Saturday 15 September 2012

Ki-46 Colour Matters

In response to a comment about Ki-46 colours some additional observations might be helpful. I always render colour chips against a neutral grey background but individual perception and monitor vagaries come into play when viewing them. The colours are rendered in sRGB which is not real paint colour and therefore cannot be taken to a nearby window to view and appreciate under full daylight illumination. It is best to use the information to "triangulate" with other data using other colour references such as Methuen, FS595b, RAL, or JPMA (which uses Munsell values). I was remiss in not providing these additional comparisons for the chips posted on Tuesday.

The right hand fabric chip was rendered as Munsell 5 Y 6.0/1.0. The closest FS 595b value to that is 36357 @ 2.61 where 2.0 or less is a close match. FS 36357 is Munsell 7.3 Y 6.3/1.1. The closest Munsell pure neutral grey is N6 @ 6.49 and the difference can be appreciated in the schematic shown above. By comparing the colour to a true neutral grey the degree of yellowish or amber tone becomes more apparent. Juxtaposition is everything. Let's look at the actual pigments in the closest FS value 36357. Titanium dioxide (white), yellow iron oxide, red iron oxide (blue shade) and carbon black. So definitely not a neutral grey of pure black and white. The closest RAL colour value to 5 Y 6/1 is 7030 Steingrau (Stone grey) @ 2.40 which is Munsell 6.7 Y 6.0/0.7. It is slightly darker and greyer in appearance. In Methuen terms 5 Y 6/1 is just a tad darker than 5 C 2 which is described as "brownish grey". In Pantone the closest value is 415 C -  just a little less amber @ 3.11

As the grey is offered up to an even warmer toned grey such as 2.5 Y 5/2 (as shown above as the background colour) it begins to appear cooler and more neutral. This is deceptive. Some modellers and illustrators, in trying to reproduce these greys on Japanese aircraft, omit the "warm" aspect entirely and tend towards either cool greenish greys or cool blueish greys. The two chips below illustrate this tendency. Note also the difference in reflectivity. The warm Japanese greys had low reflectivity even though they were moderately light in appearance. A Google search in Japanese for Ki-46 brought up many images of models and illustrations where the colours fall into one of these two categories but none depicting the warm, brownish greys revealed by examination of the actual paint.

Those with an interest in Japanese colours are encouraged to obtain a RAL deck such as K1 Classic as it will be helpful in physically visualising the warm, yellowish, olive and khaki greys typically used by the Japanese - as well as other colours. The early A6M2 Mitsubishi Zero colour is very close to RAL 7034 Gelbgrau (yellow grey) and the Nakajima colour close to RAL 7008 Khakigrau (khaki grey). Unfortunately these warm but very subtle greys are ill-served by hobby paints which tend towards the cooler grey-greens, blue greys or browns that are just too brown! They are best represented by adding incremental yellow ochre pigments in varying proportions to available neutral greys. In most cases this will also create a fugitive green caste to the colour.

Image credits: All rendered chips © 2012 Straggler


Thomas Hall said...

Greetings, Straggler. I have been away from this topic for quite a while.

Since you cite FS36357, are you suggesting that this is J3 as seen on Kari Kikaku 117?

Please send me your e-mail address so we may correspond privately.

Straggler 脱走兵 said...

Er no, I am not citing FS 36357 or suggesting that it is J3! Examination of the particular IJA Ki-46 artifacts referred to in the previous blog (follow the link) determines colours Munsell 2.5Y 6.0/1.0 to 5Y 6.0/1.0. FS 36357 is the closest FS 595b value to 5 Y 6/1.

The IJN colour standard J3 has been compared to 5 GY 6/1 and the closest FS 595b value to that is 16307 @ 2.07.

Thomas Hall said...

Okay, thanks very much.

We wouldn't normally associate a navy color with an army plane. The reason I ask my somewhat odd question is that about fifteen years ago, Jim Lansdale wrote an article that compared "test J3" (matte) as presented in a chip in KuGiHo 0266 (February 1942) to FS36357.

Straggler 脱走兵 said...

But the research conducted by Jim Lansdale shows that at least as far as archeological evidence goes some Army and Navy aircraft have exactly similar paint colours. This includes Mitsubishi aircraft like the Ki-46 and Kawasaki aircraft like the Ki-48 for example.

The difference between the Army Grey-Green and the "J3 slightly towards amber colour" is actually very subtle and I have formed an opinion from studying the extant paint and pigmentation that in some cases they degrade towards an almost exactly similar colour.

Bob Alford said...

Many thanks for posting this Nick - it provides valuable new information on matching the colours on Ki-46 II #2414 in the Northern Territory and a couple of others lying in the bush and mangrove swamps.


Bob Alford

Ken Glass said...

Where can one fine more information on the RAL deck K1 Classic?

Ken Glass

Straggler 脱走兵 said...

Hi Ken

There are various RAL decks available but the K1 Classic is probably the most accessible and economical to purchase. Here is one retailer but if you Google it I'm sure you will find US retailers too.

Best regards