Making rust out of the 3 primary colors ?

Discussion in 'Weathering Forum' started by Biased turkey, Jul 5, 2008.

  1. Biased turkey

    Biased turkey Active Member

    "generic" rust is reddish brown, so I surfed the web and found that brown is a mixture of the 3 primary colors.
    1) Mix yellow and red to get orange
    2) Add the complementary color, blue

    The result is not brown at all, but is more like a dark gray.

    Does anyone has a recipe to solve my problem ?

  2. nachoman

    nachoman Guest

    Can't easily be done. I am assuming you are mixing paint. The problem is, there are no "true" color pigments. That means, the red, yellow, and blue you are using are not true red, yellow, and blue.

    You can get closrer by having a decent eye and choosing the shades of red, yellow, and blue that will work to produce the shade of brown you want. But keep in mind, you won't be mixing the colors 1/3 of each, because the paint pigments also have different intensites. You will probably wind up with something like 50%yellow, 40%red, and 10% blue.

    My advice is to start with brown paint :)

  3. doctorwayne

    doctorwayne Active Member

    Red and black, or orange and black will both give you brown, but as Kevin suggests, why not start with brown? You'll need to buy only one jar of paint, then, instead of two. ;) :-D

  4. csxnscale

    csxnscale Member

    I use only two colors to make rust.
    Burnt Sienna mixed with Raw Umber.
    The more Sienna you use the more it looks like newish rust.

  5. Biased turkey

    Biased turkey Active Member

    Thanks Kevin, Wayne and Paul for taking some of your valuable time to reply.

    Kevin, your advice is wise. Why try to reinvent the wheel ( In my case the color wheel lol ). I asked the question because I have some ( good ) Tamiya acrylic paint I use for airplane models and for painting my structures.

    Wayne, I tried mixing black with orange. The result is a lot closer to brown than when mixing blue with orange. At least I have a solution to my problem.

    Paul, like you I use burnt umber, burnt sienna and raw umber to weather my rolling stock. But they are oil paints
    My first intention was to find those 3 earth colors but made by some acrylic paints manufacturers such as Tamiya or Polly Scale and in liquid form ( in the same type of jars as scale model paints ). I couldn't find any liquid raw umber for example. As far as I know acrylic earth colors are only sold in a tube container ( has the viscosity of toothpaste ) for the artists.
    I wanted to be able to spray those earth colors that's why I tried to mix them by myself.

    The 1st picture is a boxcar weathered with earth colors oil paints
    The 2nd picture was taken yesterday on the Canadien National track down the road. I'll keep it as a reference. Now, tha's real rust.


  6. Art Decko

    Art Decko Member

    Jacques -

    Here's the method I use with watercolors, maybe it will work for you:

    Try starting with red and add some yellow, just a bit at a time, until you get a fairly vivid red-orange. Then add the blue, but only a very small amount at a time - it shouldn't take much at all.

    Once you get the right color, you may need to add some white and/or black to get the right tint. If the rust is too vivid or bold, add some white to "de-saturate" it. Then you may need to add some black to darken it. Be careful, when mixing paint a tiny bit of black has a major effect.

    Remember that in nature there is plenty of variation in the color of rust, so there's a large margin of error. :)

    Good luck!
  7. Triplex

    Triplex Active Member

    Color mixing theory rarely works. When I was young, I inadvertently and repeatedly discovered that, contrary to everything you might read, yellow and black paint make an ugly but definite green.
  8. MCL_RDG

    MCL_RDG Member

    Color mixing...

    ...often turns out gray when ya pile on all of the colors. Have you tried a lot of yellow- like 85%- then red, say 18%, then blue, say 2%? And work the colors in from the edges so you can see the colors turning/mixing. That's why artists have pallets. They place put blobs of paint and drag them together to see what the mix is.

    Just some random thoughts.

  9. Art Decko

    Art Decko Member

    Mark's recipe is better than mine - start with the YELLOW then add a bit of red (rather than the other way around as I suggested). And again, when you add the blue, be careful, it doesn't take much to have a drastic effect. A little too much and you get mud.
  10. Biased turkey

    Biased turkey Active Member

    Thanks Art Decko, Triplex and Mark for supplying additional tips and information.
    nachoman ( Kevin ) has a good point ( I was unaware of that fact , I'm an electronic technician not an artist ) when he mentions that there are no "true" color pigments. That means, the red, yellow, and blue you are using are not true red, yellow, and blue.

    Art Decko, it's always nice to have a renowned member of the Paper Models subforum join a model railroad thread.

    Marks, by giving the ratio of each color used I realise that I'm using way too much blue and not enough yellow. My mixing ratio was:
    red 45%
    yellow 45%
    blue 10%

    Back to the mixing board again.

  11. cdavenport

    cdavenport Member

    Anyone ever use Rustall?
  12. ukon30fan

    ukon30fan 0n30 Rail Baron of Leeds

    I've used Rustall - gave it up as a bad job - too orange for my liking.
    There are plenty of propriety rust paints out there if you look.
    As for Acrylics - try looking for Anita decor paints - they do the burnt umber, burnt sienna and raw umber colours and their Earth is a good representation of rust for use on tracks.
    I've gone over to weathering powders for my rust - try the Gamer's shops for their range.
  13. Dave1905

    Dave1905 Member

    Which is why yellow and green were two very popular colors in the 19th century. During the late 180o's the most common house colors were white with green trim/shutters.

    Dave H.
  14. SB7

    SB7 New Member

    Making rust out of three primary colors


    If you can go out and look at the existing metal in your area, take note of the colors that you see.

    The color of Rust

    Starts off a a reddish orange color
    and can goes to a dark brown depending on the length of time in the elements.

    The color that you need is the beginning stage or a reddish orange, more orangy light on the red.

    As far as color mixture your going to have to experiment and record the mixtures/colors you come up with. So you have a reference chart to follow.:confused::confused::confused:

    The best and cheapest method to use is the following painting technique.

    What you need

    1.Obtain a dropper syringe ( go to your local hospital and explain that your a hobbyist and you want to obtain a syringe that gives drops. They should give you one for free, also acrylic paint washes out easily.
    2.You'll need plastic cups
    3.The one of each of the cheapest acrylic craft paints you can buy. One solid color, one white


    In a cup count the number of drops of the original color fill say to a quarter of an inch. Count and record the number of drops, this is important.

    Now add one drop of the white via/product produced by the same company.

    Mix thoroughly and smear some of the color you come up with onto a 3x5 index card,. Record the information on the index card as #1. amount of drops of the original color, products name and company that made it, added with one drop of white, products color name and who made it.

    And continue numbering the cards in order as you keep on increasing the number of white drops to the original color and keep recording same as explained above.

    I know it sounds like a lot of trouble but you'll end up with a color chart that you can always go back to at a much later date if you ever have to touch up a model with the same color that you originally chose to paint it with in the first place, many years before., Without going crazy trying to find the original color again.

    Regarding the model, record the name of the craft paint color and the companys namecolor name and number of white drops, utilised at that time upon completion.

    I realize that this may sound tedious, but if you do a little each day when your not building anything, you can look at this as a breather to just kill time while relaxing or waiting for whatever to dry, eventually you'll develop your reference chart.

  15. UP SD40-2

    UP SD40-2 Senior Member

    Just to throw MY two cents into the ring:119: , if you look at ANY of the weathering i have done, the multitude of different shades of rust i use all come from mixing Polly Scale "boxcar red" and "Milwaukee Road orange" together, in different degrees:winki: . I'm NOT saying this is the best method, and I'm NOT a "professional" weatherer:roller: , but it works fine for me:thumb::mrgreen: .
    (i thin Polly Scale with 70% strength isopropyl alcohol to speed up the drying process, though water would work fine too.)
  16. Biased turkey

    Biased turkey Active Member

    Thanks to The Gauge members who took some of their valuable time to supply additional information.

    ukon30fan: valuable info about acrylic paints from Anita decor paints. I checked their website, they ship to continental US, UK but ... not to Canada. Go figure ?

    Henry (SB7 ): I agree, your method looks like a lot of trouble. I don't see myself mixing hundreds of colors that... maybe I won't use during my whole life.
    But, I follow that procedure when mixing some specific colors. Yesterday I mixed some gray and white and I took sample and ,as you suggest , recorded the mixture/color for each 0.5 ml of white added

    I'll do the same for mixing colors to get rust.
    Your starting pint ratio , and the one suggested by Deano , at least will put me in the ball park.

    Last week I did myself a favor and purchased a color wheel.
    It confirms what Wayne said about brown, it is a mixture of orange and black.

    It also confirms that the info I picked on the web was wrong: orange + blue doesn't result brown but some dark gray.

  17. SB7

    SB7 New Member


    You recieved a lot of great advise/replies from the members of this great forum.:thumb:

    The color wheel that you purchased will also save you a lot of time/trouble.

    Glad to have helped:thumb:

  18. Biased turkey

    Biased turkey Active Member

    Henry, I agree with you that The Gauge forums is a gold mine for any railroad modeler.

  19. seanm

    seanm Member

    Another thing to keep in mind... What looks right outside under the sun and in the real world does not always translate to our models. Colors that are a dead on match to full size, when shrunk down to scale size under indoor lights will look very different. You need to mix your paints and test in the conditions you plan to display them in.

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