Home  |  What's New  |  Features  |  Gallery  |  Reviews  |  Reference  |  Forum  |  Search

Acrylic Model Paint System


Review and Test-Paint


S u m m a r y

Catalogue Number and Description: Xtracrylix - Paints, thinners and varnishes
Price: From GBP£1.28 per 16 ml. bottle (GBP£1.50 in Europe), available online from Hannants
Review Type: FirstPaint
Advantages: Impressive packaging; good selection of colours; fast drying; glossy (decal ready) when dry;
Disadvantages: May clog during spraying if thinned with isopropylene alcohol thinner (but fine with water, Xtracylix thinners or Tamiya thinners).
Recommendation: Recommended


Reviewed by Alan Firbank




Over a period of time, you build up something of a bond with your favorite paint. The relationship does not always run smoothly, you will have your ups and downs, but you put them behind you and carry on. Your paint almost becomes a trusted friend, a relationship built up over the years, a relationship that you will be reluctant to break. My large collection of Hannant’s Xtracolor tins is a good example of this relationship. We hit it off from the beginning and have lived with each other’s shortcomings over the years. Hannants now tempt me with a bag of sample bottles of their new acrylic paint, Xtracrylix for testing. Is it time to move on?

You cannot fail to be impressed with the package, before you even take a look at the contents. The new white plastic bottles make an impressive sight on the rack, with their bright yellow caps and yellow and red labeling. Each label carries the paint reference, the name of the colour and where appropriate, a FS number/BS number, etc. On the top of each cap, there is a circular label displaying a sample of the contained colour. As most of us keep our paint pots in draws, trays or old chocolate boxes, you will find it useful to add the colour’s name to the cap using a fine black pen. The initial release of colours totals about eighty, covering the more common RAF, US and German aircraft shades, with a bottle of thinner and varnishes in matt, satin and gloss.

Now to give them a try, remove the cap and give the contents a good stir, replace the cap and give the bottle a good shake. The first feature that is very good is the fact that the paint can be poured straight from the bottle into your airbrush reservoir with ease and no messy runs, a trick not possible with a tin. I prefer to add the thinner to the cup first, add the paint, followed by giving the solution a good stir. After a short test, either continue or add more thinner. For this initial test, I began with about 25% of the supplied thinner to paint, set the air pressure at 40 psi and pulled the trigger of the Aztec, fitted with my usual general-purpose nozzle.

After a few test runs on a clean sheet of paper, I turned to the model. At first, it didn't get on too badly but the mixture needed more thinning than I expected and I increased the thinning to around 50% to give a more constant paint flow but I still experienced regular glogging of the nozzle. I continued but had to make frequent stops to open up the Aztec’s trigger to clear the nozzle. Something of a frustrating start to a possible new partnership.

However, the paint went on well, covered well and dried quickly. The Light Compass Grey covered the pre-painted black canopy framework with ease and the application of the Dark Blue/Grey pattern to the Light Compass Grey covered without a problem. When dry, the surface was not as glossy as Xtracolor enamel but felt smooth enough to take decals without further preparation. To avoid the risk of trouble, I began by tentatively applying decals to the underside of the review model and looked closely as the decals dried perfectly, phew! Some small areas of paintwork that had been masked suffered no ill effects from the use of Tamiya’s masking tape. The tape came away cleanly and the paint stayed in place. With the exception of the difficulty of getting an even flow through the airbrush, the Xtracrylix was doing all that I expected from a model paint.

Next, I would give brush application a try. I’m hopeless at brush painting large areas but the paint went on evenly, easily and dried to a smooth finish, with probably a glossier finish than the sprayed surface. So, those that prefer to use a brush need not fear this new paint.

If I would begin a new and lasting relationship with Xtracrylix, I would have to solve the paint flow problem through the airbrush, so a more scientific test was needed and a couple of new acrylic paint friendly nozzles for the Aztec. There are two, a white high flow acrylic nozzle and a black general-purpose nozzle. Armed with the new nozzles, some different thinning mediums and several clean sheets of A4 white paper, I charged the airbrush with Xtracrylix RAF Night Black, added the black nozzle to the front of the Aztec and began the tests. I kept the ratio of thinner to paint at 50% and the pressure at 40 psi for each test run.

Test 1 – 50% Xtracrylix thinner.

This felt much better as soon as the paint was flowing. I had much more control than the ‘all or nothing’ using the standard nozzle. Everything from very fine lines to wide coverage happened as required. The only remaining problem was a slight reluctance to start again after a short pause. It is easy to see how cleanly the paint is being applied to the white paper and there was little or no over-spray evident.


Test 2 – 50% tap water.

The last thing I expected was how well the paint behaved using common or garden and (almost) free tap water. Spraying onto paper is not a fair test of how quickly the paint will dry on plastic but I would expect that a water-based solution would dry slightly more slowly than a thinner based solution. I experienced fewer interruptions to the paint flow when pausing than with the matching thinner. As the paint dries more slowly using water, the nozzle seems less prone to clogging.


Test 3 – 50% Tamiya thinner

I thought I would give this combination a try as you will find Tamiya thinner in most model shops and in much larger containers than Xtracrylix thinner. This combination performed in much the same way as Test 1. As long as the paint is flowing, it keeps on going but as soon as you pause, there is the same reluctance to re-start, more reluctance than with Xtracrylix thinner. Again, I put this down to the fact that the paint dries quickly in the nozzle and you need to open up the nozzle to restart the paint flow.


Test 4 – 50% Cammett distilled water (90%) and Isopropanol (10%) mix.

This test produced a result just in between the results using Xtracrylix, Tamiya thinner or tap water. The paint flows well all the time you continue to spray but there is a slight tendency to clog during a pause in spraying.


Test 5 – 50% Cammett’s pure Isopropanol

For the first time during the test series, the flow of paint from the airbrush was difficult to control at any setting. As this was the last test, I cleaned the airbrush and started again but with the same result. I experienced many stoppages and could see that the paint was drying on the tip of the needle. This solution may work with the high flow nozzle but cannot be recommended as a thinner used with the Aztec general-purpose acrylic nozzle.




Now that the combination of airbrush tip and thinner is established, I do not anticipate any difficulty in establishing a lasting relationship with Hannant’s new paint. You can’t expect it to all come together at the first attempt but I have enough confidence in the product to keep trying and expect Xtracrylix to be my first choice of final overall finish to my models. Some of you will be reluctant to change from what is familiar and comfortable but I suggest you give this new range of paints a try – you will not be disappointed.

Alan Firbank
September 2004

Review Text and all Images Copyright © 2004 by Alan Firbank
This Page Created on 10 September, 2004
Last updated 23 November, 2004

Back to HyperScale Main Page


HyperScale is proudly supported by Squadron.com