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 second of these sets; a review of the first 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 ďNavy Blue 5N) so itís easy to find the right color from original documents.
This second set contains the following colors:
Haze Gray 5H was used for the later measures, such as 12, 13, 14, 22, 31 and 33.
Navy Blue 5N was used for measures 21, 22 and 33.
Pale Gray 5P was used for measure 33 (the box claims it was used for measure 32 as well, but I couldn not find any evidence on that in my references or the internet).
Mahogany Stain was used for pre war aircraft carrier decks.
Flight Deck Blue 21 was used on aircraft carrier decks as early as 1941 (see this link for more information: http://www.shipcamouflage.com/specialtopics/BlueFlightDecks.html).
Neutral Haze Gray is a post war color and is used still today on US Navy ships.
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. The one exception is Neutral Haze Gray which compares very dark to photos of the originals. To me it seems Haze Gray 5H would be a closer match for modern ships.
This set contains some very essential colors for WWII US Navy ships, namely Haze Gray 5H, Navy Blue 5N and Flight Deck Blue 21. Unfortunately, for all measures you will also need set 1 to have all the necessary colors. Mahogany Stain, though useful to some, might prove to be the most unpopular color in this set, in particular as you will also need Navy Gray 5 from the first set to paint the whole ship. In my view it would have been better to have these two pre war tones in the same set. Neutral Haze Gray, while it will bee useful for modern ships (apart from its dark hue), does not really fit the theme of the set. Personally I would have considered Deck Gray 20 and Navy Gray 5N (both for the 1945 revisions of measures 12, 21 and 22) the better options.
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 pre mixed 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. Unfortunately you will need both sets to paint the most important measures.