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Quest for knowledge - how is colour on my model affected by varnishing?


Zephyr91
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Dear All,

 

a question to the assembled populace if you could please indulge an old chap returinig to the hobby after a gap of 30+ years with some thoughts on the issues raised below.

 

Having discovered this fantastic forum a couple of months back I've been avidly reading all sorts of threads. Fantastic stuff.   Things have moved on since I bashed kits together out of the box and slapped on any roughly appropriate paint.  I still have a stash from the early 80's of 62 kits and lots of old paint.     But I decided I needed to upgrade my skills before trying one from the stash that I care about as I want to do the best I can.      Sooo I chose a couple of items to use as "mules" and have been cutting, sticking filing, filling and eventually painting said items with varying degrees of satisfaction.

 

Which brings me rather long windedly to my questions :

 

After applying my chosen dark earth and dark green enamels by brush, I waited a good 24 hrs or so before applying a varnish.   It instantly darkened the colours.   I have reads pages of lerned discourse about the pros and cons of various shades and whether it is right to the eye of the beholder or not , or whether compliant with such and such a spec.   Does this all become "academic" if you fundamentally change the hue with a varnish?

 

What is the collected opinion about this?   It seems vital to apply a glossier finish if decals are to be applied effectively, but if I've spent good £'s acquiring the "best" available is it worth it?

 

I look forward to any words of wisdom or assurance that may be available please.

 

I haven't quite figured out how to post an image of what I mean, but I'm a bit ashamed of what it looks like ( do we have a "Laugh at This" section.. or perhaps RFL (Laugh) instead of RFI?)

 

Regards,

 

Rob

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A gloss varnish will ALWAYS appear to darken the colour but is usually necessary in order to accept decals properly.  Depending upon the subject, you can always apply a satin or perhaps matt varnish after.  Gloss finish can look "out of scale" on say a 1/72 model.  As a GENERAL rule I tend to finish off with satin, whatever the subject or scale as even a glossy finish on a real live subject would often weather down to a satin or even a matt finish.  HTH

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Hi Rob,

 

Usually when you apply the final coat, say a flat finish, it will go back to what you want.

 

In fact you can use it to you advantage. For example, there was some debate over the leading edge of the camouflaged RAAF Mirages that the leading edge was a different colour until it was realised that they were a more polished finish, the more glossy surface giving a different appearance. I did the same for my rendition to duplicate the darker leading edge. Same base colour, different finish.

 

 

Mirage A3-40 Finished 3

 

I should add that this community is very supportive. Do not be afraid to post your work. 

 

Ray

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3 hours ago, Graham T said:

A gloss varnish will ALWAYS appear to darken the colour but is usually necessary in order to accept decals properly.  Depending upon the subject, you can always apply a satin or perhaps matt varnish after.  Gloss finish can look "out of scale" on say a 1/72 model.  As a GENERAL rule I tend to finish off with satin, whatever the subject or scale as even a glossy finish on a real live subject would often weather down to a satin or even a matt finish.  HTH

Thanks for the reply.  Points noted.  I'll try a decal then a matt or satin over it and see what happens.

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3 hours ago, Ray_W said:

Hi Rob,

 

Usually when you apply the final coat, say a flat finish, it will go back to what you want.

 

In fact you can use it to you advantage. For example, there was some debate over the leading edge of the camouflaged RAAF Mirages that the leading edge was a different colour until it was realised that they were a more polished finish, the more glossy surface giving a different appearance. I did the same for my rendition to duplicate the darker leading edge. Same base colour, different finish.

 

 

Mirage A3-40 Finished 3

 

I should add that this community is very supportive. Do not be afraid to post your work. 

 

Ray

Thanks for the reply.   I will try a decal or 2 then a matt or satin coat and see what happens.   The effect of the gloss on the dark earth was to change it into a very tempting chocolate brown  🤔.  If the next layers move it back a bit towards the starting point that will be another good lesson learnt.  

 

I tried to create a link to the image I have but that will have to wait - it failed but I know where the FAQs are so will have a go later.   Cheers.

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spacer.png

3 hours ago, Ray_W said:

Hi Rob,

 

Usually when you apply the final coat, say a flat finish, it will go back to what you want.

 

In fact you can use it to you advantage. For example, there was some debate over the leading edge of the camouflaged RAAF Mirages that the leading edge was a different colour until it was realised that they were a more polished finish, the more glossy surface giving a different appearance. I did the same for my rendition to duplicate the darker leading edge. Same base colour, different finish.

 

 


 

 

I should add that this community is very supportive. Do not be afraid to post your work. 

 

Ray

Ray, partly as an exercise to see if I can actually post a link, I have taken you at your word!    Don't laugh.   I said ......... 🤣!!   Oh what the heck!  

 

Anyway, the point at issue is that the tailplane is not varnished so represents the way it started.   Is it normal to get this much of a change?     

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6 hours ago, Zephyr91 said:

Is it normal to get this much of a change?

Yes. Darker the color, more visible the effect.

 

Your perception (not the color itself) is very affected by the paint finish (gloss/matte/satin). You look at the paint from single viewpoint, and more glossy the paint is, more it works as a mirror - which effectively lets you see the reflection of space around you on the paint surface, so your color perception depends on an angle towards the light source. This effect is less prominent on matt paint..

 

Here is an example of same color chips (top is black and bottom white) with matt and glossy finish each.

 

colorwithglossymatte.jpg?h=243&w=364&la=

Edited by Casey
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7 hours ago, Zephyr91 said:

partly as an exercise to see if I can actually post a link, I have taken you at your word! 

 

Well done Rob on posting the image. First of many I am sure. Your image illustrates it perfectly as @Casey examples do. Always good when Casey chimes in with colour conundrums.

 

8 hours ago, Zephyr91 said:

I will try a decal or 2 then a matt or satin coat and see what happens. 

 

This seems a good plan. All I can say is keep going. Post the results.

 

Ray

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5 hours ago, Casey said:

Yes. Darker the color, more visible the effect.

 

Your perception (not the color itself) is very affected by the paint finish (gloss/matte/satin). You look at the paint from single viewpoint, and more glossy the paint is, more it works as a mirror - which effectively lets you see the reflection of space around you on the paint surface, so your color perception depends on an angle towards the light source. This effect is less prominent on matt paint..

 

Here is an example of same color chips (top is black and bottom white) with matt and glossy finish each.

 

colorwithglossymatte.jpg?h=243&w=364&la=

Casey, thanks for this.  I hadn't thought of it that way, but I get what you describe about the reflection which distorts the perception.   Interesting and another learning experience.   Regards,  Rob

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Just wanted to box this off with an outcome - of sorts!  And also to say thanks to @Casey and @Ray_W and @Graham_T

both for your explanations and encouragement.   I have to admit that the eventual matt varnised finish came back towards the original colour, so a lot better than the gloss but still slightly changed from the original.   But I count that a positive lesson. 

 

Below is a set of notes if you're interested (and othe learners browsing) but would understand if it's dismissed as time-wasting !! 🙃

 

I worked further on my "mule" and really created some good learning experiences ( or right mess ups if you like).   Firstly, in a fit of over-enthusiasm I rushed to see what my newly delivered Colourcoats Dark Earth would look like compared to the Humbrol enamels I'd used up 'til then.  Disaster! Because I put it on top of a badly applied acrylic matt varnish and it's fair to say that it just congealed and obliterated all my poor quality but practice enhancing newly scribed panel lines.   So I used humbrol thinners and fine emery paper and removed the majority of all the coats of stuff and started again on that wing.  Eventually got it looking better with thinly applied coats of paint (Colourcoates Dark Earth and Dark Green) and a thinned enamel gloss varnish.

 

I kept the starboard side for Colourcoates and port for Humbrol for comparison.  I then applied the kit decals with the assistance of Humbrol Decalfix and that seemed to work ok except for a couple of ruined seriel letters on the starboard side (conbination of old decals, impatience and fingers like chipolatas!) 

 

I then did a "final " coat of matt acrylic varnish which didn't work because I naively thought that as this is water based I could dilute and thin it with water.   What a mess!  So I removed it a bit using water and elbow grease applied using several cotton buds.   THEN a put a final and more successful coat of enamel matt.  The dappled finish you see in the photo is this.   Still not great, but I've now begun to figure out what I can and can't do with varnishing.

 

I used this very old (pre-1980?) Revell kit with a list of learning exercises because it was so bad.  In fact, to paraphrase Douglas Adams in his Hitchhikers Guide to the Galaxy, the model is almost entirely, but not quite, unlike a Spitfire!!  

 

The worst aspect was a scale 15 inches too long in fuselage length, which provided some excellent practice in cutting and re-joining, filling and filing.  Bit drastic but it's heck of a lot closert o the length it should be, but don't look too closely at the rearfuselage lines!   The panel details on wing and fuselage were entirely wrong/make believe and covered in hundreds of raised rivets which were also entirely fictional.  The kit canopy looks as though it was made for a different kit altogether.  The squadron codes are too thick (I've seen a photo of this aircraft in STH (using the jargon from other threads he says smugly 😉)).

 

The bits I was pleased with were the seatbelts, not visible here, and the IFF aerials (only just discernible)  The latter I've never tried before.   I've still to do the canopy framing and extend the weathering to include exhaust stains etc.. to complete attempts at my learning list.

 

spacer.png

 

Anyway, if you've got this far, thanks for staying with it.   I am avidly reading lots of model build threads and so I know how bad this looks.  But it is for learning,  not exhibition, and I'm enjoying it all tremendously.  Thanks again for the advice and help.

 

Thanks for reading.

 

Regards

 

Rob

Edited by Zephyr91
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