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In-Box Review
Burned Set
Burned Set
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by: Todd Michalak [ TRM5150 ]

Originally published on:


It’s no secret the best part of this hobby, for me anyway, is the painting! There is just something about the transition from the clean unpainted plastic/resin to a finished fully painted and weathered model that makes things come alive! Of course, when I came across the opportunity to be able to have a look at a new set of paints from Life Color, I jumped at the chance.

In the past few years, Life Color has created a number of paint sets specifically designed for particular genres of modelling along with sets that focus on a certain scope of a project with their series called Diorama Sets. This is such the case with a recent review of mine of Life Color’s Black Rubber Shade; a set designed to replicate various shades of weathered black/grey as seen with numerous rubber and plastic objects. This time around, I get to dive into a set geared towards the rusted effects associated with burnt items with the Life Color’s ‘Burned’ set of paints.

The Burned set is suppled in a sturdy, flip top box designed to hold six, 22 ml bottles securely inside. There are five bottles of paint and one bottle of pigment included in this set. Alone or combined, these paints are used to give a realistic burnt rust finish to your model.


Blackened Umber – UA 758
• Exhausted Umber – UA 759
• Rusted Umber – UA 760
• Burned Stains – UA 761
• Incinerated White – UA 762
• Ash Pigments – PG 117

Each of the bottles are 22ml in size. All of the paints are acrylic and thus water soluble for thinning and cleanup. As you may or may not know, Life Color paint can be both hand brush painted and airbrushed onto any primed plastic and/or resin surface. These paints can also be used on metal surfaces, but due to their acrylic properties, priming of the metal to be covered is most certainly suggested. The consistency of the paint is perfect for hand brushing straight out of the bottle. In most cases, one coat over a primed surface allows for full coverage. In the case of detail and layered filtering, the paint can be thinned with either water or thinner. While Life Color Brand thinner is suggested, a number of acrylic thinners can be used to thin the paint to the desired consistency. In the case of airbrushing, more often than not, thinning of the paint prior to spraying will allow for a smoother application and prevent clogging of the tip and needle. I was able to spray these colors without the use of a thinner, however, after a short time painting session, the airbrush tip will begin to collect paint buildup. Acrylic paints by nature will tend to dry quickly and even more so with higher pressures and in certain environmental conditions. To prevent any buildup, with or without the use of thinner, I advise keeping an old soft bristled brush, damp with thinner (or water), nearby. Swipe the tip periodically throughout the painting session, this will keep the tip from clogging. It is best to shoot acrylic paints at a lower pressure than what we are used to spraying solvent based paints at. Setting the psi output of your air supply should be between 15 and 18 psi. Each brush is different, each environment is different…and each person applying the paint is different; however, these setting are a great place to start when dialing in the use on any acrylic paints.

Using The Colors

At a quick look, Life Color has added all of the basic tones to make up rusted and burnt rusted effects in this set. The three Umber colors (UA 759, UA 758 & UA 759) are a perfect base coloring to just about any rust application. At the top end of the rust coloring, the bright orange coloring of the Burned Stains color will add brilliant highlighting to some rusted surfaces. The Incinerated White is an off-white color is perfect for areas where high heat in thinner metal and along flame edge patterns.

As is the case with all of Life Color’s paints, they can be mixed with each other expanding the color pallet range of these five paints to an almost limitless possibility of colors. As is the case with burned patterns as well as rust itself, many different color tones are layered throughout. The set used straight out of the box will achieve an outstanding color range; however, mixing two or three colors to create more colors will only add depth to your project. All of these paints dry to a dead-flat matte finish. Expanding on the set even greater, these acrylics can be thinned for use as washes and filters. Once your base applications are done, adding washes or filters will allow you to manipulate your finish resulting in a more realistic layered finish.

With this set, Life Color has provided one bottle of Ash Pigment. This of course can be used on the backend of the project to add the dusty ash residue leftover after an object has burned. The pigments are extremely fine and have outstanding holding qualities as I applied some to the painted surface without the use of a fixer and attempted to remove them with a stiff brush. The pigments bonded very well. I suggest using these pigments sparingly and test your application prior to applying as complete removal will be rather difficult if you change your mind.

While the bright white coloring to the Ash Pigment would not necessarily have been my first choice to include in the set as I would have preferred a light grey color, the color is certainly indicative of the white dusty residue left over after something has burned. Also, the pigments themselves can be adjusted in color. Adding another shade of colored pigments, such as black brown or what have you, will shift the color to give you a wider range. The pigment can also be added to the paint to added texturing seen on the scale surfaces of burnt items. In addition, light dusting of any color of paint over the pigment once applied can and will shift colors as well.

I think most of us can agree that Life Color paints have exceptional hand painting qualities when it comes to using a brush. For this review, I grabbed a wrecked Panther test model I had kicking around and put this set through its paces. I chose a black primer to start things off. Over the primer, I worked my way through the set of colors to get a good rust base to work with. Working with heavy weathering I find it best to think in layers. So once the base was down, the next layer was the remnants of the original paint job leaving the section where the burn patter uncovered. There are countless approaches to adding layers, first I chose to use a kitchen scrubby pad, pulled apart and thinned out, as a filter for applying some layers over the base. This give a mottled, random appearance to the layers. Then it is a matter of jumping back and forth between the filter and spot airbrushing until you seen something you like. This creates some depth to the loo of the model. For the sake of this review, I added the provided pigment in an effort to show it applied. If this were and actual build, I would have moved on to washes and possibly rust pigment applications to build up the layers even more. In the end, all of these colors spray fantastic. The dead-flat appearance to the colors once they are dry is excellent and the colors are spot on for use with just about any rusty job.


This might seemed quite biased of me since first of all I love painting and secondly I love rust, but I highly recommend Life Color’s Burned Diorama Set to just about anyone looking to obtain a realistic burnt and rusty finish to their models. These acrylic colors are mixed extremely well and coverage both with a hand brush and airbrush are excellent. The added benefit of being able to mix the paints between together only expands on the modeler’s color palette. I love the dead-flat matte finish to these paints and the color range is spot on for just about every application where a rusty finished is needed. Adding to the value of the set, the pants can be thinned for washes and filters which adds a tremendous amount of depth to any project. This set is perfect for beginners and average builders as this is a “one-stop shopping” set of paints. Everything you need to create a quality rusty finish is contained within. This set would be a huge asset to a well-advanced modeler as well as the colors provided are fantastic and the added value of secondary uses of the paints is welcomed.

High Recommendations

Highs: An excellent set of colors for both beginner and advanced modelers for simulating burnt and rusted surfaces
Lows: Not a big issue at all, but the screw-top bottles forces the use of a pipette for transferring the paint to the airbrush. The higher volume container makes up for the lack of the applicator tipped bottle though.
Verdict: High quality paint, value priced with and excellent color range for the set. A must have for the rusting enthusiast
Percentage Rating
  Scale: N/A
  Mfg. ID: CS29
  Suggested Retail: £16.99 / $24.30 US
  Related Link: Life Color Burned Set
  PUBLISHED: Feb 22, 2016

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About Todd Michalak (TRM5150)

I am building what I like, when I like and how I like it; having fun doing it. I have been building and finishing models on and off my whole life but the past ten years things really exploded. Just about anything goes when it comes to hitting the bench, but wrecked armor, rusted hulks, ships or ...

Copyright ©2021 text by Todd Michalak [ TRM5150 ]. All rights reserved.


Excellent review, Todd. The one thing that's missing from all these sorts of paints, etc. is some way to make paint "bubble." That's a common reaction to high heat, and yet I for one don't know how to accomplish that. I have tried various methods, including AK Interactive's chipping liquid, but nothing has worked yet.
FEB 22, 2016 - 08:49 PM
Thanks fellas! Truly a great set. I have had he 758 & 759 coloring prior and it has been invaluable for numerous tasks. Bill...good thought. While not all paint blisters, it would make for an interesting touch. Might be something to play around with at some point to see what we can come up with!
FEB 23, 2016 - 06:57 AM
There likely is a liquid that could be applied to dried paints to make them blister. Perhaps lacquer thinner?
FEB 23, 2016 - 11:16 PM
Maybe a couple tiny droplets of clear near the burn edge...paint over them and you got bubbles! Well it sounded good anyway! LOL!! I know with water, enamel will dry in the shape of the bubble...once the water evaporates, pop the bubble for broken blisters maybe!
FEB 24, 2016 - 02:35 AM
Bill and Todd, what you guys want is crackle medium. It will produce precisely the results you're looking for. Several manufacturers make it.
FEB 24, 2016 - 12:58 PM
yes i think crakle paint does the job,have a loo here... LINK LINK
FEB 24, 2016 - 02:48 PM
Thanks Matt and J...I think what Bill might have been referring to is blistering though...the little tiny bubbling in the paint that happens near a burn pattern. The Crackle Medium is excellent btw...it makes some very nice stations in either a base application of multi-layer!
FEB 24, 2016 - 05:35 PM
I get bubbles when water gets in the line, spatters onto the surface I am painting and paint gets sprayed over the water droplets. GRRR May be use a similar effect purposely.
FEB 26, 2016 - 08:29 AM
Hi Greg, Certainly an option to try and get the effect! As for the problem you have...you may or may not know, but the water in the line sounds like condensation buildup in the compressor. If you are using a compressor with a tank, try opening the valve on the tank and allow the built up water to come out. If you are using a tankless compressor, the condensation can happen from environmental condition or continued use whereas you have been painting straight out. There are some water trap regulators available fairly cheap. This will collect most of the water and allow you to set it free while during a long painting session. If environmental...a dehumidifier can help this or moving your painting area to a dryer location. Also, damp and/or rainy days can wreak havoc and even a dehumidifier will have trouble keeping up.
FEB 27, 2016 - 12:39 AM

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