethane Surface Primers ( 17mls and 60mls)
Acrylicos Vallejo
Available from Model Hobbies for around £1.79 and £4.58 respectively


I’ve tried a great number of different primers over the last few years; some of them excellent, and some of them not so. Some of the latter types I do know people swear by, so dependent on how you apply your primer, and onto what you apply it, will determine how well you get on with it. For instance, I don’t get on well with Alclad Grey Primer. It seems to take an age to micromesh it to a finish whereby the Alclad colour won’t be sucked into it. On the other hand, I love Halfords Plastic Primer in rattle cans. Another of my favourites is Mr Surfacer, again, in aerosol form.



Just prior at my contact with Vallejo, I had seen some talk of their new range of Acrylic-Polyurethane primers, and thought that may be worth testing out, so asked Vallejo if I could do this. My thanks to them for sending these over to try out.

Vallejo’s new range of primers comes in various colours and shades, and therefore is ideal for modellers who may well want to prime their subject in something more akin to the final colour, such as armour modellers. In this respect, this genre of subject is well catered for with this new range of primer. Having a base primer colour close to your intended colour will mean that you will find it less onerous in achieving the final colour you need, with obviously less paint needed to achieve that finish.

Vallejo’s Surface Primer is available, and has been sent to us in the following 60ml colours:

  • White #73600
  • Grey #73601
  • UK Bronze Green #73607
  • Dunkelgelb RAL7028
  • German Red-Brown RAL8012
  • US Olive Drab #73608

We have also received the following in the smaller 17ml bottle, here with their relevant codes:

  • White #70600
  • Grey #70601
  • Black #70602
  • UK Bronze Green 70607
  • German Panzer Grey RAL7021

As  you can see, two sizes of bottle are available for the Vallejo’s ‘Surface Primer’ range, and these are the typical 17ml bottle, more associated with the Model Air and brush paints within Vallejo’s range, and also the larger 60ml bottle, with a flip top opener. Both lids allow you to simply quirt this into the colour cup of your airbrush, with minimum fuss and mess. As is typical, and not recommended, I usually sniff things to get an idea of how noxious they are, and all of these paints, while they do have an odour, it is very, very low. Still wear your face mask though!


There is no need to thin any of these paints as they are already formulated for spraying from an airbrush, despite them seeming a little thicker than I would be used to for this purpose. I can tell  you that they also so seem to work well when applied with a paintbrush, and they do level very well when you do this.

I used both a Harder & Steenbeck Evolution CR-Plus and an Iwata HP-CH to trial these colours, and for my purposes, I found they sprayed very well at between 12PSI to 15PSI. These primers do dry very quickly, and I found that my initial style of airbrushing wasn’t suited to well, as it left a slightly rough surface to the plastic, so to counteract this, I sprayed from a closer distance of around an inch from the surface, and ‘opened the throttle’ a little, making the flow of primer slightly heavier, while moving the airbrush slightly slower. This had the effect of ‘wetting’ the surface more, so a thicker coat was laid down before any was allowed to properly dry. This did give a much smoother coat, which to my delight, shrinks back a little like some of the Tamiya aerosol I’ve used, meaning that my panel lines and rivets were still clearly defined.


I do think it can take a short while to adjust your technique to suit this primer, but the coverage was extremely good, and very similar to the Gunze paints I am used to using.

The reason for trying both airbrushes with this primer was to see how different types would work with this new primer. I find that some paint sprays better with my Iwata than the H&S, and vice-versa, so wanted to give these primers an fair chance. I can report that, for me, both airbrushes handled this formula as well as each other.

In test, I sprayed the interior of the fuselage of my Ta 152 project, in regular styrene, and also the fuselage/tail of my 1/32 Ju 88 Mistel project, combining resin, plastic and photo-etch brass. All materials covered in the same way.

Ta 152 Fuselage and cockpit primed with 'Surface Primer' with some areas oversprayed in Alclad.

To clean my airbrush after use, I swilled the majority of the colour cup with water, and sprayed it through, before finishing off with Premi-Air Foaming Cleaner. This created a few ‘flecks’ which I managed to get rid of with some Lifecolor thinner. If I had some at hand, I think I would have done this with the proprietary Vallejo airbrush cleaner.

So what do we think?
I’m always after expanding my repertoire of primers, and find these to be superb. I’m pleased that this is an ‘easy-going’ primer with regards to application, and also to the flexibility of what you can actually spray it onto. Highly recommended in every respect!

Overall 9/10

Our sincere thanks to Acrylicos Vallejo for the review samples used here. To purchase these directly, click THIS link.





400ml Matt  Acrylic Spray in aerosol cans
Colours: Black, Dark Grey, Light Grey, White
Available from Modelmates Limited for £7.99 each




I visited the Modelmates stand at the IPMS Telford show two or three times during the course of the weekend and watched in awe as some of the Modelmates products were demonstrated. How is it that these guys (and gels!) make it all look so easy? In most cases it has been my experience that the more practice you do, the easier it gets, but in the case of the Modelmates products I have encountered, the amount of practice is certainly reduced.


I will be talking about their ‘weathering’ products in a separate review, but in the case of the acrylic matt Primer aerosol spray cans, provided you have used them before (as most modellers have) there should be no problem at all.


Prior to using the Modelmates product, I have either been a Halfords aerosol plastic primer fan for large models, and/or,  Alclad Micro Primer through the airbrush for the smaller bits and pieces. Whichever type I use, I always follow up with a session of Micromesh 12000 and soapy water to smooth the primed surface. The result of spraying those products usually leaves a surface, albeit acceptably smooth to the naked eye, whereas a light touch would indicate the sprayed surface would benefit from a quick rub down.


So, how would the Modelmates primer perform in real time? I am building a couple of 1/32 Revell Arado Ar 196’s at the moment, and prior to gluing the top surfaces of the floats, I decide to try out the primer on one of the float tops. The colour I chose was Dark Grey. I also chose this time to try and get back into my wife’s ‘good books’, by dutifully taking the part and the spray can outside into the very inclement (cold and dampish!) early February weather - not ideal for aerosols, but a good pointer of how well, or not, the spray behaved.


It went on extremely well with a two or three quick passes and I very quickly returned inside the house putting on a big show for my wife to try and impress on her again how dutiful I was. It didn’t work though  – the showing off bit that is! What did work, and extremely well at that considering the temperature, was the Modelmates primer.


After putting the item aside for a couple hours while I attended to other domestic duties (creep!) I returned to inspect the sprayed float top to discover that the painted surface was indeed different to my usual results. It was definitely smoother to the naked eye and, more importantly, the touch. Not wishing to labour the point, or to get too romantic about it, it almost had a velvety feel to it. Photographs never seem to do things like this justice, I hope my pic will help but I really think I can get away without using my Micromesh and soapy water activities! What is similar to the Halfords spray can usage is the way the paint seems to shrink around the part as it dries which is very satisfying.




I then picked a random piece of corrugated cardboard, and armed with a suitable mask, I did the same two to three light passes of each colour to give you an idea of the colours available. This was also carried out in the same inclement weather - my wife being similarly unimpressed with my dutiful efforts and therefore my endeavours were wasted.




I would recommend visiting Modelmates website where  you can see all  their products and also some very useful demonstration videos of their weathering products.


So what do we think?
I was impressed. I will definitely use the product over the entire Arado airframes. On first impressions, this ranks very high, and on the results so far, I would highly recommend this product. The top line of text on the can says it all: “Super matt acrylic paint with a fine spray nozzle. For use on plastic, card, timber, moulded acrylics, paper and metal”.


At UK£7.99 this represents good value in today’s costs (a Hasegawa 1/72 kit recently released at over UK£70.00!!) and this is for a 400ml can. Halfords primer is UK£6.29 for 300ml. By my maths the Modelmates product is better value for money anyway!


Overall: 10/10


Our thanks to Modelmates Limited for the review samples.


Peter Buckingham



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