Paint colors for X-Wing, Snow speeder & AT-AT

Rogue Studios

Well-Known Member
Originally posted by TK9120@Jun 10 2005, 11:32 PM
Thanks. This is turning out to be more work than I thought it would be.  :lol
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This model started out gloss white no dulcote was ever used on it.

Lee


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smile3.jpg
 

CaptCBoard

Well-Known Member
The paint used as the base color on all X-wings, Y-wings and the MF in ANH was Krylon Platinum Gray. It is not the same Platinum Gray available today, which is much darker. The closest match to what Krylon made in 1976 is Testors Camouflage Gray, though it is a bit on the pink side.

I have to point out that any paint info given by Bill George would only be accurate for ESB and later-- he did not work on ANH. My information comes from several people who did work (and paint) on that film, people I used to work with. When I was doing the research for my SS X-wing they were most helpful.

For ESB, Red 5 was a new, much larger model and if Bill says they used gloss white I can not dispute it. From what I know of the way base coats and weathering appear on film, gloss white makes no sense-- even with a flat black primer under it. But, none of that is important since the modeler really needs to determine what it is he's actually trying to achieve.

If you are building a model that duplicates an FX model, then the exact colors and how they were applied is important.

If you are building a model that duplicates what is seen on the screen, then you need to use your eye to determine what color to use. Why?

We'll take the X-wing as an example. This ship is supposed to be white with color markings on the fuselage, engine cowls and wings. If it were brand new, all of this would be bright and probably shiny. But, in the Star Wars world, especially the Rebel sections, these ships are old and well worn and the paint has suffered. That's what they want you to see on screen. However, back in 1976 using white on an FX model was very problematic. With the long exposures needed during motion-control photography, the weathering applied over white paint disappeared on film. Weathering, by its nature is translucent-- allowing the white underneath to show through. Pure white is just too bright to put weathering on top of and have it work properly. When they set the exposure, the cinematographer would take the weathering into account, but where the weathering was too thin, it not only didn't show up, but those areas would be overexposed. And even if the weathering was not a problem, they couldn't get a dense enough black in the shadows. Remember, motion picture lights are much different than any lighting any of us are used to. 3400 Kelvin light is way different than an ordinary 100 watt bulb.

So, the solution was to use a very light gray base (which is known today as 'one-stop gray). Stuff like weathering looks much better - on film - when painted over light gray. The last step in how the model appears on film involves the film lab. They adjust the timing when making the prints so the ships appear 'whiter' than they actually look to the eye.

(Short Story about White Paint...) A long time ago, I worked on "King Kong Lives". One of the miniature sets I built was this medical facility interior where Kong was getting a mechanical heart. The full-sized set was painted white, so we had to duplicate that on the miniature. But, during tests, they discovered that the ape-suit worn by the actor was so dark that we had to repaint the set 3-stops to the gray side. This way, when they overexposed the ape-suit by 3 stops, so you could see the texture of the hair, the gray set looked white on film.

The question of Floquil also comes up. I know they used both Concrete (to delineate panels) and Caboose Red (wing markings). This red is actually just 'primary red', so not having the Floquil on hand is not a problem as any primary red will do. The blue used was a Pactra color (Sea Blue, if I recall correctly). It isn't available, but a 95% match is Tamiya Medium Blue (XF 18).

I know that's a long explaination, but if you know why certain things are done, you can make a more informed decision.

Scott
CaptCBoard@AOL.com
 

Rogue Studios

Well-Known Member
Originally posted by CaptCBoard@Jun 11 2005, 05:14 AM
The paint used as the base color on all X-wings, Y-wings and the MF in ANH was Krylon Platinum Gray.  It is not the same Platinum Gray available today, which is much darker.  The closest match to what Krylon made in 1976 is Testors Camouflage Gray, though it is a bit on the pink side.

I have to point out that any paint info given by Bill George would only be accurate for ESB and later-- he did not work on ANH.  My information comes from several people who did work (and paint) on that film, people I used to work with.  When I was doing the research for my SS X-wing they were most helpful. 

For ESB, Red 5 was a new, much larger model and if Bill says they used gloss white I can not dispute it.  From what I know of the way base coats and weathering appear on film,  gloss white makes no sense-- even with a flat black primer under it.  But, none of that is important since the modeler really needs to determine what it is he's actually trying to achieve.

If you are building a model that duplicates an FX model, then the exact colors and how they were applied is important.

If you are building a model that duplicates what is seen on the screen, then you need to use your eye to determine what color to use.  Why?

We'll take the X-wing as an example.  This ship is supposed to be white with color markings on the fuselage, engine cowls and wings.  If it were brand new, all of this would be bright and probably shiny.  But, in the Star Wars world, especially the Rebel sections, these ships are old and well worn and the paint has suffered.  That's what they want you to see on screen.  However, back in 1976 using white on an FX model was very problematic.  With the long exposures needed during motion-control photography, the weathering applied over white paint disappeared on film.  Weathering, by its nature is translucent-- allowing the white underneath to show through.  Pure white is just too bright to put weathering on top of and have it work properly.  When they set the exposure, the cinematographer would take the weathering into account, but where the weathering was too thin, it not only didn't show up, but those areas would be overexposed.  And even if the weathering was not a problem, they couldn't get a dense enough black in the shadows.  Remember, motion picture lights are much different than any lighting any of us are used to.  3400 Kelvin light is way different than an ordinary 100 watt bulb.

So, the solution was to use a very light gray base (which is known today as 'one-stop gray).  Stuff like weathering looks much better - on film - when painted over light gray.  The last step in how the model appears on film involves the film lab.  They adjust the timing when making the prints so the ships appear 'whiter' than they actually look to the eye. 

(Short Story about White Paint...) A long time ago, I worked on "King Kong Lives".  One of the miniature sets I built was this medical facility interior where Kong was getting a mechanical heart.  The full-sized set was painted white, so we had to duplicate that on the miniature.  But, during tests, they discovered that the ape-suit worn by the actor was so dark that we had to repaint the set 3-stops to the gray side.  This way, when they overexposed the ape-suit by 3 stops, so you could see the texture of the hair, the gray set looked white on film.

The question of Floquil also comes up.  I know they used both Concrete (to delineate panels) and Caboose Red (wing markings).  This red is actually just 'primary red', so not having the Floquil on hand is not a problem as any primary red will do.  The blue used was a Pactra color (Sea Blue, if I recall correctly).  It isn't available, but a 95% match is Tamiya Medium Blue (XF 18).

I know that's a long explaination, but if you know why certain things are done, you can make a more informed decision.

Scott
CaptCBoard@AOL.com
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Hey paint them how you want doesn't matter to me I just know a few people who built models for both ANH and ESB and I use the paint techniques divuldeged to me,please by all please use gray, white or whatever color you want I do not want to make you paint your model any other way than the way you want. I got a lot of my information from Pat Mcclung so there you have it. Please disregard any advice I have offered since I get the feeling I'm trying to offer experienced help and I'm getting the good old RPF I know more than you data bank so I don't want to get into a pissing contest. The mention of Caboose Red is interesting for the point that I posted I used Caboose Red on my X-wing when I first built it I also diseemented that information here and to a good friend we both know so I am for all my knowledge the only one to ever mention Floquils being used by ILM on this board and to use Caboose Red which was a best guess color on my part. Out.



Lee
 

JP05

Well-Known Member
With regards to gloss white being used......just check your resources. That information has been printed in making of books and other sources. Check the pics....the models are primed black. In fact I would say most of the pictures where models are being shown before being painted....they are primed black, and if they are not black, its a very dark grey.

I recall a picture of the falcon being built for ESB (?), its white (or a light gray) with black panels being glued onto it.

At least Rogue Studios named his source. And that was not the only source he has spoken to about these models. Others claim to talk to folks who worked on the film...and I will leave that alone.

All in all its a model. You can paint it as you want. If you want it as accurate asz you can to the studio scales they used in the films, Rogue Studios is your source than. In mine and many others opinions, he has nailed the look of the studio scale Xwing. I am not knocking anyone else's work, I have seen MANY wonderfully painted Xwings, but IMHO and other members of this board and the modeling community have agreed that he nailed the look.

Use floquil paints. Its what they used. Just ask any modeler who was active in the 70's what the model paints to use, and Floquil will come up. Look at your making of pics, you will see it there too. If you have trouble finding floquil paints, drop me a line. I live near 3 very well stocked hobby stores that carry these paints. Would be happy to help out. When Rogue Studios was doing his extensive research on the colors for this model and others, I was able to help him the same way. Seems now everyone takes credit for those colors, but to my knowledge, he broke out that info first.

Happy painting.

Steve
 

CaptCBoard

Well-Known Member
Sorry, guys, I wasn't trying to say I am right and others are wrong and if I came off that way I apologize. Paint is definitely a subjective topic and, to a certain extent, X-wings can be as well.

I researched what was done during the construction of the ANH X-wings since that was what my SS kit represented. My sources were Dave Beasley and David Jones, two of the six model builders listed in the credits of ANH; as well as Bruce MacRae. Bruce is an FX model painter and has also gathered information on these things over the years, from orginal sources. I know there were more than six guys who worked as modelers on ANH, but I believe Pat McClung worked on ESB only. Which is fine as he'd be a good resource for Snow Speeders and AT-AT and other things from ESB.

I should like to point out that all my information pertains to ANH X-wings only. I may not have made that clear in my prior post. X-wings built for ESB and ROTJ have to be pointed out as being a separate subject as they are much larger than the ANH models (and so the SS kits) and how they were painted would have been way different-- including the use of gloss white paint and black primer. My comments are specific to the ANH X-wings since the SS kits are usually what people are referring to when asking about "what colors were used". If they are not asking about SS kits specifically, then my information doesn't apply, other than to be considered as a general guide.

We have seen many great looking models of X-wings, all painted using different techniques and different colors, so we know more than one approach works and works well. But, the question asked was "what colors were used", not "what colors could be used". This is why any description of how the ESB model was painted might not be as pertinent as how the ANH model was painted. True, both models are X-wings and in the end they look identical on film. But, just as the paint differs from X-wings of different sizes, so do the parts used as detail. For instance, the Saturn 5 parts used on the ANH models would have to be recreated in a larger scale as closely as possible on the ESB Red 5 model, but no one brings that up when someone asks, "What kit parts were used to detail the X-wing?" That discussion always centers on what was done on the original ANH models. So, unless someone specifically asks "What colors were used on the ESB models", I have to assume they want to know about the ANH models, since that is most likely the kit they have.

Floquil was definitely the best at the time due to range of colors and the fact they were nice and flat. Why the subject of "who said what about Floquil first" came up is a mystery to me. I just reported on the two colors I know about. I'm sure the rest of the line was used, but I don't have any further specific color info to pass along.

I think part of the problem comes from what the final result is supposed to represent. When I built my personal X-wing model of Red 5, I was recreating the FX model so I painted it using the information I had gathered. Some guys will do the same thing I did, while others will complete their model as a 'model of an X-wing'. They will put in a cockpit that is accurate to what was in the full-size version and make other modifications such that the finished model is as close to what a 'real' X-wing would be. The great thing about this hobby is both guys are correct.

Scott
CaptCBoard@AOL.com
 

Rogue Studios

Well-Known Member
Originally posted by CaptCBoard@Jun 11 2005, 04:50 PM
Sorry, guys, I wasn't trying to say I am right and others are wrong and if I came off that way I apologize.  Paint is definitely a subjective topic and, to a certain extent, X-wings can be as well. 

I researched what was done during the construction of the ANH X-wings since that was what my SS kit represented.  My sources were Dave Beasley and David Jones, two of the six model builders listed in the credits of ANH; as well as Bruce MacRae.  Bruce is an FX model painter and has also gathered information on these things over the years, from orginal sources.  I know there were more than six guys who worked as modelers on ANH, but I believe Pat McClung worked on ESB only.  Which is fine as he'd be a good resource for Snow Speeders and AT-AT and other things from ESB.

I should like to point out that all my information pertains to ANH X-wings only.  I may not have made that clear in my prior post.  X-wings built for ESB and ROTJ have to be pointed out as being a separate subject as they are much larger than the ANH models (and so the SS kits) and how they were painted would have been way different-- including the use of gloss white paint and black primer.  My comments are specific to the ANH X-wings since the SS kits are usually what people are referring to when asking about "what colors were used".  If they are not asking about SS kits specifically, then my information doesn't apply, other than to be considered as a general guide. 

We have seen many great looking models of X-wings, all painted using different techniques and different colors, so we know more than one approach works and works well. But, the question asked was "what colors were used", not "what colors could be used".  This is why any description of how the ESB model was painted might not be as pertinent as how the ANH model was painted.  True, both models are X-wings and in the end they look identical on film. But, just as the paint differs from X-wings of different sizes, so do the parts used as detail.  For instance, the Saturn 5 parts used on the ANH models would have to be recreated in a larger scale as closely as possible on the ESB Red 5 model, but no one brings that up when someone asks, "What kit parts were used to detail the X-wing?" That discussion always centers on what was done on the original ANH models.  So, unless someone specifically asks "What colors were used on the ESB models", I have to assume they want to know about the ANH models, since that is most likely the kit they have.

Floquil was definitely the best at the time due to range of colors and the fact they were nice and flat.  Why the subject of "who said what about Floquil first" came up is a mystery to me.  I just reported on the two colors I know about.  I'm sure the rest of the line was used, but I don't have any further specific color info to pass along.

I think part of the problem comes from what the final result is supposed to represent.  When I built my personal X-wing model of Red 5, I was recreating the FX model so I painted it using the information I had gathered.  Some guys will do the same thing I did, while others will complete their model as a 'model of an X-wing'.  They will put in a cockpit that is accurate to what was in the full-size version and make other modifications such that the finished model is as close to what a 'real' X-wing would be.  The great thing about this hobby is both guys are correct.

Scott
CaptCBoard@AOL.com
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That Dave Beasley is one damn fine painter. I had the Armageddon shuttle he painted and it was just mad how well he painted it.

Lee
 

TK9120

Sr Member
I probably should have said what colors would work. It is only a small model and not the studio scale ones so no big deal.

I just figured Floquils would be the paints. That's what they used for Fett's helmet so I figured those were the paints they used. I guess it isn't all that difficult. Primer, white then weathering. That's what I figured. Just thought the white would be a light grey.

Lee, nice work on that X-wing. It does seem a tad dirty, But I'm no expert. Knowing the paint jobs you do though and how accurate they look, I'm sure it's dead on.
 

Miniaturizer Ray

Well-Known Member
If you compare it with the original model, I'd say it's an excellent match. If anything, it's possibly not quite dirty enough.

Here's the original "Luke" X-wing circa STAR WARS:

cr5.jpg


And here circa RETURN OF THE JEDI:

ir4.jpg


I think the point about the white vs grey argument is this: possibly the original paint used was called "(something or other) gray", but to all intents and purposes any lay person would have called it "white". It certainly wasn't the almost battleship grey colour that a lot of people paint their models.
 

TK9120

Sr Member
Thanks for those pics MR. I knew from seeing Lee's Fett helmets that the X-wing was porbably right on. I just didn't have any pics at hand to check.
 

Rogue Studios

Well-Known Member
Originally posted by TK9120@Jun 15 2005, 11:13 PM
Thanks for those pics MR. I knew from seeing Lee's Fett helmets that the X-wing was porbably right on. I just didn't have any pics at hand to check.
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Funny thing is I have been accused of making mine too dirty and it's just hard to convince people how dirty these were. Just take your time when starting there is no rush and if you weather it in one day you are rushing. Also I tooksome of these pics under low light with an old 1 mega pix camera because 3 years ago they were an ok camera LOL. Some of the pix below are progress pics and pics of a test x-wing I did Red-4 it was actually the first one I ever did and it has since been added to a collection out there some where.
final1.jpg


Red 5 in the works
P9170160.JPG


You can see the effect of using the gloss does see near the front of the fuselage the light the way it hits it but it's still a dull coat look to the eye.
smashed3.jpg


Major grainy pic sorry.
3.jpg


Lee
 

Rogue Studios

Well-Known Member
Originally posted by moffeaton@Jun 16 2005, 09:53 PM
Is that a Thunderfighter I spy in that last pic?

any chance you know where a fella could get one?

:p
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Throw that man a dollar. I'll see what I can dig up for ya.

Lee
 

JP05

Well-Known Member
Originally posted by Rogue Studios+Jun 17 2005, 02:04 AM--><div class='quotetop'>QUOTE(Rogue Studios @ Jun 17 2005, 02:04 AM)</div>
<!--QuoteBegin-moffeaton
@Jun 16 2005, 09:53 PM
Is that a Thunderfighter I spy in that last pic?

any chance you know where a fella could get one?

:p
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Throw that man a dollar. I'll see what I can dig up for ya.

Lee
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[/b]

Lee....send him digging my way :)
 

DARKSIDE72

Sr Member
Actually CC you are incorrect about this "gray" paint for ANH models. In several vintage ANH publications it is stated that the painting technique used was a black primer, this gives depth and makes it so the outer paint layer can be rubbed or buffed away to create weathering/damage. The main coat was an automotive hard/white enamel, now it doesn't state whether or not it was gloss of flat, but if gloss is used as Lee said then dulled down with steel wool and weathering the model will reflect light at certain angles giving it a metallic realism. Liquid frisket was applied and the details were painted with foqual paints. The ANH falcon,x-wing,tie fighter, y-wing, star destroyer,Blockade runner, were all painted the same way.

The ideal that white doesn't work well for models on film is rediculous, look at Space 1999,Alien,Star Trek, for examples of white ships which show up beautifully on film.

X-wing primed black,(they seem to do this in stages as they detail) also see the Chronicles escape pod for more proof of the black prime.
 

Rogue Studios

Well-Known Member
Originally posted by DARKSIDE72@Jun 17 2005, 06:23 PM
Actually CC you are incorrect about this "gray" paint for ANH models. In several vintage ANH publications it is stated that the painting technique used was a black primer, this gives depth and makes it so the outer paint layer can be rubbed or buffed away to create weathering/damage. The main coat was an automotive hard/white enamel, now it doesn't state whether or not it was gloss of flat, but if gloss is used as Lee said then dulled down with steel wool and weathering the model will reflect light at certain angles giving it a metallic realism. Liquid frisket was applied and the details were painted with foqual paints. The ANH falcon,x-wing,tie fighter, y-wing, star destroyer,Blockade runner, were all painted the same way.

The ideal that white doesn't work well for models on film is rediculous, look at Space 1999,Alien,Star Trek, for examples of white ships which show up beautifully on film.

X-wing primed black,(they seem to do this in stages as they detail) also see the Chronicles escape pod for more proof of the black prime.

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Well I was going to mention I assembled and primed mine black too but noticed the Gloss was too much information.

Blackace2.jpg
 
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