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Hataka Hobby acrylic paint sets


It's truly a golden age for acrylic paint users. It seems that not a month goes by without a new brand of paints hiting the market. Many of the new manufacturers sell paints in sets that are designed for individual eras, vehicles, or nations.

Hataka Hobby of Poland is typical of this style, marketing its paint in individual colors as well as sets tailored for specific subjects. Each 17ml dropper bottle contains an agitator to aid mixing the water-based acrylics. These paints are low-odor.

So far there are 89 colors in the fast-expanding catalog, and 18 sets (mostly for aircraft). Those include boxes to paint U.S. aircraft of World War II through today, Luftwaffe subjects, the Royal Air Force in WWII, and Israeli, French, Soviet, and a couple of Polish aircraft. The most recent set covers French armor of WWII.

Hataka sent FSM the USAF paint set (Vietnam War) which consists of Air Defense Command gray, night black, and the four colors used in TAC or SEA camouflage: dark tan, dark green, medium green, and camouflage gray.

At the time I tested these paints, Hataka's thinner wasnt available. I used distilled water and Tamiya and Vallejo thinner. All worked, but I suspect the proprietary thinner might provide ideal results.

For hand-brushing, I dipped the brush in a little water to wet the bristles. After blotting most of the water, I dipped it in a puddle of color. It brushes on smoothly, but needs more than one coat for full coverage.

The paint seems a little thick to airbrush straight from the bottle, but it can be done. I got better results with a few drops of thinner in the airbrush cup.

The paints go on smoothly and cover well at most pressures, but I had better results at 20-30 psi.

I sprayed the SEA colors on a 1/48 scale Phantom, a large model, and encountered some tip-drying, especially with a fine (.2mm) nozzle. This is an issue common to acrylics and is easily fixed by keeping a cotton swab damp with thinner handy.

What impressed me most was how tough these paints were. Applied over Vallejo primer, the paint was undamaged by masking tape. When I sanded the surface to remove some roughness at the wing roots from vortices in the airstream, I didn't sand through the color anyplace. A light rub with 1500-grit sandpaper produced a smooth surface between coats.

I masked the Phantom's camouflage, but freehanded post-shading, weathering, and touch-ups. Working close, I found the paint atomized well for a smooth, feathered demarcation between colors.

Cleanup was easy. I flushed the airbrush with water, then used lacquer thinner to remove any paint from the works.

Several people have commented that the colors look accurate, especially the contrast between the two greens.

As with any acrylics, Hataka paints need a little practice to know what thinning ratios work for your airbrushing style. Take the time to try them and I think you'll be impressed by the finish and accuracy. Given the speed at which the range of colors is expanding, I'm sure I'll be using more of them soon.

Note: A version of this review appeared in the September 2015 FineScale Modeler.

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