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  #1  
Old 09-02-2018, 12:12 AM
tdracer tdracer is offline
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Default Gloss vs. Satin vs. Flat Finish - What's Correct

At NARAM 60, I had a discussion with a scale judge regarding the correct finish for my Saturn 1B entry. My Saturn 1B had a nice glossy finish, but he pointed to a couple of my substantiating photos (the Saturn 1B on display at Kennedy Space Center, and a Saturn Instrumentation Ring located in the museum in McMinnville, Oregon - both of which had a matte finish. I responded that the hardware in those photos was ~50 years old and 'well weathered' - and that the all the photos I'd seen from original hardware from the 1960's appeared to have a gloss finish.
He didn't say as much, but I got the impression that I'd lost a few 'finish' points due to the gloss finish (another Saturn 1B entry that ultimately finished first in sport scale had what I'd call a satin finish).
So, who's correct? As noted, most the 1960/1970 vintage photos I've come across of the Mercury Redstone, the painted portions of the Gemini Titan, and both the Saturn 1B and Saturn V appear to show a gloss finish - but losing scale points with a gloss finish - even though it's correct - would be something of a pyric victory...
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Old 09-02-2018, 12:27 AM
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Earl Earl is offline
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For many scale birds, like the Saturns, flat or *maybe* a touch of satin is going to be more true to scale.

Museum display items, especially those displayed outside, have, in many cases, been painted and repainted many, many times (I've been to KSC a number of times and have seen the 1b there...it falls in that category).

Also, many times, the particular paint scheme for said display artifacts is not always correct for the particular round depicted, and most times they will use a gloss because they think it probably 'looks better' to the public.

Not saying all gloss finishes are wrong, but as far as the Saturns go (V or 1b), gloss would not be in keeping with the actual flight articles.

There are some Apollo photo archives online that one can access to see flight rounds on the pad and one can get a pretty good impression from those the true finish characteristics.


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  #3  
Old 09-04-2018, 10:33 AM
astronwolf astronwolf is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by tdracer
So, who's correct?

The judge is correct. You submitted a data packet for the competition. Your model did not conform with what you submitted. Verbal, anecdotal information is not part of your entry, even if it is factually correct.
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  #4  
Old 09-04-2018, 12:30 PM
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5x7 5x7 is offline
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Were the glossy pics in your scale packet?
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Old 09-05-2018, 12:26 AM
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mwtoelle mwtoelle is offline
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Generally, I would use flat or semi-gloss finish for a competition scale model. It depends on what the pictures show.
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  #6  
Old 09-05-2018, 06:23 PM
tdracer tdracer is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by 5x7
Were the glossy pics in your scale packet?

No, I didn't include any 'glossy' photos.
Although I'm a long time builder, and have built some beautiful scale models (I have a number of scale models on display in the Seattle Museum of Flight), I'm something of a novice at NAR scale competitions. Aside from the recent NARAM 60, the only other NAR scale competition I've entered was NARAM 52, also in Pueblo (that's not a coincidence, it's my old home town...).

There are really two issues here - one is my frustration that I didn't do better in scale. My Saturn 1B was beautiful - I was in second place coming out of the static judging - and I was eligible for enough 'mission' points that if I'd had a clean flight I would have held on to second. But the first flight was anything but 'clean' - the upper section parachute didn't open (I still don't really understand why) and while I was able to make a second flight that qualified, the damage point deductions dropped me to fourth - 'out of the money'. Hugely disappointing...

The second thing is that I take a lot of pride in my scale models - especially the manned spacecraft from the 1960s - and I want them to be accurate. Years ago I had a similar discussion regarding matte/flat vs. gloss. I noted that I'd seen actual Mercury and Apollo spacecraft - and they were not gloss - but it was pointed out that these were post re-entry and hence not representative of how they looked pre-launch - which the photos that we could find looked glossy. That's when I decided to go 'gloss' on most of my finishes.
You can't tell anything from the rockets currently on display - most have been in the weather, and all have been repainted (I saw the Saturn V in Houston about 35 years ago - pre restoration when it was still sitting outside - it was in horrible shape, with many layers of flaking point over obvously corroded metal). I'm on vacation in New York City at the moment - we went to the Intrepid museum today and they have Mercury and Gemini capsules on display - definitely gloss - but also definitely not original spacecraft.

Hence my questions - what really is correct? Earl, you seem pretty definitive in your response - do you have first hand knowledge? Not trying to be combative here - I honestly want to know. Period photos that really show an accurate finish seem to be few and far between.
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Old 09-05-2018, 07:53 PM
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Earl Earl is offline
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Here's a link to an image of Apollo 5 on the pad (this was the booster for the ill-fated Apollo 1 mission....wound up being used to launch the first LM into earth orbit for its first initial unmanned test flight in early 1968).

At any rate, this shot was made pretty much in direct sunlight and one can tell this is fairly flat paint. The black in particular looks to be almost completely and totally flat. There are some 'highlights' here and there, but nothing to give the impression of 'gloss' paint.

Here's the link: https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Fil...lo_5_on_pad.jpg

Kipp Teague has an 'Apollo Archive' website with many, many images of vehicles on the pad. They are great for getting an idea of some of these finish characteristics. Haven't visited in some time, but it used to be a great resource.

Here's a link to the mission photo page: http://www.apolloarchive.com/apollo_gallery.html


Hope this helps.


Earl
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Last edited by Earl : 09-06-2018 at 07:50 AM. Reason: Spellin' fix
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  #8  
Old 09-05-2018, 08:22 PM
tdracer tdracer is offline
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Thanks Earl, that is definitely helpful.
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  #9  
Old 09-09-2018, 05:38 PM
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luke strawwalker luke strawwalker is offline
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I don't know that you can realistically get accurate information about the actual paint finish from photographs as definitive proof one way or the other. Remember these items were constructed and finished one way at the factory, and then sent for static testing in many cases, some then stored for years, then erected and flown. Saturn I's and IB's were also stacked "on the pad" versus the Saturn IB's that flew to Skylab that were assembled in the VAB on the "milkstool" and transported to the pad; so they spent a LOT longer on the pad and thus would have experienced more weathering. While photographs are a good indication of the patterns and markings used, particularly on an individual mission or vehicle, I'm not convinced you can get any truly accurate indication as to what the factory finish was as it rolled off the assembly line. Storage and testing would have taken its toll on the paint, as well as "scale effects" from the full size vehicle, lighting effects, and various other limitations of photography.

I think the only way to *TRULY* know would be to either consult someone or their historical records from the assembly facilities that applied the finishes directly, or to scour the historical archives for NASA documentation as to the particular finishes applied-- they should have some sort of number(s) denoting the finish, that would probably have to be cross-referenced to the relevant paint manufacturer (if they're still in business) to determine the actual finish and formulation of the paint. NASA Technical Resources Server might actually have the information if you can find it.

Another good source would be to email John Pursley at accur8.com and ask him... he consulted and participated in the restorations of the Saturn V's in Houston and Huntsville because he had more information at his fingertips and more readily available to the contractors doing the work than NASA did... So they hired him to assist in the job. I'm sure he'd know exactly what was applied paintwise, if ANYBODY knows...

Best of luck...

OL J R
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