Jump to content
Sign in to follow this  
the_dudeWG

Richthofen Red (opinions welcomed)

Recommended Posts

Hi, all. I did a lot of research regarding the tone of MvR's red, and I go back and forth on the various arguments. Nearly EVERY artwork shows his various aircrafts painted in the bright, signal red. However, I've read a lot of opinions that seemed convinced that his red was a darker, almost brick-red tone. Some fabric samples reveal an ugly, nearly brownish color that seems hard to imagine this was the way it appeared when he piloted them. Digital copies of images of old samples can be hard to pin down to an actual conclusion. I don't understand how his aircraft could be painted in that brownish-red color, yet be world renowned as the RED Baron, ... not to mention the countless drawings showing his aircraft painted in the classic, bright red.

 

Our "official" 425/17 Richthofen Dr.1 seems to have leaned toward the darker red color, while one of our expert skin creators, szelljr, created the older version with the classic, brighter red. I tried to match the "official" version when I created the 152/17 skin. I must admit, I'm not a fan of this darker version, and I'm hoping others would agree and I could try a different tone of red. I've recently come across an image of a 425/17 fabric sample that appears relatively bright. The person also held up some various color samples, albeit they aren't universal colors and it is only an image he is comparing it to. We have no idea of the exposure and/or lighting, but it certainly makes an argument for the traditional red we always envisioned.

 

Please have a look at the images below and weigh in with your opinion. I would love to know what everyone thinks, because I would like to settle on a tone of red for MvR and all of Jasta 11, especially before I start on the FD7 and (eventually) the Dva skins. Thanks. S!

FDr1_MvR red comparison.jpg

935591_581741491849507_901190922_n.jpg

  • Upvote 3

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

What I’ve seen of 425/17 is a pretty dark red (like the piece underneath the screenshot of 152/17, the one without the cross). But it has to be remembered that the paint is over 100 years old. It’s doubtful that it’s exactly the same shade as it was back in April 1918.

  • Thanks 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I think these samples are (today) only of indirect help to get an idea of the original color. Generally, red, orange and yellow are the first colors to fade. Also, when you add too much tint (the „color“) to a paint, it is more likely to fade.

 

One should have a look into the basic composition of the colors used in Germany at that time. Once you know the chromophores, you have an idea how they do over time. I‘ll have a look.

 

I would say that the doped fabrics now appearing brown were a color mix using different tints/chromophores, hence they fade differently over the years. I doubt that there were such lavish colors available in standardized manner for general army issue, hence they probably just took what they found. Color composition can vary a lot between different manufacturers.

  • Thanks 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
4 hours ago, Zooropa_Fly said:

Dude - is your monitor calibrated ?

 

S!

Actually, no, and I do plan to do that. That might be important for fine tuning, but the differences of opinions regarding MvR's color aren't quite as subtle. These images look just as contradictory on my iPhone as they do on my pc. S!

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
8 minutes ago, unreasonable said:

I suppose they hardly wanted to call him "The Brown Baron".

If Roy was a Baron, then the Baron Brown could have shot down the Brown Baron. But we know The Brown Baron was shot down from the brown, not from Brown.

 

That's actually a lot of brown.

  • Haha 2
  • Sad 1
  • Upvote 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Posted (edited)

Next question: did he wear brown pants or did they brown during dogfights?

Edited by J5_Hellbender

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

And now for something comletely different:

 

Just out of curiosity, I made the linen linen color again, as you can see in the left part of the picture. (Never mind the paper section under the specimen.) What you can see is that the red becomes much more red again, losing the brown yellow hue.

 

22.jpg

 

As far as I know, the cotton (differing slightly in color between suppliers) was doped with clear nitrocellulose (or cellulose acetate) lacquer, commonly known as "dope", making firetraps from simple cloth bags. This was applied after the cotton was glued on the airframe and shrunk by adding water. (Like it happens to Jeans.) After it dried, various layers of lacquer were added, taking care for not putting it on evenly. If you do it unevenly, the lacquer will not shrink evenly and your airframe gets wrinkled or twisted.

 

What would be interesting to know are the pigments, or tint, that was mixed in the lacquer. Knowing this would give an idea of its resistance to light etc.

  • Like 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Linen is right, I think, not cotton. Different plants.

 

While paint/pigments usually fade with age (or UV light), lacquers usually turn yellow, so your adjustment seems plausible.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
12 minutes ago, unreasonable said:

Linen is right, I think, not cotton.

Correct, I mixed it up.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I agree w/Unreasonable. Lacquer or varnish yellows terribly. I know I've read that the 5 color lozenge fabric was often given a good coat of varnish to "tone it down".

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Right. I first learned about the yellowing via lacquer from Fubar's RoF skin work. He often posted references to research done by Paul S. Leaman regarding the effect it had on the Fokker Dr1 coloring. https://riseofflight.com/forum/topic/23837-fokker-dr1-jasta-18-ltn-d-r-august-raben/?p=322319

 

I doubt this would explain the discrepancy with what we see in the above images. The two darker samples seem so extreme and I doubt that the differences could be explained by the lacquer alone. Plus, who's to say it didn't take decades for the lacquer to affect the color? That might matter regarding the light blue vs. turquois underside debate, but the red would probably retain the same relative tone, lacquered or not. It might appear somewhat more orangey after the lacquer yellows, but it wouldn't be a brownish brick-red unless it started out relatively dark. 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
10 hours ago, unreasonable said:

I suppose they hardly wanted to call him "The Brown Baron".

 

That’s what my wife calls me after eating at an Indian restaurant.

  • Haha 3
  • Confused 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Von R's airplanes weren't a brick tone red. They were a more crimson version of the color. The combat reports of British flyers who encountered him, and were even shot down by him makes that obvious to me. They refer to the Albatross and Triplane as being red. Not brown. As a matter of fact, in his auto biography ,"The Red Air Fighter," Richtofen tells a story about a time when he had a chance to meet an RFC flyer that he had shot down. They took him to the squadron mess and had a rather freindly visit. Richtofen wrote that the British pilot claimed that some of his squadron mates were sure that the red Albatross they had often encountered was flown by a female pilot. He said that they thought only a girl would fly such a bright crimson airplane! The British officer was probably giving Von R a hard time, I'm sure. 

On 4/14/2019 at 11:06 PM, the_dudeWG said:

However, I've read a lot of opinions that seemed convinced that his red was a darker, almost brick-red tone

 

  • Upvote 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Posted (edited)
7 minutes ago, Poochnboo said:

Von R's airplanes weren't a brick tone red. They were a more crimson version of the color....

 

 

Then this might have been the dye used. Derived from coal, patented by Germans, around at the time, and produced crimson.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Alizarin

Edited by unreasonable
  • Thanks 1
  • Upvote 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
1 hour ago, the_dudeWG said:

Plus, who's to say it didn't take decades for the lacquer to affect the color?

Nitrocellulose lacquer starts rather quickly in changing color tint. While initially it has a very subtle yellowish tint, within one decade it starts getting more yellowish. Especially if the specimen is exposed to sunlight. This telling from the RC airplanes I built 30 years ago using nitrocellulose lacquer. (And older ones I had at hands.k Although I used mostly either paper or silk instead of linen, what happened over the time was very much like on the picture I‘ve edited partially.

 

That one sample with the brownish color on the canvas probably has to be explained differently. To me, it looks like chemical degradation of the tint. It is of note that the piece of wood retains the brightest red. It might be that they either used a different kind of dope for wood (dispersion or casein?) or that the linen indeed has an effect on the tint, be it by residual bleach or residual humidity.

 

For the Fokker E.III, they just used clear lacquer and no tint. Hence, the color is that of bare linen plus „clear“ lacquer. It comes across as beige and not as white as the other linen sample suggests. Did they do something to that linen to brighten it up? It must be whitish, as the „white“ seems to be uncolored linen, just clear lacquer. This would also suggest that the red was the first paint layer on the canvas and not (as I would have expected) a second layer painted on a factory applied color.

 

I would have expected MvR getting stock colors for his aircraft, and then have it painted over. It would explain the darkening of the color in that brownish manner. When the red starts to fade and the darker green below starts to mix with that. There should be several layers for each paint finish, all of then a bit transparent that in sum give the color you want. I seriously doubt they painted it as an oil painting. Putting on that much dope at once would seriously affect the canvas tension in a non controllable way.

 

I remember doing that on the RC planes. As finish, if you did apply the lacquer uneven, it would twist the airfoil. What you could do is just put on more lacquer on the other side to twist is back and straighten it.

 

It would be interesting to use some sandpaper on a section of the brownish canvas to see what is underneath.

  • Thanks 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I've been through many discussions of this nature with model makers, whether it be planes, trains or automobiles. (where at the moment I'm discussing "Ferrari red" with a client wanting a large scale model restored). Plus as someone with post-grad qualifications as a museum conservator/restorer I've spent a fair while studying, from a more academic/scientific point of view, the behaviour of paints and pigments over time.

 

Whilst it doesn't really move the argument forward, and if anything it takes it backwards, the biggest impact on the appearance of any paint or pigment is the light source under which it is viewed. Invariably when researching anything historic we are using a variety of incomplete references from different periods to infer an answer to our question... Any photographic image used as a colour refence is little more than a "rough guide" if that photo doesn't include some sort of official standardised/certified colour chart to gauge how the light source(s) has impacted on the appearance of clearly known and defined hues/tones. With this it enables you to work back to establish the hue and tone of the "unknown" pigment from its appearance in any partuicular photo.

 

To be honest though psychological studies have shown just how poor the human eye/brain are at judging absolute hue/tone. What matters is not getting any one hue or tone "correct" but getting the contrast between different hues and tones correct.  If everything is "out" by the same amount people don't notice they just attribute it to differences in lighting.

 

HH

  • Upvote 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Getting orphan colors right without a good reference is indeed difficult. In the case above however, we‘re past problems of the color hue. It is obvious that the canvas (the „brown ones“) is in decay such that your average person wouldn‘t call it „red“ anymore. 

 

You also see the different layers of dope on the canvas. there are light, bare patches, patches with either clear dope or dirt on it, then there are a lot of variations on the „red“ itself, being either dirt or oil. I‘ve been dealing with some of these issues from restoring cars. If you cannot find somewhere some original paint unter the decayed one, you‘re basically SOL. It would be helpful getting to know mixture formulae or at least the chromophores used.

 

But the first thing you do would be looking for a part that was never exposed much and that has a chemically inert canvas/ground/first priming and then take it off, layer by layer and try to see how it is underneath. If you get lucky, then mix a new paint color exactly to that tone. If the decay is due to chemical causes, then nothing can be done on these parts.

 

But the canvas posted in the righthand side panels may be from MvR‘s plane, but I don‘t think *are* anymore what was the linen on his plane. 

 

The small piece of wood is the only thing I would have any hope with to get some idea about the color. As for using that pics as template for skins, you even have a white point reference (for home use) that you could use on that pic. ;) (But I‘d still tune up the color a bit more to make the paint look new.)

  • Upvote 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Posted (edited)
9 hours ago, HappyHaddock said:

the biggest impact on the appearance of any paint or pigment is the light source under which it is viewed

I couldn't agree more, HH. I think the photograph being held and compared to the color samples appears to be very well lit. So would that be a good comparison of what his Dr1 looked like in the daylight back in 1918? On that scale, I would side with Poochnboo and maybe find a crimson that falls in line with what unreasonable referenced. I'll probably follow up with a color sample from that Alizarin dye later today.  Thanks to everyone for their continued support! S!

Edited by the_dudeWG

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Nice find, Gamecock! But you must've noticed this ... Mixing yellow cadmium and chomoxide results in bright green shade, used for example as a distinctive colour on Jasta 5 planes. 

Read more: http://m.drooling-bulldog.webnode.cz/products/kadmio-chromita-zelen/

  • Like 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I think @J5_Gamecock is right and this would be a safe bet for the tint:

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Rubia_tinctorum

 

It is an old tint used for lacquer. It is still available, probably in better quality than back then:

https://www.hmhobbies.co.uk/mrp-250-richthofens-red-krapplack-rot-wwi-germany-30ml.html

 

Krapplack red was a commonly available red lacquer, while other assumptions would (AFAIK) be more rare at the time. It is the red tone that probably should apply to most German planes for red markings.

 

It is more crimson than a bright red and I would suspect it to darken over the decades. The (somewhat antique) bright red tints I‘ve come across had a nasty habit of bleaching in a way almost turning them white eventually.

 

Regarding the colors of MvR’s final Dr.I 425/17, I found this interesting:

http://www.iroquois.free-online.co.uk/Richthofencolour.htm

Someone who allegedly witnessed Richthofens funeral wouldn‘t call the Triplane „all red“, and the author suggests that wing (maybe fuselage as well) undersides were actually painted in blue.

 

Still, it is remarkable that the Circus‘ pilots chose to overpaint their rides to such a degree. Lacquer is relatively heavy and it must add a lot of weight, maybe around 50 kg over the previous weight, and a lot of that is added in bad places. Imagine how enthusiastic flight simmers would welcome a 50 kg weight penalty for having an all red (or whatever color) skin, giving the plane even more of a nose up tendency.

 

 

 

  • Upvote 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
13 hours ago, J5_Gamecock said:

 

 

 Now, anyone care to take a stab at J5's "Greentail" green? 

Yea, is that a "Jungle" or a "Persian" green ?😁

  • Thanks 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
7 minutes ago, HiIIBiIIy said:

Yea, is that a "Jungle" or a "Persian" green ?😁

„No.420 Squadron green“.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Yeah, it's been pretty well established over the years that some of Von R's Triplanes were not all red. But I think that the original poster knew that. One of his pictures shows one of them with a partially green fuselage. The post concerns the shade of red used, however. Richtofen's idea was to stand out. To shake a red cape in the face of the bull, so to speak. He would have wanted a bright color for that purpose and not the dull, slightly brown looking, brick red. Following his lead the Jasta began painting their airplanes all sorts of bright hues. It must have been quite a sight.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I wonder if the relics of 425/17 could be sampled to determine which paint was used (not by us, of course, but if  such solution is plausible ;) ).

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
22 hours ago, the_dudeWG said:

Nice find, Gamecock! But you must've noticed this ... Mixing yellow cadmium and chomoxide results in bright green shade, used for example as a distinctive colour on Jasta 5 planes. 

Read more: http://m.drooling-bulldog.webnode.cz/products/kadmio-chromita-zelen/

Yes I read that also, and even sampled that.  Still, there's so much conflicting info, (including statements from Hans Von Hipple), that I'm not quite ready to say "That's it".

 

 Lets say I appreciate what you're going through.😉

  • Upvote 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

50kg extra paint, 30kg parachute...you've just added a passenger!

 

Sorry, bit off-topic, but really interesting.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Posted (edited)

I assume... (ass you me? ) that you're aware of this thread r.e. Dr.1 425/17 (and it's pretty apparent in the OP) but just in case (and for those that aren't aware):

 

http://www.theaerodrome.com/forum/showthread.php?t=71271 

 

And... unless everyone has calibrated their monitors, the colors aren't going to be rendered accurately.

 

Even with calibrated monitors, EVERYONE perceives colors differently... I've spent hours getting what I think is a perfect color match painting planes and cars only to have the customer not be satisfied... just the nature of our optical sensors. I wouldn't get too wrapped up in the "historical accuracy" for what we're doing... 

 

As to the OP, I vote for the "Official 425/17" skin.

Edited by II./JG1_Vonrd
  • Thanks 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
38 minutes ago, II./JG1_Vonrd said:

 

 

Even with calibrated monitors, EVERYONE perceives colors differently... I've spent hours getting what I think is a perfect color match painting planes and cars only to have the customer not be satisfied... just the nature of our optical sensors. I wouldn't get too wrapped up in the "historical accuracy" for what we're doing... 

 

 

 

I do not want to sound harsh, but while that is true(ish) it is also irrelevant. It is only "truish" since the ability to discriminate colours is on a measurable scale, (or number of scales), not completely random. Colours - in the sense of the spectrum of light emitted - are real and objective.  It is irrelevant because although red/green colour blindness, for example, affects some people, this does not make it a waste of time for the rest of us to discriminate between the colours. 

 

Crimson is very different - to me, and I expect to most people - to scarlet. Nothing wrong with trying to get the colour match as close as possible, while accepting the limitations of the evidence as to what the colour actually was.  If I believe that MvR's plane was probably Crimson, because of contemporary reports and an understanding of the dye that was most likely used, then seeing a bright scarlet Dr.1 would be "non-immersive", so I applaud the OP's efforts.

  • Thanks 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Point taken and I agree. 

 

"does not make it a waste of time for the rest of us to discriminate between the colours" "so I applaud the OP's efforts"

 

It wasn't my intent to say it's a waste of time and in no way belittle the Dude's efforts. I applaud his persistence and attention to detail and his skins are par excellence.

I'm just trying to point out the limitations of "accurate" skinning.

I do stand by my statement that everyone perceives colors (and tastes... and smells) individually... we are all, to some extent, unique.

That being said, there are universal standards. Wine sommeliers have to agree on perceptions of taste and smell, after all, in order to evaluate and grade wines (something that I am sadly lacking... for the life of me I can't discern between a two buck chuck and a $60 bottle). 

  • Thanks 1
  • Upvote 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Regarding „accurate skinning“, this has probably more to do how you represent a certain color with the right shine/texture in a simulator.

 

I appreciate the OP‘s initiative and references. I don‘t do skins, so there is also a bit of new info to me. But if such is your only reference, my advice would be to look for the original tints. There are not too many possibilities and I mentioned my bet.

 

Translating a known color into digital values is a known procedure and is done rather accurately, far more accurate than we could ever guess the original paint should we lack knowledge about the recipe. Thus, if you know the tint, then there is almost certainly a color code to it, you don‘t need to guess here. Just take it from the charts. Matching an unknown tint to a color code is not trivial, but professionals do it every day. You don‘t have to invent the wheel again.

 

I just finished a restoration and color in that case was easy, I can give you the exact code:

https://encycolorpedia.com/153038

But if you look at historic items, you will see that they often are considerably darker in tint.

 

Also, lacquer is translucent and you need a lot of it to make it look „solid“ on a backlit canvas. I roughly assumed 60 m2 with 1 mm of paint (density ~0.8). This is enough paint to get you fired three times when painting a new car (0.3 mm is roughly about max. you have on a new car, more is waste). 1 mm should be good for two paint layers of lacquer. It is still a guess.

 

But paint is very heavy. On the Space Shuttle, they quickly stopped painting the big tank for a reason. Those beautiful silver Hawker Furys suffered considerably on performance after they were overpainted with camouflage colors. I expect the Circus‘ Fokkers also being measurably sub par in performance because of that.

 

When skinning, you have many artistic liberties. Not just picking the color, but also if you want to reflect layers of paint beneath the top layer that could show under certain light conditions. There are many factors that give any „exact“ skin an artistic note. And I find using these liberties in no way reduces the authenticity of the skin.

 

I would doubt that any flying example of such aircraft uses lacquer for top coating, but much rather modern colors that are far more resistant and are far more opaque. Pigments differ drastically in amount required for full a opaque layer.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Posted (edited)

I assume that no matter how a monitor is calibrated, the colour-picker in a prog like PS (photoshop) does so at the exact same code level on all computers and thus sampling the red in the strut posted above would produce the same code output onto any skin.

The only issue then would be how faithfully the camera captured the colour on the strut.

NB: I'd say the most right-hand skin of the three has it right, it matches the piece of strut almost perfectly.

Edited by Uffz-Prien

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
6 minutes ago, Uffz-Prien said:

I assume that no matter how a monitor is calibrated, the colour-picker in a prog like PS (photoshop) does so at the exact same code level on all computers and thus sampling the red in the strut posted above would produce the same code output onto any skin.

The only issue then would be how faithfully the camera captured the colour on the strut.

No. It captures the monitor color. This means you will get different readings dependent on your monitor and working color space. Hence your selection will look different on different computers.

 

To use the color picker, you should by all means calibrate your monitor and thus align output devices. Your selection will only look the same on systems with a calibrated monitor. Also you should activate your browsers color management to get a correct display of the jpg in the first place. The jpg should have an embedded color space (usually sRGB). Your monitor will most likely have more colors, meaning that „full red“ in RGB is not „full red“ on a decent system, you can go more red than that. Your „white“ mouse pointer is more white than sRGB white on a white sRGB background, you clearly see the difference. You can software calibrate almost any monitor and get benefit.

 

Monitors are commonly way to cold in color, the blueish bright factory settings may look great at the mall when on display, but they don‘t show your pictures in natural light. As HH said above, wrong lightning changes the colors.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Posted (edited)
15 minutes ago, ZachariasX said:

No. It captures the monitor color. This means you will get different readings dependent on your monitor and working color space. Hence your selection will look different on different computers.

 

 


From where do you have this information? You are saying that different monitors/different monitor calibrations effect the code in the PS swatch selection?? I don't believe it.

Edited by Uffz-Prien

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
2 minutes ago, Uffz-Prien said:


From where do you have this information? You are saying that different monitors/different monitor calibrations effect the code in the PS swatch selection??

It does not affect the code in PS. Changing the color space of the source material and projecting that in another color space DOES affect the color the picker is picking. A wrong color management can turn a red into green on your monitor. The picker will then pick what you see, and not „what is in the jpg“. When a jpg is lacking color space information and you still want to display it on your monitor, you (your system) may take the artistic liberty of just assuming sRGB. But it could be AdobeRGB. Or ProPhotoRGB with sometimes drastic effect on what you see.

 

I‘m not on my workstation, hence I could provide you with some tutorials. Here, just what I found to give you a quick idea:

https://www.color-management-guide.com/web-browser-color-management.html

 

 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
17 minutes ago, ZachariasX said:

It does not affect the code in PS. Changing the color space of the source material and projecting that in another color space DOES affect the color the picker is picking. A wrong color management can turn a red into green on your monitor. The picker will then pick what you see, and not „what is in the jpg“. When a jpg is lacking color space information and you still want to display it on your monitor, you (your system) may take the artistic liberty of just assuming sRGB. But it could be AdobeRGB. Or ProPhotoRGB with sometimes drastic effect on what you see.

 

I‘m not on my workstation, hence I could provide you with some tutorials. Here, just what I found to give you a quick idea:

https://www.color-management-guide.com/web-browser-color-management.html

 

 


So if I was to calibrate my monitor so it saw a red as a green, then sampled a cherry in PS and saved and uploaded it to the web, somebody with a correctly calibrated monitor would see a green cherry?

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Join the conversation

You can post now and register later. If you have an account, sign in now to post with your account.

Guest
Reply to this topic...

×   Pasted as rich text.   Paste as plain text instead

  Only 75 emoji are allowed.

×   Your link has been automatically embedded.   Display as a link instead

×   Your previous content has been restored.   Clear editor

×   You cannot paste images directly. Upload or insert images from URL.

Sign in to follow this  

×
×
  • Create New...