Thursday 9 June 2011

Zero Tolerance ~ Zero Colour Comparisons

In response to some understandable confusion a schematic is provided here to illustrate the relationship between the "olive grey" paint used on the early Zero, the recent RAF Camouflage Beige (aka "Hemp") and RLM 02. Before deciding on using either of these colours (from proprietory hobby paints) on a Zero replica the modeller might first consider two important factors: -

1. Are the hobby paints intended to be used good representations of the original colours shown here?

2. Is "scale effect" to be incorporated?

With regard to 1. some versions of "Hemp" hobby paint are quite brown in appearance, whilst as explored here some versions of RLM 02 are a little too grey or too "cool" a grey-green. Most of the RLM 02 paints will have to be lightened and can be brought closer to the Zero paint colour in appearance by adding a little yellow ochre (RAF Midstone is suitable). If the RLM 02 paint is a cool grey-green to start with then using an alternative brand is suggested!

Consideration of 2. is a matter of personal choice and has been debated at length elsewhere.

Tamiya XF-76 is a reasonable representation for a moderately oxidised and chalked aircraft in service but is not exactly similar to the original paint colour being slightly cooler and greyer/greener.

If startled by these colours please bear in mind that contemporaneous descriptions of the Zero paint colour were "J3 hai iro (灰色 ash/grey colour) slightly towards ame iro (飴色 amber or yellowish-brown colour)" and "hai nezumi iro" (灰鼠色 grey rat colour).

Image credits: Rendered colour chips in sRGB from original L*a*b* measurements © Straggler 2011


Northern Nevadan (Eric) said...

I know it’s an old article but the information, with its advice, is still very sound. I also have used RLM 02 (MMP) for an “Ame-Iro” J3 amber but lightened at least 30% with MMP Insignia White and then added 30% of total volume with Createx Illustration Colors Yellow Ochre. Createx Illustration Colors share the same “DNA” as MMP…just shows how versatile MMP paints are…they spray as well as lacquers when properly thinned/mixed.

I also mixed per Eduard’s 1/48 A6M2 “Torah Tora, Tora” kit color instruction, their recommended mix for a Pearl Harbor Type 21: 70% MMP-107 J3 and 30% MMP-056 RLM 02…no where near the right color of the surviving samples. Eduard’s instructions also state that they used your PDF as a guide (by name) for their colors…that’s a falsehood since their recommendations are no where close to your well researched colors in your publication.

Thank you again for this excellent site and the knowledge which it imparts to modelers,



Northern Nevadan (Eric) said...

…here is link to Eduard’s instructions:

Straggler 脱走兵 said...

Thanks for your comment and the link Eric. I was aware of Eduard's instructions and in fact provided them with a copy of my PDF on request when they were wrestling with colour schemes. But they were soaking up input far and wide and obviously had their own views.I think that is evident in the box art!

Thank you also for your kind compliement about the blog.