One of the more recent releases of Lifecolor Acrylic paint sets are the two US Navy WWII Sets. Finally the days of trying to mix the right tone of gray and blue are over. With these two sets you get (almost) all you need. The only colors you might need for your US Navy ship are hull red, black and white and some of the detail colors. And yes, this is not an error, even though the sets are labelled WWII they also contain good old haze grey for your post war ship as well as some colors for pre war ships. But more of that later.
This review covers the first of these sets, a review of the second one can be found here (LINK).
In the Box...
The six clear plastic jars of 22 ml each come packaged in a handy little box with a color picture of a US Navy WWII destroyer. The back of the box has some information on what colors are used for which time period and which measures. The colors are labelled with the original US Navy designation (for example ďSea Blue 5S) so itís easy to find the right color from original documents.
It is hard to judge, whether the colors match the originals. For my taste, they look close enough to period photos as far as this is an accurate method considering the fading of the original photos. Some of them could prove to be accurate, but too dark for weathering. It could be advisable to lighten them up to take into account scale and dark washes.
This first set contains the following colors:
Navy Gray 5 was used for ships up to 1940, before the ďmeasuresĒ were introduced.
Navy Gray (aka Light Gray) 5L was used in particular for the early measures 1, 2 and 3, as well as the measure 32 and 33 dazzle schemes.
Ocean Gray 5O was used for measures 2, 10 (for submarines), the different versions of measure 12, 14 and the dazzle schemes 31, 32 and 33.
Dark Gray 5D was mainly used for the early measures 1, 2 and 3.
Sea Blue 5S was used for measure 11 and the different versions of measure 12.
Deck Blue 20B was used for decks with most measures, starting with measures 11 through 14, 21 through 23 and the dazzle measures (31 through 33).
So if youíre after an early ship with measures 1, 2 and 3, youíre well served with this set. If youíre doing a pre war ship (with the exception of Aircraft carriers) you will also have the correct color in this set. For anything else, you will need some colors from the second set.
For more info on the different measures I can recommend http://www.shipcamouflage.com/measures.htm
Some words on using the paints. The paints can be used right from the jar without thinning when applying them with a brush. The accompanying photos show a brush painted example of untreated plastic card of each color in the set, with one pass of the brush. As can be expected, the darker colors cover better, two or more coats might be needed for the lighter colors. The paint adheres well to the untreated and unprimed plastic used in the example. The brush cleans easy enough with plain water.
Instructions for airbrush use tell you to thin the paint to the consistency of milk. Personally I found this not very helpful, but thatís just me. The recommendation is to use distilled water or the brandís own thinner. As I didnít have the latter, I searched for other methods. Distilled water worked fine for thinning but the paint hardly adhered to the surface and was hard to control. The only other thinner I found worked for me was Isopropyl alcohol that I use to thin Tamiya Acrylics. I tried several tests with different pressure (the instructions tell you to use low pressure), thinned and unthinned, with water and alcohol. In my view, the most convincing result was achieved with Isopropyl alcohol at 4 psi, but this is a case of experimenting for each individual as it always is when using a new kind of color.
With the few ships Iíve built so far, it has always been a challenge to mix the right colors. So I am now very pleased that I can have premixed colors in a set. The color is good for brush and spray painting which makes detail painting easier than with Ė for example Ė Tamiya paints. The information included on which measures the colors were used for is also very helpful for the novice. The only small criticism is that for most later measures you will need both sets. But of course I realize it is impossible to have all the necessary colors in one set of 6 colors.