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A look at Tamiya’s XF-84 & XF-85

A not too long time ago in not a galaxy too far away Tamiya added a colors to their mini jars paint chart. They were colors suited for British and Japanese modelling subjects. Soon local hobby shops and online retailers updated their paint racks with these news Tamiya colors. However this didn’t happen with the colors below as it did with the British and Japanese colors.

By the time this entry was drafted, many known online vendors didn’t have these colors in stock much less local hobby shops. These were imported from Hong Kong thru the auction site.

Tamiya Dark Iron XF-84

My main target when placing my order was the XF-85 but trying to save on shipping I added to my order this color.  This color has a darker hue of that Bronze/Brown used back in the 80’s and 90’s to paint awning and French windows.  I gave it a try on a Gonk droid I’m customizing. This color unlike the XF-85 below does not flow as well with low PSI’s. I had to crank my regulator to 15-18 PSI to get a nicer flow and avoid having my airbrush nozzle throw paint spits. Other than that, it is a nice addition to Tamiya’s metallic colors.

Tamiya Rubber Black XF-85

For a long time we have been relying on XF-69 NATO Black to paint our model tires, rubber pads on tanks etc. NATO black has a greenish tint in it that gives our tires and rubber related parts a more realistic look contrary to what we get when we use regular Flat Black XF-1. As with the XF-1 and XF-69, the new XF-85 Rubber Black flowed with no problems to report on my Aztek A-470 airbrush. I love the fact that I can go with very low PSI’s with this color for spot touch ups and still I get very good atomization. This is not NATO black with a new label. It is a new formula and quite evident when you see it for yourself. Bringing this difference in a picture for you to see is harder due to the variables of color differences our visitor’s can get with their displays.

As with most -if not all- Tamiya colors, they are not very hand brush friendly.  Both colors were thinned with their native Tamiya X-20A Thinner. I’m sold with the XF-85 Rubber Black, the NATO black will be used for NATO related models. With the Dark Iron XF-84, I’m pleased as well. This color has a slight reminiscence to Vallejo’s Smoke 70.939 with plenty of use in weathering and Sci-Fi subjects. If this color was in the grayish side, it could have been what Gun Metal X-10 *should* be.  IMHH*P*O (in my honest-humble *personal* opinion) Gun Metal and other metallic colors like X-31 Titanium Gold, X-12 Gold Leaf, X-32 Titanium Silver etc have no business in the X (gloss line). I believe that Tamiya should revise their metallic colors now that they started with their right foot with the new XF-84.

These two colors are a very nice addition and I urge you to add them to your paint collection if you haven’t already.

My sincere thanks to my faux leather wallet for the review samples.

George Collazo
George Collazo

George has been hosting review sites and blogging about toy collectibles, travel, digital photography and Nikon digital imaging since 1998. His first model kit build was a Testors 1/35 DODGE WC-54 in 1984.