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PostPosted: 17 Apr 2021, 09:02 

Joined: 12 Jan 2013, 00:04
Posts: 227
I know the topic of SAAF colours has been covered several times on this site, but searching and reading through the various topics unfortunately I couldn't find an answer to my specific question. It seems when the topic comes up, it mostly deals with Humbrol or Tamiya acrylic range matches for the SAAF colours.

Over the years, I have slowly migrated away from enamel paints for airbrushing, to lacquers and the so-called acrylic lacquers. More specifically, I tend to use the Akan acrylic lacquer range for all my Russian/Soviet subjects and Mr Color or the new Tamiya bottled lacquers (the LP range) for everything else. Recently the Mr Color paints have become available in South Africa through both Jix and Model Tech in Pretoria, and probably some other shops also. This is great for me, since I don't have to bring in my preferred brands through international suppliers anymore (except for the Akan paints). My reason for using the specific paint brands mentioned above is that they spray extremely well for me and you can thin them way down to a slightly transparent consistency for some applications. Unfortunately, these paints are not cheap (about R50 a bottle) so I would prefer to not have to experiment too much, and I'm not great at mixing my own colours.

So, here's my question: I have not built a SAAF subject for some time, and I have one of those ESCI/Italeri Impala Mk II's winking at me from the stash along with a bit of aftermarket. I'd like to do it in the typical dark earth/olive drab/light admiralty grey scheme of the late Angola war and subsequent period. Does anyone here know whether there are very good matches for the following colours in either the Mr Color or in the Tamiya LP bottled lacquer range? Preferably if you have actually used the colours or seen them used, since the manufacturer's colour charts and those internet paint equivalency charts are not always that accurate:
BS381C 298: Olive Drab
BS381C 697: Light Admiralty Grey
BS381C 450: Dark Earth

I know Hataka makes a SAAF set with these colours in their lacquer range, but I don't think that set is available locally and I don't really trust the post office anymore. Usually I could pick it up myself while overseas, but due to Covid, my international travel has become rather limited for the last year or so.

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PostPosted: 18 Apr 2021, 11:50 

Joined: 12 Apr 2011, 20:49
Posts: 1507
Location: Zwartkop
Dependent on the era that you would like to do your Impala Mk2 in, you can also use PRU Blue for the underside.

BS 381C -636 P.R.U. Blue

I only use the Humbrol paints as they were formulated to the BS colour spectrum and are the correct shade / colours as far as I know.

I have never had any big problem with the paints and I use a very thin consistency when I airbrush, usually a 1:1 ratio or even greater if needed.

In the past some people said that a 20% white to the colour will give it the correct scale colour. This can be debated ad-finitum by some.
On certain SAAF aircraft like the Dak or Skymaster one could find various shades of colours especially when flying controls have been replaced, etc..
Then that will be the correct time to add additional colours to get the correct shade / colour required.

Personally I don't mix colours to obtain a specific colour as I would possibly waste more paint trying to get the correct shade and then end up with unwanted excess. I did mix colours many years ago to formulate the colours for the Mirage F1CZ in what became known as the Spectre colours.

Mr Color I have not used yet and I cannot comment on their colour exactness.

Maybe Malcom can help here with the colour mix's?


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PostPosted: 18 Apr 2021, 17:04 

Joined: 12 Jan 2013, 00:04
Posts: 227
Thank you for that reply, Geoff. I'm looking to build a Mk II from around the 1987 - 1990 period. I was still in high school at the time, and would occasionally be invited to visit 4 Squadron at Lanseria on family open days, so I got to see them fly many times and occasionally got to sit in them and pretend I was a fighter pilot. I still remember the sight so clearly of the wheels coming up the moment the aircraft lifted from the ground as they took off in streams of two or four.

As I understand it, Light Admiralty Grey would be appropriate for the undersides in that period?

Since my previous post, I can respond to myself for at least one colour: Mr Color C369 is labeled as BS381C/450 Dark Earth. Funny-enough, I have a bottle as it came with a WWII RAF Desert Camouflage paint set. BS381C was of course not used in WWII, but it seems the actual Dark Earth color is the same or very similar. Regardless, Mr Color has a colour that they "officially" describe as BS381C/450 in their range. Looking at the bottle, it does seem that this would work for an Impala, although I haven't tested it yet.

Many seem to recommend Humbrol 65, slightly lightened, for Light Admiralty Grey. Hu 65 is actually supposed to be RLM65, which is Mr Color C115. So, that colour with a bit of white may be a way to reproduce Light Admiralty Grey?

For the olive drab, it seems RAF WWII Dark Green (Mr Color C23) or their "Dark Green BS641" C361 could work.

So, possibilities so far:
BS381C 298: Olive Drab - Hu 30 -> Mr Color C23 or C361?
BS381C 697: Light Admiralty Grey - Hu 65 slightly lightened -> Mr Color C115 + white?
BS381C 450: Dark Earth - Hu 29 -> Mr Color 369

As I said, I was just sort of hoping someone here had gone through the experimentation already. Otherwise - I have a few of these colours already and guess I may end up buying a few of the possible ones, spray some test pieces and go visit the SAAF museum (or the Saxon World museum) with the strips to see what gives me the best match.

Just a comment on what you said about Humbrol paint: I used that paint for many years - for brush painting as a kid and then later also for airbrushing after I got my first airbrush. I therefore still have a big collection of Humbrol paints. However, about 10 years or so ago, I started experimenting with the acrylic lacquers and lacquer paints, as I mentioned. I use Mr Color Leveling Thinner with these paints, and I personally definitely noticed a huge difference. The pigments are extremely fine and as I said, you can thin them down to an almost translucent colour while they still spray beautifully. The final finish is very smooth to the touch, unlike the Humbrol matt colours that tend to feel very rough. They also have the added advantage that you can apply oil washes directly to the finish, whereas with Humbrol you need a barrier such as Future or Tamiya X-22. I highly doubt I would ever go back to Humbrol, although I do occasionally use my existing collection for brush painting small details.

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