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Airliner colors

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  • Member since
    December, 2002
Airliner colors
Posted by 7474 on Saturday, November 17, 2012 12:20 PM

Is there a guide on how to mix paints to achieve various airliner colors? I like using acrylics so this is what I'd prefer. Really bad to paint a model only to have the colors not match the decal colors. Mostly I'm interested in Cathay Pacific green for the engine nacelles and if there is a Fuscia paint, but I build a lot of airliners.

  • Member since
    November, 2009
Posted by artworks2 on Saturday, November 17, 2012 12:46 PM


      There are several paint systems which airlines use but the one I know best is the Pantone system of mixing. Most paint shops have what is known as a mixing bank. To mix or match one must follow a system of how your particular color is mixed. Starting at White then adding colors in drop ammounts until the desired color is achieved. Unless model masters has pre mixed bottles mixing a custom is an option. I mix all my own if I cant find them, In water based Acrylic paints it's easier than Enamels it is a science to say the least. Hope this helps.

You can also refer to the PMS color charts via Google. PPG is alittle out of scope for the average modelers use. Good luck 

  • Member since
    September, 2009
  • From: Frisco, TX
Posted by B17Pilot on Wednesday, November 28, 2012 9:04 AM

XtraColor has a whole line of modern airliner colors.  They're not acrylics, but they're premixed and even named to a specific airline.  I.E. Southwest Canyon Blue, KLM Blue, QANTAS Red. Haven't looked for Cathy Pacific, but the color should be available.


  • Member since
    November, 2009
  • From: Twin Cities of Minnesota
Posted by Don Stauffer on Wednesday, November 28, 2012 9:17 AM

One thing I have done to try to match paint colors to decals is a bit involved, but I find it a help.  I scan the decal, and paint a piece of plastic with the paint I have mixed. I put both samples into the scanner to get them both in the same scan.

I then scan the samples, and look at the scan file with my photo editing software.  Most of the software (Photoshop, Elements, Paint Shop Pro, etc) will allow you to sample a color (eye dropper function) and will give you a measurement of the color in terms of red, green, and blue, or in terms of saturation and hue.  You can then see how close you are and which direction to go.  

To use this info, you need a bit of knowledge of color theory, but if you are mixing paint you should brush up on that anyway.  Check out a library book on painting- most of those books go into the theory of color and paint mixing.  And, stop at an art store and pick up a color wheel or color chart- they are not that expensive.

Don Stauffer in Minnesota

  • Member since
    January, 2007
Posted by mocha2168 on Thursday, May 25, 2017 12:06 PM


Hope all is well.  Hoping you have come across an update.  There was current website about a year ago where you can 'scan' an airliner's photo and it would match the color of commercially available paint.  The website is no longer available.  Have you come across a similar site out there?  I agree with your approach above using photoshop. I just need a program where I can enter the RBG values that will match to an available paint color.




  • Member since
    June, 2014
  • From: New Braunfels , Texas
Posted by Tanker - Builder on Thursday, May 25, 2017 12:43 PM


 I am not really sure on this . I think Cathay Pacific Green is very close to Modelmaster Beret Green ! T.B.


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