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Aotake comparison

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Aotake comparison

Postby snapdragon » Wed Oct 19, 2016 11:19 pm

I thought that I would put this up for those of us who build Japanese aircraft.

Aotake was the go-to anti-corrosion paint for the duration of the war on Japanese aircraft - especially the Japanese Navy - and getting the right shade or colour is a constant beef on many forums.

The first thing you have to understand is what it was and how it was made. It was a translucent clear coating that was tinted in the interests of making it visible for uniform application it was also an enamel base. It possessed a high gloss, and due to its application over bright aluminium components it took on the appearance of a metallic-like bright blue or green.

The coloring that was added to aotake did not have a specific standardized formula. While it could most often be described generally as 'blue/green' in appearance, it was very often more green than blue, more blue than green, yellow/green, and everything in between.  Furthermore, all of these shades could be encountered within the framework of the same individual aircraft; often adjacent or overlapping each other. Aotake was applied to individual pieces - large and small, panels and braces - both before they were assembled and after assembly. Aotake was applied throughout the fabrication and assembly process and thus the same piece of metal might receive anywhere from one coat to multiple coats of aotake - each coat not necessarily the same shade. Various components were coated by various subcontractors (the Japanese aviation industry was highly decentralized long before aerial bombing made it even more so), and even within subcontractors, different batches of aotake were of different shades.  When these thousands of parts were assembled, the end result was very much a patchwork of subtly different colours.

Also this enamel and the tinting used would cause a chemical reaction changing the colour further as well as reacting to light and salt air. This means that there would be no real set colour apart from it having a glossy metallic sheen to it.

Both Lifecolor and Vallejo have this in their range. Vallejo's comes in their IJN paint set and this paint can only be got as part of that set and not separately. I have both in my inventory and I thought it would be informative to compare the two.

I set up some tests. First a prayer to the paint god on the big altar of White spirit jar and then the sacrifice of plastic spoons.

My first thing was to set up a control set of just the paints on spoons straight out of the bottle with no messing. Vallejo's Aotake sprayed nice, whereas If I was going to use the Lifecolour I would thin it a little.

Image

Bottom spoon Lifecolour aotake, Top spoon Vallejo Transparent Aotake.

Those are my base control. the next thing was to prepare some spoons. For tis I used AK's Xtreme metal polished aluminium on a black base and white base, doing two of each.

Image

Black base is the top white base is the bottom.

I then sprayed Lifecolor Aotake onto both spoons to full depth and coverage

Image

Top, black base, middle, white base, bottom, control.

As you can see there is not much difference at all apart from the black base sample which is just slightly darker.

Next I applied the Vallejo transparent aotake onto the Xtreme metal spoons.

Image

Same as above. Black base top etc.

you can see from the control sample at the bottom that the Vallejo aotake has taken on a sheen through the Xtreme metal polished aluminium and the top spoon with the black base is slightly darker.

Now both sets side by side, same display:

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Both colours are technically correct. neither are wrong. Here are Aotake samples from a Zero. A6M3 Model 32 Zero, serial number 3148, built by Mitsubishi Heavy Industries in September 1942. Thanks to Coles Aircraft.com for the images

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Looking at the images and the paints I would be very tempted to put a gloss clear coat over both the Vallejo and Lifecolour.

The Vallejo as it is a semi transparent paint does need a high shine metallic undersurface to produce the shine effect, However, the Lifecolour is a spray and go. I would recommend both to be in Japanese model makers paint boxes.
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Re: Aotake comparison

Postby steve131 » Thu Oct 20, 2016 9:01 pm

Very helpful, got an Airfix 72 Zero like too try it out on. Looking at Japanese float planes now, what went on them :?:
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Re: Aotake comparison

Postby snapdragon » Thu Oct 20, 2016 9:29 pm

Image

They were painted just the same as the standard IJN aircraft. The picture above shows a well worn paint job
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