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RichardL

Obsession with FS 36170: Who Got It Right?

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As a modern jet modeler, one of my obsessions has always been finding good matching paints for the subject I'm currently working on.  A hobby within a hobby, if you will.  Since the F-35A is no exception, I decided to hunt down all available FS 36170 hobby paints to see which one comes closest to the actual color.

 

pic01.jpg.2a3418290923aba246fe8bdceb67e7f3.jpg

 

Some find enjoyment in filling seams.  I get gratification from either mixing paints to match or finding matching paints.

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Each color above will be compared against the official Federal Standard 595C color chip for FS 36170, which can be obtained from here:  Individual 595C Color Chip

 

color_chip.jpg.155ebb44c049e041dfd6bcd2576323cf.jpg

 

This color chip is used for color verification purposes on the real aircraft.

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Each color will be airbrushed onto a rectangular swatch made out of styrene sheet:

 

pic02.jpg

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And here are the results:

 

pic03.jpg

 

I've included two extra custom mixed colors on the bottom row that can also be used.

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Hataka 058 Have Glass Grey is a good match in real life with just about the right amount of metallic pigments.  This paint is water based acrylic.  The picture below was taken under direct sunlight.

 

pic05.jpg

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MENG Stealth Camouflage Dark Grey, as called out by the assembly instructions, is too dark to be used as is and must be lightened significantly:

 

pic06.jpg

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Amazingly, Mr. Paint FS 36170 is almost spot on without the Have Glass matte coat:

 

pic08.jpg

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Mr. Paint FS 36170 with Have Glass matte coat is slightly lighter, which is a good thing.  However, the metallic sheen is a tad too subtle and might even disappear after a couple of decal sealing coats:

 

pic09.jpg

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Gunze H69 mixed with Gunze H8 Silver to provide the metallic sheen turns out great:

 

pic13.jpg

 

MIxing ratio is 4 parts H69 to 1 part H8.

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If you are a Tamiya fan, then Tamiya XF-54 Dark Sea Grey is a good match too, although somewhat lighter and just a tad bluer:

 

pic12.jpg

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Tamiya XF-54 Dark Sea Grey mixed with Tamiya X-32 Titanium Silver is good.  Mixing ratio is 4 parts XF-54 to 1 part X-32.  The titanium silver tones down the blue somewhat and provides the required metallic sheen:

 

pic14.jpg

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22 minutes ago, RichardL said:

Each color will be airbrushed onto a rectangular swatch made out of styrene sheet:

Apparently I have missed seeing if model will be primed/undercoated and whether color was tested over the undercoat paint.

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There you have it.  Mr. Paint did his homework and did a great job.  If you can't spray lacquer paints for various reasons, then Hataka is very good.  However, it needs to be sprayed at slightly higher pressure, around 20 psi with a gravity feed airbrush due to the larger acrylic metallic pigments.

 

pic15.jpg

 

pic16.jpg

Edited by RichardL

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5 minutes ago, southwestforests said:

Apparently I have missed seeing if model will be primed/undercoated and whether color was tested over the undercoat paint.

 

Each swatch was primed with Mr. Finishing Surfacer 1500 Gray.  Priming the model with black won't affect the final result that much.

Edited by RichardL

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An excellent review, thanks RichardL. I too seem to obsess over paint colors ;-)

From my understanding, the F-35 is painted in Have Glass V paint. It is the same or similar to that used on the F-22 and is now being applied to some F-16's (as opposed to the original Have Glass II painted on F-16s). To my eye, it should have a very fine metallic sheen. The samples of Hataka and Mission Models paint look too grainy to me. The MRP looks better as do the custom mixes you made. I have the MRP paints but haven't done anything with them yet.

I wonder what Gunze H69 would look like mixed with one of their Mr. Metal Color or Mr Color Super Metallic paints. They have much finer pigments. Or mixing MRP 36170 with one of their metallic line colors.

As you stated, there is also the issue of gloss and other coats that one would apply to the paint diffusing the metallic effect.

More work is needed ;-)

 

Edited by Mstor
clarification

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Having photographed the new Have Glass 5 at Red Flag only a few weeks ago the tone, sheen and metallic effect is directly proportional to both sunlight and angle of reflection.

No one color has the properties of the real paint.

In over ast conditions its a very dark almost gunship grey yet in bright sun and the correct angle it almost goes bronze in patches refelected.

Ill put some pics up shortly but i think anyone who has seen the aircraft in the flesh knows what im talking about.

The properties of this paint make it very difficult to capture it as a one size fits all type of thing..

Far from easy...

 

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15 minutes ago, dehowie said:

The properties of this paint make it very difficult to capture it as a one size fits all type of thing..

Far from easy...

 

I think you hit it on the nail. Some things I think we do know or at least we have been told, are that the paint is created using metallic particles that a suspended in the paint. In Have Glass V these must be very fine indeed to exhibit the optical effects you are reporting. That is why I was wondering if we could get closer to the real thing using paints with very fine metallic pigments such as the ones I noted in my post. I guess someone is just going to have to do some experimenting. I can't do it right now. Probably won't until I begin the F-35 build (God knows when that'll be). So I will leave it to others for now. I am grateful that people like RichardL are taking the time to do this and report on it (and very completely).

 

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27 minutes ago, Mstor said:

I wonder what Gunze H69 would look like mixed with one of their Mr. Metal Color or Mr Color Super Metallic paints. They have much finer pigments. Or mixing MRP 36170 with one of their metallic line colors.

 

I can try mixing Mr. Color C37 Grey Violet with C8 Metallic Silver.

 

To me, the metallic effect of Mr. Paint is too faint.  I can spray another test swatch and put a gloss decaling coat follow a flat clear coat to see if the effect is still noticeable.

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24 minutes ago, dehowie said:

Having photographed the new Have Glass 5 at Red Flag only a few weeks ago the tone, sheen and metallic effect is directly proportional to both sunlight and angle of reflection.

No one color has the properties of the real paint.

In over ast conditions its a very dark almost gunship grey yet in bright sun and the correct angle it almost goes bronze in patches refelected.

 

The paints with the metallic sheen I show above do exhibit these properties somewhat.  In low light conditions, they would appear dark.  When put under direct sunlight at an angle, they would reflect mostly silver sheen due to the silver pigments being used.  To reflect bronze, we would need to mix in pale gold or bronze pigments I suppose.

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1 minute ago, RichardL said:

I can try mixing Mr. Color C37 Grey Violet with C8 Metallic Silver.

 

C8 is one of the regular line of paints. Their pigments are not as fine as the Mr Metal Color (these are similar to the Humbrol metallics that you buff to attain a glossy sheen)or Mr Color Super Metallic (these are similar to Alcad paints). You can try the mix but I would think C8's pigments might be too coarse.

 

6 minutes ago, RichardL said:

To me, the metallic effect of Mr. Paint is too faint.  I can spray another test swatch and put a gloss decaling coat follow a flat clear coat to see if the effect is still noticeable.

 

I was worried about that. I was doubtful that a "metallic topcoat" would achieve anything close to the real thing.

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7 minutes ago, Mstor said:

C8 is one of the regular line of paints. Their pigments are not as fine as the Mr Metal Color (these are similar to the Humbrol metallics that you buff to attain a glossy sheen)or Mr Color Super Metallic (these are similar to Alcad paints). You can try the mix but I would think C8's pigments might be too coarse.

 

Okay.  Will try to order Mr. Metal Color Silver and Gold and give it a go.

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