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First Look Review
Graphite, Molten Metals
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by: Frederick Boucher [ JPTRR ]

Originally published on:
RailRoad Modeling

Graphite, item 2251 from Darkstar Miniatures is a color in a new range of acrylic metallic paints - Molten Metals. Molten Metals 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:
    Blackened Bronze
    Bright Steel
    Classic Gold
    Fine Gold
    Imperial Gold
    Old Silver
    Pale Gold
    Regency Gold
    Renaissance Gold
    Royal Gold
    Tarnished Steel
    Victorian Gold

Darkstar Miniatures is a UK company that also makes 54mm and 75mm figures and busts in two series, Historical Figures and Fantasy Range. They also make Reaper paints and Darkstar pigments, ink washes, and now Molten Metals.

Graphite was used by many railroads on the hottest parts of a steam loco boiler. It helped protect the metal and insulate those areas. Fireboxes and smoke boxes became so hot that paint would scorch off in a short time. Some railroads insulated the areas and put a jacket over it. Others coated those areas with graphite. Graphite powder was mixed with linseed oil or valve oil and slathered onto the metal; the immense heat boiled the oil away leaving a nice later of graphite. Depending on what the powder was mixed with, it would cure to a range of colors from a bright silver to a dark gray.

Molten Metals Graphite
Airbrushes.com carries Molten Metals and kindly sent Graphite for review.

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.

I applied Graphite and Molten Metals Steel directly from the bottle onto a steam locomotive body that was primed with metal primer a decade ago. I did not clean it prior to applying Steel or Graphite. (I like to demonstrate paints based on "rookie mistakes.") How did these work?


Darkstar Miniatures states that for airbrushing the paint need only be thinned water-to-paint at 1 to 10. (Water only.) That ratio was insufficient through my Aztec tan nozzle and I thinned it to 1-to-4. The paint sprayed great. Cleaning was good with just water, and complete with an airbrush cleaner.

To dry Steel I put it close under a 100 watt bulb for 15 minutes per side. Then I masked the smoke box with blue painter's tape and hit it with Graphite, thinned as I did with Steel.

Graphite dried to an opaque smooth finish despite being much lighter and brighter than Steel. Darkstar Miniatures claims this paint can be polished to a higher sheen after curing for 24 hours; polishing worked in previous reviews.

I did not try hand brushing Graphite. Most of the Molten Metals I have brushed cover well.

These paints impress me positively. I find them to be excellent for any modeling category and genre - railroad, airframes and powerplants, military ordnance, Steampunk, antiquity, classic figures. Anything that needs a raw metallic look. Molten Metals is an excellent product for modelers hunting for that perfect acrylic paint. Stored in neat bottles, the paint has a good consistency.

Graphite coverage by airbrushing is excellent.

There has been a dearth of quality acrylic metallic colors for too long and I praise Darkstar for bringing us this fine range of paint. Highly recommended.

Please remember to tell vendors and retailers that you saw Molten Metals here - on RailRoad Modeling.
Highs: Excellent spraying and coverage qualities.
Lows: Requires more thinning than Darkstar suggests.
Verdict: These paints impress me positively. I find them to be excellent for any modeling category and genre - railroad, airframes and powerplants, military ordnance, Steampunk, antiquity, classic figures.
  Scale: N/A
  Mfg. ID: 171
  Suggested Retail: $4.30, 3.50 inc.VAT
  Related Link: Molten Metals
  PUBLISHED: Feb 02, 2017

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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)

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 2021 text by Frederick Boucher [ JPTRR ]. All rights reserved.



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