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Wednesday, January 8, 2014

Bolt Action - War Sprays: Plastic Soldier Company Spray Paint

During a recent BTD sale, I decided to expand my Soviet armor a bit. I did not, however, wish to repeat my previous, mad scientist attempts at creating an accurate Russian tank color with green spray paints found at hardware stores, so I forked over the extra cake it costs to get a hold of one of The Plastic Soldier Company's new tank sprays.

Care to hear how it fared compared to a bargain brand? Read on!

My pals at The War Store had them in stock, and I decided to pull the trigger. While I was never satisfied with the color that came out of any number of traditional spray paints, regardless of washes and highlights applied afterwards, I felt confident that PSC,  in their apparent partnership with Army Painter (or so I've heard - could be completely false) would get it exactly right.

PayPal account at the ready, I greedily went through the checkout process at The War Store. Happily, I clicked away, until I reached the moment of truth. All told, this can of spray was going to cost me over twenty bucks, after shipping and a generous handful on behalf of the State of New York's Department of Taxation.

I hesitated. Twenty dollars was a lot of new toy soldiers. Was I really that worried about weather or not my "Tank Spray: Russian" was the exact color it should be? Couldn't I stomach another close-but-no-cigar green from Krylon or even a no-name brand?

No. As it turns out, I couldn't.

No longer shall I suffer the inaccuracies of "Woodland Green" or the dreaded "Dark Green". You will be mine, SP003!
A week later, the package arrived. I'd had the models sitting ready and waiting for the spray to show up for some time, and I didn't want to wait a second longer. Except, the weather, as everyone is sick at this point of hearing, was ridiculously cold in Central New York. Never mind the sub-50's they were "suffering" elsewhere in The States - I got an ice cream headache walking from my car to the front door where the package sat. The paint inside was far too cold to spray on anything immediately!

Pleased at my own brilliant decision to not coat my new tanks in chunky, frozen - albeit "Russian" this time - green paint, I promptly put the can under a stream of warm water from the faucet and went about the arduous task of planning my post-painting victory dance.

Then it occurred to me: "Listen, self. You're no physician -" but isn't it physicist? I interrupted myself. This was really getting serious. " - but might it be a bad idea to put a possibly frozen can of pressurized paint and propellant under a stream of relatively hot water?"

Well, I thought, I really had a point there, so I turned of the water and commenced to prepare spray paint in the way the ancients intended. Would I take the rational route and wait a day for the air to heat the can to the ambient temperature? Nay! I held that can tightly and shook it. This went on for fifteen minutes; clearly not enough time for the stuff inside to heat up enough, but the can felt room temperature, and what was good enough for spray painters of antiquity was good enough for me.

I headed for the basement.

Spoiler Alert: That's not the spray nozzle it came with!
I confidently strutted my way down the stairs, jauntily tossing the can in my left hand. It's time had come. It was now ready to claim its victorious birthright, over all the pretender paints to the "true" Russian Tank Color Throne that had come before. This possibly still frozen, twenty-some dollar can of spray paint was really going to show those three dollar fakers who was the paint boss. For the motherland!

Of course, that's when tragedy struck. Having called the nerdly ancients forth with my traditional spray paint shaking, my hubris was punished. The can, mid-toss, was manipulated by their incomprehensible power, and it fell some six feet to the concrete floor below.

Holding back tears, I knelt by the can. It hadn't yet exploded, and seemed intact upon initial inspection. However, the spray nozzle it came with broke cleanly down the exact middle, exposing half of the channel through which sprayed paint was intended to travel.

I tried to laugh it off at first. "Flesh wound," I mumbled, but holding neither towel nor putty over the gaping wound would seal it sufficiently to get me a quality spray. In a righteous fury I ripped off what remained of the damaged, original tip and tried the tip from another spray can. Beautiful, lush, green, and very "Russian" paint bubbled out lamely before seizing completely. Beginning to lose confidence, I went to the shelf holding all my other spray cans and began pulling them off, hoping one would work. I tried almost every one. The cheap, flat, black that costs a dollar at Walmart and serves as a perfectly acceptable base coat? No. The WD-40 nozzle, which looked an awful lot like the tip, now destroyed, that the paint had arrived in? Failed. What about the tips from that Krylon brand green that came awfully close but never quite matched the Soviet tank color this can from PSC promised? Of course not.

However, there was one last hope.

At this point, I did not know that Army Painter (people tell me, now) produced these cans of paint. I had been eyeing my Army Painter Matte spray throughout the ordeal, but never really wanted to try it, since it was the one and only matte I felt comfortable handling without potentially ruining the first model it's sprayed upon. Did I dare foul its nozzle with this damned Russian Tank paint that had vexed me so, up to this point?

I did, and it worked perfectly. As the picture above shows, the nozzle clearly was not a perfect fit. However, paint did spray out evenly with it. The paint that came out was perfect, just as I had imagined. It sprayed evenly - remember, this paint almost certainly was not being used in appropriate temperatures, and sure as hell wasn't being used with the intended spray tip - and was just the color I was looking for.

If you're the kind of guy that simply has to get the color right, I highly suggest this paint. If you're the kind of guy that's fine with your Soviet tanks being a darkish green color, and after all, every paint didn't come out of the same factory, then it's probably a waste of money. The coverage I got from the Krylon paints I tried before was just as good, and at a fraction of the cost.

Of course, the Krylon wasn't the "Russian Tank" color I got out of this Plastic Soldier Company spray can. You get what you pay for, I suppose. Just make sure not to toss it around while you're heading down stairs over a concrete floor in the dark.

Have any experience with the other PSC Sprays? Let us know on the forum!

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