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Truro Model Builder

Airfix paint references: why the lack of love?

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I have noticed that in kit reviews and builds that I read online or in magazines there is often grumbling that Airfix only feature Humbrol paint numbers in their kit instructions. It makes me wonder why, as it is well known that Humbrol and Airfix are under the same umbrella, anybody would expect any different.

 

Revell sometimes gets the same treatment, particularly when the instructions require you to mix two or even three colours together, but nobody bats an eyelid that Tamiya see fit only to refer to their own paint ranges. which do not offer as comprehensive a list as Humbrol or even Revell. I mean, it's not as if Humbrol do not offer a conversion list on their own paint chart, or as if the internet can give you a conversion within seconds of putting Humbrol no.xx into a search engine, is it?

 

Airfix would not promote a competitors product in their boxes any more than the BBC would show trailers for ITV programmes on their channels, or Tesco sell Sainsbury-branded items in their supermarkets. So why all the fuss?

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As long as they quote the correct name of the colour that was used, I see no problem in their quoting whatever paints they like.  I agree that the commercial connection is unavoidable.  The problem Airfix faces is from being so popular: some people do expect something better than the approximation sometimes offered by Humbrol.  However people who like Tamiya generally hold it in such high esteem that they cannot imagine them ever being wrong, therefore don't think twice about whatever colours they recommend.  I suspect most of them just buy the nearest Humbrol equivalent anyway...  Perhaps I should add Vellejo nowadays?

 

Correct me if I am wrong, but I don't recall ever seeing Humbrol offer conversions to such paints as Colourcoats.  Even if they did, we wouldn't want whatever CC paint was nearest to Humbrol X anyway, but to whatever colour Airfix had to quote a Humbrol number for.  Which will be different in different kits.

 

The same basic arguments apply to Revell, and even to Tamiya.

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Old habits die hard and some people just like to moan but in any case no matter what paint is suggested who would trust a single source anyway?

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27 minutes ago, Graham Boak said:

 

Correct me if I am wrong, but I don't recall ever seeing Humbrol offer conversions to such paints as Colourcoats.  Even if they did, we wouldn't want whatever CC paint was nearest to Humbrol X anyway, but to whatever colour Airfix had to quote a Humbrol number for.  Which will be different in different kits.

 

 

 

On the reverse of their colour charts, Humbrol have conversion numbers for many paint companies including European, Games Workshop, Gunze Sangyo, Xtra Colour, Lifecolor, Vallejo, Revell, Tamiya, Testor, US Federal Standard, RLM and Federal Standard. They are only cross referenced to identical or similar colours to Humbrol colours though.

 

Dave

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I agree that it’s certainly a practice that shouldn’t be ‘grumbled upon’ by the modelling media. It’s been happening for years and any manufacturer that also sells or is tied in with a range of paints will naturally and commercially do the same. What does surprise me is that (at times) Airfix will also print that Humbrol no. xx is a ‘close equivalent’ of the mentioned paint colour, which is something not commonly seen on other manufacturers paint call outs. 
 

We keep hearing that the manufactures main market is not us (the good folk on forums like this), but the Auntie Mauds buying little Johnny his first plastic kit. Therefore when she picks up that Airfix BoB Spitfire in the LHS she'll then take three paces to the right and buy him a tin of Hu 29, 30, 33 & 90 and its all healthy sales to Hornby co.
 

It all makes good business sense and modelling media scribes should have the experience and knowledge to be able to work out an equivalent paint among the 1000’s of bottles that are usually sitting neatly behind them on paint racks anyway! 
 

Cheers.. Dave 

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Not that Airfix always gets the right colour, but then neither do Revell for that matter. Can't comment on Tamiya because I haven't checked them that closely. 

 

Time to do a stash dive!

 

 

 

 

Chris

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3 hours ago, Des said:

... in any case no matter what paint is suggested who would trust a single source anyway?

This.

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Does it really matter? In all honesty, what paint manufacturer ever gets it spot on. And if they do, spot on with what? If you look at the colours of an FS chart or BSC chart and then compare it with an aircraft/AFV that has seen a lot of service, there's going to be a difference. As far as I'm concerned, the shade on a colour chart is no more than a guide, so therefore, so are a lot of the tins/bottles of paint. Once the sun/rain/wind/service has taken it's toll. colours are not going to look the same. Unless they are outrageously way off, most are going to be OK. It's what you do with them afterwards.

 

John.

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Posted (edited)

What is Humbrol enamel for Airfix models, what kind of wildness?🤔😲

 Only hardcore, only Airfix enamel:

airfixpaint_zpscffysfnp.jpg

!!!!

😉😁😁😁

 

Resource photo:

 

B.R.

Serge 

 

P.S.

And no colours chart for conversion to other paint manufacture, only original Airfix number paint, only hardcore!!!

😁😁😁

 

Edited by Aardvark

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15 hours ago, Des said:

Old habits die hard and some people just like to moan but in any case no matter what paint is suggested who would trust a single source anyway?

Have to admit, I tend to. Perhaps foolishly, but I frankly struggle enough with finding time to model and then not spending that time on hours of research (aka procrastination) so crashing in with the paint listed in the kit instructions is something I am happy to go with. Although, due to a preference for a particular paint, I also try and find out the Mr Hobby Aqueous refs from any Hasegawa or Kinetic boxing if they aren't given in the kit I've got.

 

And besides, as someone else mentions, it's often a bit in the eye of the beholder anyway once you factor in weathering etc.

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Don't see that it makes a heck of a lot of difference if the Humbrol colour is just a close equivalent after the model is covered in 3+ years of shelf dust....

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The research is as enjoyable as the model building! 😇

It not only gives you info on the color scheme - it helps getting the model "right" plus beaucoup inspiration.

 

Cheers, Moggy

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Airfix quote Humbrol for the same reason Revell give mixes for their own paint. They are a business and why should they quote other manufacturers when they sell the product themselves?

 

Now Eduard are pushing Mission Models Paints, what the betting they feature in Eduard kit instructions.

 

As long as they tell you the Colour is Say Medium Sea Grey I cant see why anyone would get upset. 

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I’ll stick with Halfords rattle cans - there’s enough in their range to get close enough for most colours for me!

 

Graham

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Ohh dear - I didn't realise I was grumbling.......... here are three extracts of reviews I have done of Airfix kits.

 

I don't have any problems with Airfix (or Revell or Tamiya or anyone)  quoting their own colours but it is a service to the modeller if they call out the actual colours.

As far as reviews go, all I do is point out the facts..........

 

1. correct for the earliest Wellingtons, they were deleted from late Mk1A and later variants such as the GR Mk. VIII. The detail colour instructions are keyed to Humbrol paint numbers with no guide to the actual colours. The two sub-...............

 

2. aluminium but received a brown and green upper camouflage for land-based service. Paints are described as Humbrol colours but are adequately described so that others can be used.................

 

3. General Comment - The paint colours are keyed to the Humbrol range but are adequately described so others can be used. Construction starts with the detailed interior walls for the bomb bay and upper gun  area, followed by internal bulkheads................. 

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I sort of agree with you, but I see the problem from the point of view of the kit maker. Obviously they will want to promote the paint manufacturer they are associated with but it would be nice if they named the colour as well. Which is all well and good if the paint range has a good match - but what if it doesn't? Do you name the colour and then provide the closest match ... with the potential for serious criticism of either the paint or kit maker for getting it wrong? Or do you provide a mix formula (which some manufacturers do). The later might be preferable, but consider the controversy over certain colours (eg. WWII Russian & Japanese) - should they also cite their sources?

 

Perhaps more commercially important is the number of paints and availability - I well remember as a young lad with limited pocket money checking the number of paints I would need to make a model, and often passing one by because I couldn't afford them all!

 

I think most serious modellers will generally take the painting instructions with a grain of salt and do their own checking and substitute their own favourite brand/choice of colour anyway. 

 

For the casual modeller (and especially kids new to the hobby), it is in all our interests to make initial steps as easy as possible. In the UK at least, Humbrol has the huge benefit of being readily available - I would expect anywhere Airfix kits are sold. In fact I would say in many small towns, Humbrol may be the only paint available.

 

Those with the enthusiasm and resources can easily surmount paint issues, but the hobby's long term health (and affordability) relies on bringing new builders into the fold - if simplified paint instructions help this, then I'm all for it.

 

Colin

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I'm going to add my thoughts - but only as an aside.

 

Whilst I appreciate that Airfix can be annoying in that they only quote Humbrol, many others (as noted) only quote their preferred brand of paint - Tamiya quote theirs, Revell their own brand , and a lot of others only quote Gunze Aqueous / Mr Colour - And a lot of times the names given along side those references are wrong and don't relate to the correct colours at all. Consequently, you can spend ages tracking down references to that item you are dealing with whether it be an aircraft, AFV, car etc.

 

My own sphere of modelling is WWII onwards, and yes I know that's a can of worms in its own right. From the right shade of green in the cockpit, to wheel wells, to the right grey/green combinations of camouflage. No single manufacturer can get it 100% perfect, we all have our own preferred paint supplier, type of paint (enamel, acrylic, lacquer) etc. My approach, is to take the paint refs supplied by the kit in question, read through the information supplied, and if anything jumps out as being wrong, look it up. I've recent worked on a Hobby Boss F84-F Thunderstreak, and it identified the cockpit colour as Gunze/Mr Colour H58/C27 Interior Green which is more of a Zinc Chromate Yellow sort of colour. Whilst not a expert, this didn't seem right, so off I went to check references, and lo and behold, not right should be Gull Grey for aircraft built after 1953, and Bronze Green for prior to that. So due to the aircraft code being 51-9484, it has a bronze green interior.

 

My point being, I don't take the information being presented wholly at face value, I look at it, write it down, and convert to my favoured paint supplier. I have done this with all my kits. It helps me to know what I have in my meagre stash (about 100 unbuilt) and also due to my personality traits, I remember what the majority of those numbers mean when I look at them - eg humbrol 74 is linen, 33 is matt black, 22 gloss white, Tamiya XF-21 is sky, XF 63 is German Grey.  Revell 88 is Ochre, 99 is aluminium. The one brand I detest is Revell, I hate having to mix colours to get the shade I need. I will look up other references for that model, to find the correct colours, and then look at the paints I have to find equivalents. Mixing colours is not good - trying to get the shame shade in two batches - unless you are doing this with computer controlled precision, it's impossible! (that's my view on that issue...)

 

Sorry for rambling, those are my thought - I personally like Airfix/humbrol - I don't use a lot of their paint, because of the previous problems with the acrylics, however, the newer designed bottles, seem to have a new formulation of paint in them and spray much nicer. So may start to get them again going forward - but only when required for the kit being built and only if available in the new style container.

 

TTFN

 

(oh yes forgot to mention, that on the main painting diagrams, it does state if a paint falls within a specific paint system - eg Swift FR5 - humbrol 164 Dark Sea Grey BS381C 638  which I do like as it points me in the right direction to find a number of matches in other manufacturers paints)

Edited by treker_ed
edit for clarity of information

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There are a few elements to this - in standard range kits, Airfix will try to quote the 'proper' colour names if they can. They do go to some effort to get this right (e.g. the 79 Squadron Jet provost has the BS numbers for the main camouflage colours, but 'black' 'silver' 'yellow' for other parts). The construction notes generally only give Humbrol numbers (or occasionally mixes)

 

On the starter kits, they are limited by what paints are available in the little pots and the number of pots for that particular kit, so the paints suggested may not be 100% accurate, even when compared to the mainstream offering of that kit.

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I've never had a problem with this, for the reasons others have given: Most manufacturers do the same or similar. You've got to do your research, at the risk of creating rather than reducing uncertainty. To a certain extent, you can't blame the kit or paint manufacturers because (say) no-one is really sure what RLM 76 looked like, how it weathered, and how its composition and appearance evolved over time. Neither can you blame them for ongoing research creating a moving target*.

 

*I did a study of Revell instructions a few months ago to see how its representation of RLM 72/RLM 73 has changed over time, and the answer is "quite a lot", Maybe I should just just use the "new" Humbrol paints for these, or the Xtracolor paints, of which I have a limited supply.

 

My main gripes with Humbrol are to do with the lack of consistency in paint shades over time, and the dropping of key colours from the range**. Hu 181 (FS 15042) is a prime example of the latter. No, Hu 15 is not a suitable substitute, and the Colour System mixing instructions require extreme precision.

 

**Always make sure there's enough paint in the tin to complete the current model, because you never know what the next tin might be like. Hu 11 silver has become well, a lot less like silver, to the extent that I am now seriously looking at using Revell metallic paints instead, or even Mr. Color.

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As somebody who specialises in civil airliners I apply the following principles:

 

1.  Painting instructions from decal manufacturers are usually wrong

2.  Painting instructions from kit manufacturers are always wrong

3.  Doing your own research is fun provided it doesn't become an end in itself

4.  Finishing the model on the basis of your own research normally leads to a better model

 

Dave G

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The problem is not in the camouflage colours, here Airfix always describes well what colours are to be used and often with the proper standard number.

The problem is very often in the generic instructions ! I checked a couple of kits before writing this and for the cockpit or the landing gear they say Humbrol X or Y... but what are these colours ??? To find out I have to check a Humbrol chart, that I may or not have with me. This is not something they all do, as Revell, Tamiya and others always have a small chart somewhere in the instructions tying whatever colour they suggest with at least a name. If I'm building for example an Fw.190, Airfix tell me to use 31 for the wheel wells but nowhere in the instructions I can read what 31 is. I don't pretend to have an RLM or FS or other standard listed, but at least a description like "grey green" would be appreciated.

If I build the Tamiya kit they will tell me to use their XF-1 for a certain part but they also tell me in the instructions that XF-1 is flat black.

This is why some complain, not because they suggest to use what are afterall their own paints, and they all do this, but because for many of these colours they only give a number without any other description.

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