Prepping the Forge
Darkstar Miniatures may not be familiar to model railroaders, but their range of 27 metallic acrylics, Molten Metals, are superb. While this company is better known in the sci-fi and fantasy and wargaming communities, their paints are excellent for all modeling communities. They used to make pigments and figures but those are no longer shown on their site. You can visit their website via: Darkstar Miniatures.
Darkstar Molten Metals were introduced to KitMaker Network several years ago and several reviews can be found in the archived sites, such as these: Molten Metals on Aeroscale.
These are water-based paints formulated to dry permanent while remaining glossy and bright with no need for gloss clear coat. They are also designed to accept polishing to improve the sheen. The range currently consists of:
They also make an airbrush thinner.
With such a range, modelers can easily create highlights and shadows, as well as add warm or cool tones to their model.
The list of colors by metal is:
Airbrushes.com carries Molten Metals and kindly sent these six colors for review:
- Bright Steel
- Classic Gold
- Silver Verde
These paints are packaged in soft 17ml squeeze bottles. Each bottle has an agitator inside to ensure proper mixing when the bottle is shaken. The bottles are a nice design with a clean but sullen appearance, not surprising considering Darkstar's modeling genre.
The paint consists of fine pigments suspended in a medium the consistency that reminds me of Vallejo, or white glue for those who haven't used that brand. That makes it easy to control how much one squeezes out. These colors can readily be mixed and blended.
I have tried several acrylic metallics with varying results. Molten Metals uniformly are a joy to use. A couple of individual colors have behaved differently from the rest and yet they have all been more than satisfactory. What impresses me compared to some colors of other brands is the fine pigments set uniformly. No sparkly flaky finishes.
Each color was airbrushed onto fuel drums, styrene card chips, and spoons. Darkstar recommends spraying onto a primed surface. I only primed the drums. (I like to demonstrate paints based on "rookie mistakes.") Let's see how they worked.
Two colors were brushed onto unprimed fuel drum halves and, inspired by sci-fi models, all were brushed onto a primed figure. Upon the drums, these colors were thin in coverage when brushed. Fortunately, the paint dries fast and a second coat was applied after about 5 minutes. Each color was applied to different areas of the figure and in spite of the dark base coat, all covered with a single layer.
Darkstar Miniatures states that for airbrushing the paint need only be thinned water-to-paint at 1 to 10. (Water only.) That ratio worked well through my Aztec black nozzle and I did not need to thin it further, like previous brands I have demonstrated. For these six colors, I used Darkstar's airbrush thinner. At the ratio printed on the bottle, the paint was to wet, so I tried 3-4/1. The paint sprayed great. Cleaning was good with just water, and complete with an airbrush cleaner.
Darkstar Miniatures states this paint can be polished to a higher sheen after curing for 24 hours; polishing worked in previous reviews.
We have seen how the paint sprays and brushes onto demonstration surfaces. Next, I used the paints on an in-progress figure primed with a light satin paint. Molten Metals worked great.
Model railroaders have the need to reproduce for many metallic surfaces, as do any modeling subject beyond the Stone Age. I have not tried every brand of metallic acrylics out there but of those I have used, Darkstar Molten Metals are generally my favorite. Some of the other brands work well but Molten Metals uniformly outperform them. Some brands dry with a flaky appearance. These do not.
I like the bottles. These paints mix and blend superbly. Most with cover with one or two passes of a paintbrush. Airbrushing is easy, as is cleaning the airbrush.
Darkstar Miniatures' range of Molten Metals are my overall favorite acrylic metallics. I happily recommend them.
Please remember to mention to The Airbrush Company and retailers that you saw this product here - on RailRoad Modeling.