On Nov 30, 2012, at 5:20 AM, lnbill wrote:
Military Modelers commonly use slightly lighter shades of paint toGood grief! Why can't North American railroad modelers wrap their
minds around what Bill aptly calls "the scale effect" when it has
been well understood by aircraft and armor modelers for decades?
This concept goes back at least to 1947, when a group of British
aircraft modelers conducted a series of experiments to determine why
the colors on their models seemed "off" when they were identical to
the colors on the prototype. To oversimplify a bit, they discovered
the following principles:
1. A small object (e.g., a model) will appear darker than a large
object (e.g. a prototype aircraft or railroad car) even though
painted exactly the same color.
2. A small object (e.g., a model) will appear more shiny than a
large object (e.g. a prototype aircraft or railroad car) even though
it has exactly the same reflectivity.
3. The artificial light under which models are almost always viewed
varies in quality and intensity and is NEVER as bright as the natural
sunlight under which the prototypes are viewed.
These principles render the search for the exact color the prototype
was painted not just pointless but in some respects misleading.
Still, that search has occupied a lot of bandwidth on the STMFC list
and continues to do so. Of course, you want to start with something
reasonably close to the original color. But to achieve a realistic
appearance, a model that will be viewed under artificial light should
ALWAYS be a bit lighter, less saturated in color, and less shiny than
the prototype. Does it matter what kind of artificial light? Sure
it does, but that introduces a bunch of other variables about which
it is difficult to generalize. Then there are the effects on color
of aging and weathering, about which it is also difficult to
generalize. Sorry, guys, but painting models and getting them to
look right is not a matter of meticulous research into the prototype
colors, it's an art form. One of the surest ways to make a model
look unrealistic is to paint it the exact same color as its prototype.