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Scale colors, if there is such a thing

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  • Member since
    August 2019
  • From: Central Oregon
Scale colors, if there is such a thing
Posted by HooYah Deep Sea on Friday, February 12, 2021 10:54 AM

I've heard that when building small scale items, grays and darker colors should be lightened slightly otherwise they appear too dark on the final product- true or false?

Or do I have that backwards?

"Why do I do this? Because the money's good, the scenery changes and they let me use explosives, okay?"

  • Member since
    September 2012
Posted by GMorrison on Friday, February 12, 2021 11:08 AM

You have it right. A drop of white usually does it.

A classic example is black. There are scale black paints straight out of the bottle. 

Bill

 Modeling is an excuse to buy books.

 

  • Member since
    December 2002
  • From: Fort Knox
Posted by Rob Gronovius on Friday, February 12, 2021 11:16 AM

Way back in 1989, when we first fielded the M1A1 Abrams, I had made a bunch of pseudo-M1A1 tanks out of Tamiya and Esci M1 kits. I tried to match the brown of the actual tank to some brown paint (before we had a NATO brown available). I took a loose chip.

It seemed too dark, almost a dark chocolate compare to the lighter brown of the actual tank when painted on a 1/35 tank.

  • Member since
    August 2019
  • From: Central Oregon
Posted by HooYah Deep Sea on Friday, February 12, 2021 11:27 AM

Thank you Bill, I though that sounded correct after a dicussion with a friend about the dark sea blue used on WW2 battleships. My issue today is finding a best option for my dive boat. Since I'm still in the rattle can crowd, locating the right satin gray for modern haze gray can get pricey. The boat is large enough (1/35) that the fine textured satin black works well for anti-foul bottom paint, but finding a decent haze gray is a nuisance.

Testors semi-gloss primer is a possibility, but the cap color appears too dark. I'm open to suggestions.

"Why do I do this? Because the money's good, the scenery changes and they let me use explosives, okay?"

  • Member since
    September 2012
Posted by GMorrison on Friday, February 12, 2021 11:48 AM

See what you think of Light Ghost Gray.

 

Bill

 Modeling is an excuse to buy books.

 

  • Member since
    September 2006
  • From: Bethlehem PA
Posted by the Baron on Friday, February 12, 2021 11:51 AM

HooYah Deep Sea

I've heard that when building small scale items, grays and darker colors should be lightened slightly otherwise they appear too dark on the final product- true or false?

Yeah, there is definitely a scale effect, and yes, colors can look too dark on a scale model.

Basically, it's accounting for the effect of diffusing light over distance, that we see in nature.  Look at objects outside, and study how things look in the distance, compared to closer up.  Think of standing on a hill, looking out over several ridges or hills going off in the distance.  The colors of the objects closer to you will be "brighter", truer, than the colors of objects farther away.  That's because there's more diffusion, more scattered light, the farther you go.

The distance of someone looking at your model is equivalent to the distance of someone standing tens of feet or more away (I say "tens" because for a 1/48 scale model on a table at a show, it's as if you're standing about 40' away).

So you can adjust your colors, to account for that, and the object will look more natural to the viewer.

I don't do it much, myself, apart from using Tamiya NATO Black for black in small scale, 1/48 or 1/72, for objects made of rubber.

The bigger the government, the smaller the citizen.

 

 

  • Member since
    November 2009
  • From: Twin Cities of Minnesota
Posted by Don Stauffer on Friday, February 12, 2021 1:08 PM

While theoretically this is true, quantitatively it has little effect on most scales.  We normally view a model at about eighteen inches if we are free to get that close.  This is about one and a half feet.  There is what is known as a scale viewing distance.  This found by multiplying 1.5 times the divisor of the scale.  For a 1:24 car, this would be about thirty six feet.  It would have to be pretty foggy to lighten the color of the car much.  In fact, such a fog would often smear the detail too, but no one softens the detail on a model to simulate scale effect.  Even for 1:72 scale, the scale viewing distance is about a hundred ten feet.  Still not much color shift for that distance.  For 1:144, it is about twice that, so you can get some scale effect for that.

Now, ships are something else.  For 350th scale this distance is 500 feet, so even on a somewhat hazy day you could see some color shift  and for 700 scale we are talking about maybe a quarter mile- definitetly some effect at that distance on normal days.

However, there is an even bigger effect due to sunlight.  The amount of ultraviolet in normal sunlight is enough to start bleaching the color out of most paints even after as short a time as a month or two.  By the 70s people had created anti-bleaching paints in volume, so the effect is much less for modern vehicles.

BTW, if you are interested in more detail on the atmospheric effects, the bible is Middleton's book, Vision Through the Atmosphere.

 

Don Stauffer in Minnesota

  • Member since
    July 2004
  • From: Sonora Desert
Posted by stikpusher on Friday, February 12, 2021 2:34 PM

Don Stauffer

  By the 70s people had created anti-bleaching paints in volume, so the effect is much less for modern vehicles.

 
With the notable exception of MERDC paints used from the late seventies at least thru the mid 80's on US military ground vehicles. Those paints were well known for bleaching, fading, color shift. etc..

 

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  • Member since
    April 2006
  • From: ON, Canada
Posted by jgeratic on Saturday, February 13, 2021 9:53 AM

There are two branches of scale effect. 

One is the shift of colour to a greyer and lighter version of the actual colour due to viewing distance - think of landscape paintings.  The distances involved are over many miles, and really should not be considered a factor for scalemodelers - well maybe shipbuilders...

The other is more a colour adjustment for smaller models.  Smaller surfaces reflect less light, resulting in a perception that the colour appears darker than actual.  The solution for some is to slightly lighten their paint.   Both Real Colors and some of the MiG brand take this into consideration with their paint formulas.   The defunct Aeromaster paints (Warbird Colors) also did this.

One problem is decal manufacturers print their inks at 1:1 scale.   So if you use lighter paints, decal colours might look like they are poping off the model.   Then again, some people like that effect.

 

regards,

Jack

  • Member since
    October 2004
  • From: Orlando, Florida
Posted by ikar01 on Sunday, February 14, 2021 7:33 PM

What aboiut a very light dusting of the basic color the decal is sitting on?

This could get dicey and you might only get one shot at it that might ruin your decal.

Marking stencils might help.

Just taking a guess on these.

  • Member since
    April 2006
  • From: ON, Canada
Posted by jgeratic on Sunday, February 14, 2021 10:06 PM

Yes, that is an option to spray a very diluted paint overall to slowly tone things down.   Usually a buff or light grey paint is utilized in this way.

 

regards,

Jack

  • Member since
    September 2012
Posted by GMorrison on Monday, February 15, 2021 10:43 AM

I painted the 1/542 Grumman F9F's on my Midway using Blue Angel Blue. It looks much better at that scale than out-of-the-bottle Dark Sea Blue.

 Modeling is an excuse to buy books.

 

  • Member since
    November 2009
  • From: Twin Cities of Minnesota
Posted by Don Stauffer on Monday, February 15, 2021 12:23 PM

ikar01

What aboiut a very light dusting of the basic color the decal is sitting on?

This could get dicey and you might only get one shot at it that might ruin your decal.

Marking stencils might help.

Just taking a guess on these.

 

 

I often do this. It gives a very nice effect, simulating chalking of the insignia/markings as well as the chalking of the paint.

 

Don Stauffer in Minnesota

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