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Does anyone know how to mix official military colors from the basics (red, yellow, blue?)? Answered

I use acryllics, and I try to mix from the basics rather than buy a tube of paint for every specific color I need.
I would like to paint some military miniatures, and I need mil-spec colors.  I don't want to purchase a hundren dollars woth of paint to do this.


I have not found a color chart or any "recipes" for how to mix colors, and military colors are specific. With Vallejo paint running $3.00 USD for 17ml, it is expensive. I use an airbrush for some applications, and sadly I can find lots of "candy" colors but no military colors. PS: I prime my figures flat white.

Thanks for the PS -- that makes possible solutions much easier :-)

Anyway, your best bet is probably to go with the third paragraph in my previous comment. For each of your desired colors, find a semi-official Web site which has an image of the color. For example, I was Army MI many years ago, which uses "oriental blue" as it's heraldic color. The Wikipedia article includes accurate images of the insignia.

You can use a program like "Digital Color Meter" on the Mac, or GIMP, to capture the RGB code of those blue pixels (in this case, they are 49/100/252). Even if your monitor is crappy, the RGB code will still be correct.

Once you have the RGB, you can find an "RGB to CMYK converter" via Google, and get the pigment ratios to use for your paint.

You really have no idea with the original author is talking about, do you?

There's a freeware version of Pantone being developed, I believe. Of course it doesn't do you much good without a properly calibrated display and/or printer, but... Sorry, I don't remember the name or URI; just consider this a "heads up". Outside of that... Best thought I've got is to hit a military surplus store, if such things still exist -- or maybe try to find a friend who's in the military who can rescue a few scraps of old uniforms for you? -- and work from those samples. I have the impression that, for most things other than uniforms, the spec isn't quite as tight as you may think.

The right I'bles person to answer this question in gmjhowe, who is a professional graphic designer in real life. Perhaps he'll see this Question and respond...

If you have access to the Pantone book, then you "ought" to be able to look up the mixes for the specific colors you are targeting. Since Pantone costs about a grand, buying the pre-mixed paints will be cheaper :-/

Another option would be to look up swatches of the colors on more-or-less official Web sites. Once you have a swatch on-screen, capture the RGB code for it, and convert that code (using GIMP or whatever) to the CYMK values for subtractive pigments.

You also need to keep in mind that if you are painting onto grey metal miniatures, the color balance will not be the same as if you were painting onto a flat white background.