Paint Review: Testors Model Master Acryl

This is my “go to” paint– for a reason.

Why, Testors, WHY!!???

This product is no longer made. Off the market. Kaput.

  • Self Leveling
  • Need for Additives
  • Coverage
  • Proper Drying Time
  • Compatibility
  • Stippling
  • Fingerprinting
  • Adhesion
  • Line Drawing
  • Color Selection
  • Smell
  • Price
  • Packaging


This is a high quality product. For brushpainting, it is very difficult to find a superior alternative.

UPDATE AS OF 1/30/22

Testors has gone out of the hobby business and this paint is off the market. Badger is making its paint “thinner” to make it more airbrush friendly. So…um…I have no words. I’m going to have to cut you all loose and tell you to try to find your own way back to friendly lines. Good luck.

UPDATE AS OF 3/10/22

There are some good brushing paints (for plastic model kits) on the market. I recommend Golden’s “So Flat” (if you don’t mind mixing your own colors) or Hataka Blue if you dislike mixing your own. Revell Aqua is good but it falls between the Golden and Hataka paints– you have to mix some colors AND it’s hard to get.

13 Replies to “Paint Review: Testors Model Master Acryl”

  1. Just putting the finishing touches on an ancient Hasegawa P-47 Razorback using MM Acryl, and it really is a toss up on any given day which one I prefer using between Revell and this. With emodels, I can get Revell slightly cheaper, however their colours are…different, and require a touch of mix and match to get things right.

    I am probably going to grab a few more Acryls soon, but I remember you mentioning they had some colour oddities. Which ones are the real dogs to look out for? How would you rate general schemes overall (eg; RAF, USAAF, USN, Luftwaffe, et al) for rough accuracy?

    1. This is just off the top of my head. The Luftwaffe colors and USN WWII colors seem to be the worst. Luftwaffe colors are very much based on “experten” testimony and are just all off. Way wrong for most things. For example, 65 light blue is a crazy green color. The USN WWII blue gray is hideous. It’s way too bright and too blue. Another problem area is the USAF Vietnam era colors. The dark green should be more like olive drab. It’s too “green” and so it doesn’t have enough contrast with the medium green. The tan is way too dark. The MM Acryl grays for modern aircraft are pretty good. Their light gull gray is excellent, as is the aircraft gray (or ADC gray). Various “ghost” grays are good. I’m not at all sure about their RAF colors. I’d need to study them. What’s particularly frustrating about this is that the Polly Scale colors were universally good. A cryin’ shame.

  2. Thanks for that. At least I have a starting point now. And from what I have seen, the colour ‘patches’in the shop online are little (if at all) like the real paint; the usual for this kind of thing. It is always a case of ‘suck it and see’.

    1. The big problem with the Luftwaffe paints is that they can only chase that rabbit so far down the hole and it comes back up on them. They start out with a very weird RLM 02, then you shift all the colors to look like they “yellowed” and you get a nice beige, imaginary Battle of Britain scheme, but then you have Black Green 70. You could make it a dark gray (like the old Polly S color) but let’s be sensible. We know what it was. But…next to the 71 that’s “yellowed” to match the 02 it looks VERY odd. Whenever you see a Stuka or He-111 in a bizarre two-tone scheme that looks like olive drab and black, you can bet that Testors was involved.

  3. Been looking for a couple of Acryl paint colours at my local providers, and suddenly I see all these different colours I hadn’t seen before…in MM enamels! The enamel range seems much larger than the Acryl range, has it always been this way? Humbrol is similar with their enamel range being much larger (though they are much better to use than their acrylics..) and Gunze also has many more colours available in their Mr Color Laquer range (you think enamels smell bad? this stuff’ll kill ya in five minutes flat!).

    Damn shame about the Acryl colour list being smaller. More mixing incoming.

  4. Hi Brushpainter,
    New reader to your blog. Has Testors discontinued the Acryl line? I know they’re still producing acrylics but the new ones have a design similar to their enamel paint bottles. I’ve bought a few of the new acrylics, but the formula appears changed to me.

    I fully agree about Polly Scale. Those were great paints. A shame that Testors killed the brand.

    1. I don’t know about the status of the Acryl line. I have a lot of it on hand and I haven’t been following Testor’s lately. It would be just like them to discontinue it, but if it became unusable there are other alternatives. Badger Model Flex is surprisingly good for brushing. Some colors, like white and yellow, are not so good. But the “darker” colors are very good. They mix well with Acryl, too.

  5. Hey Dan,

    Quick question for you as you can literally verify this with your own paint;

    I have had a few people lately talk about their old Polly scale, and when I brought up MM Acryl, they act like I have spoiled their day! They are adamant that Pollyscale was so much better to paint with than MM acryl. So….true? or happy false memories? I was under the impression that Testors basically took the same formula after they bought the pollyscale line, and used that with Acryl.

    1. Polly Scale was very good paint indeed for my type of painting. It could be mixed with MM Acryl without any problem at all– so the question is, was it the same paint, or different? It’s a good question. As long as both lines were available I just assumed that they were “the same” and kept on painting. I can add here that Badger Modelflex ALSO mixes with MM Acryl and Polly Scale. No problem. So does Xtracrylix (taking into account that it’s glossy). They all smell “like ammonia” to me so I put them in a special category. I should do a blog entry on this. The “ammonia” paints just work better for me (a lot better). But are they actually the same stuff? I have to admit that there are differences between MM Acryl and Polly Scale. Polly Scale as a “stickiness” that you can feel as you brush it on. It feels “sticky” when you get it on your skin and this seems to contribute to the excellent adhesion. MM Acryl is just not as sticky and also seems “thinner” in some way.

      All of this is subjective and very difficult to articulate. I haven’t used Xtracrylix enough to really comment on it, and that goes for Badger Modelflex as well. But I’ve used MM Acryl and Polly Scale quite a bit, and, in my heart of hearts, I grieve for Polly Scale. It brushed on better, and had better adhesion, and was less likely to get lumpy in the bottle.

      And, above all, the colors were as close as we’re likely to get to being “accurate.” It’s a damn shame that Rustoleum or whatever gang of ruthless capitalists trashed it. You bring this up in a forum and some bastard posts a lecture about how Testors didn’t “kill” Polly Scale–they “streamlined” the product line. Well, why the hell didn’t they “streamline” the MM Acryl and adopt the (superior) Polly Scale formula? My guess is that Polly Scale didn’t airbrush as well (but MM Acryl isn’t ANYBODY’S choice for airbrushing–so what sense does that make?).

      So there it is. I can make do with MM Acryl. When you live in the margins, you have to make do with what they give you.

  6. Pretty depressing really (on the level of model paint that is…), and when you look at all those colours Polly Scale had. It makes me wonder why some chucklehead would think it a good idea to burn down a line that seemed to be universally loved by so many, and keep the line that people seem, at least in comparison to the former, rather ambivalent.

    I know the model railway community were basically in love with Polly Scale and its VOC cousin Floquil. They still seem like somewhat lost sheep today in the paint department, even though other paint lines have attempted to cater for them. That is a pretty big market, that they had almost sown up, to kill right there, certainly bigger than the military modelling scene by quite a bit. I don’t hear about many of them using testors products now, and even a strong sense of hatred towards anything testors due to the kill off.

    Seriously, when it comes to brushing acrylics, it is hard to beat MM acrylics finish. The only thing that pisses me off about it is the somewhat poor colour selection, which makes some colours like middlestone, azure blue, etc very hard to even think of a mixture for. Meanwhile, they have those colours in their enamel range…pity I missed the best of acrylic bunch. I am a little surprised somebody hasn’t reverse engineered Polly Scale and started their own paint line though, especially when you look at just how loved it seemed to be. Anything new these days is usually all about the airbrush..

  7. I went to my usual shop for MM Acrylic aaaannnndddd….its over. They have about half the colours, and the rest will not be restocked. I didn’t think it would be game over so quickly. They really must have stopped production right when they made the announcement, or before that even. Really bummed about it. At this rate, with Australias selection and the dearth of Revell aqua in the UK at the moment (I am guessing the corona virus and brexit have screwed up exports everywhere), my only option for decent brush paint is Humbrol enamel (the new, decent Humbrol acrylic hasn’t made it to Australia yet…). And I thought the future was golden? haha…first world problems suck, don’t they? oh well, at least I still have a job…for now.

    1. When we reach a true Mad Max scenario (no Testors, no Revell, no Badger) I will press on with Tamiya. I didn’t know it was “problematic” until somebody on a forum explained it to me. But I can just dial the wayback machine to 2006 and keep on brushing Tamiya.

      Now if Tamiya stops making paint, I’ll have to leave Mad Max world and go to Waterworld… on a raft bound for the Land of Nippon, where the paint flows like wine and they won’t know I’m a weirdo– they’ll just think I’m a foreigner.

  8. I have been painting an Imperial Navy Thunderbolt with Ace Colors for my Aeronautica Imperialis game and used Model Masters Chrome Yellow over citadel deathguard green with a cammoshade wash and I have to say that I was pretty disappointed with the results due to the fact that it seems that there isn’t enough pigment in the paint to cover up the green beneath. Before anyone says anything, I put 5 layers of the yellow on and wont go any further as I will completely lose all details on the model if I go any further.

    Have had great results with all other model master paints. Just stay away from that chrome yellow.

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