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Graham Boak

Best RLM 02?

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@Otakar Linden Hill Imports has a large selection of AKAN paints in their Acrylic and Acrylic lacquer range. check their website for what is in stock.

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I buy my AKAN paint through ModelsUA in the Ukraine. The price is a lot less. I find Linden Hill quite expensive.

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I received a contact from Nick Millman about this thread, and he's directed to what he thinks are the source of his comments in question:

 

RLM02 was a comparison of published paint chips to each other, FS595 and RAL as well as to a few model paints he had:

http://www.aviationofjapan.com/2010/12/colour-of-rlm-02-grau-grey.html?m=1

 

And he published another comparing RLM02 chips to RLM63 chips:

http://www.aviationofjapan.com/2011/03/notice-of-update_10.html?m=1

 

Now we're both a little confused as to where the idea that RLM02 was lighter than the published chips and matched model paints came from as he doesn't think he said it...

 

I do like a mystery :D

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Posted (edited)

Thanks Nick and Jamie, I apologise for apparently miscrediting him,  To me, the intent of this thread was much less been about comparing paints to published chips but to its appearance in photos.   Yes, the evidence is pretty clear that 63 faded fairly quickly, hence the original confusion is the more neutral Hellgrau and a history of misidentifications..  Perhaps 02 did too?  However, to me, even looking at photos of fresher examples, it doesn't look as dark as the chips do.  

 

PS Nick's last comment in your first link says  "but the paint as applied probably appeared slightly lighter and almost certainly brighter."  I suspect I'd picked that up. together with his comment earlier about model paints which failed to pick up a yellowish cast.

Edited by Graham Boak
Clarification and some limited justification.

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Hi Graham,

 

No apology is needed at least from my perspective. I didn't get the impression from Nick that he was put out in anyway - more that he was a little confused :)

 

For anyone interested (and I know there will be many), Nick is well and is kept busy. He looks in to this forum but has decided not to post any more.

 

I think one too many numpties crusading against the spread of information have put him off.

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Posted (edited)

I did a lot of study of colors and tints in photographic evidence. Unfortunately with certain tints photographs can be totally off. When I ran the restoration department for the Museum in Quantico VA. This was blatantly evident. Using photographs to match colors works in some cases and not in others. Some pigments reflect more UV than other pigments and different films and also modern sensors pick up UV quite differently. I have chips that are visually greenish in tint and look either completely gray or even blue in pictures. In short, do not use photographs of any stile or age to determine  colors. You are headed for disaster and disappointment if you do. Use only well researched color chips. I even took one of the Hikoki color charts I have and over-sprayed it with flat clear just so I can have a comparison. You would be surprised how different one color can look in gloss and flat sheens. The worst part in all of this is that even the special sensors used for color matching in paint manufacture can't pick up certain reflective tints. I have experienced this first hand. In short, don't use photos, use color chips along with paint regulation documentation. And yes, RLM 02 is darker than RLM 63 but the two are often mistaken for each other and reversed unintentionally. You can even throw RLM 11 into this mix which is still in the same tint but darker yet. Get two of the Hikoki  chip guides and overspray one with clear flat or just overspray half of each chip on a single guide and go by that. You won't go wrong. RLM 02 along with most if not all of the RLM colors have no direct match with the FS595 guide and very few in the RAL guide. RAL 7003 is close but not the same.  7003 is more gray and RLM 02 is more yellow. FS-#6165 is close also but darker. Close, yes, same, no.

Edited by Otakar

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A fascinating post.  However, I'm quite sure that these effects weren't random, and would be consistent from one photo to another under the same conditions and removing all variables.  Ah, there's the rub!  I would point out that the FAA's Temperate Sea Scheme can appear very differently in different photographs, giving low contrast between the two colours, medium contrast and high contrast.  It is by looking at any known features such as roundels (so good of the AM to include red, blue and yellow in their colours) and where there is a known limited range of options that any sensible suggestions can be made.  This was of course the big problem with Eric Pulawski's work on Russian aircraft - he thought that because only one film was available then there could be only one relationship between colour and grey tone.  I don't think anyone can ever be certain about any such estimating system, if that's not too fine a word.  And certainly any such rules would not apply outside the box, as it were.  Which is stretching the meaning of words like system and rule - perhaps guides would be better.

 

In the end, however, it is better than just throwing a dozen pots of paint into the air and catching a sample.  We'd be much shorter on modelling subjects if they all had to be proven from records which are often non-existent or unavailable.  We are immensely better off nowadays than we were.

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Posted (edited)

That is an issue, these affects ARE NOT consistent between photos. They can even be affected by the time of year they were taken and how far north or south of the equator they were taken. This will have a tremendous affect on the amount of UV absorbed and/or reflected by any different paint. Also the age of paint on a surface will affect the sheen which will also have a great affect. Working on aircraft in the military and running a paint shop for quite a few years, I had aircraft that looked camouflaged but were painted only one single color. Or in some cases on UH-1N birds I had three colors and it looked like I had ten after doing touchups and repairs. There are also many other photographic factors to take into consideration. While the picture is being taken, the color of surface the subject is standing on, the color of background. Was the original film overexposed or underexposed and was the picture adjusted during printing or actual film development. This common practice with film. What brand and lot number was the film and or paper. Is the picture you are looking at a reproduction of a reproduction. How properly was the photograph fixed during development. This is a huge factor which will affect color with age of picture. When film and print were developed, what was the chemical temperature and were adjustments made to temperature by altering development time. All of these will affect actual color printed on photo. I am quite sure that I have missed a few photographic factors. Now lets talk paint. Different base paints will reflect light differently. Epoxy, Urethane,  Oil Enamel, Alkyd Enamel Nitrate lacquer, Butyrate Lacquer, Acrylic. During WWII Epoxy would not come into play but all the others would. Each reflects UV WAY differently. This will cause the human eye and photographic film and also type of film, completely differently. I am quite sure that I have missed some factors.

Edited by Otakar

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Assuming today we can order a tin of paint with the color "Vorstrichfarbe und Innenanstrich code 02 117,3-123,4-145,7" and our best scientists would be able to measure that color to the second digit behind the decimal point (thanks to calibrated LED light, hi-tech optical filters for pure red gren and blue, small tolerance photodiodes and 24 bit AD-converters or whatever).

 

But we have a manfacturing precision to the first digit before the decimal point only (remember that repair paint job on your car?), and the well trained human eye could discern +/-5. But depending on the color of the painted material and thickness of the paint layer (and smoothness of the surface) the unavoidable variation is +/-13 plus it fades in bright daylight by 10 within 12 months and the applicable EU regulations and recent court rulings say: The customer will have to accept a variation of 7, because the untrained eye can't tell the difference anyway and a certain variation is unavoidable and has to be tolerated (exp. for a color intended as a primer and interior protective paint). (and in real life there is even dirt and yellowing)

 

What would the best (German naturally, but particularily in this case) scientist in 1933-1945 have been able to discern? Did they have a calibrated daylight substitute?

What would have been the tolerance when producing the color chips for LDv 521/1?

What would have been an acceptable deviation from the norm in peacetime and what would have been reasonable with a war going on (a for a color sample b for a painted plane)?

 

I'm not telling not to care, I'm just asking for the precise tolerances applicable then. Like any physical measurement, my digital vernier caliper gives me a (false) precision of 1/100 and my old one with the nonius gave me 1/10 and the boss used a micrometer - and the workers at Meserschmitt's subcontractors had wooden test gauges?

 

 

When I take a look at the chart shown here http://www.crecy.co.uk/luftwaffe-colours-1935-1945-paint-chip-chart

I'm having a hard time to stay calm. RLM 76? Three variations? Are they serious? One even looks like RLM "84"

 

My bet: If we were able to travel in time or if we found an untouched unused FW 190 and an untouched Me 109 in a climate controlled Argon filled dark warehouse, conserved by the makers in 1944 just for us poor modellers, the RLM 02s would show a "massive" variation (like RAL 7002 and 7003).

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Those measuring colours in the 1940s did so using an optical filter apparatus under what was/is known as Illuminant B or C. These were derivatives of Illuminant A, itself a tunsten lamp at an intended 2856k and intended to simulate domestic interior lighting. B and C applied filters to said lamp and were intended to simulate noon exterior lighting and average daylight respectively, but they were poor simulations towards the shorter wavelength visible light range (i.e. indigo, violet) and ultraviolet range.

 

They were introduced in 1931 but were superceded by Illuminant D which whilst much harder to achieve is much more representative and is more or less "in the bag" nowadays.

 

Illuminant B or C measurements are not worthless - certainly they do not shift with age like physical samples do! One must be aware of their limitations though and understand the blind spot they have.

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Normally colors should be analyzed under full spectrum = 6500K but daylight is normally considered 5500K. Although it can very a bit up or down by a couple of hundred. It is hard to filter up but it is easy to filter down. So, to go from 2856 to 5500K-6500K is rather silly. There would have been variations in paint colors back than, since there are variations even today and our technology to color-match and mix paint is much more advanced. So if you use a base starting point and get visually close, you will be good. RLM 81 and RLM 84 also have three color variations. Just not on this chart.

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I prefer the RLM 02 from Revell, the 45 in enamel or acrylic and those from Gunze Mr. Color and the one from K4 (Chile), more than those from Ammo Mig, Vallejo, Tamiya, etc. I'm talking about the ones I've tried.

Regards,

Pablo

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9 hours ago, Otakar said:

Normally colors should be analyzed under full spectrum = 6500K but daylight is normally considered 5500K. Although it can very a bit up or down by a couple of hundred. It is hard to filter up but it is easy to filter down. So, to go from 2856 to 5500K-6500K is rather silly. There would have been variations in paint colors back than, since there are variations even today and our technology to color-match and mix paint is much more advanced. So if you use a base starting point and get visually close, you will be good. RLM 81 and RLM 84 also have three color variations. Just not on this chart.

Judging by the approach that "ze experts" were not using a continuous and full spectrum (but a tungsten heat wire lamp and filters) for lighting and probably an educated and well tested Mk1 eyeball as a sensor (and references and training,  but not photodiodes and 24 bit AD converters), it seems "possible" if not even "probable" that they ran into metamerism problems.

 

So paint from manufacturer A  might have "perfectly" matched paint from manufacturer B or another batch from manufacturer A in the lab (to 1940 standards), it might very well (or will!) shift and have shifted in bright daylight (depending on the pigments etc. used). And still there would have been a latitude for "acceptable" paint.

 

When rebuilding a line-up at Wiener Neustatt with 24 factory fresh 109s they will all look "the same" within that "0,5" when painted by the same guy (same paint thickness because he was sober all the time and never got tired) from plane to plane. But when bringing the planes back together six weeks later, one stood in the shade (broken engine, lots of repair), one flew under the sun of Italy or did a lot of high altitude flying and the next one got all dirty on a muddy Russian air strip and one flew through a shower of engine oil of another (shot down) plane.

 

So how obsessed can I be to match the theoretically "korrekt" RLM 02 by "0,5" when in real life it differed from plane to plane and probably within a single plane depending on the material painted and the spot repainted or sun bleached or protected in the shade by "10"?

 

I should rather take care to buy a nice pot of well useable paint getting the "general character" of RLM 02 (matched to a well defined and named source! I appreciate and love Jamie's effort!) and add a little white or even a tiny drop of blue for one plane and yellow for the next one and maybe a drop of brown for another one and give the next one a wash.

 

 

I still remember basic training, 150 guys in new "green" clothes all look alike and the instructors all in washed faded but clean clothes. Six weeks later one guy wore a shirt / jacket unused so far, the next one's shirt got washed (at 90°C) by his mom every weekend ...

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EXACTLY. Look at a chip and if it looks right, use that color.

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6 minutes ago, Otakar said:

EXACTLY. Look at a chip and if it looks right, use that color.

And if it doesn't?  Which is the question that started this thread and perseveres through the diversions.  In my opinion the chips are darker than the paint seen in the photos, and when applied to a model look wrong.  If (as it seems) the chips are reliable, then which other factors are relevant?  Scale colour?  Poor colour consistency?  Film chemistry?

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As Mentioned, do not look at old photos they are 100% unreliable. There are enough subjects around the world to be used while making chips. Use the chips do not use photos. Photos (even modern ones) will never show you the same color as seen by the naked eye. I have worked in a museum long enough to testify to that. But if it looks right to you, go with it. No one will ever change your mind once you have made it up. Chips in hand and your own eye are the only real factors. I have studied colors for forty years since I worked in an aircraft paint shop and still find deviations to this day. Only when I joined a museum staff in 2001 did I see all the actual deviations on real WWII aircraft. They are many and blatant.

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I feel that photos are generally unreliable for reasons.  I agree that you can get the out of step" photos that just have to be written off as some kind of peculiarity.  However when I see a consistent effect over many photos, then some real effect is occurring.  In the particular case that inspired me to finally raise the subject, then there aren't a lot of Arado 74s around in the world.  Nor, indeed, any large number of German prototype or trainer aircraft painted externally in 02 with original colours.  Or 63.

 

There's many fewer colours showing 02 as a dark (can't think offhand of any) or even as a medium shade.  Were this some kind of random photographic variation then there'd be as many darker ones as lighter ones.

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Most likely the only reliable documentation on German paints and regulation will come out of the Czech republic. Since German aircraft were built there  during the entire war and not everything was destroyed. Besides the fact that there was a lot of paint stock left over after the war and was used on the Czech aircraft after the war. Most likely for a couple of years. Get the Hikoki Paint chips and match your colors to those.  At least you will have a base to work with.

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Posted (edited)

Go back to my original posting.  I have Ullmann's chips from Hikoki.  And Merrick's later ones (which are based on entirely reliable documentation from the original paint manufacturer).  And the Monogram ones.  And the Kookaburra ones.  And the Reis ones before that.   It isn't the representation on the chips which bothers me but how they are reflected in photographs.  And just writing off large volumes of photographs doesn't hold water - it isn't true for other colours so why is it happening with this one?

Edited by Graham Boak

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 While I have followed this topic from the beginning, I have not gone back to reread all the posts. What just struck me is the possibility of a sort of scale effect; if you go to paint store and pick up some chips for a potential wall or room repaint, it is sometimes easy to forget that the 1” square sample will not look the same when it is an entire wall that color. Are we possibly seeing the same thing here, a sample appearing darker than what is observed in photos of aircraft, presumably painted in a similar color, but viewed, via photos, from a distance?

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Posted (edited)

That is correct. There is a neutral 'zero" to the human eye. If a color is darker than zero than the larger the surface the darker it looks. if it is lighter than zero than the larger the surface the lighter the color is. The German dark green/browns are a perfect example. When you look at them side by side on small surfaces you cant even see a difference. If you see them side by side on large surfaces the differences are obvious.  But you also have the photographic effect. If you take a look at the  picture in post #2, it looks nothing like RLM 02 OR 63. It looks like L40/42 or maybe 65. Take a look at my Zlin C-6 (Bu-181) on two different backgrounds. The color looks completely different but neither looks like the color it really is. The color it actually is, is a Czech version of RLM 63 but a smidge lighter. RLM 63 is a bit lighter and a bit more gray than RLM 02. In the photo, it looks nothing like it. The lower bottle in post #24 looks like the right color "in the photo" but obviously that will change and the color will look different once dry and photographed on a chip. This is the very old, short run MPM kit which is more accurate Shape wise than the Special hobby kit. Visually as far as pictures go, this is about right. picture three AK2002. The question is, what will it look like in real life. But the picture looks good maybe it could be a tad more green/yellow than it is but it is very close.

 

 

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Edited by Otakar

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In this particular picture, this looks about right considering it is in bright sunlight. However you can find virtually a hundred pictures of the same aircraft and the tint will look different. Once again, we are talking pictures. as can be viewed on your monitor. If you print any of these pictures the color will once again change.

 

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Posted (edited)

Take a look at the same aircraft in this picture. The illumination should be identical to the picture in the previous post. Is it the same color? Da!!!!! All the same aircraft. Take a look at the last picture and tell me what color the propeller is. Can you tell it's black or is it the same color as the aircraft? I believe it has already been mentioned by someone her in a previous post that RLM 02 to RAL cross-reference  would be RLM 02 falls between RAL 7002 and 7003. If I was mixing it I would mix 2 parts 7003 and 1 part 7002 to get RLM 02. If you wish an FS595 comparison than somewhere in between 16165 and 24201 but closer to 16165 in tint but a bit lighter.

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Edited by Otakar

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This an example of the Revell 45 for the RLM 02 in a 1/48th Hs 239:

20170329-231130.jpg

Regards,

Pablo

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The question is; Is the picture a true representation of the actual model color. My Bu-181 pictures look nothing like the color of the actual model. The lower picture is relatively close but still not green enough.

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