Saturday, September 18, 2010

I've got the blues!

Wing Gundam was one of the first five models I had ever built That one was the 1/100 scale version and it was decently color accurate and at the time I was only using stickers and such anyway. When I did end up getting the 1/144 Wing Gundam and decided that the stickers that kept falling off weren't good enough anymore, I set off on my first of many trips to come to the hobby store to get model paints. Testor's brand had a lot to choose from but I have to say, they don't have everything.

I was in 8th grade at the time and we were studying a bit of color theory and learning how to mix colors so I didn't think much of the lack of color choices. Over the years I have fine tuned and honed my skills at mixing colors and I have to say, I'm 99% happy with the results of my paint mixing projects... but there is one color I've never been able to figure out...

THE BLUE ON THE WING GUNDAM! One of it's primary colors is blue and it's not just any blue... it's the impossible-to-mix-dark-but-not-too-dark-slightly-purple-but-not-really blue labled as "cobaltus blue" and a good bit of it is needed on the shoulders and arm claw thingies.

The sticker sheet even includes all the blue needed for the kit... And we know how badly the other models of the series were gypt when it came to proper sticker coverage (I'm looking at you Tallgeese II) and were it that I used stickers I'd be fine with these, but I never use stickers, at least not the foil ones...
So my mission, should I choose to accept it, is to devise a plan to mix the perfect ratio of paint to match the blue plastic of the 1/144 Wing Gundam and document the mixture so that I can repeat the process in the future. I have built this model three times before hand and only once did I accidentally stumble upon the perfect mixture of colors. But I didn't have enough to finish the project, and I wasted a lot of paint trying to figure out what I had done only to come up with a mess of blue that was just barely "close enough".

Here are my weapons, I've got Testor's Flat Sky Blue, Gloss Blue, Flat Sea Blue, and Flat Red. I'm not concerned with the finish, I can always changes the finish to a flat or gloss at the end, it's the color I'm after. I also have a Gundam Marker Blue, which looks like what they used in the painting guide, but as you will shortly see, this is not even close to the color of the actual model's plastic.

And so it begins, I have laid out a left over bit of white styrene with my attempts at color matching.

First up, Gundam Marker Blue and the Gloss Blue. Both are most definitely blue, but not the right kind of blue. The Gundam Marker is VERY blue and brilliant; the gloss blue is a touch darker, but it's missing some element that I just can't quite figure out.

Now we have the Gloss Blue and a 50/50 mix of Gloss Blue and Flat Sea Blue, it's closer than just the Gloss Blue, but it's a touch too dark. "Why not mix more of the Gloss Blue in?" you ask, well, I'll get to that.

So here it is, my mess of blue... We start with a 65/35 mix of Gloss Blue to Flat Sea Blue and it's still not quite there, so we take it in a number of directions. On the top I started mixing in a smidgen of Flat Sky Blue and then on the bottom a tiny bit of Flat Red, neither works out so I gradually mix those two together and then mix in from the original mix of Gloss Blue and Flat Sea Blue and so forth until SOMEWHERE in there, somewhere in the mess of paint and hopes and dreams is the perfect blue, I know it's there but how did it get there? What molecules of pigment have intermingled to create that awesome shade of blue?! What is the right mix? I see it in there somewhere but it is unattainable except by happenstance!

And finally we have, simply, the Flat Sea Blue which is just too dark and sort of drab...

Sadly, somewhere in between these two mixes I feel as though I have missed something, I feel like the answer could be right in front of my eyes if only I could see the colors more vividly, more truely... If only I could see that one true blue...

If only I could unlock the secrets of these two shades of blue and come up with exactly what I need for my Wing Gundam's blue bits to be the perfect shade and hue of blue...

Oh screw it! I'll use the Gundam Marker like the pictures!

Until next time: Happy Building!

And if you know the ratio for mixing the right blue using Testor's Enamels... let me know!

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