I have previously expounded upon the virtues of the new Mission Models acrylic paints and demonstrated their use on a 1/72 Macchi Saetta: a scheme in a scale I would not have tried with any other paint. Mission paints are the easiest most forgiving acrylic paints I’ve ever used-period. I was so impressed with their performance I became a dealer. My only complaint about this paint was the lack of Luftwaffe colors. I say was because that is no longer an issue. The new paints being added to the Mission line include a nice selection of RLM colors. And, by extra-special decree from the Mission Models Grand Poobah Jon Tamkin, MPS has been provided samples. Given the gravity of the situation, the crew down in the secret underground Model Paint Solutions Research Laboratory (and bistro) were tasked with devising a simple way to assess how well these new Mission RLM colors stack up against the same colors from other paint lines: more on their methods below. Suffice to say that as a long-time Luftwaffe aircraft builder with a history of being picky about RLM color accuracy, I am very satisfied with the new Mission RLM colors: spot-on “accurate.” Yup, that’s right, “accurate.”
Being a WWII Luftwaffe/RAF/USAAF kind-of-modeler I am painfully aware of the multitude of books, paint charts, blogs, arguments, and opinions regarding accurate RLM colors. Like many of you I have at least one book by Monogram, or Hitchcock and Merrick or Eagle Editions or Ullman (or?) within which “accurate” RLM paint chips are provided. I leave you to your own musings as to which set(s) of standards is more “accurate” to you. I prefer a combination of multiple references but lean towards the colors provided by Merrick. With that as my personal measure, I like the LifeColor range, which seems to capture the color and hue of most of the RLM colors better than do other manufacturers. LifeColor has been my go-to acrylic paint for many years due in large part to the “accuracy” of the line. Second to LifeColor for RLM colors is the Gunze range: sometimes hard to find and lacquer based.
The aim of this little project is to show the color and hue of the new Mission Models Luftwaffe colors relative to the same colors from other manufacturers. I emphasize relative because of the infinite number of variables involved in photographing, publishing, and viewing color images online. With this in mind, I don’t suggest using any of the images in this (or any) online article as a source of “accurate” paint colors. What I hope you can appreciate in this piece is how these paints compare relative to one another.
To compare paints, each color was sprayed onto a ~1.8cm2 square area of white polystyrene: masked off on a grid of identically sized squares. To ensure as much opacity of the paint as possible, each color was applied first as a dry coat followed by multiple wet coats. The same airbrush, an Harder&Steenbeck Evolution with a 0.2mm tip was used to spray all the squares and was cleaned completely between each color. Yes, the grid took quite a while to shoot. The crew in the underground lab was kept rather busy. When complete, the tapes were removed and any paint that had wicked under the mask was scraped off with an X-Acto blade producing equally sized and spaced squares. Whew.
A quick glance at the paint grid reveals that all four lines show a fair amount of similarity for most of the colors tested. The line that to my eye showed the most deviation from the other three was Vallejo. The Mission Models RLM colors tracked most closely to the LifeColor range. Given my previously stated bias for this line of RLM paints, I couldn’t be happier. In general, Mission Models, Gunze, and LifeColor were in agreement on most of the RLM colors. Moreover, if we assume the old RLM-82/83 reversal for the Gunze paints, the agreement is even closer.
Table 1: Catalog numbers of the Mission Models, LifeColor, Gunze, and Vallejo paints used in this study.
RLM Mission LifeColor Gunze Vallejo
-02 MMP-056 UA-504 C60 70.886
-65 MMP-057 UA-503 115 71.255
-74 MMP-049 UA-507 36 71.258
-75 MMP-050 UA-508 37 71.259
-76 MMP-051 UA-509 117 71.257
-78 MMP-055 UA-512 118 71.101
-81 MMP-052 UA-510 121 71.264
-82 MMP-053 UA-511 122 71.022
-83 MMP-054 UA-132 123 71.011
Mission Model paints have taken many in the modeling world by surprise. Modelers with previous experience with acrylic paints marvel at how differently Mission paints behave: less airbrush tip-dry, less over-spray, no clogging, tough, scratch-resistant finish. I’ve received emails from even long-time enamel and lacquer users that have switched to the Mission line after giving them a try.
Not only are Mission Models paints the easiest most forgiving paint I’ve ever used, they’re also about as “accurate” as the corresponding LifeColor paints. For me this is truly the best of both worlds. In addition to the RLM colors presented here RLM-66, -70, and -71 are in the works. A complete listing of the new Mission Models colors due in May is provided below. If you’re tired of fighting with your airbrush and want to enjoy painting with a forgiving accurate paint, give Mission Models a try.
Now go paint something!
Below is a complete listing of the new colors being added to the Mission Models Paint Line:
MMP-049 Graugrun RLM-74
MMP-050 Grauviolet RLM-75
MMP-051 Lichtblau RLM-76
MMP-052 Braunviolet RLM-81
MMP-053 Hellgrun RLM-82
MMP-054 Dunkelgrün RLM-83
MMP-055 Hellblau RLM-78
MMP-056 Grau RLM-02
MMP-057 Hellblau RLM-65
MMP-058 US Dark Green FS-34079
MMP-059 US Interior Green FS-34151
MMP-060 Dark Tan FS-30219
MMP-061 US Blue Grey FS-35189
MMP-062 USN/USMC Sea Blue FS-35042
MMP-063 Light Gull Grey FS-36440
MMP-064 Dark Gull Grey FS-36231
MMP-065 Gloss Sea Blue FS-15042
MMP-066 US Medium Green FS-34102
MMP-067 Yellow Zinc Chromate
MMP-068 Green Zinc Chromate
MMP-069 Light Gull Gray FS-16440
MMP-070 Radome Tan FS-33613
MMP-071 Intermediate Blue FS 35164
MMP-072 Medium Gray FS-35237
MMP-073 Light Ghost Gray FS-36375
MMP-074 Dark Ghost Gray FS-36320
MMP-075 Light Sea Grey
MMP-076 RAF Middle Stone
MMP-077 RAF Dark Green
MMP-078 RAF Dark Earth
MMP-079 RAF Interior Green
MMP-080 RAF Underside Sky 610
MMP-081 LRDG Pink
MMP-082 German WWII Elfnbein Interior White
MMP-083 Have Glass Grey FS-36170
MMP-084 IDF Green
MMP-085 Russian WWII 4B0 FS-34257
MMP-086 US Army Sand FS-30277
MMM-002 Cold Rolled Steel
MMM-003 Faded Aluminum
MMW-006 Transparent Dust 1