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"A public "thank you" to Deadhead - Humbrol authentic colours" Topic

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Marc at work17 Nov 2015 9:01 a.m. PST

Liam very kindly sent me some pots of Humbrol Authentic Colours (arrived yesterday, very nicely packed).

Now, ignoring the discussions around what "authentic" may mean when discussing Napoleonic colours, I thought I would go on TMP to express my thanks.

These colours are a time machine – transporting me back to my youth, with the smell of thinners in the air (say what you like about acrylics, they have no memorable (or poisonous) odour to trigger the mind/memory), at a time when toy soldiers held teh promise of a world of dreams being fulfilled.

Well, I am older now, no wiser, and these just made me beam like a kid at Christmas. They have awakened so many of my nostalgia nodes, that I am quite excited at trying these out, especially to prepare colour swatches so I can find suitable modern acrylic matches.

Liam so very kindly sent me:

French artillery green – a great and elusive colour – my first guns were painted brown, so this was a revelation to me, and helped me make sense of the Lilian and Fred book

Polish crimson – essential if one (as I intend to) wants to paint Polish Lancers in the eye wateringly bright uniforms that Blandford showed in the first Napoleonic book (they got more "realistic" in later volumes…)

Prussian dragoon blue (from the thread that started this kind gift off). My friend's army contained Hinchliffe dragoons, and the blue was very eye catching. So in honour of his memory (he isn't dead, just doesn't play with toys any more – silly man), I will paint a unit of dgaroons up in this colour.

French dragoon green – my go to colour for light infantry plumes and epaulettes (even if I never painted dragoons that bright). I have a unit of Young Guard voltigeurs just waiting for that green

British rifle green – not the modern, black green, but a "traditional" colour that enables the figures to be seen as green on the table top. I think I may do my Russians in this colour.

Facing orange – the "go to" colour for French Imperial Guard Chasseur a Cheval, and Grenadier a Cheval. A solid, bright orange – so much better than the weak cat's fluid acrylic oranges I have suffred with up to now.

And one other? And sitting at work I have forgotten it. I don't think it was brown bess, and I know it wasn't French blue, so I will browse an old colour chart to see if I can remember it (and to see what else I am missing).


So, a final thank you to Liam, for a lovely act of generosity to an old fool and his nostalgia. You have made a wargamer very happy.

And for those of you too young to remember how these things were


From the days when kids could buy paint, glue and modelling knives. Strange isn't it – our kids can't buy these things, yet terrorists can access far more dangerous weapons. Did we really save a generation by protecting them from model kits and their paraphernalia…

Gray Bear17 Nov 2015 9:29 a.m. PST

Amen brother!

olicana17 Nov 2015 9:42 a.m. PST

I still use Humbrol and love it, but the stock list is so much smaller now.

French Artillery Green, now that was a colour. You are a lucky man.

Personal logo deadhead Supporting Member of TMP17 Nov 2015 10:48 a.m. PST

Delighted they got to you safely! I secured every lid, wrapped in plastic padding etc…I could just imagine one lid coming adrift in the post.

All the best!

wrgmr117 Nov 2015 11:11 a.m. PST

I have a stock of Humbrol here, I could see what I have and let you know? However shipping from Canada may be tricky?

IronDuke596 Supporting Member of TMP17 Nov 2015 11:26 a.m. PST

Hey wrgmr1, I am in Kingston, ON and an old die hard Humbrol enamel fan. If you have any Napoleonic type colours for sale I am interested.

I just used up my French Blue (MC8). It was in storage for decades and when I opened it up about ten years ago, it was like new. They don't make pigments and oils like that anymore.

Marc at work; thanks for the nostalgic memories.

Marc the plastics fan17 Nov 2015 11:40 a.m. PST

Now now ID, I was first grin

Happy to pay for paints and postage, and once i find the current modern equivalents I will post that as well

But agreed. Liam and I were diacussing whites. Acrylic whites are like powder, and modern humbrol just does not jave the right consistency. Somewhere along the line us modellers have been short changed

Personal logo deadhead Supporting Member of TMP17 Nov 2015 12:46 p.m. PST

OK…….Humbrol Artillery Green for a start….nowadays try Vallejo Russian Uniform WWII. Credit to someone here, months ago, who suggested it!

Aurore; instead of Facing Orange, use Vallejo German Orange…that perfect pink orange of a dawn sky……

jeffreyw317 Nov 2015 2:13 p.m. PST

I love the "Hobby Shop Guy" in a coat and tie. :)

IronDuke596 Supporting Member of TMP17 Nov 2015 2:45 p.m. PST

Ah…the two marcs are one, I guess. If that is the case then after you my good fellow.

wrgmr117 Nov 2015 4:47 p.m. PST

Hi Marc,
Sorry no Napoleonic colors.
Here is what I have
184 Freight Stock Grey
HI3 Overall Green full tin, partial tin
HD2 Bright Green
105 Green
SW1 Green

Let me know if you want any?

Marc at work18 Nov 2015 5:21 a.m. PST

Sadly, not for me. Naps only wanted here, now I have got the bug. But thanks for looking.

And yes, one Marc, two versions (hmm, Mk1, Mk2). Started as I would forget my password, and then need an email reminder, which went to my home email. So I would be stuck at work without access – oh, the horror…

I shall look at Russian Uniform Green – like most things in colours, alternatives will be out there. I have been using Cayman green as a fair approximation, but now I have the "source" – mmmwwwhahhahahhaha

Jemima Fawr18 Nov 2015 6:06 a.m. PST

Sorry if this comes as late news, but most of the Humbrol Authentic Colours were already (and still are) available in the main range under different names and 25% less cost:

French Artillery Green was exactly the same shade as Humbrol 159.

Prussian Dragoon Blue was the same as 101.

German Camo Sand was the same as 83.

German Camo Olive Green was the same as 86.

German Camo Red Brown was the same as 160.

I'm sure there were other duplicates, though they never did a decent purple in the main range.

King Monkey18 Nov 2015 10:54 a.m. PST

This might help


Black Hat Miniatures18 Nov 2015 11:14 a.m. PST

@jf. – and I was told that they are simply the closest Pantone colours anyway, so not that authentic….


von Winterfeldt18 Nov 2015 11:21 a.m. PST

for me this is pure nostalgia, I remember well my days with Humbrol, but I am very happy with the hobby and artist acrylic paints

Personal logo 4th Cuirassier Supporting Member of TMP18 Nov 2015 11:30 a.m. PST

AIUI French artillery green was a blend of black and ochre not much different from later khaki and indeed olive green.

The Humbrol British scarlet that I always thought was too orange I now think was spot on. I have since read descriptions of British coats that said they were "brick red" and if you look at actual eighteenth-century brickwork it is indeed orange:


Likewise wasn't Bavarian uniform blue, i.e. cornflower blue, i.e. the same shade as the blue in their flag and in a BMW badge, which includes a piece of the same chequered flag? If you draw a car tyre in black on a section of the Bavarian flag you get this:


Tumbleweed Supporting Member of TMP18 Nov 2015 7:05 p.m. PST

I have been a Humbrol fan for forty years. In my humble opinion, they are still the best!

daler240D19 Nov 2015 4:30 a.m. PST

"From the days when kids could buy paint, glue and modelling knives. Strange isn't it our kids can't buy these things, yet terrorists can access far more dangerous weapons. Did we really save a generation by protecting them from model kits and their paraphernalia…"

Marc, are you serious that kids can't buy those things in the UK?

Gazzola19 Nov 2015 4:37 a.m. PST

Great post and a great boost to my own painting preferences. I thought I was a bit of a dinosaur preferring Humbrol paints. Everyone else I know can't understand why I use them. Although I have to do a fair bit of travelling to obtain my humbrol paints, in my opinion, it is worth it, except when I get home, set everything out ready to paint and realise there was a colour I had forgotten to buy.

Marc at work19 Nov 2015 5:22 a.m. PST

vW – yes, pure nostalgia. DOn't for one instance think I am suggesting that these "authentic colours" are anything like authentic. I am a committed acrylics fan (Vallejo normally), but as my 1/72 bendy plastic figure collection grows, so I have room in it for some nostalgia.

jF – I always hear that, but I have always doubted that they were exactly the same colours – as the ranges were out at the same time. Also, it appears that most were unique colours. So although it is worth a try, I have strong doubts the modern colours will be exact matches. And the lack of a complete range of the AC in the new range is the problem. I reckon I can get reasonably close with Vallejo's full range though, which is why I am so excited (yes, a grown man who should know better is excited over paints) that I can now make my own accurate colour swatches up from these tins.

daler – oh so serious. Glue was banned first (glue sniffing – yeah, like kids into modelling would be the types to go glue sniffing – when glue became harder to get, they switched to aerosols available from Boots the Chemist, so that achieved nothing). Knives followed as some gangs were attacking each other with kitchen knives (so little Johny cannot buy a modelling knife, but in his frustration he can stab a neighbour with his mum's 8" carving knife). Paint is still available, but the hobby has died off so it is rare to see it in high street shops anyway.

And for those of you still using Humbrol – more power to you. I made the switch initially to Plaka caessin based paints, then full acrylics, as the colours were often brighter and more varied (fantasy painting mostly – gasp!). ANd not needing thinners won me over. But I have still used enamels (I painted up some Airfix bi-planes and couldn't be bothered to find the right acrylic cammo colours). SO enjoy your hobby your way. Oh, and as I tend to mostly play with 1/72 bendies, I found acrylic to be more flexible, so that cemented my use.

4th – yes, I too have got a hankering for the old British scarlet, as I want to move away for reds for my next British (yes, I plan to paint up some old Airfix that I have had since I was a kid – I have enough to make up a nice marching battlion or two). I may try teh Plaka scarlett in the interim, unless a pot of Brit scarlet turns up somewhere.

And paint conversion charts. I used to imagine these were scientific, but when I recently had cause to use one, I realised that they were "best fits" across different ranges. Now I have some proper old Humbrol, I am determined not to find "best fit", but to find "exact fit" – even if I need to mix colours and make up my own pots to do so. Wish me luck…

Marc at work19 Nov 2015 5:36 a.m. PST

Quick update for those who think the AC transferred over to the standard range. I will try out comparisons by buying new pots, but a memory from my childhood.

French blue – in the standard chart it is referenced to Oxford blue. Well, as a kid, I used both, and French blue was a richer colour than the oxford. Oxford was used in desperation when French blue was either not available, or outside my pocket money range. But Oxford wwas dirtier, or greyer than the "proper" French blue. Not a comment on either colour's "accuracy" (a moot point after all).

And I fear that is the problem – although the "current" range is comparable, it is not exactly the same.

Jefthing20 Nov 2015 10:13 a.m. PST

I just chucked some old tins of Humbrol away but kept three tins of British Scarlet. You are welcome to one of them, but can't be sure how good they are!
I must say you can't beat the smell of fresh Humbrol in the morning. I use Vallejo mostly, but have just painted a Mirage V with Humbrol silver and oh, the memories!
I also used to like Airfix paint (probably on my own there) but they did the best medium blue with Matt 11. I still have a tin and love the 'dulled' nature; everybody else seems to make their blues too bright.

Marc the plastics fan20 Nov 2015 1:43 p.m. PST

Yes please. I don't need a fresh tin, just a useable paint that I can try to make my colour swatches from to then match modern paints

Can you email me

Marc dot flack at sayervincent dot co dot uk

Please and we can swap details and make arrangements



Rod MacArthur20 Nov 2015 2:24 p.m. PST

I have been using Humbrol paints on my 1:72 plastics for over 50 years. I normally have a pretty full range of about 100 tinlets, plus a few spares of frequently used colours. We used to have a couple of model shops in our nearest town which stocked Humbrol, but both have closed and now the only local outlet is Hobbycraft on a nearby trading estate, which normally has a full range.


Jefthing20 Nov 2015 3:23 p.m. PST

Marc – test email sent!

What nobody has mentioned was the Authentic colours were in cool tins with the names and numbers printed on the lid, which made them look better quality even if the weren't.
You could tell things were going downhill when they changed to printed labels and, finally, embossed lids like the basic range.

Also, I hope that kid in the picture saved one of the Julius Caesar kits; unmade in the box, it might make a few quid on eBay today!

Personal logo deadhead Supporting Member of TMP20 Nov 2015 3:38 p.m. PST

This is the best nostalgia trip in ages and I hope Napoleonics will forgive us. Let's recall there was an Airfix Boney himself in 1/12 scale three decades before his Garde Grenadier appeared next to him. I even remember converting one Napoleon to a Chasseur a Cheval of La Garde in the long tailed coat, using a right arm from something else (I think it was the modern British Guardsman's). The end result was a little tubby chap, who looked nothing like a light cavalryman.

I can still see my "Airfix" Che Guevara in 1/12. He was brilliant actually! Beret, MI carbine with a telescopic sight (OK Fidel used that but…)… blowed if I can remember what figures I used. Several kits, one was a boy scout I do recall, and much Milliput……but the hair and face…why did I not take a photo?

Marc the plastics fan21 Nov 2015 2:48 p.m. PST

Well, in amongst the nostalgia I am once again left amazed by how wargaming can be a community. Jef has come through with an offer for the British Scarlett. I am getting there – wonder if there is a French blue still out their, or an equipment grey (the go to British trouser colour of my youth).

Thanks guys. You have no idea what this means to me. Nostalgia is a powerful thing isn't it. But so worth it to feel like a kid again, if only for a bit. Thanks again

Mike the Analyst22 Nov 2015 9:20 a.m. PST

Best I have done for French blue to match the MC colour is from a railways colour range but it is gloss so needs several coats of matt varnish.

Will share the range and colour when I get to my paints in a couple of weeks.

myrm1122 Nov 2015 11:03 a.m. PST

There used to be a Matt Midnight Blue that disappeared many years ago…still trying to find a good match….anything in this range does anybody know?

britishlinescarlet222 Nov 2015 12:46 p.m. PST

I still have six tins of British Scarlet…..

Marc the plastics fan22 Nov 2015 2:23 p.m. PST

Is everyone hoarding British scarlet grin ?

That is a lot of brits to paint.

But do you have a spare French blue, or equipment grey lurking by any chance?

britishlinescarlet223 Nov 2015 12:35 p.m. PST

Afraid not Marc. The British Scarlet is some I ordered from
South Africa back when I was still using enamel and painting Brits….

Murvihill24 Nov 2015 10:30 a.m. PST

I love English colloquialisms. What is a "trading estate"?

Marc the plastics fan24 Nov 2015 2:21 p.m. PST

A place where shops and/or small businesses trade from.

Of course, in an ideal world it would be full of Humbrol paint stockists.

Thread glitch perhaps

Retiarius926 Nov 2015 6:07 p.m. PST

And i like that they dry flat, wool uniforms are not glossy

matthewgreen27 Nov 2015 11:59 a.m. PST

I used to use British Scarlet quite a bit for…painting bricks and roof tiles on building models. It's a very good brick red. Lovely colour.

I almost never use my Humbrols now (though I can't bear to throw them out), and mainly use artists colours mixed ad hoc – but this thread has brought back some very happy memories! Thanks for posting!

Marc the plastics fan27 Nov 2015 1:22 p.m. PST

Well Matthew, if you have a spare Naps AC pot floating around I could give it a good home for you. French blue, equipment grey maybe…

matthewgreen28 Nov 2015 11:05 a.m. PST

French artillery green and British scarlet seem to be the only ones I have not related to WW2 aircraft, warships or AFVs. I first fell in love with Humbrol AC with their German aircraft range. I don't recall using either French blue or Equipment grey. I do have some plain pots with just an embossed number on them did they reissue any in this format?

I think I contented myself with Oxford Blue for the French, and I had so many variations of grey from my WW2 stuff that I didn't see the need for more.

There might be a Polish crimson, and leather and linen colours for ancients that I missed though.


I see lead people28 Nov 2015 5:57 p.m. PST

I have the following tins.

2 x French artillery green
1 x British scarlet
1 x British equipment grey
2 x Polish crimson
1 x royal purple
1 x underside white
1 x HN6 black (mattest black ever)
2 x MC13 white

Would happily swap for some unpainted Perry Napoleonic packs.

Marc the plastics fan29 Nov 2015 11:27 a.m. PST

Sadly, I think Australia will be too far for us to swap. I have some Perry oddments (like riflemen sprues) but sending them (and vice versa) just for equipment grey is, sadly I feel, not practical. I shall keep hoping for aome kind soulf in the UK. But good to know that these great paints made it all the way out there.


Personal logo deadhead Supporting Member of TMP29 Nov 2015 12:31 p.m. PST

Marc, must ask, now you have some of the paints….what the heck will you do with them?

Think about it, the only reason these tins still exist is because anally retentive folk will store such, "just in case". But never used them!

We have all seen "The Road" and many of us have stockpiled corned beef tins etc for The Post Apocalyptic World. Thanks to Gorbachev and Ronnie Reagan they were never used.

I predict Mrs Marc The Plastics Fan will soon be asking the same question and there will be this garage clear out one day, while you are at work……….


Marc the plastics fan01 Dec 2015 9:23 a.m. PST

Jef, just to let you know the two tins of British scarlet arrived safely. And how old school was that packaging? An old Airfix box cut down – fantastic! So thanks again. Really appreciate these.

Now, as to what I will do with them. The plan remains to make up test cards with them, and go and find modern equivalents. Not "almost" but as close as damn it to the originals. The Vallejo ranges are comprehensive so I am hopefull. I hope to avoid mixjng, but of I have to, then so be it.

I will then stick a list backbup on TMP.

There are various conversion charts out there, but I want the closest match possible.

Wish me luck

Now just blue and grey to go… (He saya in hope more than expectation)

Jefthing01 Dec 2015 12:00 p.m. PST

Thought you'd appreciate that!

Nearest Vallejo to Humbrol scarlet is 910 Orange Red. Or, mix equal parts of Humbrol gloss red, pink and orange. Sounds odd, but it's a spot on match when Matt varnished!

Mike the Analyst01 Dec 2015 12:40 p.m. PST

This is a Humbrol to Humbrol conversion.


I have to disagree about the French Blue MC8 matching 104 however.

As for the Grey, there is strong support for Humbrol 106 being the equivalent for British equipment grey

Jefthing02 Dec 2015 8:03 a.m. PST

And no way is Matt60 like British Scarlet!

Still, probably better tha Airfix to Humbrol conversions which seem to be based solely on the names rather than the actual colour.

Marc the plastics fan02 Dec 2015 11:27 a.m. PST

Yep, those are my concerns. The ranges on conversion charts show alternatives, not exact matches.

In this day and age one could hope for better.

But when I have asked similar questions before too often people reel out the old conversion charts without ever having tried them. Not a problem if they are happy, but matches, they are not (in my ever so humble opinion)

And again, I am not suggesting the AC range was in any shape or form "authentic", but for my retro sensibilities I would like to go "original". Lits of other blues and reds are out there, but they are not for me with this current crusade

Cheers guys

Mike the Analyst03 Dec 2015 8:55 a.m. PST

Yes I agree that a lot of the charts are misleading. I think the case for Grey 106 is strong however.

I have found my paints – in storage since I move house. The blue I am current using for French Blue is Phoenix Precision P70 LNER Oxford Blue (Dull). It is semi-gloss so needs matt varnish.

HappyHussar24 Sep 2018 9:03 a.m. PST

I never used Humbrol paints but many of my friends did because they were a high quality product. I used Polly-S and Floquil the most. Polly-S was a good paint for the basic colors but for any metal colors you just had to use Floquil. Their Bronze, Gold and Silver were the ones I used the most.

I miss those days of painting. I would put on classical music, usually it was pouring down rain outside and I would knock off 12 castings (25mm) a day. Later when I did 15mm I was painting about 18-20/day.

I would like to paint again but I would definitely take my time at it. The eyes are just not great for close in work and I would need reading glasses to pull it off. I never could use a magnifier lens setup. Something about the depth perception issues I had with it.

Enjoy guys!

42flanker24 Sep 2018 11:03 a.m. PST

I was clearing out a drawer in the attic of the family home and found a tray of old Humbrol paints. Even now the cloyingg taint of that earthy, oily smell gave me a certain thrill. I was almost certainly addicted to Britfix 66.

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