Paint Mixing And Custom Colors

By Loran

If you’re like me and love painting your Gundam kits, you’re going to notice that you can’t always just pick up a jar of paint, thin it, and use it on a kit. Sometimes, you’re going to have to mix your own paints. While a lot of suits have colors that you only see on that specific design, you’ll come to notice that there are quite a few colors that appear every now and then, be it faction colors, ace pilot colors, colors of a certain class of suit, or just your average, run of the mill colors. I’m going to offer some suggestions for how to make these colors.

For my kits, which I handbrush almost entirely, I use Testors/Model Masters Acrylic paints. They offer a very wide variety of colors that really work for Gundam kits. Obviously you’ll want to thin them to make them more workable. They offer many colors in flat and gloss varieties. Flat paints tend to be much easier to work with. Some people like to use Tamiya, but I’m honestly not too big of a fan.

Now, let’s look at the colors…

Basic Colors:

White: Instead of using a plain white, mix a little bit of gray or black in instead. Plain white is very tricky to work with and doesn’t like to go onto plastic very well without primer. It also tends to look very stark and a bit too “clean”.

Black: Plain black sometimes looks worse than a plain white. What you should do instead is make a “slate black” consisting of black mixed with some gray. It’s much lighter and looks closer to the shade you’d see in animation.

Blue: This is mostly a matter of preference, but if you want to match that “Gundam blue” color that Bandai and the Japanese paint company Gunze Sango made up a few years back, use a basic blue like Insignia Blue with some white mixed in.

Red: A similar case to the blue, but instead of mixing in white, use orange. 70% red and 30% orange is a good ratio to use.

Yellow: There’s not much you have to do here. Insignia Yellow with a hint of red/orange is good to use. Stick to flat yellow because gloss yellow can be difficult to work with.

Dark gray: A lot of suits use this dark gray color for the mechanical bits. Model Masters Gunship Gray is as good as it gets when it comes to this color. If not, make a dark gray using opposite ratios to the slate black.

Special Colors:

Titans Blue: This color is a very cool shade of Royal Blue. You’re going to see this on a lot of suits, particularly from the Zeta Gundam era. Use a standard shade of blue like Ford/GM Engine blue at 70% mixed with 30% of a basic red, such as Insignia or Guards Red.

GM White: This color can be a pain to mix, and you’ll probably achieve it after much trial and error. I usually take a jar of white paint and add blue and green in very, very small drops. You’ll see this color on suits like the classic GM and GM C Type from Gundam 0083.

Zaku Green: There are two shades here, the dark and the light. And guess what? You don’t need to do any mixing. RAF Interior Green for the lighter parts and Dark Green for the darker by Model Masters do the job just perfectly.

Char Red: Again, there’s a dark and light shade. The more pinkish color is a simple mix of two parts white, one part red, and one part yellow. Do NOT mix in any black unless you want to ruin the color. For the darker shade, use a regular shade of red, with just a hint of blue, white, and black mixed in. Alternatively, you could use Testors British Crimson, which while it may look nice, is a very thick paint that is difficult to thin.

Once you’ve given these colors, you should be ready to tackle some colors that appear only on specific suits. These colors are easy to mix, for the most part, and are good practice. Or, you could try mixing some of your own custom colors for designs of your own!

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