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"So what actual color is RAL 8020 and 7027?" Topic

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Wayniac07 Aug 2019 12:05 p.m. PST

I realize there is likely no one true answer to this, but I have spent probably the last hour or so reading and looking at paints and all I have to show for it is a headache. I'm considering paint schemes for my DAK army. I envision it being towards the end of '42/early '43, so the paint scheme according to what I've read should be RAL 8020 Braun with 1/3 in RAL 7027 Grau.

However, depending on the source I see RAL 8020 called Braun or Gelbbraun, but I also see Gelbbraun as RAL 8000 and sometimes RAL 8000 is Grunbraun. Similarly, I see RAL 7027 as Grau or Sandgrau and its predecessor RAL 7008 as Khakigrau or Graugrun. Now I don't speak German or am familiar with the actual RAL process but knowing the translation of those names it seems like a color called "Gray" would look nothing like "Sand Gray" or "Khaki Gray" wouldn't look like "Gray Green" (although at least I could see some overlap there) and similarly "Brown" would look nothing like "Yellow-Brown" which would look nothing like "Green-Brown". Granted I am going to be painting 15mm tanks so I could easily get away with something that looks like some form of sandy-brownish-yellowish tone with tannish-different brownish patterns but since part of this is to also research, I'm curious what these really were.

Looking at paint manufacturers, Vallejo Model Air has RAL 8020 as "Camo Brown" which is an almost beige color without much yellow or green tone. Ammo Mig has RAL 8020 as a very light tan with a clear yellow tint to it (it reminds me of a lighter version of Middlestone/Dunkelgelb). I've also seen from Vallejo Model Color Green Ochre (this seems lighter than the Model Air version but still a yellowish-brown, probably the most likely candidate for me to use), Tan Yellow (seems like a paler version of Green Ochre), even Green Brown (which looks closer to a true Khaki). I haven't even gotten to checking what RAL 7027 would actually be yet but a quick glance shows me everything from a grayish-khaki to a very pale tan.

While the environment and materials used for the paint would affect the actual color, that doesn't answer what the actual color of RAL 8020 and RAL 7027 is since there are conflicting sources on the tone (understandable, given the resources available being mostly B&W photographs and field accounts) and even the name of the paint (not so understandable)!

Personal logo ColCampbell Supporting Member of TMP07 Aug 2019 2:48 p.m. PST

This might help: link I think that the "equivalent" numbers are the RAL numbers.


Wayniac07 Aug 2019 3:04 p.m. PST

Thanks Jim, that does help me out a bit. At least it gives a color swatch to compare to.

Yellow Admiral08 Aug 2019 12:35 p.m. PST

I have spent probably the last hour or so reading and looking at paints and all I have to show for it is a headache.
So you're new at this? I've only been doing this a few years and I'm hundreds of headaches in…
I realize there is likely no one true answer to this
The real problem is that there are too many correct answers. grin

First a caveat: Never trust a color on a computer monitor or laser/inkjet printout. Modern desktop technology is notoriously inaccurate with colors. I can't even get the exact same window to be the same color when dragged between two identical monitors with the same settings sitting side-by-side and plugged into the same computer.

What I do is buy a range of the paints purported by different manufacturers to be the "correct" color for a particular standard color, then either:

  1. choose the one that looks best at the scale I'm painting, or;
  2. use them as a reference to get an end result that looks about right.

Many of the "correct" colors just look too dark on small scale miniatures. They might look great on the large surfaces of 1/72 aircraft, 1/48 tanks, or 1/700 ships, but I'm usually painting 1/200 to 1/300 scale aircraft or tanks, 1/1200 to 1/2400 ships, etc. so I need to find paints that give the right impression but are actually shades lighter. Many Vallejo colors look too bright and cartoonish straight out of the jar, but sometimes an overbright Vallejo color is the right hue for a particularly small model, or as a basecoat that will be darkened with a wash.

Some paints just don't go on well, no matter how correct they look in the jar. I have a growing collection of "correct" paints with poor coverage that are basically just paint chips to guide me.

I also have a growing collection of almost-close-enough colors that I prefer simply because I have a matching spraypaint and brush-on paint. It saves time and preserves detail to be able to coat the entire model in a close-enough basecoat, pick out the details and cammo pattern(s) in different colors, then fix mistakes with a brush-on touchup that matches the spray coat. I correct not-quite-right basecoats with drybrushing, thin coats of the correct color, or washes.

Some other resources that might be helpful:

Here's an online FS 595 color server.

This page has a nice collection of color conversion charts.

This site has a button to launch an Adobe Flash color conversion chart that will let you cross-reference colors from different paint manufacturers and color standards.

- Ix

Yellow Admiral08 Aug 2019 12:40 p.m. PST

PS: I know I just gave you more routes to headaches, but I really do mean well. grin

Ultimately what matters most is your satisfaction with the aesthetic impression your paint job gives. It's actually quite rare to get a model to look right by just using the pre-formulated paints of the "correct" colors. Small scale models need a lot more help than a basic paint-by-numbers coat.

Wayniac08 Aug 2019 1:26 p.m. PST

Oh no I appreciate it. I am enjoying my foray into historical gaming already because this stuff is actually enjoyable to me. I like being able to look at actual reference materials and learning about history while I do it.

pzivh43 Supporting Member of TMP08 Aug 2019 1:30 p.m. PST


I'm afraid you are doomed then! :) Welcome to the historical miniatures hobby!

Yellow Admiral08 Aug 2019 5:56 p.m. PST

I agree the research is part of the fun. The books full of color plates really add up, though…

- Ix

Wayniac09 Aug 2019 5:17 a.m. PST

Especially when it's for a part of the war I'm not familiar with like North Africa. That's a big reason why I chose DAK, so I'd have a reason to research and learn about it.

It's good so far, frustrating sometimes but good.

- Wayne

robert piepenbrink Supporting Member of TMP09 Aug 2019 12:48 p.m. PST

Indeed welcome, Wayniac! But consider the possibilities. Get one of the serious North Africa treadies to talk about bleaching effects, leftover colors from previous official schemes, capturing paints from the British, stealing them from the Italians, and just what was done with captured Allied vehicles in German service. Which is why I say learn what you can, but don't let uncertainty stop the painting or reduce the enjoyment: there's a fairly broad range of right answers out there. (Says the man who had to replace a couple battalions of 1815 Hanoverians as more information be came available.)

Marc at work27 Aug 2019 5:53 a.m. PST

Admiral for the win I think. Go for what looks pleasing

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