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Colour choice for your vehicle builds


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When you buy a vehicle kit do you have a clear vision of the colour scheme you will use when you eventually come to build it?

 

It occurred to me the other day that I seem to suffer from terrible indecision with colour choices for some of my builds; some are easy because they are based on real cars I've owned, seen or for which I have reference material; others just sit there and tempt me with almost too many options.  Generally I like the colour schemes for my vehicles to be reasonably close to what was available from the factory; call it plausible even if not necessarily accurate.

 

I guess the answer is to look at as many pictures as I can, until I find the "right" colour combinations.  I'd certainly be interested to hear the thought processes that inspire some of your builds.

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Hi John, I tend to go with pretty regular colours for my builds, however if I find a colour I like i then try to find a car to suit the colour. Like I say most of the time i take the regular option but not always 

 

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These 3 were kit's i brought after i had chosen the colours, strange but true 🙂

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Quite often I got a colour sheme in mind when I buy a new kit. But just because normally this new entry got to wait in the parking line, I ll get new ideas, may bcs I saw a original or I had a new idea meanwhile. So only a few of my cars end up with the colour sheme as suppose to be at the start 

Marco F 

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All sorts of reasons why I choose a colour for a particular kit, but it always boils down to a colour which I think will work with the car. Sometimes I'll have an idea of the colour before I buy a kit, other times the colour will follow the purchase. So far there's only really been one build I'm not 100% sure about after painting, and funnily enough given the pics above, it was the 959 where I saw a pic of one in dark grey on google which I thought looked good and different, but which didn't translate to the model so well. One thing I never do is go looking for a car to match a colour (hence why I haven't built anything in Titanium Gold yet :) ), it's always getting a colour to suit the car.

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Sadly I usually follow the box art!  I was planning to do so on my 68 Charger so blue with black vinyl roof; but found photos of one for sale with white vinyl which gave a real period vibe... hmm...

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I build mostly veteran, vintage and PVT.

I like to have a colour appropriate to the period of the car, what the coach builder or factory painted

Sometimes the colour is chosen to match a car I actually know and sometimes research is needed.

 

1. This Matchbox Aston Martin was done in 'Burnt Orange' to match a car in my car club

Aston%20Martin%20Ulster%2C%2001s-M.jpg

 

2. To get the colours for this Sears & Roebuck Buggy I had to go to the word description in a 1907 Sears & Roebuck catalogue

1907%20Sears%20Buggy%2C%2011s-M.jpg

 

3. This 1902 de Dietrich is based on a real and moderately famous car, in the colours the original owner ordered it in

de%20Dietrich%2C%2021s-M.jpg

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This is a really interesting question.  I often wonder if I'm "obliged" to build either what's on the box, or what period specific team or stock colors might be?  Not obliged by anyone in particular, but just in the basic "spirit" of building a model.  All of that said, I don't seem to reflect that self imposed obligation once I hit the paint.  First up, a Ferrari that was supposed to be black or red, and well, I've built several black or red kits, and decided on black and red instead:

 

2_Rt_FT5.JPG

 

Lightening did not strike down from above when I was done with black and red.  Similarly, the following classic black Locktite car:

 

1_Lt_ft14.JPG

 

Instead of black, used Vallejo Signal Blue - at the time, a guy just felt like doing something other than another black car. I didn't want to do something altogether "wrong" (like yellow etc) but wanted to experiment a bit.  

 

For the following, tried to match the factory color:

 

3_RT_ft6.JPG

 

For this old Chevy, it seemed the factory color helps tell the story - either a factory or converted 4x4, someone lifted it up a bit, and over the long haul, nature handled the body work!

 

Interesting subject - 

 

Cheers

Nick

Edited by Stickframe
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I never think of what color I will use when I buy the kit because it might take 30 years or more until I get to build it and I would probably change my mind many times during that time. When I start on a kit I decide on the color and I usually stick to as close to an original color as possible.

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I wish I could say I had a plan, but I seem to just wing it mostly.  For example, my current build that I just started last night, a Ferrari 599 GTB.  All I knew when I grabbed it was I'm not doing it red, too cliche for a Ferrari.  Apart from that it usually boils down to what colour can I go with that will suit it that I don't already have on a completed car.  I also have a Revell Kenworth Aerodyne, which should be red.  Again, all I know right now is I'm not doing it red.  I don't have a problem with red, just don't want a shelf full of it.  If I had stuck to box colours, I'd have 4 red machines currently.

 

With modern cars its easy, I won't just go with manufacturer options because people who can afford it can paint their real cars pretty much any colour possible.  But a recently completed 1930's Merc I went with a custom colour scheme that was very likely during that era.

 

At the end of the day though, if I think a Model T will look good in metallic lime green and purple rims, then I'll do it.  I build models for me, so I'll not be held down by accuracy rules if the mood takes me elsewhere.

 

Paul

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Thanks for the replies, fresh insight is always welcome.  I've been mulling this over since I made the original post and decided that for me there are probably two main considerations;

 

What colour will suit the car?  Which might be a case of deciding if it is a colour I'd choose if I were buying a real one and money were no object.  

 

What colour will work on the shelf?  One of my display cabinets is a bit dark and gloomy, which means that dark coloured models can look a bit lost.  Light coloured cars with chrome trim can look a bit flat, as can dark coloured modern cars with black plastic trim.  So, while I wouldn't normally choose a bright red car, I think that's a colour that would look quite good on display (I have one red car build in the queue).  I also think it's nice to have a variety of colours in the display cabinet; I don't want it looking too uniform.

 

I don't always want to follow the box art, although sometimes it happens.  For example, I wanted a dark metallic green Lexus LS 400 as I nearly bought one because it looked quite smart; the green appeared almost black and it really suited the car.  The box art for Tamiya's Toyota Celsior (the same thing give or take badges and air suspension) shows the car in the same colour and the instructions give the formula to mix the right shade from Tamiya paint pots.  One thing I like about Tamiya's box art is that it usually shows other options on the sides of the box in addition to the main picture.

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I must admit I mainly build race cars, so colour schemes are usually set.

If I'm building a street car though I usually look to see what ever colours I have in the case and try to pick something that I haven't already got

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Like Redstaff, most of my builds are competition cars, but I do like to build road cars when I feel like a change from decalling! Then my colour choice is just paint it what I like - but although that sometimes means it'll be a factory colour, often it isn't! When not building 'genuine' rally or race cars my favourite theme is 'my Euromillions win dream garage' and two current builds for that are a bright orange-yellow Escort Cosworth tarmac rally car and a subtle pastel yellow Ferrari 348. A future build will be a Ferrari F40 which were only available in red - so mine won't be! I'm thinking sky blue or deep green....!! After all if I ever won 100 million quid I'd have one painted whatever colour I want and to hell with the purists...! 🤣

 

I do also sometimes buy a kit as I've been inspired by someone else's model - I already had a Fujimi Porsche 911 GT3R and a set of race car decals for it,  but when I saw @Andy J's gorgeous Acid Green 959 I went and bought another GT3 and the paint from Hiroboy! 

 

Keith

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A F40 in sky blue sounds great. 

I guess this should be the choice for the one I got waiting on the parking line. Thanks a lot for the idea 

Marco F 

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Or customise it as the real owners do.

This Monogram Ferrari kit was kicking about my stash and a forum GB was 'Aero Cars'. Its a sort of 'what if'

Ferrari%2C%2009s-S.jpg

 

Unlike war planes we can usually do what we want with colours on cars.

When I do different cars from the same car manufacturer I don't like repeating colours, thus a SS Jaguar 100 is blue but an E-type is red and an XK120 I'm currently building may be ivory-white or dark green

 

 

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On 24/09/2020 at 13:20, johnlambert said:

What colour will work on the shelf?  One of my display cabinets is a bit dark and gloomy, which means that dark coloured models can look a bit lost. 

Appreciate that this won't work in all situations, but I really wasn't impressed by the single LED light at the top of my display cabinet which lit the top shelf ok, the next one down was acceptable and by the time it got to the bottom it was barely doing anything. So I got hold of a length of angled metal lighting profile and some LED tape, and created a run up each side of the cabinet. The tape connects to a driver, which is plugged into the wall with a switch between the plug and driver. Maybe not for everyone, but it brings out the cabinet ok.

 

As the saying goes, a picture (or two) says ten thousand words. First one shows where I've fitted it so it lights the models without drawing the eye, second photo shows how it lights the cabinet and the crappy original LED light in the top.

 

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Apologies for drifting off topic, but if you (and others) are avoiding dark colours on your models because they're going in a dark space, this may work for some of you.

 

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13 minutes ago, johnlambert said:

@Spiny That's a lovely cabinet and the lighting solution is very neat.

https://www.displaycabinetsuk.co.uk/collections/glass-display-cabinets/products/home-oak-glass-display-cabinets-single-double-or-corner

 

This is the one (double width with 7 shelves). The LEDs and profile came off Amazon. Not as cheap as a secondhand store, but seemed decent value and was the perfect size to fit in the corner next to the PC.

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This kind of LED light equipment does a real good job. That's the kind of illumination you need for a good presentation, Iike it very much and will keep it in my mind 

Thanks Marco F 

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I'll weigh in on this popular subject with some thoughts a bit off the path. Apologies for length...

Like some mentioned, most of my 1/12 builds are based on the race cars they were and in most cases I chose the race colors. An exception - I painted my GT-40 as though it were my 1:1 project car and not a restoration of racing history. Instead I had a vision (vital I believe for any project) of it as a vintage racer for my personal track use and chose colors of the period with a vintage Ford 'feel'. My Countach I painted to scream '70's!' orange but very much was leaning to light gunmetal right up to the minute of spraying. I just liked it and still have the cans untouched that I'd ordered.

The Caterham, being a street car, I chose the wildly exciting Rosso Corso for which I am sure Enzo is mad at me and turning in his grave. Again, if I owned the 1:1, it's how I'd have finished it.

But the major exception is the big Rolls build. Right off, I know this is different from what so many of you like to do - build many models to avoid the boredom of just slogging through just one build. But for me it was a project of many facets, not least of which was extensive book-study of these cars and their times and getting a deep sense of their character. I was fortunate being in contact with David Cox, an expert in these cars and who's work I have shown you. He gave me the true idea of how they were most often ordered by their owners and how the coachbuilders built the bodies.

David said that the traditional look for the majority of the cars was dark, muted colors with much black used frequently. He said that brighter colors (bodies and wheels) were largely seen on the American Springfield Phantom I's because American tastes were less sophisticated than British. Of course, that would be me. When I had fully developed my vision, I told him that I wanted a rakish but elegant look and had become partial to deep reds or maroons. I had not mentioned that I was dreaming a two-tone color sweep - largely because I didn't think I could create it.

Well the months crawled by and I had secretly feared I would create an expensive clown car but had established deep red, light cream and red gabardine roof covering as the main elements. I spent much computer time doing graphic colorations to try to visualize the dream. But nothing helps like painting your car.

So like it or not, that was the thought process and though not to all tastes, I am deeply satisfied I ran contra to expert advice and now have 'my' Rolls.

 

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If I'm not building a particular car that I've photographed at a classic car show, I tend to consult Google images and find a colour combination that I like the look of. For example, I have a 1957 Chevy Bel-Air convertible to build. Since I have the feeling that the seats should be white or mainly white in a ragtop Bel-Air, I'll have a look at some pictures of real ones and pick a colour.

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Some colors just work, and stick with you. I went to Mid-Ohio for IMSA sports car racing a few years ago with my camera, and this Mustang just stuck with me. I know what color I want to paint the new Tamiya GT4 kit.

 

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N i c e !

 

I've just been spraying something for my dottir a metallic Violet colour.

I like it and now I'm wondering what car can I use it on?

 

Ideas or suggestions?

I only build 1/32 cars

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