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Smithy

Humbrol match for USAAF Neutral Grey

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I'm thinking of dragging a P-51B out for my next build which would be my first US aircraft build since the 1980s and TBH I know bugger all about US paint matches.

 

Now I think I'm probably safe going with Humbrol 155 for the Olive Drab but I'm completely lost for a Humbrol match for the Neutral Grey undersides. One of the lovely chaps here has suggested to me via PM Humbrol 64 with a touch of black added (thanks Patrice!) but I'm wondering if there's an out of the tin match which I could go for. The problem is with a bit of searching I've seen Humbrol 27, 126, 127, 128, 156 and several others come up as matches and as a result I'm completely bamboozled.

 

Can anyone help with an out of the tin match for Neutral Grey from the Humbrol range?

 

Thanks,

 

Tim

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I suggest that where as a dark Neutral Gray was common in 1942 and perhaps still seen later, especially on the bombers, a much lighter colour was common on the later fighters.  Hence the recommendation for H27, which I would call an acceptable colour for the early period.

 

Whether the lighter underside was just some kind of production variation or a different specific colour I can't say, but given the wide variation in OD I admire your confidence in H155!

 

So if you are doing an early P-51B then H27 would do. For a later one I'd consult a photo of the specific aircraft.

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Thanks Graham. I'm thinking of making Gentile's Shangri-La - not terribly original but I have an interest in the 4th FG, and I've had the Tamiya kit lying around for some time.

 

Your comment seems to suggest I might be on the wrong tack with Humbrol 155 and if it is completely wrong then please let me know of a better Humbrol match for the upper sides. I don't mind admitting that this will be my first USAAF build since returning to the hobby and as a result I am a complete novice with US colours and paint matches.

 

 

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35 minutes ago, Smithy said:

Thanks Graham. I'm thinking of making Gentile's Shangri-La - not terribly original but I have an interest in the 4th FG, and I've had the Tamiya kit lying around for some time.

 

Your comment seems to suggest I might be on the wrong tack with Humbrol 155 and if it is completely wrong then please let me know of a better Humbrol match for the upper sides. I don't mind admitting that this will be my first USAAF build since returning to the hobby and as a result I am a complete novice with US colours and paint matches.

 

 

I've used 126 quite a bit for NG and after weathering and varnishes it darkens up. Though the last P-47 I did I used something a bit darker ( can't remember what it was but will check).

 

Humbrol 155 is a good faded OD, but if I want something a bit greener a usually add something like 30 to it. The problem is that Humbrol QC is so bad now that 155 comes in several colours! I had 3 very different shades in 5 tins. One of the reasons why I don't buy Humbrol any more.

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155 gives a green OD.  The early war OD was often very brownish, especially when faded.  I recall Harleyford advice to modellers that C-47s were painted in Dark Earth. Photos of Gentile's aircraft often show a dark brown appearance, although the problems of colour reproduction have to come into play here.

 

My comment was however intended more generally.  OD was not strictly controlled as RAF colours were, particularly in the mid-year years.  You can see photos, b&w and colour, showing up to four different hues/shades on the same  individual aircraft, particularly C-47s and B-17 where subcontractors built different parts. Also, paint on fabric surfaces looked different to that on metal surfaces.  You cannot point to one colour and say "That's definitely OD."and be right in all cases.  John Snyder found a wartime motorbike still in original wrapping and copied the colour for a USArmy OD for WEM Colourcoats, so for a new motorbike, OK.  That particular batch, at least.  I believe that this is still available from Colourcoats.

 

I used to use the old Humbrol French Artillery Green, but must admit that I've never found an OD model paint that looks brown enough to match some photos, and perhaps I shouldn't be trying.  However both Precision Paints and Xtracolour do a faded OD, and Colourcoats do a very nice late IJAAF khaki that at least aren't quite as green to my eye.

 

As to which is "right" for Shangri-la...

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Yes, Graham has very ably characterised the situation. There is no single answer to the question "what colour was wartime USAAF OD", both in terms of the colour when it was applied and the colour it became quite quickly over time in some kinds of usage. There's only a broad range of colours, often several visible on the same airframe on the same day, and definitely prone to change quite quickly on aircraft exposed to a lot of high altitude long-duration flights.

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Posted (edited)
13 hours ago, Graham Boak said:

I suggest that where as a dark Neutral Gray was common in 1942 and perhaps still seen later, especially on the bombers, a much lighter colour was common on the later fighters.  Hence the recommendation for H27, which I would call an acceptable colour for the early period.

I also agree with this, possibly extended to other types - see this LIFE magazine shot of Lockheed twin for example which is obviously painted a far lighter colour than the sort of Neutral Gray you usually see on, say, an 8th AF B-17F. 

 

e6bf1fa10988ec67_large 

 

You may also be interested in this thread which makes similar observations, and suggests that some types sent to Europe for US service may has ended up with Medium Sea Grey (or equivalent?) undersides in cases where theoretically Neutral Gray might have been expected. I have often thought that various fighters of the 8th looked as if they had Medium Sea Grey undersides, but I might just be a heretic.

http://forum.12oclockhigh.net/showthread.php?t=4459

 

Edited by Work In Progress

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I feel Humbrol 155 Olive Drab is rather faded "brown". At least compared to Tamiya TS-28 Olive Drab 2. I used both when painting the nose and prop on P-51D Cookie.

 

When I painted P-51B Hot Pants i used TS-28 and Tamiya TS-32 "Haze Grey" (as neutral Grey).

 

https://www.ipmsstockholm.se/phpBB3/viewtopic.php?f=3&t=9158&sid=b45aa187d660da385a40f3f7a0ba2f8c&start=20

 

Cheers / André

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I think I'll take Patrice's advice and use 64 with a smidge of black to darken it ever so. With the OD, I'm liking the suggestion for 155 with some 30 added, although I haven't bought 30 for many years. Although I'm also considering if I can do something with Humbrol's 66 which I use as the starting point for a fairly new PC10 shade, seeing as US OD seems to have been a direct descendent of the colour. Shangri-La seems to have (unsurprisingly) not experienced very weathered paintwork and the colour looks darkish especially if you compare it with something like the colour photos of Beeson's P-51B in April 1944 where you can see the colour has lightened and weathered.

 

I'm finding this enormously interesting as I've (boringly enough) restricted myself to RAF WWII and WWI RAF, RFC and Luftstreitkräfte since getting back into the hobby in 2001.

 

I do have quite a big interest in the 4th FG so this build is very overdue.

 

I just have to put the finishing touches on my Hurricane and then it'll be onto this.

 

Thanks to all for the advice, suggestions and comments, it's all appreciated.

 

Tim

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22 hours ago, Tbolt said:

The problem is that Humbrol QC is so bad now that 155 comes in several colours!

Olive Drab had several shades, so that's a win/win situation.

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47 minutes ago, Sturmovik said:

Olive Drab had several shades, so that's a win/win situation.

Not if you're trying to match colours though.

 

The other reasons I went off Humbrol is some shades are very thick and tend to clump up easily. I had a bottle of Clear Cote that had settled and separated, being very thick on the bottom half. I spent a while mixing it to use it, then 24 hours later it had separated just as bad as it was before.

 

I opened a tin of 24 insignia yellow a little while ago and mixed it really well, the colour was closer to zinc chromate!

 

I also have had problems with them taking ages to dry. The quality is just so bad now I'm surprised they are still in business with the better paints out there now.

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Posted (edited)
9 minutes ago, Tbolt said:

Not if you're trying to match colours though.

Sometimes close enough is good enough. As nice as it is to find the colour you mixed/got is spot on, life's too short to go around trying to get the exact colour shade.

 

Are you talking about acrylics or enamels?

Edited by Sturmovik

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8 hours ago, Sturmovik said:

Sometimes close enough is good enough. As nice as it is to find the colour you mixed/got is spot on, life's too short to go around trying to get the exact colour shade.

 

Are you talking about acrylics or enamels?

Sorry maybe I wasn't clear, I meant match one tin to another on the same model.

 

I'm referring to enamel. Never tried their acrylics.

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1 hour ago, Tbolt said:

Sorry maybe I wasn't clear, I meant match one tin to another on the same model.

 

I'm referring to enamel. Never tried their acrylics.

Also got that problem. Got several Humbrol tins of same number but with different shades. It's difficult to paint the underside of an J 35 Draken when Hu 87 goes from bluegrey to greengrey...

 

Cheers / André

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Humbrol seem to have gotten better over the last 3 or so years from my experience but they did go through a period where they were all over the shop. I've been thinking of giving Vallejo a go with my next RAF build. The problem is I still have a lot of Humbrol enamel paints left and I really feel I should probably get through the stocks I have before investing in another range of paint. I'm a brush painter as well and Humbrol enamels really do brush beautifully if you thin them correctly.

 

I got my tin of 155 out yesterday and gave it a good stir and I'm quite happy with what's in there. I'll put some on a bit of scrap plastic and see what it looks like when it dries.

 

Doing Shangri-La I'm thinking of the best way to match the red of the nose with the red in the chequerboard decals. Tamiya give some mix for their paints to do this but only having Humbrol I'm thinking of using 60 and toning it down with a little black.

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I have some plastic lying around with old enamel HU3, and that looks very dark, and colour tones have a noticable variety; sometimes being more blueish, and sometimes even a purplish tint can be distinguished.

I had some nice results with Revell Aqua 79 as a replacement for the early neutral gray, but for later schemes I usually settle for Humbrol 64.

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6 hours ago, Smithy said:

Humbrol seem to have gotten better over the last 3 or so years from my experience but they did go through a period where they were all over the shop. I've been thinking of giving Vallejo a go with my next RAF build. The problem is I still have a lot of Humbrol enamel paints left and I really feel I should probably get through the stocks I have before investing in another range of paint. I'm a brush painter as well and Humbrol enamels really do brush beautifully if you thin them correctly.

 

I got my tin of 155 out yesterday and gave it a good stir and I'm quite happy with what's in there. I'll put some on a bit of scrap plastic and see what it looks like when it dries.

 

Doing Shangri-La I'm thinking of the best way to match the red of the nose with the red in the chequerboard decals. Tamiya give some mix for their paints to do this but only having Humbrol I'm thinking of using 60 and toning it down with a little black.

I also have a lot of Humbrol stock. When Humbrol were going to be shutting down a few years back I stocked up, which was probably a mistake now looking at the quality. But I’m trying to use what I can. I’ve got some driers which I add to the ones that don’t dry correctly.

 

Ive started using Colour Coats quite a bit as well now. I quite like Xtracrylix, i have some Vallejo Model Air but haven’t used it much yet.

 

I always hate trying to match decal colours as they can change once off the sheet, I’m just doing that with an F-16 Agressor at the moment. I would be carefully adding black to 60, as after a gloss coat the red will darken and won’t go back quite as light when you flat coat it.

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7 hours ago, Tbolt said:

I always hate trying to match decal colours as they can change once off the sheet, I’m just doing that with an F-16 Agressor at the moment. I would be carefully adding black to 60, as after a gloss coat the red will darken and won’t go back quite as light when you flat coat it.

 

I won't be using much black with the 60 but the 60 definitely needs toning down as it's a rich scarlet and it needs to come closer to the rather dark red of the decals.

 

Matching paint to decals is never easy but so long as I can get it in the general ballpark I'll be happy. Saying that you could reasonably argue that the red of the Tamiya decals is most likely too dark but what can you do, you have to work with what you've got!

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14 hours ago, Smithy said:

I got my tin of 155 out yesterday and gave it a good stir and I'm quite happy with what's in there. I'll put some on a bit of scrap plastic and see what it looks like when it dries.

Some time ago I 've used Humbrol 27 and 155 for US camo of Boeing 307 - the result is here:

https://www.britmodeller.com/forums/index.php?/topic/235047692-boeing-c-75-model-307-maquette-172-1942/

Cheers

J-W

 

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There's very often confusion with paint matches on the web, some of it justified and some not justified...

Regarding the paints you mentioned, I struggle to see how Humbrol 127 and 128 could be suggested as matches for WW2 Neutral Grey ! These were introduced as matches for Light and Dark Ghost Grey as used by the USAF on their F-15s in the '70s and many other modern US types.. two light blue-greys that look nothing like Neutral Grey 43.

The match with Humbrol 126 is the result of a case of homonymy: 126 is a match for Grey FS 36270, one of the shades used in the F-16 standard scheme, a colour that is known as Neutral Grey (although FS colours don't have names).. the problem is that this is not the same as the wartime Neutral Grey but the two are sometimes confused in modelling forums.

Similar story for 156: it was introduced as a match for British Medium Sea Grey, a collour sure lighter than Neutral Grey 43 that has as closer match in the FS system FS 36270...

 

The colour that Humbrol made specifically for US Neutral Grey 43 was 176, that however is long OOP. Of the various matches suggested and without wanting to mix paints, the one I'd use is probably 156: I used this in the past and found it an acceptable match.. what wasn't acceptable was the quality of the paint, but those were the days of the worst Humbrol paints ever, hopefully things are better with newer production tins.

The paint I use today is Vallejo 992... much better quality and much easier to use, both with brush and airbrush and a good match for Neutral Grey

 

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8 minutes ago, Giorgio N said:

The paint I use today is Vallejo 992... much better quality and much easier to use, both with brush and airbrush and a good match for Neutral Grey

 

FWIW, Creative Models paintconversion chart lists Humbrol 27 as a match for Vallejo 992

http://www.creativemodels.co.uk/paint_conversion.php/manufacturers_id/1/page/5

 

Not the best but does give a rough idea.   Amazingly enough Vallejo call it Neutral Grey.....given their odd namings

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22 minutes ago, Troy Smith said:

FWIW, Creative Models paintconversion chart lists Humbrol 27 as a match for Vallejo 992

http://www.creativemodels.co.uk/paint_conversion.php/manufacturers_id/1/page/5

 

Not the best but does give a rough idea.   Amazingly enough Vallejo call it Neutral Grey.....given their odd namings

 

That was one of the things Troy with my recent interest in Vallejo, the names were all over the place which added to the confusion.

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In my experience the various conversion tables for Vallejo paints are all over the place... starting with Vallejo's own table, that I learnt the hard way not to follow !

I trust 992 for Neutral Grey because many years ago I remember this colour being introduced stating that was designed for WW2 USAF aircraft. To my eyes this colour looks pretty good. 992 is one of the very few Model Color paints made with aircraft modellers in mind, most others are for figure painters. When it comes to Model Colors, I really only trust matches that come from people who have tried the various paints. I happily use several paints from this range but I also have others that I bought trusting Vallejo's own conversion charts only to find that they have nothing to do with what they claimed.

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Neutral Grey is a kind of "wormcan" when it comes to Humbrol and Airfix. Rather strange as Airfix made several kits of aircafts that was painted in olive drab and neutral grey. There are so many suggestions - 27, 126, 127, 128 and 176. One reason I for long avoided to build aircrafts like P-40B, P-47D and P-51B...

 

I ended up with "Haze Grey" when building P-51B "Hot Pants". Otherwise that kit still had been deep in my stash.

 

Just wonder if Airfix talks with Humbrol concerning paints?

 

Cheers / André

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