Useful Paint Palettes For Model Types

Useful Paint Palettes For Model Types

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Joined: 10 Dec 2007, 06:37

21 Mar 2016, 21:30 #1

This thread will give the colors required for certain models, and the paint choices I will use for them.

I am going to start this off with a "raw" list of the colors of the USN from the Elliot books.
Most people will think there are "mistakes" in the list, right from the beginning, because the Munsell numbers won't match up between colors that they "know" are supposed to be the same, even though, in real history of colors research, it can be shown that they were actually different.

If that bothers you, or goes against what you "know" from other places on the internet, then just go with those choices, and ignore this historical list. I use the actual historical evolution of the colors, because that is what I am modeling, in the colors, the aircraft shapes, and the details. Many of these things are ignored by modelers, because of the more artistic method they use to do their builds. I guess you would call them "artistic modelers", while my style is more technical. Keep in mind that today's decals are based on 595c, and are done in 1/1 scale colors. (out of necessity, due to the requirement that there has to be some currently available standard to the decal artist and the decal ink colors)

But, I model in the era when the ANA color standards and the 595 and 595a existed alongside each other. (one version of the USAF TO actually called out a mixture of FS and ANA colors in the description of the US Insignia) I also model in the era when color names were still being used, to quote "with the publication of the Fed Standard in 1968, it was the INTENT that color names would no longer be used",,,,,,which has to mean that they were being used until then,,,,,,,,and "a cross over chart was used to give the color name for the FS colors", which of course, meant the use of color names was still ongoing. I also model types that were mostly in service before the 1984 mistake made by the GSA, when they ran the colors together, all on their own, without input from the actual users of the colors. (the "Internet sources" all use the "post GSA decision" to match their colors)

The "Internet knowledge" of FS colors is almost always based on the IPMS color guide, which, sadly, was based on the 1984 FS, the very edition of 550 colors that the GSA made their erroneous decision on. At the same time that the IPMS booklet was being done, Elliot was sending FS cards to the Munsell company to compile his lists of color matches,,,,,,,using the pre-1984 color cards.
That leaves us with the choice of following a model guy (that may or may not have been wearing pants in his video rants) who didn't know the evolution of the color standards he was trying to describe,,,,,,,or a Smithsonian historian that did the proper research in order to write mere Appendices to his four book series. Since Elliott's findings agree with my own eyes (when looking at multiple copies of old FS booklets),,,,,,I am going with the Museum guy.

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01 Apr 2016, 17:29 #2

This is also a place to discuss "scale effect".
Many modelers say they use scale effect in their models, but, they very obviously don't.
I know, I know, time to get out the pitchforks.
But, it is true.

They use one aspect of scale effect, and actually go against the other two.

What they DO use is the "scale color" portion of the scale effect theory.

Scale Color is the attempt to make the colors appear as if you are standing a scale distance from the object, by varying the colors that they paint on the model. This is an admirable idea, and if used in concert with the other two aspects, would fool the eye into appearing as they intend. Since no one is actually using true "scale effect",,,,,I simply choose not to do it.

Scale Effect has three aspects to it,,,,the toning down of the colors, the blurring of the shape, and the obscuring of fine details. (shape and details are harder to see at a distance)

Since they go to great lengths to get the shapes right,,,,,,and then highlight the panel lines and fine details, and then use Scale Color,,,,,,they are fighting themselves. A truly Scale Effected RF-4B model would look just like an F-4B, F-4J, or USAF early RF-4C, unable to discern the nose shape, appearing in an overall gray color (that doesn't match the FS color), and unable to see the panel lines.

But, they pop the details out so distinctly that you can see the Photo Flash door on their RF, or the differently located Chaff/Flare door on the F-4B or F-4J. You also can see every line of the leading edge flaps.

That means that they aren't using Scale Effect,,,,,,,,,just the Scale Color part. Modelers also don't admit that any aircraft was ever clean,,,,,,,,,and we all know, with just a touch of logic, that ALL aircraft started out clean, and were cleaned before repainting,,,,,,,so a case could be made that Clean is provable, while some models are heavily weathered, without considering that some aircraft never lived long enough in a War Zone to even get dirty.

For those reasons, I build "Technical models" to illustrate what the regs called for, in the evolution of the colors in the services, and only highlight the lines on movable surfaces, with the often said "I can't see a mm" changes in the aircraft shapes and details.

I will continue to admire and compliment models built in the "artistic style",,,,,but, I won't change my method to build them myself.

** Regarding the "I can't see a mm", that is often said,,,,,,I know that I can, because I used to have to sort boards coming out of a gangsaw at a fairly high rate of speed, and put the ones 1/32 shorter than the others in a separate pile on palettes in stackers. Since 1 mm is 1/24 of an inch, I am fairly certain that if I could see that on a 30 inch board, at speed, that I can see that on 6 inch long models sitting still. For others, they say they don't need to model the difference between an A-4E and A-4C length,,,,,when to me, on my own shelves, they would stick out like a sore thumb.

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01 Apr 2016, 18:03 #3

So, here is the statement that will get me in trouble with 90% of the scale modeling community.

The statements that "the F-4E (S) conversion nose is the wrong shape", the comments that "that BF-109 is molded in a slightly wrong scale", or "their F4U-4 is not the right length",,,,,,shouldn't matter to most modelers.

"wrong shape", "wrong scale", and "too short" are things that would be done on a "Truly Scale Effected Model"

The same applies to "that panel line is in the wrong place"

I hope this explains some of my reasons for building Technical Models. And no, it is NOT the often said "you don't have the skill to build the modern way",,,,,,,pfffft, if a person can find the matches to 1968 FS 595a in Acrylics after decades of using enamels,,,he could also find all of the toned down colors based on that same standard as the starting point. It is simply a matter of choice, after 50+ years of model building. Plus the knowledge that we all are going to have to match colors to a decal sooner or later,,,,,and those are printed in 1/1 colors, as I said before.

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03 Apr 2016, 15:43 #4

FS colors of use during US Navy and USMC aircraft modeling. (this is the color palette for my own collection, I post it here for my own convenience, and if you find some useful info, that is a bonus) There will also be some USAF and FAA/RAF colors listed in the palette, for various other aircraft I have interests in. (these will be marked)

Fed Std,,,,(Munsell),,,,,,,US forces color name**,,,,,,,paint I use (note, if there is no Munsell number, but just an air force listed in the parentheses, that means I had to physically match to FS chips and/or color guide chips)

10049 (1.4YR 2.38/3.25) Maroon,,,,,
30109 (9.4R 3.8/5.5) Dull Red,,,,,
30117 (weapons) Brown,,,,,
30219 (USAF) Tan,,,,,

11136 (5.6R 3.9/10.1) Insignia Red,,,,,,
31136 (5.5R 3.9/11.7) Bright Red,,,,,
31158 (weapons) Light Red,,,,,

12197 (8.6R 5.0/12.9) International Orange,,,,,
22246 (9.9R 5.5/12.3) International Orange,,,,,

13538 (9.6YR 7.7/13.3) Orange Yellow,,,,,
33538 (9.6YR 7.8/13.4) Orange Yellow,,,,,
13594 (2.2Y 8.0/5.2) Navy Cream,,,,,
33613 USN) Radome Tan,,,,,
13655 (2.8Y 8.2/12.8) Light Yellow (ex Lemon Yellow),,,,,

14062 (USN) Dark Green,,,,
34064 (0.34GY 3.09/0.96) Dark Olive Green,,,,,
14079 (3.17GY 2.81/1.79) Presidential Olive Green,,,,,
34079 (3.5GY 3.0/1.4) Medium Green (USAF Dark Green),,,,,
14087 (6.0Y 3.0/0.9) Olive Drab,,,,,
34087 (4.7Y 3.6/2.1) Olive Drab,,,,,
34088 Olive Drab,,,,,
34095 (4.1GY 3.42/2.45) Marine Corps Green,,,,,
14097 (5.57GY 3.59/2.64) Field Green,,,,,
34097 Field Green,,,,,
34102 (USAF) Medium Green,,,,,
34108 (weapons) Dark Green,,,,,
34151 (1.1GY 4.2/3.5) Interior Green,,,,,
14187 (8.3GY 5.0/7.1) Light Green (ex Willow Green),,,,,
34424 Sky,,,,,
34449 (weapons) Light Green,,,,,

15042 (8.0B 2.8/0.8) Sea Blue,,,,,
25042 (7.7B 2.7/1.0) Sea Blue,,,,,
35042 (8.6B 2.4/1.4) Sea Blue,,,,,
15044 (6.0PB 2.6/1.6) Insignia Blue,,,,,
35044 (7.7PB 2.4/1.7) Insignia Blue,,,,,
15045 (USAF/USN) Strata Blue,,,,,
15102 (4.3PB 4.0/7.3) Light Blue (ex-True Blue),,,,,
35109 (weapons),,,,,
35164 (2.6PB 4.7/2.0) Intermediate Blue,,,,,
35189 (10B 5/4) Blue Gray (from M-485 list),,,,,
35231 (5.6PB 5.4/6.4) Azure Blue (ex Light Blue),,,,,
35237 (7.18B 5.42/1.53) Blue Gray,,,,,

16081 (1.2BG 3.8/0.2) Engine Gray (also Dark Gray),,,,,
26081 (3.2B 2.5/0.1) Seaplane Gray,,,,,
26081 (10.0G 3.7/03) Seaplane Gray,,,,,
36081 (3.12BG 3.68/0.33) Gunship Gray Dark,,,,,
36099 (8.54B 3.66/1.08) Dark Gray,,,,,
36118 (3.3PB 4.1/1.1) Dark Sea Gray (ex Sea Gray),,,,,
36231 (9.9BG 5.3/0.4) Dark Gull Gray,,,,,
36320 (1.88PB 5.98/1.73) Dark Ghost Gray,,,,,
36375 (2.31PB 6.51/1.45) Light Ghost Gray,,,,,
16376 USN) Light Gray for Yellow Wings era,,,,,
16440 (7.9Y 6.77/0.55) Light Gray,,,,,
36440 (4.2GY 7.1/0.3) Light Gull Gray,,,,,
602 (USN) Light Gray
604 (USN) Gray
16473 (8.8BG 6.9/0.6) Aircraft Gray,,,,,
36473 (4.78BG 7.67/0.87) Gull Gray (aka Coin Gray),,,,,
36493 (USN) Light Gray for Overall Gray era just before WW II,,,,,
36495 (6.31BG 7.92/0.38) Light Gray,,,,,
36622 (USAF) Camouflage Gray,,,,,

17038 (3.8Y 2.4/0.1) Black Jet (ex Gloss Black),,,,,
27038 (3.2B 2.5/0.1) Instrument Black,,,,,
37038 (2.7G 2.3/0.0) Black,,,,,
27040 (1.5PB 1.75/0.4) Instrument Black,,,,
17043 (4.2Y 4.30/5.1) Gold,,,,,
37142 (2.8RP 4.32/8.61 Magenta,,,,,
17178 (5B 7.58/0.3) Aluminum,,,,,
17178 (2.2B 8.3/0.2) Aluminum,,,,,
17875 (2.0BG 9.3/0.3) Insignia White,,,,,
37875 (8.0GY 9.4/0.2) Insignia White,,,,,
17925 (8.47GY 9.47/0.37) Insignia White,,,,,
38901 (1.46G 5.57/12.69) Fluorescent Green,,,,,
28913 (7.4R 5.3/17.3) Fluorescent Red Orange,,,,,
28915 (9R 6.49/23.0) Fluorescent Yellow Orange,,,,,

(3.4Y 5.77/4.5) Curtiss English Khaki Gray,,,,,

Light Gray from M-495 list,,,,,use 36493,,,,,

this page is still under construction, so give me some time before the "your list is wrong" deal starts up, okay??

**Names were used in Official US paint spec documents, in three different formats, in one format, they state "Insignia Red, Color number 11136" in others, such as the specs for interior colors of USN aircraft, they gave the FS number in one column of the chart, and the color name in the next column,,,,,,,and in my favorite example, the chart telling what colors to use in the USN doc that specified the trim colors for squadrons in an Air Wing,,,,,,they use Names ONLY, they didn't give the FS numbers.

Anyone that says otherwise has not read the documents.

In addition to the above color scheme colors, there were many colors used on Weapons and Equipment that will be added as I work through that info.

If you look at certain colors above, you will see that even though many believe that "x6081" and "x5042", for example, were all the same colors with different sheens, they were in fact different colors. They are usually presented in different orders than this, but, by grouping them together the same as they appeared in the FS 595A booklet, you can see that the colors did have different appearances, even though they appeared on the same line in the booklet. Note that the FS 595 and 595A colors were in use at the same time as the ANA colors of the same names,,,,proving that you should pay attention to Mr. Bell's seminars when he presents info that the ANA colors were different when many believe they were "the same with different glosses". (the "x6081" thing works just fine from 1/84 and up, that is when the GSA mixed them together)

All of my info is presented to give a history of the 1/1 colors on the real aircraft,,,,,,,,modelers should of course find colors that suit their needs, even if they vary from history a little here and there in the interest of getting a model built. (in other words "it is your model" shouldn't clash with "colors historically used" at all, one is info, the other is choice and style)

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11 Apr 2016, 21:53 #5

Some of the color schemes through the years.

the post WW II color scheme for USN aircraft was overall Glossy Sea Blue, on May 1, 1948, they were assigned the following squadron trim colors

1st Insignia Red
2nd Insignia White
3rd Light Blue
4th Light Yellow
5th Light Green
6th Black with White Border

February 23, 1955, the color scheme was changed to Light Gull Gray, with White undersides and top of horizontal control surfaces

Trim colors from March 9, 1955 (Light Gull Gray and White airframes)

1st Squadron or Unit,,,,,,Insignia Red
2nd Squadron or Unit,,,,,,Orange-Yellow
3rd Squadron or Unit,,,,,,Light Blue (note that this "Light Blue" is a different, darker color than the "Light Blue" called for in 1948, and that some squadrons that read "Light Blue" continued to use the old color, even though that color was "officially renamed" to Azure Blue)
4th Squadron or Unit,,,,,,International Orange
5th Squadron or Unit,,,,,,Light Green
6th Squadron or Unit,,,,,,Black
Composite squadron,,,,,Maroon

December 27, 1961

on this date, the color of the rudder on carrier based aircraft was changed from Light Gull Gray to White

Trim colors from July 12, 1965

1st Squadron Glossy Insignia Red
2nd Squadron Glossy Orange Yellow
3rd Squadron Glossy Light Blue
4th Squadron Glossy International Orange
5th Squadron Glossy Light Green
6th Squadron Glossy Black
7th Squadron Glossy Insignia Blue

Glossy Maroon was still used on other squadrons and detachment aircraft.

Trim colors from August 14, 1975 (after the change to all Glossy aircraft)

1st VF Insignia Red (11136)
2nd VF Orange-Yellow (13538)
1st VA Light Blue (15102)
2nd VA International Orange (12197)
3rd VA Light Green (14187)
VAW Insignia Blue (15044)
RVAH/VFP Black (17038)
VAQ Maroon (10049)
VS Dark Green (14062)
HS/HC Magenta (17142)

Joined: 03 Jan 2017, 12:56

13 Jan 2017, 23:08 #6

This is some of the best work I've seen on this subject. I've been wrestling with some agonizing reappraisal lately. It's finally dawned on me that most "modeling" reference books, websites and periodicals are hooey. They offer no real scholarship, and are created to make a fast buck. There are no real scholars trying to record most of this stuff. It's just too "esoteric" and won't make any money for anybody.

You and I and guy down the street are IT. We are scholars, if we choose to be. The responsibility falls on us. We have to find the sources, do the hard work required to carefully document our findings and then relay that information to people who might actually want to know about it. Some museums work hard at this but they're often looking at the wrong thing for the wrong reason. There are so many ways to go wrong.

Here's my favorite example. I stood on the flightline at Clark AB in The Philippines in 1983 as they repainted the F-4E's of the 3RD TFW. I saw what the colors were. Color photographs taken at the time match my recollection. But if you follow the conventional wisdom, get out your copy of the FS595 and T.O. 1-1-4, you will end up with the wrong colors. Specifically, the "dark green" will be a green color and not the historically correct dark olive drab (the same color as A.G.E. --Aerospace Ground Equipment-- at the time).

Now comes the kicker. Show one of the period photos to your local armchair expert and ask what the colors are. We see what we expect to see. No matter how much time said expert spends looking at the image, they will still insist that the dark green color is FS 34092, and they will see that color , even though the original color was closer to FS 34086.

I do not know any way to "prove" what I saw. The documentation didn't record it, so it didn't happen. In this way, history is quietly lost.

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15 Jan 2017, 17:21 #7

Dancho, I am one of the people that believe you about seeing 34086 in 1983.

I haven't done a full research on the subject, yet, mostly because I don't have the TO's from various times that I would need. A lot of people think that if they have a TO, then they have THE TO, and just like Naval colors, that simply is not true. A person needs many different years of a USAF TO to track what was "allowed" and the color variations, and intrepretations.

Here is a short list, though,,,,,,,and is the reason that a "Navair guy" has so many USAF Phantoms planned for the display.

Vietnam era

Light Gull Gray over White was first,,,,,,,,lots of photos for this.

SEA colors over White,,,,,again, some photos, but not very many. I can only conclude that getting the top camo on the Phantoms was the top priority when SEA was introduced, so that is what they did in theatre.

The SEA that everyone knows about.

The sanctioned variations that are covered in a TO that I have, with different colors plugged in the SEA pattern.

The "pea green" instead of the 30219 variation, also covered in a TO. Often called fading, but, then the jets in Vietnam and in England would have had to fade to the same color, while CONUS jets didn't,,,,,far more likely that is was a different paint instead of that. (and the pea green is in a TO)

An aircraft with Gray in the places the 30219 would be, in color, in Vietnam, with a Light Gull Gray patch on the vertical stab to cover the old tail code and a fresh White tail code painted over the Gray on the Tail. (very obviously not fading of the 30219)

Then, SEA with Black undersides.

SEA with a wraparound pattern.

Same wraparound with different colors.

And now, the variation with 34086 where we expect to see 34092, that you have mentioned.

Then there are the Euro, Hill, ADC Gray, etc, aircraft.

And just in case,,,,,,,no, it is not "photograph color shifting", unless one believes that one color on an SEA aircraft can fade in a photo while the other two colors didn't,,,,,,,highly unlikely.

So, painting a Phantom and "getting it right" is just simply not as easy as getting ONE TO, and following the SEA pattern and using those FS colors. That works for "on spec modeling", but, not when trying to build a model based on an actual color photograph.

Edit: Beside all of the above, modeling the variations is where the fun is, just like finding "wrong trimmed" real life Navair subjects to model.