Jump to content

The Sky (Type “S”) is the Limit - now with "Made in the UK" Humbrol 90


Recommended Posts

A couple of years ago I brushed out some proprietary Sky model paints. I’ve been meaning to do a more comprehensive brush-out ever since, and this week I finally got enough time to have a go. I trawled the deepest recesses of my paint store and came up with a fair selection of current and older “Skys”, or colours recommended as Sky.

I brushed out samples onto white card and compared them to the colour chip in the RAF Museum book and a current copy of BS381c. The shade of Sky in the RAFM book is a bit lighter than the current BS381C:210 colour which may support the theory that modern Sky is different to the WWII shade, but frankly there isn’t much in it:

Sky.jpg

First of all, Humbrol 90 Beige Green. This has been the shade of choice in Airfix kits for some considerable length of time and, on going through my stock, I found I had examples of this colour as follows:

Humbrol 90 enamel in a 1980s “Blue Band” tin
Humbrol 90 enamel in the current Hornby tin
Humbrol 90 acrylic in an original 1980s “Hobby Acrylic” pot
Humbrol 90 acrylic in the current Hornby pot

There’s no doubt that this shade has varied a bit over the years:
90.jpg

Compared to the RAFM book, 90 holds up well as a substitute Sky. These are enamels:
90enamelWW11.jpg

and these are acrylics:
Acrylic90WW11.jpg

In particular the current Hornby enamel and acrylic match up very well indeed, with the current acrylic being just a touch darker than the enamel. That makes the enamel a touch pale compared to BS381c:210, but of course that’s maybe not a bad thing.

I also found 3 tins of 23 Duck Egg Blue. Again, this has gone through a few changes over the years:
23.jpg

These are all enamels as this colour has never, as far as I know, been included in any Humbrol acrylic range. The oldest tin I have is a 1970s “Grey Stripe”, which hadn’t been opened until I did these brush-outs. One thing that you can tell straight away is that this colour isn’t blue! This is my oldest sample compared to the AM Sky Blue chip in the RAFM book:
23SkyBlueWW11.jpg
It’s actually currently very close to 90 and, therefore, close to the RAFM chip:
hornby23and90.jpg

Other Skys are these:

Xtracolor and Xtracrylic:
XtraWW11.jpg
Both are a tad dark for the RAFM chip, but very good for 210.

Gunze and Tamiya:
TGWW11.jpg
Tamiya is too dark for the RAFM chip, and the Gunze has a somewhat Buff/Yellow cast to it.

Aeromaster Acrylic:
AeromasterWW11.jpg
Aeromaster is a slightly stronger version of the Gunze shade.

A couple of blasts from the past, Humbrol HB5 Sky and 95 Concrete:
95andHB5WW11.jpg

Moving on to BS381c, the Hannants paints are very good matches, as we would expect:
Xtra210.jpg

Both Humbrol 90 and 23 are reasonable:
23210.jpg

Acrylic90210.jpg

Tamiya is almost spot-on:
TamandAero210.jpg

I would, therefore, have no hesitation at all in using Humrol 90 in either enamel or acrylic for WW11 Sky. It’s comfortably in the ball-park compared to the RAFM chip. I would also be happy to use 23. For BS381c:210, I’d probably use the Hannants colours, but the Humbrol colours are definitely close enough for Government work!

Apart from those, Tamiya needs lightened and Gunze needs the yellow caste killed a bit, but they’re all usable.

John

Edited by John
  • Like 3
  • Thanks 1
Link to post
Share on other sites

Great post John!

I think I will continue using Xtracolor X7 and Humbrol 23 (and 90 once I buy one).

Do we have any good matches for the Eau de Nil and Sky Blue (pale blue)?

Regards,

Jens

Link to post
Share on other sites
John,

A very interesting series of comparisons.

My monitor shows that the Humbrol 90 Hornby Tin, the 90 Acr. Origonal and Late 23 are as close as I would ever want to get.

Also, Xtracolour X7 and Xtrcrylix 1007 are good, as is the Tamiya XF-2. I've got most of these somewhere.

I wonder how the WEM Sky compares? I'll give it a try.

Thanks again.

Trubbie.

I'm afraid I don't have any WEM paint at all, so I can't comment objectively but it does have a very good reputation. Maybe I should order a couple of tins for research purposes!

John

Link to post
Share on other sites
What markings on the container tell you if you have original form?

tins.jpg

These are some of the tins I used in this exercise. The lower 3 are "Grey Band", from the late 1970s/early-mid 1980s. The middle left is from the mid 1980s and the middle right is later again. The one on top is a Hornby tin. You can tell the most recent Humbrol paints as they have Hornby's Margate address on the tin, rather than Humbrol's Hull address.

John

Link to post
Share on other sites
Do we have any good matches for the Eau de Nil and Sky Blue (pale blue)?

For a pair of whiffed Spifire Mk Is (one being a Type 312 - look it up!) I used Xtracrylic RLM 76 for Sky Blue. Looks close enough to me. Both were on display at Telford and no one complained.

Edited by The wooksta V2.0
Link to post
Share on other sites

Great work with this comparison – many thanks!

The next time, you might consider using manually set white balance (set while pointing the camera at a white or neutral grey card or paper) and also locking the exposure (keeping the lighting unchanged, of course) so that it's consistent over the range. Some of the pics have a bluish or cyan tinge which is probably an effect of using automatic white balance, which is generally not dependable for exacting work like colour comparison.

Thanks again for all your work! Humbrol 90 or Xtracolor it is.

Best,

Joachim

Link to post
Share on other sites
So to totally confuse people again, Old 90 according to Edgar, is actually RAF Interior Green. It was switched to Sky in later releases.

Actually, looking at my samples I don't think 90 has changed all that much over the years. It was introduced when Humbrol expanded their Standard colour range in 1978 and I don't think my earliest example is much older than that. Of course there will have been different production batches over the years which will have varied a bit in colour.

John

Link to post
Share on other sites
Great post John!

I think I will continue using Xtracolor X7 and Humbrol 23 (and 90 once I buy one).

Do we have any good matches for the Eau de Nil and Sky Blue (pale blue)?

Regards,

Jens

Humbrol used to do Gloss Eau de Nil as colour number 1, but there's nothing close in the current range. CompuColor had it in the 1980s as well. Colour 13 (I think) was Gloss Sky Blue (the BS381 shade, rather than AM Sky Blue) but both these shades had gone from the range by (?) the early 1970s.

John

Link to post
Share on other sites
For a pair of whiffed Spifire Mk Is (one being a Type 312 - look it up!) I used Xtracrylic RLM 76 for Sky Blue. Looks close enough to me. Both were on display at Telford and no one complained.

There used to be a Humbrol colour called 97 Eggshell, which was discontinued about 15 years ago. I may have a pot lying around, but my memory is that it came out a pale blue shade. I'll have a rake!

John

Link to post
Share on other sites

Now, see. I have a tin of 'old' Humbrol 90, which is an almost exact match for Tamiya's XF 71, (much different to the lid of the jar, BTW) and an equally old tin of H 23 duck egg blue which is exactly as advertised with no leaning toward the green end of the spectrum at all. In fact, if is more like a pale RLM 76, like the chip in the Humbrol Colour System folder published way back when the 'Super Enamels' came out.

Isn't it amazing how much even relatively well documented and recent information becomes worthy of discussion and argument as ideas and perceptions change?

Link to post
Share on other sites

Hello John,

thank's for your work. I have colour number 4 in an grey tin. It is also a colour in the Sky/ Eau d Nil range.

Colour number 1 was avialable here in Germany in 2002 - the year I buy it - as Super Enamel. Here it was a matt medium grey colour.

Claus

Link to post
Share on other sites
Hello John,

thank's for your work. I have colour number 4 in an grey tin. It is also a colour in the Sky/ Eau d Nil range.

Colour number 1 was avialable here in Germany in 2002 - the year I buy it - as Super Enamel. Here it was a matt medium grey colour.

Claus

Hi Claus.

Colour 4? I don't remember that one at all. I'll have to do some research.

The newer Colour 1 is Grey Primer. Humbrol don't often reuse numbers but this is one occassion where they have.

John

Link to post
Share on other sites
Humbrol used to do Gloss Eau de Nil as colour number 1, but there's nothing close in the current range. CompuColor had it in the 1980s as well. Colour 13 (I think) was Gloss Sky Blue (the BS381 shade, rather than AM Sky Blue) but both these shades had gone from the range by (?) the early 1970s.

Thanks John, I'll have a look in my father's stash of old Humbrol paints then. How big is the difference between the BS381 Sky Blue and the AM Sky Blue?

There used to be a Humbrol colour called 97 Eggshell, which was discontinued about 15 years ago. I may have a pot lying around, but my memory is that it came out a pale blue shade. I'll have a rake!

John

I have a tin of 97 Eggshell which I have used on my PR Type A Spitfire:

SpitPRA_Tam48_1237.jpg

The picture shows the colour as it looks IRL - at least on my screen.

Regards,

Jens

Link to post
Share on other sites
Thanks John, I'll have a look in my father's stash of old Humbrol paints then. How big is the difference between the BS381 Sky Blue and the AM Sky Blue?

I have a tin of 97 Eggshell which I have used on my PR Type A Spitfire:

SpitPRA_Tam48_1237.jpg

The picture shows the colour as it looks IRL - at least on my screen.

Regards,

Jens

This is AM Sky Blue against BS381c:101 Sky Blue, and you can see that they are completely different shades:

skyblues.jpg

I think the original 1930 shade may have been a bit lighter but Mike Starmer has my copy of the 1930 standard at the moment, so I'm working from memory here.

I like the 97 Eggshell finish! Looks like another contender for the Sky crown. That means that in the mid-1990s, Humbrol had 4 different paints out that were there or thereabouts for Sky.

John

Link to post
Share on other sites

Create an account or sign in to comment

You need to be a member in order to leave a comment

Create an account

Sign up for a new account in our community. It's easy!

Register a new account

Sign in

Already have an account? Sign in here.

Sign In Now
×
×
  • Create New...