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painting an aircraft black
Topic Started: Feb 11 2018, 08:24 PM (191 Views)
Paintbrush
Filler and Sander
Hi all, I have a strange question to ask...

How do you paint an aircraft all black? The advice from my local model shop is that I should paint the model a lighter shade of black, though they didn't know why!!!

If anybody can enlighten me I would be grateful.

Thank you for your help.

Paintbrush.
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mac1677
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Lt Mac 'Shocker' McSheffrey
Hi mate,
I think it has something to do with the "scale effect", however I paint my black aircraft Revell 9 Anthracite as I think it looks better than matt black.

Here is a picture of two of my kits, the Spitfire is matt black, the 109 is Anthracite:
Posted Image

But TBH, just go with what you feel is right, after all it is your kit to build however you want :grin:
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Mark M
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Hawk T1
Use anthracite or tamiya NATO black (my preferred choice)
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Nikon User
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"BEAVER"
I've seen the scale effect on models that others have built, and it looks good. The only black aircraft I've made was a 1/72 100 Squadron RAF Hawk, which was very black, and I used a car paint aerosol with a Klear coat on top.

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Olde Farte
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Lt. Derek 'Smurfy' Reeve
I personally think scale effect is a waste of time and energy. I would just paint it black and varnish with your favourite semi-gloss mix, that alone will tone it down.
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Paintbrush
Filler and Sander
Thank you all for the advice. It does really help me. :grin:

Paintbrush
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Simon G
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heavy weatherer
At the risk of getting shot down in flames . . . . .

Scale effect is to try to replicate the fact that the further away something is from you the less dense and intense the colour (something to do with impurities in air that block/reflect light on its journey from the object to your eye, the further away the more air there is and hence the greater the effect).

The best way to illustrate this is when out doors look at a hill in the distance, the trees on that hill will look distinctly grey compared to the ones close to you that you are looking past.

When looking at a 1/72 scale model you need to trick your eye into thinking there is 72 times as much air between you and the subject, scale effect is the toning down (or greying) of the colours to create this effect so that your model looks the same as a real subject would when viewed so that it appears the same physical size. (Not sure I have explained that particularly well? . . )

Black is by its nature most effected, I add a few drops of white to make it a very dark grey, since I spray that allows me to use a lightened version of this grey and pure black to break up the colour and create some tonal variations.

I appreciate its all a matter of style so I would recommend you experiment a little to see what you like the look of on the finished model.

I have to second Marks suggestion of Tamiya NATO black, my go to colour for propellor blades and the like.

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Olde Farte
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Lt. Derek 'Smurfy' Reeve
I know I've really opened a can of worms here.

The trees in the distance are the same colour as the close ones, the colour is in the eye of the beholder and nothing to do with the new phenomenon called 'scale colour'. Two or more people can look at the same distant object and see different colours. Age can play a big, big part in perceiving colour so what I see at 76 will be very different to what a 17 year old can see under the same conditions and varying greatly in-between according to age. Weather plays it's part with sunny days making colours brighter and dull grey days making colours duller so was the sun shining when you viewed your full size object or was it cloudy? Was it sunny or cloudy when you painted your model? all these factors must be taken into account but it is impossible so just paint what the true colour is and you can never be wrong. If you see something in the sun and paint it the same colour when it's cloudy what then, is it wrong?

Don't forget also that the simple fact of varnishing can tone down colours so I never use matt colours but my final varnish is always semi-gloss and simply weathering. So taking a 'scale effect' colour then varnishing will make it totally wrong to some people, I rest my case.
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DevilFish
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LCDR Paul "Voodoo" Carter
I tend to find that by the time I've painted an aircraft black, then gloss lacquered it, applied decals, matt lacquered it, it usually ends up something that's no longer black anyway...
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Olde Farte
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Lt. Derek 'Smurfy' Reeve
DevilFish
Feb 13 2018, 11:17 AM
I tend to find that by the time I've painted an aircraft black, then gloss lacquered it, applied decals, matt lacquered it, it usually ends up something that's no longer black anyway...
Exactly.
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Simon G
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heavy weatherer
Del, perhaps I didn't explain very well, or I'm not understanding you?

When painting a model we are doing in three dimensions what an artist might do in two, we are forcing a perspective and 'full size' colours may look a bit bold, especially black and (oddly) white. If a landscape picture is painted using the same green for distant trees as those in the foreground it will look odd as there will be a lack of depth perspective. (Google landscape paintings and see what I mean).

It is for this same reason that some like to 'tone down' decals on a model, the colours printed look great on the sheet but somehow jump out as a bit vivid once applied.

This of course leads on to a discussion on the accuracy of model paint colours . . . . Not very would be my view.

I would argue that scale colour isn't a new phenomenon, it's actually been around since light was invented. I'm not sure my colour perception has changed with age or that I am seeing different colours to other people, how would that be demonstrated? . . . ability to focus on the other hand , well that's changed!!

If you are telling me that the colours you see on a distant horizon appear just as vivid and bright as the ones in your back garden then you have very different eyes to me. :grin:
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DevilFish
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LCDR Paul "Voodoo" Carter
Whereas I agree with you Simon, about depth perception on a landscape, with a model, we are looking at an item in a fixed area. Also, each person looks at it from a different place, distance height etc.

Saying that a model has had the colours toned down so it looks like it's further away, only works for the person stood at the distance you have toned it to. Any closer or further away and it isn't "scale correct" anymore.

Personally I prefer to find colours that I am happy represent what I have seen, either in real life, or on photos. TBH, tonal variations on the real thing, make "scale colour" pretty impossible anyway.

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Olde Farte
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Lt. Derek 'Smurfy' Reeve
Simon G
Feb 13 2018, 11:47 AM


If you are telling me that the colours you see on a distant horizon appear just as vivid and bright as the ones in your back garden then you have very different eyes to me. :grin:
Not vivid and bright and not words I used Simon just that they are the same colour and are perceived differently by different people. My perception of colour will be different to yours and would be different again if seen under different lighting. Look at a flower in your garden then bring it indoors draw the curtains and switch the light on, are they the same, I think not, just perception of colour by an individual. Should explain all.

Try looking at a black car 48 feet away for 1/48th scale is it black or grey? then do it in sun and cloud, is it still black well of course it is.

You state that your colour perception hasn't changed with age, if it hasn't then you must be alone in this, I only found out what I was missing after my cataracts were done.

Do you wear glasses? are they tinted? do you work under LED or natural lights? all have a big bearing on colour.

I do agree with Paul's last sentence.
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DevilFish
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LCDR Paul "Voodoo" Carter
Olde Farte
Feb 13 2018, 12:23 PM


I do agree with Paul's last sentence.
:yipee Yay! somebody agrees with me! (even if only in part!) I'm happy now..... :yipee
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Olde Farte
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Lt. Derek 'Smurfy' Reeve
DevilFish
Feb 13 2018, 12:40 PM
Olde Farte
Feb 13 2018, 12:23 PM


I do agree with Paul's last sentence.
:yipee Yay! somebody agrees with me! (even if only in part!) I'm happy now..... :yipee
:rolf :rolf :rolf
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