Friday 21 June 2024

A Bad Attitude of Mind

I've been toying with the idea of making this blog membership and sign-in only to deter abusers. But that would not be fair on those kind souls who share images and details of their builds and, judging by the fate of the private Amair4RAF blog, it would just sink without trace instead of floating along below the surface, the content being more ignored than it is now. Recently, when looking for something else, I came across one of those forum 'celebrity' big scale builds. In one of the posts the builder had included a schematic taken from this site without permission. It was attributed to 'Aviation of Japan' but without a link.  But more importantly it was posted without any context from the original blog article, to the point of being a misleading presentation. The chips were not measured values from actual paint but represented subjective visual comparisons attributed to actual paint seen in the interiors of later variants of the subject aircraft.  I wonder how this person might feel if I showed part of his build here, acknowledging the forum it was taken from but without the courtesy of a link and not bothering to include any context? 'Found this, make of it what you will'. The object, interior colour, elicited the usual gormless opinionation of 'I don't know, but' or 'I once saw . . .' as well as the usual 'paint it how you want, no one can prove . . . ' (curiously missing from discussions of Luftwaffe colours), etc. 

On another forum one chap had lifted information wholesale from this blog and then presented it as if it were the product of his own research and he was coming down from the mountain with tablets of stone. Ok, again he included a link to this blog but that was ignored and he got fawning praise and gratitude from his forumite audience for his 'research'. 

I've come to the conclusion that most extant IJN interior paint represents the applied and variable paints of different manufacturers, plus photo-chemical and other colour shift distortions from thermal and other degradations, to the single colour standard of Kariki 117's M1, as was specified and required. Here care is necessary and the usual caveat that a colour standard and applied paints are not identical beasts. Different paints for different purposes can be manufactured to match a single colour standard, but with different formulae to suit those purposes. And indeed different manufacturers can make paint match a single colour standard using different pigments and constituents. All of which can create and does create variables, especially over time. Paint protected from light and exposure will often become darker and browner, think old decals. A cool green will often become a more olive green in appearance, a bright pale blue become more turquoise in appearance. Too often the consequences are presumed to represent the original. Extant samples of paint from aircraft manufactured over 80 years ago are seductive but should not be presumed to represent a colour standard or be representative of all the aircraft of that type manufactured. In the case of the IJN fitted components were often finished in a darker green than the integral cockpit grey green, so where, exactly did the sample come from? And was it original or re-fitted? 

M1 (the standard) is similar to the RAF's Aircraft Grey Green, still contained in BS381c as # 283 under the same designation . In applied paints it can appear more olive now because the paint binder has become yellowed and darker. Tamiya offer an XF-71 Cockpit Green and assert that 'This shade of green captures the color used in the cockpit of IJN aircraft such as the Zero'.  It is lighter and brighter than the olive green that many choose to paint model Zero cockpits - FS 34151 - Interior green, TT-P-1757 and ANA 611, which is not Japanese. XF-71 is similar to the extant interior paint in the H8K Emily. I once tried their enamel version in the small Pactra-like glass bottle but it proved a greasy thing that preferred to stay wet and re-join itself rather than cover the plastic with a smooth, thin, opaque film applied by brush. That ideal of brush painting was abandoned decades ago and now manufacturers can take advantage of the almost universal use of the airbrush to stint on (expensive) pigments. Golden era Humbrol or Pactra it is not and I got the impression (!) that it was slightly lighter and brighter than the acrylic version.

M1 was succeeded by 1-4 in the Feb 1945 8609 document but remained exactly similar. The Japanese Aeronautic Association Aviation Heritage Archive (JAA AHA) spectrophotometer measured L*a*b* values of the 1-4 swatch (shown below) in the 8609 Standard presents a slightly duller, deeper colour, almost certainly the result of age related degradation. It is a very slightly yellowed grey green and the original should be envisaged as just a little lighter and cooler. It can be the starting point for the cockpit colour of any IJN aircraft. JAA AHA describe it as the IJN anti-glare colour for cockpits and known as 'Pale Green'. Actually Kariki 117 has it designated as 'Hairyokushoku' (ash green colour, e.g, grey green). The late David Aiken always insisted that M1 was the exterior colour of early Zeros. It wasn't, because the Zero camouflage trials which were recorded in early 1942 in the Yoko 0266 report included one Zero (Yo-151) experimentally painted overall in M1. If all Zeros had already been M1 that would not have been necessary and the report would have described the contemporary colour of Zeros as M1 or Hairyokushoku rather than 'J3 Hai iro (ash colour) leaning slightly towards ameiro (candy or amber colour)'. David also liked to present Tamiya XF-76 as M1 based mainly on the appearance of Tamiya's online advertising imagery. It isn't and anyone who has actually applied XF-76 knows it doesn't look like that. If it did Tamiya would not need to sell XF-71. The difference between how Tamiya market the appearance of the paint colour and how it actually looks when applied is a puzzle.

The 8609 swatches sent by the Koku Fan editor Toda-san to US researchers in the 1970s resulted in the 1-4 swatch being compared then to Munsell 7.5 GY 4/2 and FS 34159, which are also shown in comparison to the other colours below.  There is an extant D3A Val ammunition magazine which though variegated across its surfaces, shows the variations of the grey green, including a brighter, paler green. As with many such relics it is difficult to identify the original paint surface from the degraded paint surfaces. A  similar grey green colour is associated with Aichi Jake interiors. And not to forget that paint inside a model cockpit, especially in the smaller scales, will look darker, even with the canopy modelled open.

Make of it what you will! ;-)

Image credit: All © 2024 Aviation of Japan  


Alex said...

Great thanks for the excellent research. Reasoned and accurate, as usual.
A lot of my fellow modelers follow for your investigations, but no one every had said it had been their own information. It’s just impossible things to say this.
Sorry, Nick, but if you will make your blog as “sign-in only” for modelers will only stay a stupid “draw how you want, no one can prove it”.

Straggler 脱走兵 said...

Thank you Alex. This blog will remain open access and I shall press on as long as I am able. Ignoring data, whether deliberately or otherwise, does not make it invalid!


WD said...

I've said it before, and I'll say it again: thank you so much for all of your research and your willingness to share it with all of us for free. I'm so sorry you have had your work lifted and quoted with little to no attribution. I know I often recommend people to come here.

Straggler 脱走兵 said...

Thanks WD.

Spitfire said...

Sad to hear that someone has abused the privilige of access to your site, but unfortunately that is what happens these days. Hopefully these individuals are a minority.



Ronnie Olsthoorn said...

Good stuff Nick! Last winter I painted my Eduard Zero's interior with XF-71. Though it's a good starting point, it came out a bit too vivid to my liking. I'll be toning it down in the weathering stage. Your colour samples are definitely more like I imagine it to be.

Anonymous said...

Great blog - as a modeller of various things I find the information and pictures here both useful and inspiring for my own projects.

WK said...

I know I refer to your site quite a lot when trying to pass on the knowledge that I learned here, but I will make sure to also include a link ( I do it maybe 75% of the time) each time I do that. I will be on the lookout for those using your information without properly referencing you. I see it all the time in Facebook groups, and it's seems to be getting worse.

Straggler 脱走兵 said...

Thank you Ronnie, 'Anonymous' and WK. Ronnie - agreed, XF-71 is a bit 'stark'.


Mark Smith said...

I'm glad that you noted this, Nick, as some may not know that a proper acknowledgment will include the link rather than just the blog name. It also allows another to read the source info for themselves, increasing readership. It's easy to take for granted what you offer us here on the blog, and overlook the fact that it's a human endeavor and feelings are involved.

Tamiya's XF-71 just never seemed right to me either; Ronnie's 'too vivid' is a good description - which is linked also to your mention that 'paint inside a model cockpit, especially in the smaller scales, will look darker, even with the canopy modelled open.' I've learned that the hard way. As well, in 1/48 or larger, mixing three or four slight variations of the principal cockpit color and varying blacks for shade and patina repays the trouble.