"Class 42 blue livery - query" or "BR Chromatic Blue"

Peter C

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If it helps, the following is from the BR Corporate Identity Manual:

This shows the "Multiple Unit" livery of the Class 43 (but then it was the 253).

And here is the Class AL6 Livery (AC Electric):

and then, for comparison, here is the livery for some ships:

to me, they all look different. Thoughts, anyone?

-Peter
 
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Alanko

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The blue looks lighter on the HST power car, and I've thought the same thing about that one that they recently repainted in the same scheme. You're eyes are not playing tricks, the difference between the two locos is quite apparent when you do this:



I simply dragged a sampled area of both locos over to the other loco. The HST power car is lighter!

The vessel is most forgivable is presumably they had to fine a marine grade variant of the paints to work with? I'm guessing these were published as guides?

All of this is sort of why I thought BR Rail Blue was a colour recipe that various depots used, and why I'm surprised to see 'BR Rail Blue' cited without reference to some sort of more clearly defined colour standard when discussed online. There is a colour BS381C 114 'Rail Blue' that might do the job?



Again, various websites reproduce this colour differently. Frustrating as a standard colour should transfer right over to HEX, RGB values, etc, and the colour should therefore be the same each time! Not much point having a standard with wiggle room built in.

On a slight tangent, I once had to produce a map of general election results (I work in that world as part of my day job, hence my anally retentive approach to colours amply demonstrated in this thread). I had to find out which shade of red Labour use. Their literature cited an RGB code for the official shade of red, yet the red in the literature sampled as a different shade of red entirely. How does that happen? They even used a Pantone colour!



Not a political dig, just me being slightly bemused!


I once had Halfords mix me two cans of a colour I was looking for. The poor guy at the paint counter was flummoxed when I asked for a BS 381c colour but was happy to mix me a RAL colour instead, oddly enough. He then went to his work station and mixed my colour from standard pigments. I guess even using this approach there is a chance that the base white paint he used was slightly off-white one way or another.
 

Peter C

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The blue looks lighter on the HST power car, and I've thought the same thing about that one that they recently repainted in the same scheme. You're eyes are not playing tricks, the difference between the two locos is quite apparent when you do this:



I simply dragged a sampled area of both locos over to the other loco. The HST power car is lighter!

The vessel is most forgivable is presumably they had to fine a marine grade variant of the paints to work with? I'm guessing these were published as guides?

All of this is sort of why I thought BR Rail Blue was a colour recipe that various depots used, and why I'm surprised to see 'BR Rail Blue' cited without reference to some sort of more clearly defined colour standard when discussed online. There is a colour BS381C 114 'Rail Blue' that might do the job?



Again, various websites reproduce this colour differently. Frustrating as a standard colour should transfer right over to HEX, RGB values, etc, and the colour should therefore be the same each time! Not much point having a standard with wiggle room built in.

On a slight tangent, I once had to produce a map of general election results (I work in that world as part of my day job, hence my anally retentive approach to colours amply demonstrated in this thread). I had to find out which shade of red Labour use. Their literature cited an RGB code for the official shade of red, yet the red in the literature sampled as a different shade of red entirely. How does that happen? They even used a Pantone colour!



Not a political dig, just me being slightly bemused!


I once had Halfords mix me two cans of a colour I was looking for. The poor guy at the paint counter was flummoxed when I asked for a BS 381c colour but was happy to mix me a RAL colour instead, oddly enough. He then went to his work station and mixed my colour from standard pigments. I guess even using this approach there is a chance that the base white paint he used was slightly off-white one way or another.
Interesting. I think that we have come to the conclusion that BR Blue and the different shades of it which are all over the place are just different due to a lack of standardisation in BR Depots.
I think that maybe the different websites produce BR Blue differently because of their sample point? Maybe? E.g. If they get their sample from a BR Class 45 in the sun, and another site gets it from a Class 08 in the dark, then it won't be the same. Extreme differences, I know, and that's probably not how it's done.

And yes, these images I posted came from a Style Guide. The BR Corporate Identity Manual.

-Peter
 

Alanko

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I think that maybe the different websites produce BR Blue differently because of their sample point? Maybe? E.g. If they get their sample from a BR Class 45 in the sun, and another site gets it from a Class 08 in the dark, then it won't be the same.
That would be an option. Speaking of 08s, though not so much in the dark, the 08 shunters at Polmadie are currently in an attractive shade of teal. I'm guessing this is BR Rail Blue paint but aggressively faded by UV light, perhaps in the record breaking hot days Glasgow had a few years back? Alstom apparently repainted these 08s into 'BR Blue' (per discussion forums). Perhaps modern BR Blue, or modern locomotive paint in general, weathers differently? It looks like the blue pigments gave up more quickly in this paintwork leaving the green behind.

I found a photo of one of these 'Gronks' when it was fresh out the paintshop:



Is this right? It looks too bright, but even the red of the connecting rods seems surprisingly vivid. Did somebody ride the saturation parameter somewhere, or did they really paint it this vividly? Is this the same paint that Peak was repainted in on the first page perhaps, and there was a batch of vivid BR Blue paint kicking around?

Contrast it with this Dapol model:



If anything Dapol have thrown more green into the mix versus Alstom.

Model builders in particular use some odd colours as BR Blue, which ties in with your thoughts around where they sample these colours:



This seems too dark and devoid of green. The background should presumably be white, but is slightly yellow. I'm guessing therefore that this image is slightly too warm (hence the glowing yellow end), so the blue should be colder than this in the image, which makes the blue even less accurate! The image is maybe a bit underexposed and has maybe been fettled up in post production as well. This is how BR Rail Blue appears in historic colour photos, so they got this detail right.



Do you want your model railway to look like photos of the '60s? :E
 

crosscity

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One of the preserved Peaks has been painted in a version of small yellow panel BR blue, but to my eyes it doesn’t look right especially in the flesh, although I don’t remember them in that livery anyway so I’ve got nothing other than photos to compare it with...
View attachment 66296
(46045 taken by Tom Curtis)
I read somewhere (it may even have been on this forum) that this and a few other Peaks were painted in this colour at Toton in the late 60s, but didn't carry the livery long.
 

crosscity

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Did this colour have a name, or was it just this configuration of BR Rail Blue and small yellow ends?
It was referred to as 'Economy blue'. I am not an expert on liveries, and am just relaying what I have read on the internet. Apparently 11 Toton Peaks were painted in this livery in 1967. I never saw one, and had never heard of it until searching the internet after seeing D182 in 2016.
 

Peter C

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Can I just say, thanks to everyone who has been so helpful thus far with this. This is probably one of the best parts of the internet - no-one has said "no" to anything, it's all "That's a really good idea" or "Yeah, that fits in with that and that makes that work so that was really good". Just wanted to say.

I also made this:
Untitled-1.jpg
Which hopefully demonstrates the differences in colour between different model makers. The Humbrol Acrylic seems to be the closes to what I'd call BR Blue, with the Craftmasters Paints version being very similar, but slightly more purple in my eyes.
The Class 42 has been added in the picture at the bottom to show the model I found the sample from; I have no info on the model maker, year, etc. As it states in my image, the Lima Class 33 sample is not perfect as the photo was the following:
image from Hattons.
it was sampled from the roof corner nearest the camera, if that makes any sense. Hattons actually state this model as being:
Class 33 D6524 in BR Chromatic Blue
Which I thought was quite interesting. This looked more like BR Blue to me, but hey ho.
This Class 37 is in BR Blue, but the lighting conditions may make it seem to some as being in a more Chromatic Blue:

I have one of these and it is definitely more of a Chromatic Blue with a green hue to it. I'll edit it in Photoshop to try and get a better image:
upload_2019-7-31_11-47-8.png
I think this slightly edited photo makes it look better as it reflects the real thing more.

I know this has mostly been about models this post, but I just thought it showed how the different colours appear different.

-Peter :)
 

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leezer3

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Some comments on the models:
The Warship at the bottom of your main comparison is a Lima 00 product.

The Lima 33 came in both light and dark shades of BR blue- What you've got there is *probably* the light version, although very hard to tell from a photo.
It's also one of the earlier versions, and so the paintwork is IMHO more likely to be 'off'.

Later example here of a Lima 33 here:
https://www.rmweb.co.uk/community/i...waste-of-time/&do=findComment&comment=3337879
By this time they'd dropped the light / dark blue shades, and everything came in this shade, was relatively standard across the range.

The Triang 37 in your last two pictures really shouldn't be taken too seriously though.
I've got three of those floating around of various vintages, and the color varies between all of them. Also remember that it's the base color of the plastic, as opposed to a painted finish for all of the others.

Don't know off the top of my head whether it's variations in plastic batches or sun-related fading, but either way Triang really shouldn't be considered as paragons of accuracy!
 

reddragon

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From memory, when freshly painted a lighter bluer greeny blue is seen in shots, but as the paint faded it became a darker greyer blue. I liked the worn dull colour best.

So old cameras would have reacted to the different levels of shininess & wear less well than a modern camera.
 

Peter C

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From memory, when freshly painted a lighter bluer greeny blue is seen in shots, but as the paint faded it became a darker greyer blue. I liked the worn dull colour best.

So old cameras would have reacted to the different levels of shininess & wear less well than a modern camera.
Interesting. I think I like the worn colour as I'm used to seeing it, but having done some research I think I like the Chromatic Blue because it's a bit different.

-Peter
 

Peter C

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Some comments on the models:
The Warship at the bottom of your main comparison is a Lima 00 product.

The Lima 33 came in both light and dark shades of BR blue- What you've got there is *probably* the light version, although very hard to tell from a photo.
It's also one of the earlier versions, and so the paintwork is IMHO more likely to be 'off'.

Later example here of a Lima 33 here:
https://www.rmweb.co.uk/community/i...waste-of-time/&do=findComment&comment=3337879
By this time they'd dropped the light / dark blue shades, and everything came in this shade, was relatively standard across the range.

The Triang 37 in your last two pictures really shouldn't be taken too seriously though.
I've got three of those floating around of various vintages, and the color varies between all of them. Also remember that it's the base color of the plastic, as opposed to a painted finish for all of the others.

Don't know off the top of my head whether it's variations in plastic batches or sun-related fading, but either way Triang really shouldn't be considered as paragons of accuracy!
Thanks for ID-ing the 42.
Interesting - I'll look into that. I know that Triang aren't the best examples of models; but they give an alright idea of how different cameras react to different colours.

-Peter
 

Peter C

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Apologies for restarting this thread but I found it interesting that Hattons have now put the following on Instagram:
upload_2019-8-19_18-47-21.png
And I thought it was interesting that the two liveries on these Westerns look so different! Maybe this could change the previously mentioned definition of Chromatic Blue? If Dapol seem to think that they are two different liveries entirely, what are they working from, I wonder?

-Peter
 

Alanko

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Apologies for restarting this thread but I found it interesting that Hattons have now put the following on Instagram:
View attachment 67451
And I thought it was interesting that the two liveries on these Westerns look so different! Maybe this could change the previously mentioned definition of Chromatic Blue? If Dapol seem to think that they are two different liveries entirely, what are they working from, I wonder?

-Peter
I spotted that! I wonder if Hattons are working from the business model of assuming modellers will likely want to 'catch 'em all' and have one of each. They've been going to town reproducing various 66 liveries, for example. Great that they offer this level of service.

I'm still slightly skeptical about the extent that Chromatic Blue was deployed until a paint swatch or period document appears as there is a slight element of 'shaggy dog story' going on.

To, again, bore people to tears with aircraft chat, the prototype Spitfire was 'cerulean blue' from all but one report. That one report says the aircraft was 'grey green'. On top of that, 'cerulean blue' isn't the Pantone shade 'Cerulean'. The replica prototype at the Tangmere museum is painted using a shade of paint used by Toyota in 1970s, and most people are happy with it. You would think the question was pretty basic and easy to answer: 'what colour was the prototype Spitfire', but the smoking gun simply doesn't exist.
 

Peter C

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I spotted that! I wonder if Hattons are working from the business model of assuming modellers will likely want to 'catch 'em all' and have one of each. They've been going to town reproducing various 66 liveries, for example. Great that they offer this level of service.

I'm still slightly skeptical about the extent that Chromatic Blue was deployed until a paint swatch or period document appears as there is a slight element of 'shaggy dog story' going on.

To, again, bore people to tears with aircraft chat, the prototype Spitfire was 'cerulean blue' from all but one report. That one report says the aircraft was 'grey green'. On top of that, 'cerulean blue' isn't the Pantone shade 'Cerulean'. The replica prototype at the Tangmere museum is painted using a shade of paint used by Toyota in 1970s, and most people are happy with it. You would think the question was pretty basic and easy to answer: 'what colour was the prototype Spitfire', but the smoking gun simply doesn't exist.
Good point - Hattons may be on to something there!... :)

Chromatic Blue seems to be a very hard thing to define - "an engine is sometimes in BR Blue and sometimes in Chromatic Blue" is one way to describe it, perhaps!

Your Spitfire example is a good example of how different people name different colours different things and sometimes these different things are actually the same thing! (Complicated, I know!)
In a perfect world, we would be able to define each colour (such as BR Chromatic Blue) with a definite definition, but due to a lack of historical evidence and a whole lot of ambiguity we can't do that. :(


-Peter
 

Peter C

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I bought the "Rolling Stock Review 2018-2019" magazine sort-of thing today from my WHSmith and I found it quite interesting that there was a photo of an 08 in the 08 and 09 section which appeared to illustrate the loco as being in Chromatic Blue. Another photo of the same engine, albeit focusing on the nameplate, showed the colour to be a lot darker. Imagine the contrast between these two colours:

Not my photo, from upthread
Compare this 08 /\
To this 27 \/

That's what the difference was like!

-Peter
 
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GusB

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I bought the "Rolling Stock Review 2018-2019" magazine sort-of thing today from my WHSmith and I found it quite interesting that there was a photo of an 08 in the 08 and 09 section which appeared to illustrate the loco as being in Chromatic Blue. Another photo of the same engine, albeit focusing on the nameplate, showed the colour to be a lot darker. Imagine the contrast between these two colours:

Not my photo, from upthread
Compare this 08 /\
To this 33 \/

That's what the difference was like!

-Peter
I think you'll find that the model is a class 27, not a 33!
 

JKF

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I know the colour on my Jouef class 40 was almost turquoise, well off the ‘correct’ colour. The Lima 33 (6524) was also a little on the light side, later Lima models were a lot darker.
 

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Notwithstanding the hue of a manufacturer's paint, a lot of this depends on the colour temperature of the light on any particular day and the degree of refracted light off the paint surface. The same loco on the same day in the same place can appear many different shades. (Sorry for technical words, I was a photographic student and worked for Kodak)
 

twpsaesneg

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Having been involved with painting some BR blue rolling stock I thought I'd share a couple of nuggets.

The BR Blue is more than just a topcoat. The paint was to "BR Spec 81" which used to be supplied by http://www.trwilliamson.co.uk/railway.php.

Unfortunately I no longer have the list of different paints, but for BR Blue there was a specific quite bright blue undercoat to be used, over which would be painted a darker shade topcoat. Using the proper undercoat would make a real difference to the shade of the final finish, it really brought out the shine in the topcoat somehow. Brush painting can look really good, but it's all about the surface preparation before you start laying on the paint (as it is with any kind of painting).

The T&R Williamson paint to the BR spec was (and I assume still is) really high quality paint, and was not cheap either, however was much more hard wearing and faded less than getting say a colour matched paint from Dulux etc.

So for BR Blue, you could have many different shades, depending on if the right undercoat was used, how long since painted, and the quality of the paint.
 

Peter C

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Having been involved with painting some BR blue rolling stock I thought I'd share a couple of nuggets.

The BR Blue is more than just a topcoat. The paint was to "BR Spec 81" which used to be supplied by http://www.trwilliamson.co.uk/railway.php.

Unfortunately I no longer have the list of different paints, but for BR Blue there was a specific quite bright blue undercoat to be used, over which would be painted a darker shade topcoat. Using the proper undercoat would make a real difference to the shade of the final finish, it really brought out the shine in the topcoat somehow. Brush painting can look really good, but it's all about the surface preparation before you start laying on the paint (as it is with any kind of painting).

The T&R Williamson paint to the BR spec was (and I assume still is) really high quality paint, and was not cheap either, however was much more hard wearing and faded less than getting say a colour matched paint from Dulux etc.

So for BR Blue, you could have many different shades, depending on if the right undercoat was used, how long since painted, and the quality of the paint.
Interesting. Thanks!
So it turns out that the difference between BR Blue and Chromatic Blue is mainly down to the difference between the undercoats used. :)

-Peter
 

gavino22

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Hi,
Well this thread was so useful to me I thought id better sign up and say thanks, and show my recent project.
I sourced key info from this site about the specifics of "BR Blue" and through a few enquiries at Williamsons Paint and Advanced Paints got it nailed down to Rail Blue(114) / Warning Yellow and Light Aircraft Grey.

Its only coat 1 and intend to improve it with the next session (Including orange Cant Line and numbering etc). In real-life viewing Rail Blue freshly painted on it does have a slightly more green hue to it than photographs seem to reproduce generally:

 

randyrippley

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We've been over this numerous times before but its worth repeating........there never was a product called BR blue.
It was commercially known as monastral blue - see https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Phthalocyanine_Blue_BN

The actual colour you get would depend on undercoat, application method, whether varnished or not, whether it was applied "clean" or over an older paint job (e.g. green), dilution.
The pigment even had multiple crystalline phases giving different shades, and it seems that early formulations had problems stablising the phase - so the colour could drift with age. Later formulations were more stable.
There would have been a lot of early real-world experimentation with different delivery/application methods and so-called "chromatic" blue would just have been examples of that
 

Peter C

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Hi,
Well this thread was so useful to me I thought id better sign up and say thanks, and show my recent project.
I sourced key info from this site about the specifics of "BR Blue" and through a few enquiries at Williamsons Paint and Advanced Paints got it nailed down to Rail Blue(114) / Warning Yellow and Light Aircraft Grey.

Its only coat 1 and intend to improve it with the next session (Including orange Cant Line and numbering etc). In real-life viewing Rail Blue freshly painted on it does have a slightly more green hue to it than photographs seem to reproduce generally:

You are very welcome for the info on here. :) The photo isn't showing up for me - I'll try using the code bit from your post in my post here and see if that works:

EDIT: Turns out it doesn't. :( Could you re-upload it maybe please? :)
We've been over this numerous times before but its worth repeating........there never was a product called BR blue.
It was commercially known as monastral blue - see https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Phthalocyanine_Blue_BN

The actual colour you get would depend on undercoat, application method, whether varnished or not, whether it was applied "clean" or over an older paint job (e.g. green), dilution.
The pigment even had multiple crystalline phases giving different shades, and it seems that early formulations had problems stablising the phase - so the colour could drift with age. Later formulations were more stable.
There would have been a lot of early real-world experimentation with different delivery/application methods and so-called "chromatic" blue would just have been examples of that
Oh cool - thanks for the interesting information. Everything we can find out about this topic is important in getting an understanding of what was happening with the colours!

-Peter
 

randyrippley

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good example here of why you can't trust photos when looking at blue colours: getting a blue to correctly represent the colour was difficult, the colour pigment would change with time and lighting would make a difference.
Three different photos of the Caesarea / Sarnia found on the web. All three should look the same, the two ships were repainted into BR blue at the same time. I remember the blue as having a distinct green tinge - possibly due to the blue being painted over the previous black hull? Anyway, check what should be three identical colours

Caesarea at Weymouth - from https://www.theislandwiki.org/index.php/File:W16CaesareaWeymouth2.jpg


This one is credited as the Sarnia but name seems to read Caesarea
https://www.theislandwiki.org/index.php/File:W17Sarnia3.jpg


this one IS the Sarnia though several years later with faded paint
https://www.ship-rex.com/sarnia-british-railways-postcard-a-6079-p.asp

 

36270k

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By the late 1970's locos would have multiple layers of paint and dirt. When the paint had been knocked, thick lumps would fall off.
 

Peter C

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good example here of why you can't trust photos when looking at blue colours: getting a blue to correctly represent the colour was difficult, the colour pigment would change with time and lighting would make a difference.
Three different photos of the Caesarea / Sarnia found on the web. All three should look the same, the two ships were repainted into BR blue at the same time. I remember the blue as having a distinct green tinge - possibly due to the blue being painted over the previous black hull? Anyway, check what should be three identical colours

Caesarea at Weymouth - from https://www.theislandwiki.org/index.php/File:W16CaesareaWeymouth2.jpg


This one is credited as the Sarnia but name seems to read Caesarea
https://www.theislandwiki.org/index.php/File:W17Sarnia3.jpg


this one IS the Sarnia though several years later with faded paint
https://www.ship-rex.com/sarnia-british-railways-postcard-a-6079-p.asp

Those photos do show how the same colour can look completely different depending on all sorts of things. Thanks for posting them. :)

-Peter
 

Peter C

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By the late 1970's locos would have multiple layers of paint and dirt. When the paint had been knocked, thick lumps would fall off.
Oh OK - so the paint just went over the dirt? Interesting. Though, given the state of some engines (and BR in general) in photos from the era I've seen, not surprising! :D

-Peter
 

AndrewE

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On top of all the debate about original colours there is always the problem of computer screens displaying a variety of shades depending on how they are constructed and set up...
 

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