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Tool Review
MCW Finishes Paint
Model Car World Paint and Resin
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by: Frederick Boucher [ JPTRR ]

Introduction
MCW Finishes - Model Car World Paint and Resin, is a hobby store in Massillon, Ohio. They have started an expanding range of military colors and weathering pigments. While MCW Finishes offers an established extensive line of automobile paint, this review focuses on their military colors.

Paint and finish. Short of keeping gluey fingerprints off your model, is there anything more important to how a model looks? I'm sure somewhere hidden out there is a secret cloister of modeler monks who have perfected a styrene internal combustion engine running with styrene derived petrol ignited through plastic electrical conduits. Still, no matter how precise their seam lines and functioning scratch-built cotter pins, poor paint and finish ruins any model.

One of the first things MCW Finishes told me is that these paints spray like nothing else I've ever used. True - keep that in mind. MCW Finishes tells us:
    Paints and Resin are Our Business

    We have been producing our products for over 20 years. We can produce almost any factory car color used from the 1930's to the 1980's. Our ever growing line of military colors provide the right base for your award winning kits.

    Count on Our Expertise

    Our paints are produced using only top quality PPG paint products and formulas. We mix and package our own paints. We do not buy from someone else and slap our name on the bottle. We even package our own spray cans.
Okay, that has my attention. This company is also putting out a line of pigments. Stand by, I'll bring you a look at those soon.

In pursuit of the perfect model paint, let's get shaking and spraying.

MCW Finishes Military Colors
First, MCW is gloss lacquer. MCW is also launching a line of enamels to fill the void of Testors all but abandoning the hobby. Even if lacquers and enamels disturb you, read on anyway. I've sprayed a lot for this review and I'm not wandering into traffic anymore than usual.

Remember glass bottles? MCW uses 1-ounce glass bottles for their lacquers, and 1/2 oz. for the enamels. Small pellets are included to assist with mixing the paint. One bottle arrived cracked, chipped really, as the integrity of the jar did not fail. All others arrived in good shape.

Briefly, I present MCW's non-automotive categories:
    Primers and Clear
    Texture and Miscellaneous
    American - Aircraft
    American - Armor
    British - Aircraft
    British - Armor
    German - Aircraft
    German - Armor
    Japanese - Aircraft
    Russian - Armor
American aircraft

runs a gamut of almost 60 colors, from a natural metal finish, through the colors of today's Thunderbirds and Blue Angles and Ghost Grays, into World War Two colors, including multiple olive drabs.

American - Armor

Almost 20 colors including several olive drabs from WW2 onward.

German - Aircraft & Armor

Eleven of the main Luftwaffe colors 1939-45, including Mediterranean colors. Five basic Panzerwaffe colors including Grunbraun RAL8000.

Japanese - Aircraft

Six colors including Cowl Blue-Black and a very exciting Early Zero Gray-Green.

British - Aircraft and Armor

A small selection of basic RAF colors and a desert tank color.

Russian Armor Green #1 Gloss

The only Soviet color, currently.

Primers and Clear, Texture and Miscellaneous

Over a dozen different primers and sealers and buffers. Clear flat and gloss finishes are available in 20%, 40% and 65%. MCW also produces hardeners and reducers for those who want to manipulate drying times.

Overview of products complete, let us explore their performance.

Performance
How many model paint companies are out there right now? I have yet to use ever brand. Regardless, MCW told me that I will find these paints unlike anything I am familiar with - they are correct! These lacquers are gloss paints formulated to be sprayed at 15-30 psi. MCW provides simple instructions concerning recommended pressures and additive mixes for their paint. I read the instructions and recommendations and started the show. I used my trusty Aztek A470 airbrush. The lacquer is like water and I immediately wondered if it would cover?

It absolutely does! Most of the chips and spoons were completely opaque with only 10-15 drops of paint in the airbrush reservoir. It did not matter if I sighed the psi or goosed it to maximum recommended pressure.

The unique thing about this paint is that it is made to spray very close to the surface with multiple coats, wet, without waiting for a layer to dry - and yet without runs or pooling. Noted the wing and consider that not only does it have a coat of primer on it, it also received 7-8 wet coats of paint over the primed surface. No runs, drips, pools, nor obscuring detail. Beautiful!

Equally amazing is how fast it dries to the touch! Perhaps that is a quality of automobile modeling paints but I'm not a car guy so I don't know how they achieve their incredible finishes but I know that this paint is remarkable.

I used the enamel and lacquer flat coats on the M2 Cletracs. You can see a definite muting of the olive drab under the enamel flat coat; the model with the hood serial numbers took the lacquer coat, and you may notice that it initially does not look flat. MCW reminded me that the lacquer flat coat is also designed to go on wet with multiple coats. Problem solved - worked great.

Use

My demo philosophy is that I want to know if this product will work for me - and therefore you. There are the controlled factory specifications and alchemy, and there are modelers like me who are too squirrelly to wait. I also like to test worse-case conditions and performance on diverse surfaces.

Fortunately, there is no need for additives to use these lacquer paints. No need for binders, thinners, etc. Shake or stir and shoot.

Initially, I shot each color onto chips like I always did. Then I found a paint review by Mario Matijasic [MAKI] in which he used plastic spoons, and I decided to follow that great idea. Now, each color can be viewed upon compound curves, with all of the attending gradations. There are a few shots showing the paint with both a spoon and a flat chip, not that it should matter.

Health & Safety

Decades ago I became concerned with solvent paints and my health, and while I did not entirely give up enamels and lacquers, I curtailed their use. Using MCW Finishes with a minimum of PPE and common sense, I never felt a tinge woozy nor did I develop a headache.

Control Conditions

The "hotter" the paint the more overboard I go with personal protection. My studio thus moved outside where I could always gauge a breeze to blow overspray away from my OSHA respirator. But that sometimes put me in conditions of high temperature and humidity, one session both were in the 90s.

MCW makes primers to protect plastics from the hot solvent of the paint. (Any of you remember the original Floquil paints and their need for barriers to protect plastics from melting?) I used MCW primer a couple of times but found the paint did not attack the plastics. Models used include military and railroad kits from the late 1960s (you may recognize some original Tamiya figures) through a recent resin kit. I found no adverse reaction with the paint regardless of the material. No old soft plastic figures were used, though.

Results: flawless

Each lacquer performed beautifully and unlike what I am used to. Cleanup between colors is quick and easy, too.

Enamels
MCW is working on a line of enamels. Some are gloss, some are flat. The hardeners and reducers are produced for them. I used them with the lacquers and report no problems. In fact, I shot lacquers and enamels together. It is not a problem to shoot enamel onto a lacquer but lacquer is usually "hotter" than enamel, and can attack it. It has been weeks since I shot these paints and yet I've found no sign of any paint attacking the plastic or paint coat below.

Hand Brush

MCW enamels can be hairy-brushed. Note the old figures. Two enamels went on with a single pass, drying opaque, obscuring no detail. The third, Gloss Enamel 2102 Dark Green, settled as a well gradated wash. MCW is tweaking the formula; probably not the intended formulation effect but it has an interesting potential for me. It did airbrush flawlessly.

Beyond Basics
Now we know how MCW paint behaves out of the bottle and through the nozzle. How about controlling lines and curing?

MASKING

First, conventionally shot a color, let it cure, and then masked and shot another color. Worked great. That was the day temperature and humidity was high, and MCW suggested allowing the paint to cure 24 hours before masking. I did and it worked great.

At the same time I decided to try a stress test. Still hot and humid, I shot the base coat, and stuck down a blue brand of masking tape literally after only the time it took me to clean the airbrush and choose a contrasting color. Minutes later the tape came off but the paint did not. No chipping or tearing. Nor did the second color attack the first color. I am impressed. Your thoughts?

Line Control

Now we test the ability to create a complex camo pattern with fine lines. This tests the viscosity of paint and its ability to control. At first I just shot the paint through a general nozzle, controlling the line with the airbrush trigger. Then I started working the pressure, and eventual used a fine nozzle. Again, all the painting was performed with an Aztek. If MCW paint works well with an Aztek, I expect it will work better with my special uber-airbrushes.

You can see how fine the lines can be. The first attempts were on model parts, some smooth surfaces, some with other paint on them. Some of my color choices are low contrast so I retraced my lines. Depending on psi and curing time, there were a couple of spots that the paint did start to remove its predecessor. The more complex demos were later shot on the spoons, and I steadied the surface better, without trying to use shaky hands for both airbrush and surface.

The paint flowed without trouble and I experienced no nozzle clogs nor dry tips.

Results: More than satisfactory

Thus ends the practical aspect of this review - how well does MCW paint work? Now for some thoughts on color fidelity.

Color Fidelity
First, my photographic quality and your monitor. We aren't going to all see the exact same thing. You will notice shifts in tones and appearance of colors of the spoons and particular color subjects. I tried to shoot everything under very limited atmospheric conditions but the sun moves, glare reflects, etc.

With that in mind, I discern no flaws to any of the colors MCW kindly provided, and unhesitatingly look forward to finishing my models with them. Why? I compared these paints to the standards of these widely recognized gold standards of color research authorities:
    1. Official Monogram Painting Guide to German Aircraft: 1935-1945

    2. Painting the Early Zero-Sen, A Primer for Modellers & Artists (Nicholas J I Millman - © ”Straggler” 2011-2020)

    3. The Official Monogram US Army Air Service & Air Corps Aircraft Color Guide, Vol 1, 1908-1941

    4. USAAF Aircraft Markings and Camouflage 1941-1947: The History of USAAF Aircraft Markings, Insignia, Camouflage, and Colors (Schiffer Military Aviation History)

    5. Choice articles by Dana Bell and Steven Zaloga.

Perhaps the color most exciting to me of these samples is MIL-4001 Early Zero Gray-Green. It reproduces the controversial color J3 Hai-Iro gray of the Imperial Japanese Navy A6M2 Zero-sen, and does so as the color close to Luftwaffe RLM 02, yet lighter and brighter, with the hint of olive. Side by side, one can perceive the difference between the two colors, but it can take some concentration.

Another color I am particularly impressed with is MIL-2005 Olive Drab OD319. It captures the shifts in color ranging from a dark olive through a khaki to a brownish hue, as seen upon the M2 Cletrac models.

Conclusion
MCW Finishes is creating an impressive range of products with their Military Colors. Yes, they are unlike any paint I've used before and that it said with high praise. This paint is simple to use and provides very high performance, with high color fidelity. Adherence and curing performance is first rate even when used in harsh conditions of heat and humidity. In spite of being "hot" the lacquers did not attack any surface sprayed upon, and behaved well with other colors.

The trio of enamels sent along are also very satisfying. One brushed like a wash but MCW is working on that. MCW is also very good with explaining their factory specs of pressure, preparing enamels with additives if desired, and drying times.

The only critique I have is the limited range of non-US colors. Certainly, as MCW expands their market share, they will begin filling the void. I am especially interested in their proposed range of railroad colors.

I am extremely positive about MCW and highly recommend giving it a try.

Please remember to mention to MCW Finishes and retailers that you saw this product here - on Aeroscale.
SUMMARY
Highs: Simple to use with very high performance. High color fidelity.
Lows: Limited range of non-US colors. One of the enamels brush performance needs improvement.
Verdict: I am very enthusiastic about these excellent paints and happily recommend them.
  Scale: N/A
  PUBLISHED: Nov 10, 2020
NETWORK-WIDE AVERAGE RATINGS
  THIS REVIEWER: 87.04%
  MAKER/PUBLISHER: 0.00%

Our Thanks to MCW Finishes!
This item was provided by them for the purpose of having it reviewed on this KitMaker Network site. If you would like your kit, book, or product reviewed, please contact us.

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About Frederick Boucher (JPTRR)
FROM: TENNESSEE, UNITED STATES

I'm a professional pilot with a degree in art. My first model was an AMT semi dump truck. Then Monogram's Lunar Lander right after the lunar landing. Next, Revell's 1/32 Bf-109G...cried havoc and released the dogs of modeling! My interests--if built before 1900, or after 1955, then I proba...

Copyright ©2020 text by Frederick Boucher [ JPTRR ]. Images also by copyright holder unless otherwise noted. Opinions expressed are those of the author(s) and not necessarily those of AeroScale. All rights reserved.



Comments

Thanks Fred. This is a really great review and tutorial. I have used MCW for auto finishes, they work well. It's interesting that the military finishes are gloss. Since my best brick and mortar paint shops are 45 min to an hour each way I may have to start mail ordering paint.
NOV 12, 2020 - 07:13 PM
Hi Mark, Sorry for late reply; yes, MCW makes them gloss to remove a step towards decaling, and because the gloss allows excellent weathering with washes. I am fiddling around with washes on this paint and hyped for it. (No review or feature-ready pix yet.)
NOV 22, 2020 - 04:57 AM
Waiting with bated breath on the new reviews. My LHS has started carrying the Mission Models paints and is threatening to carry the Revell line. Why they didn't increase their Tamiya stock or bring back Mr. Color is beyond me. Their sister store carries a wider range of both Tamiya and Mr. Color along with a full rack of Humbrol, but it's a 90 min roundtrip.
NOV 22, 2020 - 10:16 AM
👍😊👍😊
NOV 27, 2020 - 10:00 AM
   

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