Battleship Grey is the toughest scheme to recreate in 400 scale. I'm surprised the shade of grey used by the recent NG models United 747SP hasn't got more attention. Not that many brands have historically got the colour right. Gemini have seemed to modify the shade they use almost every time they make a Battleship version. Here I take a look at the many variants of Battleship Grey that have been used across the 11 models in my collection. Which is the most accurate? I'm not sure:
There are some things that I would consider, discussiung about colors.
- there might be various standards defining "colors" like RAL, FS, etc.
- the reproduction might be at a high level done via computer
- frictiion may change color from gloss via pale to flat on an 1:1 object (especially aircrafts) while time passes by
- what the eye catches is light (waves - kind of energy)
- there might be already an effect on the shade depending on the environmental condition (sky, filter - whole spectrum or not).
- different diecast manufacturer may use different colors, there's no standard
- a scale effect might be considered
- also the conditions of taking a foto (film, position ... etc.) will result in different colors of same object
- what an observer will realize if he observes the 1:1 object is always a shaded or tone of the color that it is painted with
- there are standard methods to determine the color (defined conditions, ...)
- there are the facts that do not change and
- there is further this always subjective impression.
Which has the correct gray? I'd say all of them are correct, except for that GJ CRJ-200. I regularly flew United in the 1990s and 2000s, and while there may have been a "correct" freshly painted shade, what you saw at ORD, DEN, SFO and LAX was very much a mish mash of gray shades. Some were just plain dirty, but the touch of dirty brown was not uniform across the fuselage like with the new NG SP. There definitely were some atrociously faded aircraft, like the 777-200 I flew on from HNL-LAX in 2007. But not faded to the like of that GJ CRJ-200.
I really do appreciate NG taking on the Battleship Gray colors. Following the Saul Bass livery, the gray livery was kind of a boring livery to me at first. But I grew accustomed to it, and it is one of my favorite liveries now. Although I've shrunk my 1/400 collection significantly, I've kept most of the Battleship Grays (includes AC, GJ, and DW). And as my 1/200 collection slowly grows, I just acquired an older GJ200 United A319 in the Battleship Gray just a couple of weeks ago. Being so late to the 1/200 game, I did pay a premium for it, but it is a great addition to the collection!
Very much looking for NG to release a Battleship gray 757! Don't care which shade, as long as it's not like the GJ CRJ-200!
Battleship grey was not the same shade of colour in real life. When the livery was introduced a much lighter grey was used on several airframes. AFAIR it was applied to some A320s and 747s, perhaps even to most airframes painted in 1993.
Models I want to see in 1/400:
Boeing 737-200/300 Condor (grey), Boeing 737-500 Air France, Boeing 747-200B SAA (white belly), McDonnell Douglas DC-9-32 Aero Lloyd
So true Harvey! I used to fly them all the time and there was quite the variation from plane to plane. I used to see cowling covers from the Tulip livery on the battleship as well a different livery radome covers! I would even see parts about to drop off! Remember flying out of Denver on a 777 (which was rare re airframe) and the rubber gasket between the wing and flap was dislodged and flapping away in the air...never broke loose, but looked silly and unkept!
I never thought the Southwest Canyon Blue was a problem. You either make it based off of how the airplane looks freshly painted or years later after it faded. I feel like Southwest's older livery, Desert Gold, would be a much better topic of discussion regarding WN because I don't think anyone has quite got the shade of brown correct in 1:400 yet (Gemini is close).
Apparently, Stephen Wolf really liked dark blue, gray and a red pinstripe. The first example of this could be seen with Republic Airlines' last color scheme. Then, everything turned sinister with United's dull and drab "Battleship Gray" livery. And lastly, the re-branding as US Airways with its dark blue top and gray bottom. Nothing would be complete without the red pinstripe.
Battleship livery was developed to be more attractive to Business Travelers. United felt the Saul Bass livery was outdated and not geared towards the customers that flew the most and spent the most money for seats.