This article originally appeared in Pyramid #2
Quick Pick -- ACCU-Flex PaintProduced by Badger Air-Brush Company
Badger Air-Brush Company has introduced ACCU-Flex, a new water-based paint, to the hobby industry. Their advertising makes some remarkable claims, and we were anxious to check them for ourselves. A paint that is odorless, non-toxic, colorfast, adheres solidly yet doesn't obscure fine surface detail, and cleans up with water? Sounds like the answer to a miniature painter's prayers.
To start off, Badger says that ACCU-Flex makes surface priming unnecessary . . . but, being skeptical, I painted some primed and some unprimed figures. The paint flowed on smoothly and adhered equally well to both primed and unprimed figures. Lighter colors did look slightly more brilliant when painted over the white primer coat. There was no perceptible difference in the opacity of dark colors painted over primed or unprimed surfaces. Even on surfaces that had been coated with two applications, the paint adhered to, but did not fill in, the fine surface detail.
All paints will settle, but I found it remarkably easy to achieve a good paint consistency by shaking the bottles, adding a few drops of water, and stirring them thoroughly with popsicle sticks. (I am continually frustrated at having to discard nearly-full bottles of paint that have hardened irreparably.) One of the 12 sample bottles, though, was a gelatinous solid before it was opened, and couldn't be restored - so shake the bottles to make sure they're liquid before you buy.
I like to vary colors by mixing them to create subtle shades and highlights. I was again pleased with the performance of these paints. Some miniature paints do not mix well - even paints of the same brand and type may contain solvents or pigments that break down or turn grainy when mixed together. I often use a wet-into-wet technique for shading and highlighting; I apply a generous amount of thin paint and then brush a lighter or darker color directly on to the still-wet base paint. This is not always easy with the Accu-Flex paints - designed for airbrush work, they dry very quickly when applied with brushes, especially small brushes.
Adding a few drops of water allowed me to slow drying time. Badger plans to release a chemical "retarder" that will lengthen drying time considerably.
ACCU-Flex paints are made with organic pigments and are nontoxic, nonflammable and noncarcinogenic. This is especially important if you use an airbrush for painting. Even while wearing a mask, you can still ingest particles of paint and solvents. It was socially responsible of Badger, an airbrush manufacturer, to come up with a paint that is safe for the environment and the painters.
By far, my favorite part of using these paints is the ease of clean-up. Everything, including tools, brushes, table surfaces, and my fingernails, washed up completely with warm water and dish detergent. For you impulsive types, this paint can also be removed from painted surfaces within 5 minutes of application.
In all of our tests, these paints met or exceeded Badger's advertising claims. Too few manufacturers make products that live up to their own advertising. Badger ACCU-Flex paints do.
-- Laura Eisenhour & Steve Jackson
Article publication date: August 1, 1993
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