So I've now tested the BlueJacket blackeners, using a variety of metal parts from the Model Shipways naval cannon kit, and am quite pleased with the results. I scrubbed all the pieces in warm soapy water, then soaked them in white vinegar before rinsing and drying. Then I tested the blackening solutions.
The bottle instructions suggest diluting the solution 1:10; I wasn't sure which direction this meant (one parts solution to ten parts water, or vice versa), so I wrote BlueJacket. As you might expect, I got a swift and helpful response:
It is ten parts water to 1 part solution. That ratio is really flexible.
Some people use it full strength, and others really dilute it a lot. The
10:1 blackens the metal in about 5 minutes or so. Make sure to clean the
Here's what the blackened parts looked like after my first attempt (all were soaked for several minutes up to 15):
The pewter parts didn't fully blacken, but turned a deeper shade of grey-black. The true metal parts blackened beautifully, especially the chains. I really like how the cannon barrel turned out; the blackening kept the rough texture of the metal intact, whereas paint seals it into a glossy smooth finish. It wasn't dark enough for me, so I gave it a thin wash of black paint, which preserved the texture but achieved the right color:
Compare to the very similar carronade kit, on which I used paint alone, needing several coats to fully color the metal:
This latter gun has a much shinier appearance that I don't like as much as the blackened and washed long gun. Not sure how well it shows in these photos, but it's very obvious in person. I preferred the effect so much, that I removed my painted chain from the carronade kit and replaced it with extra blackened chain.
I did find that the blackening had a tendency to rub off on parts that were handled a lot, so I tried to use tweezers as much as possible. Also, I didn't notice any odor or other such problems, nice since I work in my living room.
So for whatever it's worth, I was very happy with these two products as a novice getting started with blackening metal.