Sunday, 28 February 2016

The quest for Azure

Not these ones, which is spelt differently anyway.

But the colour used for the underside of RAF planes in North Africa during WWII.

I have the Airfix Curtiss Tomahawk IIB ( which I started building far too long ago.

I used the correct Humbrol 157 for the underside, thought as it was going on that it was a bit dark and grey but hoped it would dry lighter and more... well blue I guess.  But it didn't, much to my disappointment.  So I tried mixing my own but wasn't super happy and I feared I was starting to obscure the etched detail as well.
So I started to look in to the matter and was amazed at how hard it was to get an authentic Azure Blue for the underside of my little plane.  There was an 18 page discussion on for a start which took some time to go through and actually get to the answer.

Thought I was going to be getting a Vallejo bottle from somewhere on line as this was looking to be about the best, until I reached the details about Precision Paints and there excellent attempt.  But as I read further and further down the thread it appeared Humbrol had listened to their customers, and the research they had undertaken, and reformulated the colour to and excellent standard.  Problem was they hadn't changed the tins, but there was a way to tell using the numbers on the sticker on the bottom.  So the next time I was in town with more time than 

just the run in for the bog shop I nipped to the local hobby shop (mainly train stuff) and picked up a tin with the correct numbers on the bottom.
So once home and family duties out of the way I couldn't wait for the moment of truth, would this be the dull grey or a nice blue with a violet tinge.....?
The moment of truth
Success (though paler than I thought it would be)

Well as the lid was carefully prised off a light violet blue greeted my eyes, and a smile crossed my face.  Though I must admit that I thought it was way lighter than I thought it was going to be, especially compared to my amateur attempt at mixing my own version which now seemed far far too blue, as can be seen from the pic below.  The 157 Azure Blue was also a bit thinner than I thought despite some vigorous stirring and didn't coat as well as my acrylic experiences and I was fearful of the detail being totally obscured.  But we'll see how it dries and what a bit of weathering can do (even if it is my first attempt).

My own attempt next to the Humbrol 157 (still wet), the wheel wells show the original 157 which came with the kit.

In conclusion, it's taken Humbrol a long time but they've come up with the best Azure Blue around.  Just a shame they couldn't do it in acrylic as well.

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