Vietnam Colors: Modelmaster is Way Off

I worked as an USAF mechanic around F-4E's at Clark AB in the early
eighties. Prior to that I saw PLENTY of the Vietnam type 4-color
schemes at Hill AFB. I hadn't built a model with this scheme in years,
but I just assumed that I could go to the hobby shop and get the MM
paints and they would match. I mean, if they can get RLM 83
right--what's so tough about the most publicized paint job in history??
Apparently A LOT! The colors are way off! Way too light and not red
enough. I mixed some "home brew" versions that more-or-less match what
I remember (I have a good eye for color, even if I do say so myself!).
So what's going on? Is some other type of paint a better match? Has the
US DOD changed the specs and thrown us all a curve-ball? I'm very
puzzled. I did some Google-ing and sure-enough, a lot of the Vietnam
era models I found on-line were painted in the wrong shades. Too light.
Not red enough.
Very odd. Does anybody recommend a brand that is a better match? Can
anybody explain the disparity (my vocabulary word today)?
Or is my memory shot and I'm living in Cloud Coo-Coo Land? By the say,
does anybody have a source for a profile (3-view's better) of a Cloud
Coo-Coo Land AF Hawker Hunter circa 1967?
Reply to
dancho
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Have you checked you memory (and the paints) against a Fed Std color Fan Deck?
Could also be that the jets you worked on were painted other than "spec".
Reply to
Rufus
don't forget the sun. the rain... just how long did the paint keep its color out of the can color before it started to fade? lots and lots of earlier threads about how there is no real accurate OD because of the weather, etc....
Craig
Reply to
crw59
I forgot to mention that these are the Acryl paints, not the enamels.
Reply to
dancho
I've always used Humbrols for this scheme myself. I have no idea if theirs are the more accurate tones.
Bill Banaszak, MFE Sr.
Reply to
Mad-Modeller
In my experience the 1:1 stuff is not a good source for accurate colors or markings,
Jack G.
Reply to
Jack G
When I was in the Navy the Haze Grey we used to get never seemed to be the same shade from five gallon can to five gallon can even with the same FS number & even the same lot number. When we had to repaint a large area we used to have to mix several cans to be sure of having a uniform color... Add to that the gunner's mates and torpedomen's tendency to add a quart of varnish to a five gallon can to paint the gun mounts and Mk 32 tubes; made the paint job last longer and the effect was a gloss, you can see there was quite a variation of shades. Memory can play tricks on you after thirty years but the potential for slightly different shades is there.
Good luck
Bob
Reply to
Bob B
The only way to check the accuracy of the colors is to compare the military color to the model paint using the Pantone matching system. The military uses the Pantone system for their FS colors so that all their paint suppliers produce the exact same colors. Whether or not the model paint companies use the Pantone system is another question.
Reply to
willshak
...accurate SPEC colors and markings - the 1:1 stuff is ALWAYS right.
Reply to
Rufus
...all you need do is look at a Navy jet that has been corrosion controlled to know the tradition continues.
Reply to
Rufus
Dunno if that's true or not...most likely not. The Pantone color system is prevalent for presswork, but I know that we paint our jets in accordance with FS595 and spec those colors for production.
What happens at Depot or in the Fleet is another matter.
Reply to
Rufus
in article N6-dnb4kLYGdypnanZ2dnUVZ snipped-for-privacy@comcast.com, dancho at snipped-for-privacy@yahoo.com wrote on 10/3/07 10:59 PM:
Simon: I think you may well have a point (not to mention that having been there yourself, your memories of the colors carry just as much weight as anybody else's opinions). I think MM's acrylics tend to be lighter on the whole than their enamels. The MM enamels for the SEA colors match up pretty well against FS 595.
Pip Moss
Reply to
Pip Moss
I worked as an USAF mechanic around F-4E's at Clark AB in the early seventies, about the time they started switching to the black codes and numbers. I can't speak for the acrylics but the enamels aren't bad. In fact, the most recent issue of Aerospace Modeler, Vol. 7, Summer 2007, has an F-4C article with corrections to the enamels line. Curiously, they are generally given as too dark. I think the problem may be that the enamels match the actual paints too close and do not take scale effect into account. Maybe they went overboard correcting the acrylics. My current favorite acrylics are either Polly Scale or Tamiya.
I learned about scale effect while at Clark. I was building a 1/32 F-4E but there were no hobby shops and of course this was looong before the internet. So I figured I'd just beg some real paint off the paint shop. They gave me a small bottle of each of the four Vietnam colors. When I sprayed them on they were much too dark, too intense. But they couldn't get more accurate than that, right? The problem was scale effect. If I had toned them down they probably would have worked just fine.
Curt
Reply to
Curt
Having spent many months in SEA, I can tell you that the tan began fading almost immediately and the greens were only marginally better. After sitting out and absorbing all that UV radiation in the lower latitudes, none of the upper surfaces were close to spec after a couple of months. I'd just "guestimate" the fading. The longer the airplane was in theater, the more the fading. If you're building one fresh from a repaint in a depot, you can probably get by with Aeromaster or Model Master, etc. and match it against the paint chips.
You can't even count on color photographs as a reference. Most of the guys I knew over there who used color film shot Ektachrome slides which is known to be inaccurate on color renditions and the pigment faded quickly on the film. A few shot Kodachrome which had (has?) the best color rendition and resistance to fading over time. The water used to process the film could also affect the color. On top of that, if the photos were shot air-to-air (plane-to-plane?) there was a color shift toward the blue end no matter which film was used but Kodachorme was more resistant, I think.
Bottom line: Go with what looks right to you. Some people will like it and some won't. Nit pickers abound.
Reply to
robbelothe
I'm seeing a number of problems in some of the answers to this question. The color standards relevent to Vietnam War aircraft colors are FS595, FS595A, & ANA Bulletins. None of these are available now, and there is a good chance that the colors in question are no longer the same in FS595B. And the system used in accordance with these standards was the Munsell system (& CIE), not Pantone. Pantone is now (for some colors-ground installations I think), Munsell was then.
If someone has some FS numbers that they want me to compare between the standards, please feel free to email me.
Reply to
vor92
AFAIK, the Pantone system is not used in US government procurement. US government spec is FS595B. I'm sure problems arise when non-government contracted commercial suppliers attempt to print or mix colors using Pantone matches for FS colors.
Reply to
Rufus
Rufus, they are probably talking about this:
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it's not really the Pantone color system (for inks), it's from their paint collection (not really a system, but it does have nice colors!)
Reply to
vor92
Now that's interesting...I know that we still deliver aircraft spec'd to FS595B. And if you look at US military aircraft (fixed wing in particular) there's usually a stencil on them that delineates the FS colors used in the paint work somewhere on the jet.
Interesting to see yet another compartmental deviation from "standard" in gov specs. More fun for modelers...
Reply to
Rufus
in article snipped-for-privacy@57g2000hsv.googlegroups.com, snipped-for-privacy@yahoo.com at snipped-for-privacy@yahoo.com wrote on 10/6/07 5:52 PM:
I have color books (with small paint chips -- not fans) for both FS 595A and 595B. I see no apparent difference between the two standards for any of the four SEA colors (30219, 34079, 34102, 36622). Pip Moss
Reply to
Pip Moss
...I went off and bought two (or three?..) fan decks AND the large loose-leaf binder version of 595B some years ago.
Reply to
Rufus

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