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Scale color thoery

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  • Member since
    November, 2005
Scale color thoery
Posted by Anonymous on Sunday, February 09, 2003 4:51 PM
Wondering if anyone has insight into scale color for 1:48 aircraft...I have seen indications to add anywhere from 10% to 25% flat white to paint to acheive the desired color effects. Anyone have a favorite ratio for this?
  • Member since
    December, 2002
  • From: USA
Posted by weebles on Sunday, February 09, 2003 5:04 PM
It depends. My understanding of the model paints on the market is that they are already scaled down. However this doesn't account for fading due to weather, age, etc. I believe the ratio you mention would apply to paints that are based on the actual paint, or are the actual paint from the subject piece.

What I usually do is make sure I have a good reference photo. Then I'll take the paint color that is supposed to be the correct color and by using a dropper or pipette (sp) start making some samples. I'll make tests with 5, 10,15,20 drops of white paint, let it dry, and then see which is the closest. At the most I may have gone as high as 10%, but I would be surprised if I've gone higher than that. I would say in most cases it is much less than 10% or even 5%. Be sure to keep notes so that you can match the color again.

Another technique is to lighten the base color significantly and paint hilights on the subject piece. The idea is to give the model the effect of sunlight reflecting off the surfaces. In this case you would probably be at 10% or higher. Find some good reading material on the subject before you take it on.

Hope that helps.
Dave
  • Member since
    December, 2002
  • From: USA
Posted by jcarlberg on Monday, February 10, 2003 11:18 AM
The now discontinued Aeromaster line of paints was lightened to give appropriate scale effect in 1/48 scale. I usually don't much worry about scale effect unless the paint available doesn't match reference photos, and then I may adjust the tone or value to get a better match. The whole area of the use of period color photos as references is a bit of a minefield, as the same color may appear different under different lighting conditions and the color of old photographs is very prone to fading and distortion, especially if not protected from sunlight. All you can do is make a choice using the best information at your command.
  • Member since
    July, 2013
  • From: Chicago area
Posted by modelmaker66 on Wednesday, September 18, 2019 4:33 PM

Scale color needs to be used so the viewer has the sense of ralism from about 4 feet away from the kit. Keep that in mind when painting.

  • Member since
    November, 2009
  • From: Twin Cities of Minnesota
Posted by Don Stauffer on Saturday, September 21, 2019 7:11 AM

modelmaker66

Scale color needs to be used so the viewer has the sense of ralism from about 4 feet away from the kit. Keep that in mind when painting.

 

Indeed, for a 1:48 scale model, that would be about 200 feet away.  You will not find much color change at that distance. It would take such a foggy day that details would be blurred also.  I only gray up my models for 1:350 scale or smaller.

There is a book (old, technical) that is hard to find but you may find a copy at college libraries- Middleton's Vision Through the Atmosphere.  It is the bible on effects of range on color on a distant object.

 

Don Stauffer in Minnesota

  • Member since
    August, 2005
  • From: Mansfield, TX
Posted by EdGrune on Saturday, September 21, 2019 8:20 AM

Anonymous
Wondering if anyone has insight into scale color for 1:48 aircraft...I have seen indications to add anywhere from 10% to 25% flat white to paint to acheive the desired color effects. Anyone have a favorite ratio for this?

Don't use white.   Rather use a neutral gray.   Objects at a distance may appear lighter, but they are actually grayer.   

Using pure white to lighten your colors, you may end up with a pink affect opposed to red.

There used to be an excellent monograph on color theory on the Nautical Resarch Guild's website which discussed paints, pigments, and scale effect.   The conclusion presented was to go with gray.   This application was not just for small scale ship subjects, rather applicable to 1:96 (1/8 to foot scale) and larger as well.

  • Member since
    May, 2011
  • From: Honolulu, Hawaii
Posted by Real G on Saturday, September 21, 2019 12:19 PM

The Old Skool rule of thumb was half the scale equaled the percentage of white added.  For example, a 1/48 model would need a full scale color lightened by adding 48/2=24% white.  This rule goes awry at the smaller scales though (a 1/144 model would need 72% white).  Your mileage may differ.  Use with discretion.

Another rule I have found that works is to use something like Panzer yellow to lighten greens.  White makes greens look chalky, while yellow gives it life.  Reds are tricky as they tend to look chalky pink when lightened.  I’ve seen people use a white base and yellows and oranges to pre-shade, followed by red.

A friend recently built a Sherman using an off the shelf OD, but when he put the model on a real M4, it looked almost black.  So scale color is a valid concept.

  • Member since
    September, 2012
Posted by GMorrison on Saturday, September 21, 2019 1:15 PM

Another zombie thread. that's four in a week.

Ed is correct, in fact layers of highly dilute gray over the color work well.

I find that 1/350 USN aircraft look better to me in Blue Angel Blue than actual Dark Sea Blue.

  • Member since
    April, 2003
  • From: USA
Posted by keavdog on Saturday, September 21, 2019 2:20 PM

Modelmaker66 digging through the archives.  Good stuff coming up though.

Thanks,

John

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