Answers to the questions that brought people to my blog…


Hmm, wordpress saves what the search key was that brought people to my stuff, and there were a bunch of questions in the last two days that I do have an answer for, but its not written down here. So here’s a grab bag of answers to questions people were asking when they found this blog, and perhaps the people who were looking will come back some time and find them… or someone else will profit from it.

Mixing Olive Drab ?

After ‘open the window!’, ‘keep the lid on the glue’ and ‘clean the paint brush while the paint is still wet’, my introduction to the secret knowlege of model building came in my early teen age years. I mentioned wishing there was an olive drab paint, as all I had were the glossy primary colors, and my father told me it was just yellow mixed with black. And indeed it is, which is why its so often seen in nature. Yellow and black are common enough colors among plants. Mix some for youself today, and give a thought to how much has changed since I learned this, in 1969.

Color Code Gull Grey?

The US Navy uses a color called “Light Gull Gray”, 595a # 36440 for flat, 26440 semi gloss, 16440 gloss. In the 1950s and 60s this was the standard color for the upper surface of USN and USMC military planes, with shiny white on the underneath. The white was removed from fighters in the 1970s when it was realized that the different top and bottom colors would give-away the way the plane was facing in a dog-fight. So the white/gull gray scheme was replaced with overall 36440.

I really like 36440, because it seems to precisely capture the color of clouds in sunshine- there’s a definate warmth to it. Surprisingly poetic, but if you want to blend into clouds, you need to be cloud colored. (Unless you choose the green balloon and want to look like part of the tree- appologies to A. A. Milne, Christopher Robin, Pooh and the bees…)

Prior to 1942, the US Navy used a light gray overall or for the UNDERSIDE of airplanes- the SBD, TBD, F4F-3, F2B-3, etc. There’s an Army/Navy (A/N) number for the USN Light Gray, but the AN USN LIght Gray and 36440 are indistinguishable by me. The formula may be different, or the same, certainly the purpose was the same.

Lots of airline model instructions call out “(Light) Gull Gray” or “36440” for the light gray frequently found on wings and horizontal stabilizers, on the wing/fuselage fairing, jet engine fan cowlings, and composite (fiberglass or carbon fiber) pieces. I find *6440 too dense and too warm. Boeing do offer more than a dozen colors for gray and another more than a dozen for white, to their customers, but there is a definate, ‘typical’, gray that’s about the same tonal value as bare aluminum that Boeing, McDonnel Douglas, Lockheed, Airbus, etc all use or used by default. At Boeing it’s called “Boeing Aircraft Company Gray” and has the stock number “707”. Sometimes this is rendered “BAC 707 Gray” but it’s not “707” gray- the number is coincidence. Or so I’m told.

Xtracolor make pre-mixed BAC 707 Gray, which is a spot-on match. Hannant’s in the UK own Xtracolor, and stock the paint. Airline Hobby Supply carry it in the USA, and perhaps others do too.

I recently decided to try mixing something similar using Testor’s Acryl, and found 3 parts 36495 Light Gray (I’ll look up the Testor’s part number and post it here) and 8 parts white were pretty good. Its far, far, from 36440 or Light Gull Gray, but its a pretty good match to what you see on the wings of DC-9s, 737s, A-320s, etc. Your milage may vary, of course.

There’s also a “Dark Gull Gray”, a darker color (FS595 36231), used in airplane cockpits and perhaps in more modern US Navy camoflague schemes.
Check out:

http://www.fed-std-595.com/FS-595-Paint-Spec.html

Its a complete list of 595 color names with samples for your screen- not definative but a great place to start.

Thining Vallejo paints for airbrush?

Al at D&J Hobbies in Campbell always advised thinning to the consistancy of fresh, whole, milk, for airbrush use. That’s what I’d try first. Thin with whatever Vallejo recommend- water, water + alcohol. Some sporty airbrushers thin their acrylic paint with laquer thinner- boy I bet that dries fast, but you’d have to be used to laquer thinner to bother.

Used Radio Control Cars?

The RC Car-oriented shops, Sheldon’s or NorCal for example, often have a spot for people to post their stuff for sale. Not unlike the similar spots at PartsHeaven or other foriegn/speciality car parts places. And there’s always Craigslist.

San Francisco Bay Area Slot Cars?

I’ve used and recomend “Homeroom Racing Cafe” on Webster on Alameda Island. Slot Car Magic and Hobby in (San Lorenzo? Between Hayward and Oakland) have a great track and I hope to try it one day. Both are multi-lane layouts made from Scalectric Sport track. There’s an old 1960s commercial track with about 8 lanes and the big banked turn at the RC and slot-car place on Camden Avenue at Union Ave in San Jose. Others?

Bare Steel Colored Paint?

If you can take the time, smooth and polish the plastic to a shine, just like a molded part, and shoot rattle-can Testor’s Metalizer Stainless Steel on it. Then buff with a soft, clean, cloth, or paper, never touching it with your bare fingers, changing cloths frequently, until you get what you want, and seal it with their clear laquer sealer or Future floor wax- one coat, no more. Polly Scale make a “Steel” color, in their Railroad line, which is ok. Tamiya make a “Metalic Gray” (XF-56) which is also ok, though a bit more work to get looking good. For both acrylics, the key is to brush it out THIN and use more than one coat for coverage. The acrylic metalics seem to get thick and gloppy even more than regular color acrylics. Frankly, oil/solvent based paints make better or at least easier to use, metalics. So the Testor’s Model Master or 1/4 oz little bottles of “Steel” would seem like good things to try. Or Humbroil or Revell Germany or solvent based Mr. Color (Gunze-Sanyo) if you can get them.

Can Tamiya Paint Be Thinned With Water?

Yes. Absolutely. I’ve done it myself with great success. They sell an acrylic paint thinner, and its NOT water, but if you want to make Tamiya paint brush nicer, or make a wash of it, or spray it from a Badger 250 paint sprayer, water will work just fine. As will water and isopropyl (rubbing) alcohol. I have never sprayed Tamiya acrylic paint through an airbrush, so I’m speculating when I say it’ll probably work fine thinned with water, but I think it will. Paint some test object first to be sure, of course. When I was a kid, the ‘test object” was always the inside of the lid of the box the kit came in. A ‘spare’ kit or the parts of a spare kit make superior test objects. You can paint different colors on the two sides (inside and outside, top and bottom) of each part- that’s a lot of test subjects! Make sure you keep track of what each test consisted of, you’ll forget in a year or two…

I have every confidence the Tamiya Acrylic Thinner will work as well- in fact, if you plan to airbrush a lot of Tamiya, you’d be well served by doing some experiements with different thinners and find what works for you.

Remember, thin to the consistancy of fresh, whole, milk. The stuff you put on your cornflakes, or did, when you were a kid.

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2 responses to “Answers to the questions that brought people to my blog…

  1. Pingback: Answers to the questions that brought people to my blog… | car parts

  2. Not that I’m totally impressed, but this is more than I expected for when I found a link on Digg telling that the info here is quite decent. Thanks.

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