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Dakimbrell

ACCUARCY, CRAFTSMANSHIP, AND AESTHETICS

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When we painted our M60A3TTS tanks, we often mixed different colors of paint to make it last. It never seemed like we had enough of the brown paint. So sometimes we'd pour some tan or black into the brown to make it last. While all tanks got the same base coat of forest green, the brown would then vary from an earth or baseball mitt leather brown to a kind of olive brown.

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And to think we wear ourselves out trying to match an "accurate color chip" on our computer screens when no two screens will produce identical colors.  Got an actual color chip?  Then we have to determine how long it's been exposed to the sun...or artificial light...or out of the light...or.....   The bottom line is that no one...not even the experts...can tell you anything beyond what the color is supposed to be.  The reality, Robin, is your situation and thousands more like it.  The best any of us can do is get as close as possible and leave it at that,. 

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2 hours ago, ipmsusa2 said:

And to think we wear ourselves out trying to match an "accurate color chip

Maybe you did, but I haven't worried about the exact color since 1976. Even though the Haze Grey was manufactured in a modern plant under peace time conditions, we still mixed the cans of paint to ensure consistency. Anyone that thinks there is an exact shade of paint beyond a color chip, is living in a cloudy cookoo land. The true check of a beginner is the "What is the best shade of...."question.

The smaller something is, the darker the same shade of paint will look on it. I always find it a bit silly when a friend uses a real car paint on his model.

Dak

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David, "we" was intended as a generic inclusive term.  Each person has their own standard, as it should be.  Unless I have a client who obsesses over a specific color or tone...and I had a Star Trek fanatic who did..."good enough for government work" is close enough.  I have stated many times in columns, articles and print books that we as modelbuilders build representations, not replicas.  It would be impossible to do otherwise due to reduced scale, manufacturing limitations, etc.  The object, if we're honest with ourselves, is to create a finished model that looks like the real thing as much as possible.  This applies to both standalone models and dioramas/vignettes.

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3 hours ago, ipmsusa2 said:

The object, if we're honest with ourselves, is to create a finished model that looks like the real thing as much as possible.  This applies to both standalone models and dioramas/vignettes

I basically have said this numerous times, but immediately get told we don't judge any of this, which is nonsense. Which is why I started this string in an effort to get people to discuss what elements are important and why. Tor example, accuracy and authenticity imply slightly different things.

That you have a client that wants something a particular color is not an issue here...perhaps not even relevant. That is a whole different ball game from doing a model for a contest. Instead of satisfying one person, your are trying to satisfy several who all have a different opinion.

First, there is yourself...what color looks correct to you. Then there are the judges who may disagree and those that are sticklers for that mythical perfect color. And everyone may be wrong anyway. Hinze the wisdom of not judging shade of color.

But that does not mean some things are not simply wrong.

Dak

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1 hour ago, Dakimbrell said:

But that does not mean some things are not simply wrong.

Agreed.  And I would suggest that sloppy construction would be at the head of the list.  Just because someone produced a fabulous model or diorama, that doesn't mean it should get a pass for glaringly open seams, glue smears on a canopy or window or a thumbprint in the paint.  O.K., I'm being somewhat facetious, but you get my point.  At the opposite end of the spear would be those details that are kinda, maybe, probably wrong but that fall into the artistic license category.  For example, a tow chain that's just a tad too, big or small for a tank or truck.    

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And for out desert tan tanks, in the motor pool, the sun faded the top surfaces and any side surfaces that got direct sunlight. The side that was shielded by another tank or faced away from the sun looked very yellow compared to the sun faded bleached look of the upper surfaces. One tank, one paint scheme, two different shades.

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or an automobile that couldn't be driven because the steering wheel rests on the front seat cushion. or chopped so much the driver would never be able to get into the car.

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On 10/17/2019 at 2:09 PM, Dakimbrell said:

 

The smaller something is, the darker the same shade of paint will look on it. I always find it a bit silly when a friend uses a real car paint on his model.

Dak

Really?  I've been using real car paint for 30 years.  Not because it is "the right color" but because it is much cheaper and easier to work with.  I have a quart of DuPont acrylic lacquer clearcoat that I have had all this time and it is still good.  It is just getting harder to find the real deal lacquer thinner to thin it with.  Last gallon of PPG thinner that I bought cost me $85 and I had to go to Arizona to get it, but it is still cheaper, per ounce, than those silly little bottles of "model" paint you buy in the hobby store. 

Edited by PeteJ

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Ah, yes, those were the days.  I used to be able to get DuPont Lacquer in 1/2 pint cans, custom mixed to chips I brought in at my local DuPont paint store.  Paint was $3 or $4 bucks or less and the thinner was around $7 a gallon.  Painted a lot of models, particularly helicopters for Bell, that way.  Then Bell started supplying the real two part urethane out of 55 gallon drums.....

Now it's becoming a snipe hunt to find enamel model paint.  And expensive, too.

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23 hours ago, PeteJ said:

Really?  I've been using real car paint for 30 years.

I was not criticizing the use of real automotive paint. I was criticizing the idea that the real color is the correct shade for a smaller model. If you are trying to make the model look realistic, the color should be lighter the smaller the model. If you put the real thing and the finished model together under the same light, most will say the model is a darker shade of paint. So yes, I find it silly to use the real automotive paint straight out of the can to achieve a visually authentic look.

Dak

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For all practical purposes, it really doesn't matter that real autmotive paint or real aircraft paint is a slightly darker tone on a smaller scale model.  UNLESS you're promoting your finished model as having a visually authentic appearance.  When I was using real two part urethane out of 55 gallon drums straight from the Bell paint shop on 32nd scale models, the slightly darker tone...if it was enough to even notice...didn't matter to anyone.  The only thing that DID matter is that  the model looked like the subject in question, NOT whether the paint was two shades or maybe three shades too dark.

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1 hour ago, ipmsusa2 said:

For all practical purposes, it really doesn't matter that real autmotive paint or real aircraft paint is a slightly darker tone on a smaller scale model.

I would disagree. Far too often colors look too dark to be correct. At Chattanooga, I judged a Panzer IV that was almost black looking. Of course, we don't judge the color, but shade has a definite visual effect, and when it comes down to the final points, not looking "right" can cost you a first place, or bump you to fourth place. Noting that the paint used on a model is the real color is wasted on me as a judge leaving me unimpressed.

But an exact shade of paint is absurd. There are simply too many variables.

Dak

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David, you and I are on the same page but stating it differently.  Note that I said "slightly' darker tone.  I fully agree that colors can be too dark to look "right".  As you are certainly aware, any given 'real' paint will look progressively darker the smaller the scale becomes.  A shade that is acceptable on a 24th scale aircraft or tank would be impossibly dark on a144th scale version of the same aircraft or tank.

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When painting modern US armor, I just go for "what looks right". The only time the tanks look the same is when they are fresh from the paint booth.

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On 10/18/2019 at 4:57 PM, tomqvaxy said:

or an automobile that couldn't be driven because the steering wheel rests on the front seat cushion. or chopped so much the driver would never be able to get into the car.

Yes, I have noticed this on several models over the years.

Dak

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My pet peeve are tanks and figures in a diorama that were apparently “beamed in”, because there are no tracks in the snow/mud  to show how they got there.... or the aircraft on the grass at the edge of the taxiway - apparently not even the wheels of a 10,000 pound aircraft can flatten that tough grass!

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11 minutes ago, rcboater said:

My pet peeve are tanks and figures in a diorama that were apparently “beamed in”, because there are no tracks in the snow/mud  to show how they got there.... or the aircraft on the grass at the edge of the taxiway - apparently not even the wheels of a 10,000 pound aircraft can flatten that tough grass!

That's one of mine, also. But I have pictures of tanks in North Africa where the tracks are clearly not sinking into the soil. However, they are making some tracks on the surface.

Dak

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Interesting views on this thread, including Dak's tongue in cheek mis spelling of accuracy in the title.

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I also find this an interesting discussion about the shade of paint.  Considering that most of what we model is kept outdoors, I honestly doubt that "scale effect" is really the culprit, although I won't suggest it doesn't existence.  Having spend many years on a flight line, paint fades with exposure to sun and weather.  In a row of aircraft, each painted the the same FS code, you can easily spot the newer painted aircraft in any color.  You could also see where repairs had been made by the splotches of dark paint.  Often hatches were cannibalized from other aircraft and they would stand out as differant shades.   This was especially true of the birds in Vietnam.  They got pretty beaten up.  The only time they looked "correct" was straight out of the paint shop and then only for a month or so, until the sun did it's work.  Even the grays painted on the tankers  and some of the naval aircraft had amazingly different shades.   

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10 hours ago, PeteJ said:

Considering that most of what we model is kept outdoors, I honestly doubt that "scale effect" is really the culprit, although I won't suggest it doesn't existence.

The effect is not based on the light source. It is a well noted effect cited in numerous books such as he Kookaburra Luftwaffe Painting Guide on page 5..."the camouflage colors should not be strictly as laid down in any RLM color charts, but should be a few shades lighter if one is to achieve any sort of realism."

The method we use to apply decals....a clear gloss, the decal, a clear gloss and then a clear flat also sharpens and brightens the colors. This is a method similar to that of the 17th century Dutch Masters like Rembrandt and van Dyke. Everything old is new again.

I also saw an F-4 Phantom with the rescue arrow painted off register...just like a few decal sheets I have seen.

Dak

Edited by Dakimbrell

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7 hours ago, Dakimbrell said:

…  a well noted effect cited in numerous books ...

is there a single "101 paint theory" book you could recommend? after reading through this thread, it articulates my concern(s) that a substantial amount of my finished models look too dark.

initially, I thought it was the level of 'flat-ness' in my paint choice. after painting a couple of models with a base coat (over primer), and gaining reinforcement here, I realize there was no consideration given to scale implications. I must learn how to compensate & "go lighter" with my color selections.

thanks

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Let's see, Tom, this is strictly from my personal personal perspective and everyone else may have a different experience.  I've been writing how to articles, books and ebooks...along with kit reviews and client buildup commissions...for several decades (whew!) and I've never really been concerned with the "go lighter" question.  Most of the time I've used FS colors out of the manufacturer's bottle...generally Pactra Scale Flats, Model Master, Floquil, etc.  Sometime I mixed the needed color, usually by eyeball.  Bottom line is that my goal was to produce something that simply looked 'right' and left it at that.  Apparently I've done something right because I've never been accused of my models being too dark or most clients being dissatisfied with my work.  But, today everyone seems to be concerned about one or two drops too much or too little to any given color when that one drop difference is next to impossible to be seen.

Of course, there are situations...and Dak has discussed this...when the situation is exactly as described in this thread.  Whether or not this applies to you, I can't say.  What it all comes down to is whether or not you're happy with what you build...unless you build for contests and have a burning desire to be better than anyone else on the planet.  THEN the question of scale effect, "go lighter", etc, will be of extreme importance.

Just my seven cents worth, adjusted for inflation and experience.

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This is why we don't judge the shade or color of paint at most contests.

However, the shade of paint does effect the opinions the viewer. Those final moments of the judges trying to decide which will be the last three models and which will be first or second, etc, everything comes into play.

I use to use Model Master paint straight out of the bottle, but now I do a 50-50 mix of flat white and RAF Middlestone to get the Panzer Yellow I like. I prefer a bluish tint to my Panzer Grey, even though evidence shows it has a brown tint.

As far as I know, there is no exact scaling of paint chart. When it comes down to it, people see colors differently...at least they seem to....so the best you can do is try to find a shade you like and hope it works for others. However, on very dark colors like black, Panzer Grey, etc, I would recommend lighting the color a bit regardless of scale. Tires should always be done in dark grey, not black.

Dak

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i'm kind of "on" to the black & white thing:  very seldom use either unless it's for a garnish. until I get more laps around the track, i'm relegating myself to Vallejo with heavy dependence on Model Air and only using up the Model Colors I bought before getting familiar with my airbrush (summer exercise). I don't mind having to brush a second coat if the MA doesn't cover completely first time around.

I think the 80/ 20 rule is applicable here. the more research I can do, the more confidence will build in application, and then the fewer tools I will need. right now, I think the water-wings of a textbook would help bolster that goal.

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