by: Frederick Boucher [ ]
Lifecolor, a division of Astromodel of Italy, expands their growing selection of acrylic paints with two sets of colors for the DSB, the Danske Statsbaner (Danish State Railways). These six colors cover Epoke (Epoch) III, characterized by European railways after the second world war. Presumably there may be sets for Epoke I and II in the future. This set advertises to be a limited edition of special satin RAL colors.
Set 1, Originale DSB Farver, DSB Epoke III
The set contains six 22ml bottles packed in an flip-top cardboard box. The box art is of an impressive photograph of a model railroad scene of the subject paint and color chips of the contents. Curiously, the box ends identify the set at a "camouflage set" while the box face refers to it as a "diorama set". The box bottom is printed with mixing and cleaning instructions in English, French, German, and Italian. The plastic bottles have screw lids with internal lids that inhibit leaking or running into the threads if the cap is left upside down, and are nicely balanced to avoid accidental spills. The pigment is very fine. The paint does not contain solvents or alcohol.
The six Epoke III colors are:
* UA 801, Wine Red, RAL 3005
* UA 802, Green, RAL 6005
* UA 803, Brown, RAL 8016
* UA 804, Grey, RAL 7038 (RAL "Agate Grey")
* UA 805, Grey, RAL 7032 (RAL "Pebble Grey", matches FS 36408)
* UA 806, Black
All color samples are on smooth medium weight white illustration board. When the paint was dry I photographed the chip card outdoors on a sunny winter day.
Lifecolor instructs that for airbrushing, use low pressure. Not surprisingly they also recommend using their own thinner but state water will suffice. I sprayed them with my Aztec airbrush with a acrylic general purpose (black) nozzle. Pressure was from my 35 year-old Thomas diaphragm compressor (no excess pressure here!). Each paint was shot straight from the bottle onto a smooth unprimed white plastic railroad car with red printing. A single pass was made with each stroke.
The coverage was very good. The light greys covered the red printing with about 90% opacity. The red and green covered fully but did show some translucence along recessed edges. The brown and black covered completely. None of the colors ran nor puddled, though the red did slightly pool along raised detail. After drying a few hours I masked the red with common masking tape and shot the lightest grey over the darker red. The grey is completely opaque over the red.
I had mixed results using a flat sable brush, as shown on the strip of card. Each color received a single stroke. The red and brown are translucent. The green and greys cover better but left translucent areas. Black covered completely. None of the colors left brushstrokes.
Excellent! The paint had dried in a cool environment only three hours before the common masking tape was applied over the red. No red was removed by the tape. After drying overnight I could not scratch the paint with my fingernails.
Adhesion is excellent! The bottle design is great, as is the packaging. These paints cleaned easily with water.
I searched for a conversion of RAL numbers to Federal Standard 595B numbers and found only the one. As RAL and FS systems are created from different paradigms, this is not surprising. The paints performed well via airbrush. Lifecolor states they should be thinned with the brand thinner, which I did not do. The smooth unprimed plastic may account for the slight thinning of the red and green paint. The greys covered darker colors impressively. I believe that these paints would perform better on a primed surface, or a second thin coat will provide 100% opacity.
Brushing was disappointing but I believe that these paints will perform better on a primed surface, or a second thin coat will provide more opacity.
All in all these are fine paints.