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Expanded Review: Revell Paints

Bob Downie airbrushed his 1968 Chevelle with gloss black (No. 34107) decanted from Revell’s new Spray Color line. It held up well under a coat of Mr. Hobby gloss clear (No. 46).
Paint Types: Email Color enamel (14ml tins), Aqua Color acrylic (18ml bottles), and Spray Color acrylic lacquer (100ml spray cans)
Mfr.: Revell;,
Pros: Range of colors appropriate for automotive uses; paint numbers match across all lines    
Cons: Spray cans empty fast; tins a little difficult to open
This Chevy LUV was sprayed directly from the can with fiery red (No. 34330) over basic white primer and topped with gloss clear (No. 34101). The bed liner, grille detail, and window trim were brush painted with  Aqua Color flat black (No. 36108).
Notice the difference in presentation between the acrylic bottles (top) and the enamel tins. See how the gloss and flat clear acrylics appear cloudy as opposed to the enamels? For those unfamiliar with acrylic clears, this may come as a shock, but it’s normal. The enamel gloss white is a cooler shade than the flat white, while the acrylic whites appear the same in the bottle.
Here are gloss yellow (No. 12), Italian red (No. 34), transparent orange (No. 730), and transparent red (No. 731) in acrylic and enamel. The colors match, though they react differently on bare plastic. Note the deep, rich enamel colors. However, the transparent orange appears too brown.
The Chevelle’s separate frame and suspension were airbrushed with semigloss black (No. 34302) decanted from a spray can. Bob brush-painted the fuel tank with Aqua Color steel (No. 36191), and the bell housing received a coat of acrylic gloss black (No. 36107).

Comparison of acrylic and enamel gloss black (No. 07), flat black (No. 08), and anthracite (No. 09). Both black enamels are impressive: The gloss dries to a beautiful sheen, and the flat dries as dead-flat a black as I’ve seen. The anthracite enamel wasn’t mixed properly for my swatch, but when mixed better and thinned looked great.
Revell recently announced that its existing tool and paint lines would be available in North America. The timing could not be better as Testors has discontinued the Model Master line, including its Metalizers.

Revell offers three paint formulations: Email Color enamels in 14ml tins; Aqua Color acrylics in cleverly designed 18ml bottles that double as mixing palettes; and Spray Color 100ml spray cans of acrylic lacquer. Of course, there is a range of thinners and cleaners for the enamel and acrylic paint ranges. Revell made color matching from one of its paint lines to the other easy by making the numbers for each color universal. For instance, gloss clear is No. 32101 for enamels, No. 36101 for acrylics, and No. 34101 in the spray cans.

Starting with the acrylic lacquers in the spray cans, I immediately learned several things: The nozzles are quite large compared to the usual hobby nozzles on spray cans this size; the sprays require quite a bit of shaking to mix completely; and the sprays shoot in fairly high volume under a lot of pressure. Applying thin mist coats can be trickier than with Tamiya TS paints, but the Revell paint sprays better, in general, than Testors. 

Overall, I like the Revell sprays, but the cans empty fast. Also, the gloss clear took longer than I expected to cure, even after considerable time in a dehydrator. Admittedly, I’m not a frequent spray-can user except for primers; I like decanting and airbrushing color coats. However, I look forward to trying more of the spray colors as they become available.

I tested the Revell enamels and Aqua Colors side-by-side on strips of white styrene labelled for comparison. The lids of the enamel tins take some effort with a small standard screwdriver to remove. Just work around the circumference until it comes loose. I tested the enamels as they came out of the tin after stirring and shaking, and I also added a bit of the thinner to see how it affected brush strokes. They cover well and the gloss colors level out to an amazing streak-free shine. Also, the enamels didn’t need thinning to flow smoothly from the paintbrush.

As expected, the Aqua Colors dry quicker than the enamels, and they seem to respond best with a bit of thinner for each color. After drying they look good, often matching the enamels, though I preferred the look of the Aqua Color steel (No. 36191) to the enamel (No. 34191). I found the gloss yellow, red, clear orange, and clear red didn’t brush as well as the enamel versions. And while the results were good, I think I prefer the enamels for brush painting.

It’s important to remember that the spray cans provide quick coverage and a comfortable hand feel, but cans can run out quickly.

Also, watch for minor crazing. The enamels paint beautifully with level glosses and rich pigment. But the tins can be a bit difficult to open, and enamels naturally take longer to dry. The Aqua Color acrylics come in innovative bottles great for brush painting. However, as is the case with acrylics, they don’t level quite as well as  enamels, and the gloss colors lose some of their shine when thinned.
It’s great Revell has begun offering its broad paint lineup in North America, particularly for casual builders who can realize success with numerous bedrock colors right from the start.

– Bob Downie


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