by: Russ Amott [ ]
Originally published on:
Badger ModelflexBadger Modelflex paints are a relatively newer line of paints formulated specifically for modelers. The paints are non toxic acrylic with a high pigment content for good, deep color, provide good, fine coverage while sparing surface details and adhere to most surfaces without the use or need for a primer coat. Along with the Badger airbrushes I reviewed here, I was sent three color sets for evaluation. They are set 1702, Scenery and Structures colors, set 1704, Military color set and set 1706, Weathering color set.
Set 1702 consists of the following colors: Insignia yellow, antique white, primer gray, concrete gray, sand, signal red and light green.
Set 1704 consists of Forest green, olive drab, European dark green, armor sand, field drab, medium green and camouflage gray.
Set 1706 consists of Grimy black, weathered black, rust, mud, earth, rail brown and roof brown.
Badger also offers three additional 7 color sets, 1701, Railroad rolling stock, 1703, Railroad private color set and 1705, Automotive color set.
Modelflex paints are also offered individually, and the range of colors, particularly marine colors, is far more extensive and specific. The full range can be seen at http://www.badgerairbrush.com/Modelflex_2.asp . The paint jar is 1 oz, which is quite large, and plastic, so if the jar is dropped the contents are still safe. They are sealed on the inside with a styrofoam cap that must be removed carefully, as air pressure in the paint jar may be different than your modeling room. The jars are the same size as the Badger siphon feed paint jar lids (and the Paasche lids I have fit them as well) so you can paint right out of the paint jar itself.
At present, marine colors are not available in a paint set, but Ken Badger responded to an e-mail I sent them and asked what colors would be good for a 7 paint set, so the option is certainly available.
Odor and consistency I am particular about paints as chemical odor is annoying to me, and provokes severe reaction in my children. These paints have almost no odor. What I could smell reminded me of the simple watercolor sets that kids use in school. The pigment collects quickly at the bottom of the jar, so to ensure complete mixing I added a few pieces of cobber bb shot to each jar. When mixed, the paints develop quite a head of foam. I used an eye dropped to put the paint into the paint cup on the Badger air brushes. The paint consistency was thin-ish, like milk (I haven't quite understood if it meant whole milk, 2% or skim) and sprayed fairly well.
Cracking open the bottle I experimented with several of the colors. The only problems I encountered were that the paint is fast drying, fast enough that I had a lot of tip dry and needle blockage, and the light green from set 1702 never seemed to go down well. Also, the paints need to be sprayed at higher pressure because of the fast dry time. Going below 15 psi will cause problems. Other than that, the paints gave good coverage. They dry to a semi gloss finish. To clean the airbrush, water worked if run through right after. Isopropyl alcohol also removed every bit of paint from the air brush, although if this is used it should be done carefully, and away from any potential ignition source or you will blow up.
With a paint brush the colors also went down well and were self leveling. They do require more than one coat with the brush to get a good finish. Again, water cleans the brush thoroughly. If the paint is dropped on a surface it must be wiped up quickly as it dries so fast. I tried rubbing with warm water and even letting it soak, which didn't have much effect. However, again, the isopropyl alcohol took it right off, even after a couple of days, so if you change your mind you can remove the paint.
ClosingOf particular note with Badger is their customer service. I sent an e-mail asking about the tip dry problems and seeking more detail on the paints. I received two e-mail messages, first from Jan Meyers and then from Ken Badger. They provided both general and specific answers to my questions and were extremely helpful.
Based on the paint selection I used them on some vehicle and airplane kits. I applied them over and under Tamiya, Pollyscale and Vallejo acrylics with no problems or paint interaction. The colors in the Modelflex line mix easily to create your own custom colors as need may demand.
Badger does offer a paint cleaner and also a paint extender for the Modelflex paint line which I hope shortly to try out.
The paint sets area available online as well as through select local dealers. Prices were in the $19-25 US dollar range for the 7 paint sets and $3-5 dollars for individual jars. At 1 oz each, that's a pretty good price. I'll be getting some of the marine colors to try out.