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Hi Druxey,

Love this discussion. White lead carbonate was used in house paints (exterior) as late as the early 70s. It had the advantage of resisting mildew. However, it turned grey if exposed to sulfur fumes H2S, SO2. This was a common problem in Southern US regions near wet lands (PC term for swamps). I would expect a similar situation in any marine environment. Red lead (minion) is Pb3O4.  PbO is Yellow lead oxide. Bizarrely, PbO is still used widely in the US for painting lateral delineators on roads. In the case of Victory, perhaps some of the lead oxide was off spec and had a touch of red lead in it. Even a tiny amount would effect how certain people would perceive the color. Kind of bazaar, though. I can't envision Nelson fighting Trafalgar on a pink Victory/Victoria :huh:


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The article referenced by 'dafi', "http://seaphoenix.co...-victory-yellow", seems to resolve the use of red for the inner bulwarks.


"Other evidence supporting the British the preference for light yellow comes from a letter to the Ordnance Board recalled in the Seaman’s Vade Mecum in 1798 which states:[25]

‘The Inner part of the side of His Majesty’s Ship under my command, being a light yellow I beg favour to have her gun carriages painted of that colour except the six aftermost which I wish to paint light grey. As you will readily feel the unpleasant contrast of red gun carriages with a pale yellow side’.

This provides several key facts;

1.     The practice of painting the inboard works of the bulwarks with red ochre was by this year (1798) already being superseded in preference for a far paler colour, in this case light yellow, simply for the utilitarian purpose of visually brightening up the decks upon which the seamen lived.

2.     Gun carriages had, for the best part of century, been supplied to warships by the Ordnance Board already painted in red ochre.

3.     The practice of repainting gun carriages issued from the Ordnance Board after embarkation with yellow was fast being adapted after pale yellow superseded red ochre for the inboard works.

4.     The Commanding Officer originating this request suggested the application of light grey to the aftermost gun carriages as a brighter colour to enhance the brightness of the cabin areas with his ship; this again in the interest of utility."


So the use of red is dependent on the when the ship was built/launched.

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  • 6 months later...

HI guys, glad i could joint in this community. I have been making model kit for few year back in 1980s mostly on fighter plane and helicopters. Now i will soon start working my new Airfix HMS Victory. through my research there are few challenges  particularly in getting proper color. I need advise from expert on how I could do it in a best way as even have some experience with planes, this is will be my first work on old battleship

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  • 2 months later...
  • 2 weeks later...
  • 2 years later...

I don't know if anyone is still following this but it's been a pet subject in all forums. First, I can't see a trace of pink, it's a dull pale not too pleasant lemon(ish). Peter advises there have been details overlooked, ignored or simply not found since he left and he is of the opinion that they still haven't got it nailed down. Possibly, although the pigments can be identified this doesn't, as already pointed out, allow for impurities. Also I'm not convinced the proportions of the mixture have been accurately determined. If Nelson picked it's present colour he must have had a stinking hangover at the time. Peter has shown me a build which he says is accurate. If so there was more yellow. (colour described by the carpenter as yellow, not yellow ochre, mixed with white)

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Me....I am not bothered one bit about the accuracy of the kits I build...whether one colour is right or wrong or if this bit is right or wrong...My corel Greyhound and Victory have had little or no modifications to the materials supplied. Me I just enjoy my hobby. I am not a historian so details don't bother me.....I go to my workshop and just build, sometimes get frustrated and annoyed when things don't go right but it keeps be busy and whether my ships or accurate or not I really don't care.....I have a model that looks great to me. 

Is the real Victory accurate?....I don't know.....not a lot of people seem to know...so I accept the Victory in Portsmouth as having been a great battleship and historically important ....me I accept Her in all her glory.....right or wrong....I don't care....I don't suppose She does either.

Be thankful She is still with us......even if most of Her has been replaced over the hundreds of years of Her existence.



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2 hours ago, Bob Portsmouth said:

Harlequin, the post is in response to the apparent 'troubling concerns' a lot of builders are confused by, they obviously want the accuracy. I'd leave my timber's their natural colour. Personally I'll never build a first rater, I prefer smaller more graceful ships.

same here Bob......never coloured any of my timbers either.

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