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Was the red paint on the bulwarks etc in English warships actually paint ? On more than one occasion I have read that red ochre was used being considerably cheaper and plentiful. The Admiralty were notorious for being parsimonious with money.

 

I'm aware that on contemporary models red paint was used,but in reality ?

 

Thanks,

 

Dave :dancetl6:

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Red Ochre refers to a pigment used in paint. Basically it is iron that is oxidized. In this case, red is rust. If you reduce the amount of oxygen when burning in the presence of iron you can also produce various shades of brown, tan and even black. Red ochre is some what subdued compared to organic reds but it is authentic for ship use. The pigment would be dispersed in some kind of vehicle (not sure what it would be in 17th and 18th century).  There were organic red pigments available but they were expensive and not very UV stable

Jaxboat

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Ochres are ferric (i.e. trivalent) iron oxyhydroxides of varying composition (generic formula FeOOH). The less water you have, the more reddish they tend to be. They are the residues from a particular weathering environment. In some parts of the world there are quite pure occurences, for instance in southern France (see e.g. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Roussillon,_Vaucluse), so that it can be mined for pigment. Otherwise, red soils are quite common in the tropics, but contain a lot of sand and other impurities.

1024px-120613-Roussillon-05.jpg

From Wikimedia

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In the Aquitaine (Dordogne), near Lalinde, St Alvers you find red clay. That part, if I recall well even behind Sarlat, has a lot of iron in the soil. The red pigment has been used in the drawings in the caves of Font de Gaume at Les Eyzies. I've been at Lascaux, near Sarlat, which are now, unfortunately, closed to the public. Real stunning drawings ... the pigments are still available, it's just that we lost a lot of knowledge to use them

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Greetings gentlemen;

 

I have a feeling that the red paint used was actually red lead,  which has some anti-bacterial,  or anti-fungal properties,  and is still often used as a primer for wooden boats.  This paint is,  I believe,  more hard-wearing than one based on red-ochre.  However,  this is based on a feeling that I read this somewhere.  I will check up on this and see if I can find something more concrete than a feeling.

 

All the best,

 

Mark P

Edited by Mark P
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Mark,

 

I think red lead paint was a later development in the sail era and used on the outside of the hull.  Red ochre was used inside as was whitewash.

Edited by mtaylor
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Go to an artists' store.  They should have swatch sheets, the best fo those would be made on paper with the actual paint, bits of which are glued on to the sheet.

Light Red is made from calcined yellow ochre.  This may be the red ochre pigment.

Red lead is a tiny bit brighter.  A good substitute for this might be Cadmium Red Light, a modern pigment.  All are red-orange colors.

If you can find the color in your favorite paint, you may be in business.

Yes, red lead is only a pigment, as is red ochre.  Either would be put with perhaps fish (whale, cod liver) oil and varnish.  There may have been some protection from the lead, but you'll need to find a modern substitute to keep the EPA happy.

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   I have tried Crimson, but am not wild about it.  Cadmium Red and a little Burnt Sienna.  I am on track but need to work on it.  I recently got Iron Oxide Red I will experiment with in conjunction with the others.  The problem may be that I am shooting for a barn red look, when that may NOT be what I want.  The red cliffs of non-Dover (above) seem to have more yellow.

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I stole some swatches, just as a rough guide.

 

post-17589-0-06775400-1474603794.jpg

 

On my monitor, Red Ochre looks about like bottom row, 4th from left.

Red Lead looks like top row, far right, perhaps 2nd right.

It is a definite but subtle difference.

Cadmium Red Light may be in the ball park, especially if you don't freak out over mixing colors.

Edited by jbshan
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    Gadzooks!  Checking the various hues online I find there is alot of paint out there.  Monitor color does not reflect true color however.  I may need to head down to Dick Blick, who has MANY different brands, and check out the swatches.

 

    Is anybody going to be talking 'color' at the upcoming NRG conference?  None on the schedule, but maybe in a round table.

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'Red Oxide' paint should be the right track. Lead-based pigments have been around for centuries, but were much more expensive then the iron-based pigments. You have to turn the lead first into the oxide, while the iron-oxide only need to be refined.

 

I would think that there was a certain variability in the hue due to the variability of the natural pigment. Howeever, it should be probably more brownish than orangey. Cadmium-red (which does not contain Cd anymore today) would be too bright.

 

I would assume that the paint was based on lineseed-oil, rather than on animal oils. Lineseed-oil, the classical verhicle for 'oil paints' is a drying, i.e. oxidising, oil.

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Take a look at the Model Master line from Testors. They have enamels and acrylics and should have a number of these shades.

 

And don't forget Vallejo and Tamiya. They are acrylics in these shades, although some of the Tamiya may be voc based.

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    I have to say that I have been interested in getting 'the right red' almost to the point of obsession for several years.  I looked at different woods, different dyes, etc.  This is an extension of that.  It also explains why I have seemingly alot of reds laying around.

 

    Shortly after Joel posted his color swatches above, I got with him IM and discussed different reds.  It prompted my to develop my own swatches, which I took to the NRG conference.  Unfortunately, I did not take the opportunity to discuss wit may people.  One thing  did get from Joel was to post a common item, like a can of soup, so differences in monitors, etc, can be gauged.

 

    Plate 1 consists of some colors I was playing with (upper) as well as combinations.  CABOOSE RED is obviously not close to red ochre, but it was a possible option for bulkheads and gun carriages.

post-1153-0-72402900-1476913922_thumb.jpg

 

    Plate 2 consists of plain reds I had.  WINE and PERMANENT RED are not very appealing to me.

post-1153-0-23432500-1476913924_thumb.jpg

 

     Thoughts and comments?

 

   

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Obviously, as I have said to Chuck, a painter doesn't have to precisely match colors (usually), but building a model, a lengthy period of time may go by between you painting two ultimately adjoining pieces, and it is far better if you can find a jar or tube straight from a maker's line that you like.  This is what Chuck is trying to do.  Now he merely needs Mr. Peabody's help to go back, paint jars in hand, and match to the original.

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The other option is when you make a custom color, make a whole lot of it.  <then, of course, it sits in the container and gets all dried out..... :-( >

 

I guess I was supposed to use :(

Edited by Chuck Seiler
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I believe iron oxide reds were the right choice. If nothing else, they are extremely color stable. Organic reds on the other hand are much less stable. There is no such thing as an acrylic red. There are acrylic paints containing red pigments. Interesting discussion.

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There is no such thing as an acrylic red. There are acrylic paints containing red pigments. Interesting discussion.

True.  I used the term acrylic red to differentiate between oil, acrylic or water color.  There are a significant number of hues within the 'red' range based on what they were made with.  These are further expanded with mixing and shading.

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It is important to keep in mind, which kind of pigments were available at a given time and which ones were cheap enough to be used on a ship. The palette of an artist has always been richer than what was used for such mundane tasks as painting ships.

 

Cadmium-based pigments are a 20th century invention. According to Wikipedia, the potential for the red and yellow Cd-oxides as pigments was recognised in the 1840s, but commercial quantities did not become available until around 100 years later. Today, Cd-based pigments are being phased out again due to the environmental concern over such dispersive uses (for the same reason Cd-based batteries are being phased out as well). However, Cadmium-Red and Cadmium-Yellow paints for artists do not necessarily contain Cd, but are close matches with other pigments.

 

In fact, I think the discussion on the exact hue/colour and trials are rather futile. While iron-oxide reds are rather stable pigments as such, the exact colour of the paint made with them depends on a number of factors, such as how many waters are in the crystal structure of the oxides, where they were sourced, what other components were used in the paint, etc. The best solutions would be to find an ancient recipe for making the respective paints. But even then, there could be significant variations. Also, until the middle of the 19th century, navies gave their commanders considerable leeway in the details of these matters and there was no centralised supply. Colours did not become standardised until after WW1, when for instance the German army began together with industry to develop a colour table that still is in use today, even outside Germany (the 'RAL' numbers).

 

So I would not get too worked up about this as long as you have a somewaht mute and slightly yellow-brownish red.

Edited by wefalck

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I suspect that, back in the 17th and 18th centuries, that colors varied a lot. Paint was mixed on site from pigment and oils. The quality of pigment would vary from batch to batch and where one was located geographically. No 'QC' back then! I agree with Wefalk - don't get too stressed about it.  

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OK: Elements of a paint used in modeling:

"Oil Based: Enamels Pigment, binder (drying (oxidizing) oils such as linseed oil, alkyds made from soybean oil, tall oil from paper manufacture etc "cooked" (reacted), diluents to reduce viscosity  (terps, etc.), drying agents (organo (manganese, zinc etc) metallic complexes to speed oxidation i.e. drying). Enamels

Solvent borne: lacquers (low molecular wt, acrylic resins, styrene copolymers, nitrocellulose etc) resins solved in carrier solvent such as ketones aromatics (xylene etc). Paint dries as solvent evaporates, pigments. Can be re-dissolved in original or alternate solvent blends

Water borne: Binders including acrylic emulsion, acrylic dispersion, styrene acrylic emulsion, urethane pre-polymers and resin dispersions, etc , pigments dispersants  to disperse, suspend and disaggregate pigments. Can be binder resins or separate. Coalescent agents (Co-solvents) to aid film formation, defoamers, viscosity and rheology modifiers and many others.Pigments, (metallic pigments are unique to WB)

Water borne paints are much more complex than solvent or drying oil based because of the poor surface tension (wetting) properties of water The terms lacquer and enamel are really not germane. I guess you could term a floor polish a lacquer. Inability to re-dissolve an acrylic house paint emulsion is a function of high molecular weight of the acrylic emulsion not composition.

Edited by Jaxboat
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On a visit to the Royal Navy Museum, Portsmouth a month ago I went past HMS Victory on my way to the new Mary Rose museum. The inside of the gun port lids are now painted a rather startling orange color. Looks like the keepers of the ship would come down on the red ochre side of the debate.

 

Roger Pellett

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Hi everyone;

 

Carrying on from Druxey's comments in his last post here,  I have studied Deptford Dockyards letter books for the middle of the 18th century,  and there is correspondence about paint,  and records of deliveries of oil and pigments.  The ingredients were certainly mixed on site,  prior to use. 

 

All the best,

 

Mark P

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Understood.  What I am trying to determine is, which (if any) of the colors/hues I posted would be reasonably good for use on a model of a late 18th century Continental warship?   ....or should I continue to experiment?

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