Each set of 6 x 22ml bottles arrives in a very attractive flip-top cardboard box, with multi-lingual mixing and cleaning instructions on the back. The plastic bottles have screw lids and are nicely balanced to avoid accidental spills.
Set #XS01 comprises:
UA 513 - FS 20099 - RAAF Earth Brown
UA 514 - FS 24092 - RAAF Foliage Green
UA 515 - FS 25550 - RAAF Sky Blue
UA 516 - FS 36118 - Dark Sea Grey
UA 517 - FS 35042 - Dark Ocean Blue
UA 518 - FS 35231 - Sky Blue Azure
Set #XS02 comprises:
UA 519 - FS 30118 - RAF Dark Earth
UA 520 - FS 34092 - RAF Dark Green
UA 521 - FS 36493 - RAF Sky Grey
UA 522 - FS 24110 - Interior Green
UA 523 - FS 34087 - US Olive Drab
UA 524 - FS 36173 - US Neutral Gray
You'll see that in each case a Federal Standard equivalent is quoted. It should be noted that these are best matches, not absolutes, because the original paints either pre-dated the FS system or were produced to entirely different standards. Despite that proviso, the FS codes broadly match those shown in David Klaus's IPMS Color Cross-Reference Guide.
For the purposes of the review I sprayed the paints onto glossy white card and let them dry thoroughly before making comparisons in daylight. The results were very impressive, with the matches against my FS 595B colour fan very close. The only colour which I couldn't compare directly was US Olive Drab, because FS*4087 isn't included in the fan. However, the Lifecolor sample is a very close match for FS34088 (as seen in the accompanying photo).
Despite some of the Lifecolor paints quoting a "2" FS prefix for semi-gloss and others a "3" for matt, I found the actual finish was uniform through all the samples - basically matt with a very faint sheen that best matches the "3" series paint chips on the FS fan.
The paints are very pleasant to work with. Straight from the pot, the consistency is ideal for brush painting and, although Lifecolor give directions for thinning the paints, I found they sprayed fine through my Iwata HP-BS undiluted too.
Obviously intended as a matched pair, the sets basically break down into Set #1 featuring Australian domestic wartime colours, while Set #2 covers US-built machines with standard USAAF paints and Dupont colours often used for export aircraft. There is a degree of overlap, with UA 514 - RAAF Foliage Green and UA 520 - RAF Dark Green sharing an identical FS equivalent (according to David Klaus, the original RAAF colour was based on US Medium Green), while the RAAF Earth Brown and RAAF Sky Blue from Set #1 are also handy companions to the US paints, comparing well with the reddish brown and pastel blue seen in some early colour photos of US types built for overseas customers.
I must admit I'm not too keen on the "Interior Green" that Lifecolor have chosen. The original term actually covered a miriad of colours as it varied widely between manufacturers, and Lifecolor's is one of the more vivid variations. I have seen something like this particular colour on full-sized examples (especially modern-day restorations - it reminds me straight away of the P-51D at RAF Hendon), but I would have preferred one of duller shades that appear more frequently in wartime photos.
Lifecolors paint sets XS 01 & 02 should prove very useful, not only for the RAAF subjects they're designed for, but with wider applications for US aircraft produced for the Commonwealth and other air forces in general. The paints themselves are excellent quality and I can wholeheartedly recoomend them for anyone who likes to use acrylics - and their ease of use may well convert a few die-hard enamel users too.
The sets were kindly provided for review by Lifecolor.pl
- a branch of Adalbertus, distributors of Techmod decals and specialists in Polish kits and accessories.
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