Banner Ad 1

Scale Color

This is the place to post your submarine build- ups.

Scale Color

Postby salmon » Thu Aug 18, 2011 12:26 pm

I had a great discussion with a gentleman from down under and in our many topics we touched on scale color. It brought back many memories from when I would enter model contests. So I would like to bring it up now and see if I can get a refresher. How do you figure scale color or is that a bunch of baloney? If I paint my 1/72 Gato as an example, do I lighten it? 28%?
I remember some of the lively discussions back then, but never heard a formula to resolve it. Hopefully, after several decades there is an answer ;-)
If you can cut, drill, saw, hit things and swear a lot, you're well on the way to building a working model sub.
User avatar
salmon
SubCommittee Member
 
Posts: 535
Joined: Sat Jul 16, 2011 2:35 am
Location: Las Vegas, Nevada

Re: Scale Color

Postby zeusbheld » Sat Oct 18, 2014 6:49 am

I know this is an old thread, and I am far from an expert on scale color, but it is a topic that interests me greatly.

I am very much in favor of it, and here's why: you can scale down a model, but you don't scale down the atmosphere with it. Scale color is just atmospheric perspective (also called aerial perspective). Air's not invisible. The more air between you and something, the more air you can see. Things at the horizon tend to be muted out toward a bluish medium grey.

In simplest terms, there's a lot less air between you and a small-scale model than there would be between you and the real thing at a viewing distance that would approximate the experience. I've seen photos of small models, such as a 1/72 80' Elco 80' PT boat painted in the experimental adaptor scheme (zebra stripes). The black was too black and to my eye in spite of the model being extremely well crafted it looked like a toy. Black, in particular, needs it. It will hardly be noticeable on grey things. A lot of subs are black, though (including my planned Gato) so muting that black out a bit will pay big dividends on the shelf, and some dividends on the lake.

I left engineering school unceremoniously, but i did manage to survive art school. Atmospheric perspective is very effective in giving the impression of space, but I don't think you can tie it to a calculation. Weather conditions, especially humidity, affect how much air you see. There are just too many variables, but I think a somewhat understated version of atmospheric perspective can pay big dividends.
zeusbheld
SubCommittee Member
 
Posts: 9
Joined: Sat Jun 14, 2014 10:52 pm

Re: Scale Color

Postby Pirate » Sat Oct 18, 2014 3:43 pm

General rule is the smaller something gets, the lighter the color.

The key is to be able to see the same details as on the full size boat. Because it's so big solid dark black still allows one to see the details. The highlights are big and the shadows, therefore there is contrast.

But if you paint a scale model, say 1/96, completely black, it sucks all the light in, not reflecting any of it, so highlights on small parts are so small they don't show up. Lightening to a dark gray allows the light off the highlights to be seen.

In the same way there are no discernible shadows either, because the black can't get any blacker to show a contrast as parts and shadows are so small.

You need a certain level of contrast between the darkest darks, mid tones and highlights for the eye to pick up shapes. In the same way, you wouldn't want to use white on a small model either, but very light gray.

I have a bachelor of fine arts degree and work as a professional designer. Makes painting and detailing my subs the most fun part.
HOLD FAST
User avatar
Pirate
SubCommittee Member
 
Posts: 799
Joined: Wed Oct 19, 2005 1:38 am
Location: Fort Wayne, Indiana

Re: Scale Color

Postby zeusbheld » Sat Oct 18, 2014 8:41 pm

Pirate wrote:General rule is the smaller something gets, the lighter the color.


That rule of thumb works for submarines very well (so many of them are black) but is an oversimplification.

Really light-colored objects appear darker. Not an issue with submarines but back to that 'zebra striped' PT: stark, bright-white stripes on a 1/72 boat will make it look toy-like. Bottom line is the extremes are muted. toward a light-ish middle grey.

I'm lucky the art room's on the 5th floor, and Bangkok's flat: when I want to teach students about atmospheric perspective all I need to do is have them look out the window, and compare the nearby trees to the ones furthest away. The humidity here helps with that (probably the pollution does too).
zeusbheld
SubCommittee Member
 
Posts: 9
Joined: Sat Jun 14, 2014 10:52 pm

Re: Scale Color

Postby Pirate » Mon Oct 20, 2014 10:44 pm

I said that. For white items they need to be darker, like a very light gray. No extremes, either white or black.

And because of that atmospheric condition, large submarines are usually seen very far away, so you have to create that effect on a model only 10 feet away, you add gray to any colors.

In painting a landscape and you want something to appear farther away than something in the foreground, you add more gray to colors farther in the background. Same idea on models.
HOLD FAST
User avatar
Pirate
SubCommittee Member
 
Posts: 799
Joined: Wed Oct 19, 2005 1:38 am
Location: Fort Wayne, Indiana

Re: Scale Color

Postby zeusbheld » Tue Oct 21, 2014 3:23 am

This:
Pirate wrote:In painting a landscape and you want something to appear farther away than something in the foreground, you add more gray to colors farther in the background. Same idea on models.


sums it up better than this:
Pirate wrote:General rule is the smaller something gets, the lighter the color.
zeusbheld
SubCommittee Member
 
Posts: 9
Joined: Sat Jun 14, 2014 10:52 pm


Return to Builder Threads

Who is online

Users browsing this forum: Ralph --- SSBN 598