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IJNF Colors + tiny Airfix A6M2b 'Zero' build


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I've decided to do something fun. Namely, do a small build that is focused on discovering and making colors.


For the build itself I've chosen a relatively simple model - 1/72 Airfix Mitsubishi A6M2b 'Zero'.


I've opened a box and noticed a small issue. The wheel covers were broken off (marked red). I may need to either get creative or make the model wheels up. We'll see where I end up.




I've also used my Shilouette cutter to cut Tamiya mask with  cockpit mask (green square above).


Now my main focus was how to get the proper colors. I've got my sources from a Camouflage and Markings of the Imperial Navy Fighters in WW II, which has 16 samples of colors (not printouts) and looked decently for me. Sadly, my japaneese is a bit rusty to say the least...


I am not 100% sure if those colors are exact or not but they look good to me. It was interesting to see the differences between Dark Greens to be so profound even if the RGB values of them are very close. The difference in gloss level was also very visible, I've added readouts from the gloss meter too - it is the GU number after the color name. Translations are mine and may be way off :)


But I've got the colors sourced. Here is the spectrophotometer readout of them all:



The original sources provided mixes for Tamiya paints, but I *had* to be different, of course :) Instead of an easy way I did some spectral matches of the colors using Golden Fluid acrylics and decided to make my work with them.


Here are the calculated recipes for the colors above: (parts by mass)


IJNF001 - Mitsubishi Dark Green - GU 23.5
    Suggested using total of 19 parts (DE00: 0.40)    Expected: #394B41, Simulated: #384B40
        Sap Green Hue: 6
        Phthalo Green (Yellow Shade): 4
        Transparent Yellow Iron Oxide: 7
        Cadmium Yellow Medium Hue: 1
        Prussian Blue Hue: 1

IJNF002 - Nakajima Dark Green - GU - 45.5
    Suggested using total of 5 parts (DE00: 0.49)    Expected: #374B3F, Simulated: #384A3F
        Sap Green Hue: 2
        Phthalo Green (Yellow Shade): 2
        Raw Sienna: 1

IJNF003 - Kawanishi Dark Green - GU 38.5
    Suggested using total of 22 parts (DE00: 0.50)    Expected: #38463F, Simulated: #36453F
        Sap Green Hue: 10
        Phthalo Green (Yellow Shade): 9
        Diarylide Yellow: 1
        Phthalo Blue (Red Shade): 2

IJNF004 - Mitsubishi Light Gray White - GU 59.6
    Suggested using total of 49 parts (DE00: 0.49)    Expected: #94989F, Simulated: #93989F
        Titanium White: 32
        Bone Black: 16
        Ultramarine Blue: 1

IJNF005 - Nakajima Light Gray Green - GU 59.8
    Suggested using total of 49 parts (DE00: 0.39)    Expected: #808787, Simulated: #818888
        Raw Sienna: 8
        Titanium White: 34
        Carbon Black: 3
        Chromium Oxide Green: 4

IJNF006 - Varnish - GU 56.0
    Suggested using total of 36 parts (DE00: 0.37)    Expected: #B6AD8C, Simulated: #B5AC8B
        Burnt Sienna: 8
        Primary Cyan: 1
        Titanium White: 24
        Cadmium Yellow Medium Hue: 3

IJNF007 - Brown (camouflage) - GU 39.7
    Suggested using total of 5 parts (DE00: 0.27)    Expected: #794A3F, Simulated: #7A4A3E
        Transparent Yellow Iron Oxide: 1
        Burnt Sienna: 3
        Raw Sienna: 1

IJNF008 - Emergency Camouflage Green - GU 35.4
    Suggested using total of 35 parts (DE00: 0.20)    Expected: #55645D, Simulated: #55655D
        Bone Black: 23
        Titanium White: 7
        Hansa Yellow Opaque: 2
        Phthalo Green (Yellow Shade): 3

IJNF009 - Trainer Yellow Color / Prototype - GU 44.3
    Suggested using total of 14 parts (DE00: 0.31)    Expected: #E5733A, Simulated: #E2733B
        Primary Magenta: 1
        Cadmium Yellow Medium Hue: 9
        Titan Buff: 2
        Pyrrole Red Light: 2

IJNF010 - Friend Identification Band Color - GU 58.8
    Suggested using total of 18 parts (DE00: 0.46)    Expected: #F29B2B, Simulated: #ED9E2C
        Raw Sienna: 3
        Hansa Yellow Opaque: 12
        Titanium White: 1
        Pyrrole Orange: 2

IJNF011 - Mitsubishi cowling paint color - GU 52.8
    Suggested using total of 28 parts (DE00: 0.44)    Expected: #3B3F41, Simulated: #3C4042
        Bone Black: 25
        Teal: 1
        Ultramarine Blue: 2

IJNF012 - Hinomaru (Japan Flag) - GU 35.3
    Suggested using total of 1 parts (DE00: 3.16)    Expected: #AB2635, Simulated: #AF323D - (approximate color)
        Primary Magenta: 1

IJNF013 - Tea (Propeller) - GU 35.9
    Suggested using total of 15 parts (DE00: 0.49)    Expected: #67453C, Simulated: #65443B
        Burnt Sienna: 11
        Primary Cyan: 1
        Red Oxide: 3

IJNF014 - Mitsubishi Cockpit Interior - GU 33.2
    Suggested using total of 39 parts (DE00: 0.48)    Expected: #525A54, Simulated: #525A54
        Bone Black: 26
        Teal: 7
        Cadmium Yellow Medium Hue: 3
        Pyrrole Orange: 3

IJNF015 - Nakajima cockpit Interior - GU 27.3
    Suggested using total of 26 parts (DE00: 0.48)    Expected: #959775, Simulated: #969776
        Raw Sienna: 3
        Titanium White: 17
        Carbon Black: 1
        Cadmium Yellow Medium Hue: 5

IJNF016 - Green bamboo color (Aotake) - Metallic - GU 53.9
    Suggested using total of 20 parts (DE00: 0.48)    Expected: #7C9A8E, Simulated: #7B9A8D
        Titan Green Pale: 13
        Bone Black: 4
        Primary Cyan: 2
        Hansa Yellow Opaque: 1


But more I've looked at the Airfix interpretation, more it was off. I did some some small research about this aircraft and I've found an actual photo. It was black & white, blurry and made out of printout scan but after small cleanup, and colorizing I've received this one:




The colors are obviously false, it is just an AI interpretation and was there to give me more of an overview than a reference. But something was still bit off. The white border around the red circle was bit too bright and too contrasting with the light grey that supposed to be used on Mitsubishi airplanes.


Then I also found out the references that this aircraft was actually a trainer. That means, it was not supposed to have the grey bottom as called by Airfix, but a trainer yellow instead. That would also explain the lack of the clear visibility of wing yellow band on front of the wing - it simply was too similar to the bottom of the aircraft color.


Thus, I've decided to paint it Mitsubishi Green on top and Trainer Yellow on bottom. Similar to the one on in this book - https://rarebooksjapan.com/?p=22761


Meanwhile I worked on the "awesome" pilot figurine:


First, a quick spray with two primers to do some basic zenithal priming.




And a layer of contrast paint made from golden acrylics:


To make a contrast paint, I've used flow enhancer, gloss medium and airbrush medium to dilute the pigments and turn them into a contrast paint. I did not go into much details with the pilot - I planned to make the cockpit closed so he will be barely visible anyway. The colors used were: Black for shoes, sienna for outfit with tiny bit of pyrrole red mixed to paint face and titan buff for highlights. Contrast paint did the rest of shading work for me.


Then I've made Mitsubishi Interior paint with the recipe I've provided above. After airbrushing and assembling the cockpit, I've added some decals, and weathered it all with bone black and raw umber to simulate dirt and oil grime, diluted and mixed with flow improver to make it go to the recesses first.




I've also mixed small amount of Aotake for which I've used the recipe above and susbsituted part of titan green and bone black it with silver metallic medium. Then I've used same 'grime' trick as above to make the undercarriage. I have not yet decided if I will not cover them due to broken parts.




I've now got the plane primed with white and awaiting trainer yellow bottom.

Edited by Casey
It is orange!... ish.
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Here is more complete model.



Still missing some details but it went quite okay


Airfix called in for silver/black propeller, but I've used the Tea color.



I've tried to glue the broken wheel covers as best as I could. It does not look that bad. Decals went smoothly too.



And here is a side view



I still miss antenna, pitot tube and weathering. And maybe a bomb.


Whole model was painted using acrylic craft paints and an airbrush. No varnishes were used. I did not use any filler neither - it is the model as it is out of the box.


Does it count as a "craft paints" challenge? :D

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9 minutes ago, Ngantek said:

Very nice tidy result! You get a nice smooth finish with those golden acrylics. How do you feel about the colours?

I feel really good about those colors. I've made a comparison of colors I mixed vs the references, and they were almost exact matches which confirms my maths. I'll post the spectrophotometer results later.


But how good my reference is? - that is a different question.



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And here are how the colors ended up in practice when mixed, compared to my theoretical math. - @Ngantek


Results are measured by a spectrophotometer.


Difference is shown in Delta E (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Color_difference#CIEDE2000) units


Delta E (DE)

  • DE<1: Not perceptible by human eyes. (caveat: humans vary :)
  • DE 1-2: Visible through close observation in 'next to each other' comparison
  • DE 2-10: Visible at a glance
  • Maximum DE=100: Exact opposite color.


Mitsubishi Dark Green: Difference DE 1.05



Trainer Yellow: DE 1.45.


@Grandboof - Mythical Orange has a DE of 5.85. Looking at the spectrometer readout, the best way to bring it closer to my reference of Trainer Yellow would be to add a little bit of Munsell N6 color (neutral grey)


Mitsubishi cowling paint color: DE 0.51



Tea (Propeller): DE 1.87


Edited by Casey
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Welcome along Casey with Airfix's lovely wee Zero......


..... and I pretty much missed the whole build as well, which is a bit sad as WOW what an awesome job, looks amazing.


Out of the box and no filler, very impressive work, well done. :thumbsup:


You colour theory and colour analysing is awesome, and I actually understood most of it which is a change for me (I did spend 8 years with Fujifilm Aust doing digital imaging dev work which helped), but could you please add this info to the reference section? As I'm sure there are others who would find this really interesting as well.


Again well done on an awesome and super quick build, I hope you enjoyed it, .......and there's still time to build even more! :D

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12 minutes ago, trickyrich said:

could you please add this info to the reference section? As I'm sure there are others who would find this really interesting as well.

Thank you! I will add the data to the references.


I have also the Imperial Japaneese Navy Bombers color samples, so I'll compile them both.


Do you think anyone would like my paint recipes too?

Edited by Casey
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go for it, there's always someone out there looking for this info.


Plus Golden Fluid acrylics, I had to look them up as I have never heard of them, wow they sound really interesting. How do you mix them for airbrush work?

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I use their own Airbrush Medium to give them "almost" airbrushable consistency, then just before airbrushing I thin them down further with Vallejo airbrush thinner or similar (Tamiya, or my mix of IPA+water+flow improver).

Edited by Casey
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1 hour ago, Grandboof said:

Hi Casey 

Don't forget to post pics in the gallery . Looking forward to your next challenge 

Martin H

I will in better light, I want to recreate the original b&w photo or form of it. I've added antenna and the pitot tube and still need some small weathering. From original photo it looks like it was mostly chipped paint next to the window.

Edited by Casey
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