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Tool Review
Tarnished Steel
Tarnished Steel
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by: Frederick Boucher [ JPTRR ]

Originally published on:

Tarnished Steel, item 2251 from Darkstar Miniatures is a color in a new range of acrylic metallic paints - Molten Metals. Molten Metals are water-based paints formulated to dry permanent while remaining glossy and bright with no need for gloss clear coat. They are also designed to accept polishing to improve the sheen. The range currently consists of:

    Tarnished Steel
    Bright Steel
    Classic Gold
    Fine Gold
    Imperial Gold
    Royal Gold
    Regency Gold
    Pale Gold
    Victorian Gold
    Renaissance Gold
    Old Silver
    Blackened Bronze

Darkstar Miniatures is a UK company that also makes 54mm and 75mm figures and busts in two series, Historical Figures and Fantasy Range. They also make Reaper paints and Darkstar pigments, ink washes, and now Molten Metals.

Molten Metals Tarnished Steel
Airbrushes.com carries Molten Metals and kindly sent Tarnished Steel for review.

These paints are packaged in soft 17ml squeeze bottles. Each bottle has an agitator inside to ensure proper mixing when the bottle is shaken. The bottles are a nice design with a clean but sullen appearance, not surprising considering Darkstar's modeling genre.

The paint consists of fine pigments suspended in a medium the consistency that reminds me of Vallejo, or white glue for those who haven't used that brand. That makes it easy to control how much one squeezes out.

I applied the color directly from the bottle onto a spare Homare 18-cylinder radial engine and onto a fuel tank from a vintage Revell V2 rocket. Both pieces were "primed" decades ago with ancient enamels and neither were cleaned prior to applying Tarnished Steel. (I like to demonstrate paints based on "rookie mistakes.") I airbrushed the color chip. Let's see how they worked.

Hand Brushing

Unlike previous Molten Metals I've tried, this color was thin in coverage when brushed. Fortunately, the paint dries fairly fast and a second coat was applied after about 15 minutes.


Darkstar Miniatures states that for airbrushing the paint need only be thinned water-to-paint at 1 to 10. (Water only.) That ratio worked well through my Aztec black nozzle and I did not need to thin it more like previous colors I have demonstrated. The paint sprayed great. Cleaning was good with just water, and complete with an airbrush cleaner.

Tarnished Steel dried to a smooth and almost glossy finish. Darkstar Miniatures claims this paint can be polished to a higher sheen after curing for 24 hours; polishing worked in previous reviews.

I have been very impressed with these paints. I find them to be excellent for any modeling category and genre - airframes and powerplants, military ordnance, Steampunk, railroad, antiquity, classic figures. Anything that needs a raw metallic look. Molten Metals is an excellent product for modelers hunting for that perfect acrylic paint. Stored in neat bottles, the paint has a good consistency.

This Molten Metals did not cover as well with a brush as other mainstream acrylic paints I have used. Airbrushing was highly satisfactorily.

There has been a dearth of quality acrylic metallic colors for too long and I praise Darkstar for bringing us this fine range of paint. Highly recommended.

Please remember to tell vendors and retailers that you saw Molten Metals here - on AEROSCALE.

Click here for additional images for this review.

Highs: Airbrushing is highly satisfactorily. The paint dried to a smooth semi-glossy sheen.
Lows: Brushing by hand did not cover as well as other Molten Metals I've used.
Verdict: Excellent metallic acrylic paint. Molten Metals is another straight sharp arrow in the quiver of modelers hunting for that perfect acrylic paint.
  Scale: N/A
  Mfg. ID: 2251
  Suggested Retail: $4.37, 3.50 inc.VAT
  Related Link: MM Steel and Brass Review
  PUBLISHED: Jan 31, 2017

Our Thanks to Airbrushes.com!
This item was provided by them for the purpose of having it reviewed on this KitMaker Network site. If you would like your kit, book, or product reviewed, please contact us.

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About Frederick Boucher (JPTRR)

I'm a professional pilot with a degree in art. My first model was an AMT semi dump truck. Then Monogram's Lunar Lander right after the lunar landing. Next, Revell's 1/32 Bf-109G...cried havoc and released the dogs of modeling! My interests--if built before 1900, or after 1955, then I proba...

Copyright 2021 text by Frederick Boucher [ JPTRR ]. All rights reserved.



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