AK Interactive | Paneliner Washes
Reviewed by Kevin Futter
Spanish firm AK Interactive has, in a relatively short space of time, become quite well-known for its finishing and weathering products, of which it sports an extensive range. The company has recently extended this range with a series of panel line washes for aircraft, dubbed the Paneliner range.
There are currently five colours in the range:
- AK2071 Brown and Green Camouflage
- AK2072 Grey and Blue Camouflage
- AK2073 Sand and Desert Camouflage
- AK2074 White and Winter Camouflage
- AK2075 Black Camouflage
These washes are enamel-based, and very thin, with the consistency of ink. They also have a very fine pigment, with little noticeable granularity or separation.
Since my current test subject is a WW2 IJN aircraft with a basic green-over-grey camouflage scheme, I chose AK2071 Brown and Green Camouflage for the upper surfaces, and AK2072 Grey and Blue Camouflage for the lower surfaces:
Here's the main airframe, painted and given a gloss coat in preparation for the washes:
I began by checking out the product guide PDF for AK2071 on the AK Interactive website. This advises painting the wash directly into panel lines with a pointed brush, and then after a 5-10 minute wait, removing the excess with a chisel-edged paint brush moistened with white spirit. I prefer to use a cotton bud for this type of clean-up work, but used both methods during the course of testing.
So, following these directions, I started applying AK2072 Grey and Blue Camouflage to the undersides (apologies for the blurry photo):
The wash flows very nicely into panel lines and other recessed detail, so I found it adequate to simply dab the paint brush into a panel line at strategic points along its length. Directly painting along the panel line was also effective. The wash has nice colour density, giving a consistent effect without the need to really flood the recessed detail.
After waiting a few minutes, I began removing the excess, first with a moistened brush, and then with dry cotton bud. The moistened brush was good for creating additional streaking effects on the model using the excess wash. Using the cotton bud instead tended to produce an overall dirty patina, while continued rubbing (or the used of a tiny amount of white spirit) would removed the excess completely. In either case, it's important to apply the wash over a gloss coat acrylic or lacquer-based). This will not only protect the underlying paint, but also allows the excess wash to be removed without undue scrubbing.
Here's the result:
And the overall effect on the underside:
There are a couple of spots where I removed more than I had intended, but it's a very simple task to dab a little more wash on those spots and repeat the process.
The next task was to test AK2071 Brown and Green Camouflage on the upper surfaces, for which I followed exactly the same procedure as with the undersides:
The effect is more subtle on the darker colour of the upper surfaces, but that's OK. Subtlety is a very underrated quality in modelling these days. Here are a couple of close-up shots:
And an overall view of the top:
As you can see, the overall effect is quite subtle, and depends on the lighting and viewing angle. And that's as it should be. In my opinion, panel line highlighting should be integrated into the overall weathering effect, and not stand out by itself, and I think these new washes from AK Interactive achieve exactly that. This is partly achieved through the modeller exercising some restraint, but they sympathetic colours chosen by AK Interactive also help here, being designed to avoid producing a harsh effect.
I've chosen to examine these new washes on their own merits, and have deliberately avoided a comparison with other products and approaches. As such, I think they work terrifically well. They're easy to apply, flow well into recessed detail, and clean up easily. And despite being enamel-based, the turnaround time is relatively quick, so you can apply and clean up in the same modelling session. Logistical constraints prevent me from being able to test the other three colours in the range, but rest assured that I will be doing so when the opportunity arises!
If you're already happy with what you're currently doing with regard to highlighting panel lines, then by all means stick with it. But if you're looking to try new methods and products, put this stuff on your list, as it won't let you down. Highly recommended!
Thanks to AK Interactive for the review sample.
© Kevin Futter 2015
This review was published on Friday, January 30 2015; Last modified on Friday, January 30 2015