by: Adam Lehmann [ ]
From 1993 onwards Australian military vehicles have been painted in a 3 tone disruptive pattern paint (DPP) scheme known as AUSCAM. A brown, green and black pattern
Mouse House Enterprises introduces a new set of paints with these vehicles in mind. This set of 3 x 14ml tinlets of enamel paint will sure be an answer to many who have wondered "what brown/green is that ?". This first look review will quickly examine the contents and discuss the pros and cons of this set.
The pack contains 3 tinlets the same size as a Humbrol tin in the three distinctive AUSCAM colours, packaged in the usual blister tub pack for most MHE products.
• 1 x 14 ml Olive drab lustreless (as used since 1966 onwards)
• 1 x 14 ml FS30219 Brown (matt enamel)
• 1 x 14 ml FS37038 Black (matt enamel)
And a very comprehensive set of instructions showing how to apply the camouflage scheme to several Australian vehicles including The M1A1 AIM SA (Abrams) and ASLAV FOV.
The real feature of this set, other than the convenience of having the 3 colours available from the same manufacturer and therefore apply with the same characteristics, is the colours have been matched to real samples.
Original samples of the Protec Pty Ltd (current contractor producing AUSCAM DPP) paint were sourced and matched to these samples. AUSCAM is matt enamel and these tinlets reflect that in being matt enamel also.
It has long been a point of discussion in many of the Australian vehicle threads on which paint colours to use with most resorting to mixing several colours to achieve an appropriate hue. This kit certainly sets a new benchmark for accuracy and a great starting point for the novice and experienced modeler alike. This should allow more confidence in the application of the right colours for the AUSCAM scheme.
The downside with colour matching is you get a paint that is very accurate in 1:1 scale, but when you put it on a model at 1:35 scale it looks very dark. The green and brown will need to be lightened with white (as suggested by MHE) to achieve a more scale shade. This should be no problem to the experienced modeler, but may cause the novice to attempt some trial and error test work.
The enamel is very smooth and when opening the tinlets, there is no sign of pigment separation from the carrier, and no obvious sign of sediment in the base. This review is an in box look only so the performance of the paint at this stage will not be tested completely. That said, I trialed some OD lustreless on a plastic kit by brushing it on. The instructions claimed a 20 minute dry time, and sure enough after 20 minutes I was able to put my finger on the surface and not leave a print. Very impressive performance for enamel paint. The paint dried almost flat with an extremely low sheen evident.
Most model builders may be used to using an acrylic base, followed by an oil wash and enamel dry brush detail. Applying an enamel basecoat is a small price to pay for having the guesswork taken out of the colour matching. Once again, a full review will cover performance of the paint standing up to vigorous weathering with IPA, thinners, other washes.
The other interesting point is the manufacturer suggests only using general purpose thinners as a cleaner and for thinning. Do not use mineral turpentine. As a quick test I mixed some turps with some OD lustreless and some pigment separation was evident. I will be using Tamiya enamel thinners, as a quick test of them yielded positive results.
Mouse House also has a fourth colour in this range called "FS 24533 Seafoam green" suitable for interiors of M113A1's, and is a semi gloss enamel. Mouse House is considering producing these colours in Acrylic. All four colours can be bought individually.
A tidy and complete set of paints that should go a long way into taking the guesswork out of AUSCAM colours. No other manufacturer has directly addressed the Australian colour scheme with specific matched paints so to have that is a welcome addition to the paint box.
The need to lighten the colours for scale may cause some to pause, but most will deal with this as a normal part of model painting. The use of enamel is appropriate (instead of acrylic) but may also be change from the normal methods for some.
Certainly anyone thinking of doing an Australian vehicle would be well advised to look closely at this set, especially the novice for whom sourcing and creating your own colours seems daunting at best. A great set to work with and value for the money considering the cost of equivalent sized tins of enamel from other manufacturers.
I would be happy to recommend these paints. I will of course do an in depth review on performance including air brush suitability, mixing, dry times, solvent resilience when dry, adhesion to different surfaces. In the meantime the manufacturer (Mouse Armour Paint) conveys that they have tested it "on plastics (several manufacturers), resin (several types), and photoetch" and it sprays very well producing a very thin layer.