Urban’s Colour Reference Charts, Notes About Accuracy

by Martin Waligorski

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A Few Notes About Accuracy

Humbrol tinlet.gif (7756 bytes)For the work of this magnitude, it would be impossible for the author(s) to personally verify all given colour matches. Even so, the original paint shades are in many cases unknown or not fully researched. Thus, we are aware that certain mistakes could not be avoided.

Even the relatively complete system like Federal Standard (FS) is too limited in scope to accurately describe complex colours. Consequently, the quoted FS numbers do not represent some objective truth. Rather, they most often represent someone’s personal attempt to explain the appearance of the original colour. This judgement could be affected by variations between different batches of the original colour. Secondly, colours on small chip samples can look rather different– usually darker– than such a colour when applied to a real, large, three dimensional object. This unhappy occurrence has to do with the simple facts of light reflection, ambient value, and other factors, and should not seem overly mysterious to any modeller. Moreover, the original paint samples left to us are over 50 years old, and it sometimes takes rather an act of analytical chemistry to understand how they might have appeared when originally applied…

In other words, these charts are long from being definitive.

Based on this, we suggest that you treat given colour matches as a proposal rather than absolute reference. In some cases you will even find alternative matches. We are relativists: the most important thing is that the colours go well together on a model; and if it looks right, it is right!

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