Best color for ANH Tie Fighter

hope you get a better response than I did - posted something very similar in my thread about paint colors, and you can hear the crickets chirping over there.


So anyone have comments on this color? Too light? Too dark? Not bluish enough?

That Interceptor is painted with a mix of Testors Model Master 'Dark Ghost Gray' (which isn't that dark) and 'Euro Gray' (which by any other name is 'battleship gray', to me). Cannot find my notes on what the mix ratio was.

I've got 5 styrene TIE kits on my bench right now, (2) TIE for Robstyle, (2) Interceptors, and a TIE Defender I'm scratchbuilding.
Thinking of using the same colors for these, but adding a touch of 'US Navy Blue Gray' to give them a bluish tinge.

I'll post some scans from Chronicles in the next couple of days, I'm sure there a ton of variation due to lighting / photography - unless someone can quote a LFL source for a paint code, I'll be making a best-guess.

Would love to hear from Echoleader - or anyone else for that matter - about his color choices on his TIE Bomber.
Do either of you have the Chronicals book,or any of the Art of Star Wars books?You can match colors pretty close with pictures.Its tough to do though,cause these were working,filming minatures and lighting can change tones,shades&colors.From Empire to Jedi....the Tie fighters took on a more blueish color,where as in Star Wars....more of a med-light Gull grey.....perharps an even lighter grey than that?I dont have a Testors color chart in front of me.....I'd flip through reference pictures and compoare the studio photographs with a color it Testors,Tamiya,Humbrol ect,ect.For the Tie had a more blue/grey color scheme.....the color was toned down cause it was too blue and it was interferring with blue screen work durring the filming...but it does have a more blue paint scheme.Anyways......guess thats it...hope this helps-John
Sorry I didn't chime in earlier on the subject of paint. Honestly though, I'm the wrong guy to ask for paint colors as I use commercially sold model paints on a rare occasion, mostly for the smaller details.

I mix my own paints mostly from scratch.

One thing you have to remember though is to keep scale in mind. Most of the studio models were large compared to their small commercially packaged counterparts. This makes a big difference as to how one paints the smaller versions.

Believe it or not, there is also scale to paint! I've learned that if you try to use the same paint combo that was used on the larger studio models on smaller ones, they tend to look darker, so in essence you would have to lighten the shade to make it look closer to scale. Basically what you're doing with paint is what nature does with light.

I use Liquetex Acrylic artist paints in tubes thinned with a mixture of water and rubbing alcohol. I look over the subject I'm trying to replicate and just mix colors till it matches what I see, there's no real science or ratio to it, at least for me. What I'm doing is the same thing some company is doing only they bottle it, slap a label on it and call it hobby paint.

On the TIE Bomber, all I did was mix some light blue with grey until I had a color that matched my reference.

I say use whatever you feel comfortable with and it matches what you're trying to copy. Don't be afraid to experiment with paint, forget what they taught you in school..... go ahead and color (or paint in this case) outside the lines!

I don't know if this helps any, but this is how I've painted my models for years yielding excellent results.

Rolando brings up a good point about painting that I skipped.....painting in scale.The studio models are far larger(usually)than commercially available the paint skeme is different,this is particulary important when you have a complicated color skeme that invloves glossy finishes,....say....a Star Trek ship like the Motin Picture Enterprise.You could'nt paint an old AMT kit of the enterprise with the same gloss/pearlesent finish as the 7ft film would'nt look right,you'd have to tone the gloss down, play around with the pearl finishes to make it look right.Yur pretty safe when it comes to a flat finish....not much tinkering is needed no matter what the scale.As far as a paint skeme goes,check yur references,and for sure what you come up with you will be happy.You will get pretty close,and who says you have to stick with what the pro's did?Yur model wont be baked under hot lights&filmed for hours&hours.You can try & match to a comercially available paint,or mix yur own,there are no rules when it comes to finishing ur model off.Just a little food for thought-John
As is evident in the above post by Rich, it's hard to determine what color is correct due to lighting, printing and such.

About the only way to actually get an exact match or close to it would be to see the physical model under normal lighting and doing a color match then.

I feel that as long as you come close (like no Zebra stripes)and you're happy with the end results, then everything else is just a bunch of Bantha Poo Doo.

Thanks for all the feedback. The tie kit I'm doing is from Steve Niesen. It is quite large. The solar panels on this thing are like 18". Once completed it might take over my wife's position as love of my life.

Once I am done I will post pictures. it will be a while though, I'm taking my time with this one.
IMO, what color you use depends on what you're modeling.

If you're re-creating a true studio-scale miniature, then obviously your goal should be to find the right color to match the original models. In this case, you must have decent pics of the models themselves, shot with as little extra light as is necessary to take the picture.

If you're building a smaller scale kit, one which recreates the vehicles as seen in the film, then your goal should be to match the way those models look on screen. In this case, you must consider both scale-effect, and "film-effect," by which I mean the amount of light used to film the miniature using motion control cameras (a whole lot!) and the contrast wash-out effect of film compositing.

There are various shades of "TIE-Fighter Blue" used in the three Star Wars films. The models in ANH appear almost pure white-gray on screen, even though they are much more of an intermediate blue-gray uder normal lighting conditions.

Check out Phillipe's closeups of Vaders TIE for a good look at the blue-gray used for ANH.

Later models built for ESB and ROTJ were much bluer. Here are Phillipe's pics of what I believe is a later TIE, probably from ESB.

As for what color to use, that's always a subjective thing and I'm not aware of any color wheel "canon" for Star Wars models, like you often find for Star Trek models and props.

I just mix my own colors because I've never found a good out-of-the-bottle hobby paint match for the colors the ILM guys used. I usually start with the closest match I can find, and then I lighten whith light gray or pure white, darken with dark gray or pure black, and add little bits of red, yellow, and/or blue as necessary. To see how the paint will look when dry, I'll brush about a one-inch square on a sheet of styrene for each test color mix. Under each square I write the formula used to mix that sample ("1 part gray, 2 parts white, etc."). Finally, I pick the color I like best after each test mix has dried.

Somewhere, I've got a styrene card with a perfect ANH blue-gray match in Poly-Scale paints, but we moved this year and it's still packed away in a box in the attic.

This method of color-matching is time consuming, but it's worth the effort, IMO.
Well..there are a few pages in the Chronicals book that shows some tie fighters in the process of inbetween paint jobs....not studio photographs.I think the best example is in the "Empire" section.....they painted them really blue,where as in Star Wars they tend to be a paler/med grey with a touch of blue in them.I never got an opportunity to go to any of the Archive shows with the ILM minatures..I'm regretting that I did'nt.Beaz has a spectacular way of matching paint.I'm not sure whether or not ILM painted strait from the bottle or custom mixed paints(excluding weathering on the ships of course).They used those Flowquil railroad enamels,but they probably ordered gallons of other paint....only way to really find out is to ask someone who worked there years ago in the shop,and my ILM contacts are few&far between.All ya can do is the best ya can....and find the best resources available and go off that if yur really into die hard accuracy."Thats about all I have to say about that"cheers-John
It seems that the ESBs had a very blue basecoat that was tempered with a light grey overcoat. Perhaps such a two-layer approach is the secret.
Here's a tidbit from the TIE superdetailing pages on,
</SPAN><TABLE BORDER=0 ALIGN=CENTER WIDTH=85%><TR><TD CLASS=$row_color>Quote:<HR></TD></TR><TR><TD CLASS=$row_color>While the the fighter appears to be silver or gray on the screen, the studio models were actually painted Pactra Stormy Sea Blue. This color, which is more grey than blue, has not been made in fifteen years or so. The models looked grey because the tremendous amount of light used in filming them brightened the apparent color considerably. After priming the model with a base coat of Testor's Flat Light Aircraft Grey, I chose to make the overall outside color a mix of Testor's Flat Aircraft Grey (FS 16473) and just a couple drops of Inetrmediate Blue (FS 35164). This I let dry for several days, before masking around the solar panels and painting them gloss black. Finally, I glued the solar panels to the command pod.
</TD></TR><TR><TD><HR></TD></TR></TABLE><SPAN CLASS=$row_color>

Interesting on the Pactra paint color, have to go ask him for info source...
you asking about this one??:

tiebluegray.jpg front yard
Those are the MPC kits I'm building for Robstyle and myself.
See the 'rayra van shipyards' thread in the OT forum.

(you were pulling my leg, weren't you?)
I think alot of the BLUE comes out in the film.
IS that due to the BLUE screen??
Not sure.

I know FLOQUIL was used alot as mentioned fact...
CONCRETE with white and BLACK mixed in was used to get the Falcon grey colors.

Anyone have a KIT list for the tie?
thats here some place isnt it?
I have a casting of the TIE..that is ALLEGEDLY out of same mold as the what ICONS STARTED with. It even has teh LEDS cast in the can see them. Yes,...they were LEDS.
I have always wanted to clean it up.
Anyhow....Steve N promised me Wing parts...what was it now Steve...3 years ago?
I have the actual screen for the wings... (sigh) someday Ill get to use it.

Didnt mean to DIGRESS.
To revive an old issue... the color of the TIE has been debated well, but has anyone made note of the various markings on them? A few photos show stripes on the cockpit section, as well as miscellaneous markings for hatches and such. Unfortunately (isn't it always the F#*! case) the photos are at terrible angles... so only small sections can be seen.
Any ideas?
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