R-7 rocket colors

Discussion in 'Space & Aeronautics' started by cygielski, Sep 12, 2007.

  1. cygielski

    cygielski Member

    Can anyone help me with the colors of the R-7 launchers, especially the Sputnik and Vostok. On some pictures they're clearly one color - presumably dark green. On the most widely available launch picture, the Vostok rocket is clearly two colors - dark green and white. A b&w pic of the Sputnik launch looks the same, with the same pattern of light and dark colors. This makes me think the white is not paint but just frost on the LOX tanks, especially that it corresponds to their location, best as I can tell.
    This page shows the same thing happenining to a Soyuz launcher - the "white" on the lower stages is clearly different than the white paint on the payload section:
    European Space Agency
    Assuming this is true, do you have any thoughts on how to color R-7 models? Do you think they should be colored as painted in the factory, or do they present themselves better with the white frosting?
  2. Color of R7

    Real colors are gray or darkish gray. These was modified under properties of

    Attached Files:

  3. davelant

    davelant Member

    I have seen this subject debated by plastic space modelers, and the consensus is that a good match for the R7 is a color called Euro Gray (or Grey), or FS-36081 (Federal Standard number.) You can see it here:

    FED-STD-595 Federal Standard 595 Color FS 36081

    As Leo says, the photographs are misleading. The color fidelity of Soviet-era film may not have been the best.

    And yes, it is frost. It is an artistic decision for you if you want to show it or not, but it was there when the tanks were loaded.

    Dave L.
  4. cygielski

    cygielski Member

    Leo and Dave - thanks a lot. Does that mean that the Sputnik, Vostok and Voskhod rockets were painted the same color as today's Soyuz boosters (of course minus the orange bands, etc.)? The second picture in Leo's post would definitely suggest this.

    BTW, if the color is gray my choice is definitely easier - frosty rockets it will be.
  5. Thanks Dave for this link. But I think what FS 36176 or FS 36270 more similar to original.
    Unfortunately, ours estimation depends on screen brightness and contrast of monitor.

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  6. cygielski

    cygielski Member

    Thanks again for your help. I do have one more question, however - the picture of Vostok (?) being loaded up in Leo's post shows a greenish ablation shield on the reentry module. I've seen this looking white in some pictures and silver in others (not to mention others that seem to show a patchwork of colors - such as this:
    Aerospaceweb.org | Ask Us - Lost Cosmonaut Rumors (I'm talking about the assembly picture a bit further down the page).
    I'm mostly interested in modeling Vostok 1 and the Voskhod 2 capsules - do you know what these might have looked like while in orbit?
  7. davelant

    davelant Member

    Yes, Leo, that FS 36081 looks very dark on my monitor, too. I was just passing along some other modelers' recommendation; many use the Euro Gray paint of the Testors or Model Masters brand. In some light, it almost looks dark green, so its appeal may be that it is reminiscent of the old green photographs.

    And as for the on-orbit appearance of the modules, there are photos from the factory floor showing Vostok-type modules with silver coatings, and others overall white with a hexagonal pattern visible. Whether these are different finishes or just different steps in the manufacture have occasioned lively debate among space modelers.
  8. cygielski

    cygielski Member

    A post-recovery picture I have found (http://www.ninfinger.org/~sven/models/vault2004/vostok surface.jpg) shows white tiles with shreds of silvery material still hanging on - and since there appears to be no hard evidence either way for the in-orbit phase, I'm going to go with a bright silver finish. Thank you all very much for your help.

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