September 13, 2017

TRENCH RUNNER REVIEW: VMS Hull Texture - Standard / Scattered / Air

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Once again from San Paolo Brazil our resident model geek Julian Conde takes a look at the popular hull textures from Vantage Modeling Solutions of Poland...You can order VMS products from MTSC HERE




After testing out a few VMS products, I get excited to begin a new review of their products. I must say...VMS is making best-of-class products. They are committed to “bottle up” some solutions for the modern modeler, and so far, they are doing so with great success. They have great packaging, the size of the jars are perfect, with an nice nozzle for precise application and little waste of the product. Now, being a fan of textures and those subtle differences in surfaces, like iron cast tank turrets, welding, rust, and the anti-slip texture found on modern subjects, I now present you VMS line of texture products, mainly focused on the anti-slip texture of modern vehicles, but its not the only application as I will show you later…let’s take a look at the Hull Tex line of products : Hull Tex Standard, Hull Tex Scattered and Hull Tex Air...



We will split the test on each of the 3 product sets, being a cement and a texture bottle for each set. We get a cement / carrier type of glue that reacts with the fine texture powder giving you the texture result. The Tex Air has a aggregate liquid for airbrushing, but more on the Air later on...

So the cement is different for each one...

The Hull Tex Standard reacts and somewhat bonds with the plastic. The Hull Tex Scattered does not reacts with the plastic and can be further manipulated for desired result. The working time of the cement for Standard type is around 2 to 3 minutes.

I will begin the testing with the Hull Tex Standard type. I added my own labelling since VMS labelling can be very small if you keep the products at a distance, so it’s easier to see and reach. I also added a color on top of the set (cement / texture) to make sure I get the right pair of products every time, even tough the texture seems the same for both Standard and Scattered...



Now, I’m not a expert on modern military subjects, it’s not my main area of interest, and I only have a couple of modern vehicles like MRAP’s, M-ATV’s ans some soft-skin trucks, that usually does not have anti-slip hulls at all or just in a few selected places, Because of this, I’m going to test these products on random junk model parts, that’s not necessary modern of correct application, but since there’s a learning curve, specially on the Scattered Texture, it’s a good thing to test out and practice on parts and plastic strips to later on apply on the actual model. 

The normal Anti Slip texture on modern vehicles looks like this in real life...

So, let’s begin our scale test...

Now, the product says that we must apply it on the model without any primer or paint. But I wanted to see how it reacts to a primed part, to see if it ruins something. let’s see…

VMS great nozzle applicators. we begin adding the cement to a small recipient...

It has a very familiar smell of glue, like some Tamiya or Testors glue. Nothing that causes loss of motor skills or zombie reactions. Now, begin applying the cement to a primed surface...

And a bare plastic surface...

First thing we notice is that the cement is self leveling. And with careful brush application, it does not run to undesired places. It’s a very controllable application. Now, after a generous layer of cement, let’s apply the texture grain on the primed surface...

After covering the whole cement brushed area (remember this is a standard type, so it covers the whole area without “imperfections”) we shake the excess off. Get a recipient below so you can save the texture that falls free from the model, so you can use it again later...

Now the unpainted part...

Leave it to dry for a couple of minutes, then you can clean all the excess texture away with a soft brush...

We see that we save some texture for later use...

Now the result is very clean and looks very nicely textured...

The cement did not ruined the primed area, which is good. This means that you can, in a emergency (like forgetting some textured area behind) apply it over the paint. It did get some yellowing but did not affected the result. The texture before primer and paint may look a little out of scale. We will see the painted result later on…

We can correct and erase all application with the Clean Slate Remover 2.0 from VMS. Also, after dry we can remove any small imperfections with a sharp blade, sand it off, etc.

Now, the Scattered Texture. Same principle, but a little trickier to get it right. With the scattered type we must apply the texture grain in very small quantities and maybe in small layers to get the really scattered and imperfect look. We do not clean with a brush after adding the texture, as the cement has a greater working time of 10 minutes or more and can be reactivated up to 1 hour after application. let me show you...

Same procedure, first the cement, that in this case does not react to plastic, and has very light smell. It dries out to a thinner look, so it’s not a real layer of cement after it dries, it just a carrier cement to manipulate the texture...

Now, after manipulating the texture with a wet brush with the cement, we can scatter out the areas. But as I said, less is more, more precise in this case. Too much texture will bulk up and add a really extreme look, maybe out of scale. Let me show you my mistakes...

After painting we can see better what I mean. But before jumping to priming and painting, I did a small section with very little texture and it got the way I wanted...

Now, let’s see some results after priming, standard first...

This is the result shown on VMS website for Standard Tex, remember that we can correct any flaws by adding a new layer after the first layer is on, in small areas. We must also for large areas work in sections...

And now the primed scattered texture...

So, as I mentioned, we need to apply it in small quantities for a true scale textured of scattered anti-slip. I did not liked the result on the above tests. I got the desired look after some practice on this small area, using very little texture...

And the effect shown on VMS website, just as I wanted...

It looks really good, after getting it right. Since the scattered type can be manipulated for quite some time, it’s a trial an error until we get the desired look. We need to work adding layers, and build up the texture, and sand it off later, soften it with a new cement layer on top, etc. This is a very flexible product, so take your own time testing before using it, the results are spot on for scale hull anti-slip texture when you get it right. Let me show you the results after some painting and wash and filters, it looks better and better when you begin painting it and weathering...

Now some wash and filters...

I think after painting and weathering the texture looks very nice. Impressive results, being a product easy to manipulate and after a learning curve, you can use it in so many ways…I decided to test the hull tex scattered as a extreme rusting texture on a exhaust pipe...

Scattered Cement and texture...

Now, after some forced dry, let’s apply some primer...

Now, after some rust painting and weathering, adding some VMS Pigments (Fresh Oxide Rust)...

I really liked this effect! For extreme rust this is great too! So many applications… and for you guys who are on a modern subject that has a serious anti slip texture hull, I think this will be a very rewarding product to use. 

Now, I wanted to talk about Tex Air, it supposed to have a finer grain texture of the 3 types, and is made for airbrush….But it's intended to be used with a 05.mm airbrush nozzles and a serious pressure (up to 60psi!) and my airbrushes are 02 and 03mm (Tamiya and Iwata), and even tough I have a powerful compressor, that gets 60 psi, I could not get the texture to pass through the 03mm airbrush (yes, I tried) and it did clog everything up, a real mess. 

So kids, don’t try this at home without a proper 05mm airbrush and a good compressor ! This is a shame, because the results shown on VMS website for this Air texture is the most delicate of all 3 and very scale accurate. We are always looking for fine nozzle on airbrushes, and expensive professional ones are very rare to come in larger sizes. So for this we must have a old, large nozzle airbrush laying around, wich I did not have. But if you do, please check the YouTube video tutorial below for examples of use and results, they look promising ! Hull Tex Air photo examples below taken from VMS website...

View the Hull Tex Air Video Tutorial on YouTube HERE

I really loved the results of the textures I created  Hull Tex is easy to use, and very controllable, so if you do some testing before using it on a model, you can get the techniques down fast and will be able to replicate an intricate texture on a complete modern hull, or just some sections like shown here. The Texture Air as mentioned is very tricky to apply since we need special gear like a powerful air compressor and a large nozzle old airbrush, since the fine texture grain gets in there for good. This product is new to the model builder...But all this testing made me look for a modern Stryker kit asap, so I don’t end up making a anti slip textured Kubelwagen! Great Solution and highly recommended!


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