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Totally black jet vs visibility

Old 04-18-2024, 05:56 AM
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RobinLeblond
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Default Totally black jet vs visibility

Hello everyone,

I am building a jet (scratch build) similar to the F35, I would have liked to paint it black like the original so that it looks like the real thing, but I am a little afraid that the visibility will be bad. Anyone has experience with jets (or planes) that are almost black?

Thanks
Old 04-18-2024, 06:22 AM
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BarracudaHockey
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My blue angel sometimes you can only see the yellow tips. It really depends on the sky or background, and the aspect of the plane to you.
Old 04-18-2024, 06:48 AM
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RobinLeblond
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I thought about painting the wingtips yellow like the Blue Angels, I was just wondering if yellow was a good visible color, thanks for your answer Andy!
Old 04-18-2024, 08:42 AM
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Erik R
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They all turn black to a degree, sometimes. It depends on your eyes, and the shape and size of the jet. This is a 1/7.75 F-4. I never had trouble seeing it, and neither does my bud, who I sold it to. Black is badass, but it also gets very hot sitting in the sun. I always covered it, while sitting in the sunlight. Good luck.
Old 04-18-2024, 09:03 AM
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RobinLeblond
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Thank you, that's what I thought, that in the end everything end up black from afar, but I wanted to get other opinions, I don't want to do the paint job twice ;-)
Old 04-18-2024, 09:40 AM
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Dave Wilshere
 
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You don’t really see colour, just shape and shade…
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Old 04-18-2024, 09:48 AM
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An F-35 shaped jet might be a little easier than some since it has a distinctive profile. Color makes a difference but so do size and shape. I had a small ME-110 that despite having yellow patches on the nose and wings tended to disappear when viewed from side on. In another direction I had a Fokker Triplane that while always visible, under the right orientation and sky conditions, tended to visually turn into a cube moving through the sky. Sometimes you just have to acknowledge the nature of a particular plane and fly it accordingly.
Old 04-18-2024, 09:53 AM
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That Phantom is gorgeous.

My 18....


Old 04-18-2024, 11:54 AM
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Thanks! I sold the little Phantom, and got the 1/6 with twin 190’s. I have the same BVM hornet with a Swiwin 190.
Old 04-19-2024, 08:48 PM
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About 2 decades ago when Crow Aviation was still around the owner did an article for I think RCJI on almost this exact subject. He was asking the question of what color schemes were more visible. He quoted a study, that is memory serves me, was done by the RAF and I believe they said black was the most visible, and they eye picks planes with a big contrast in colors easier than those who's colors are closer together in tint. To prove the point he painted one of their big sport jets all black with white invasion stripes on the wings. That was one of the most visible airplanes I've ever seen. That was before LED light packages. If you're worried about seeing this plane add a set of really bright LEDs from one of the reputable vendors.
Old 04-20-2024, 01:17 AM
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Yes, there was a study by the RAF on colours for training aircraft following silver with yellow stripes, dayglo paint or plastic, then “raspberry ripple” (grey. white and red.)
Black was the winner and is now used. Shortly after the change, on a visit to 4 FTS at Valley I did a couple of trips in the Hawk and, yes, the black jets really stood out ! I was really amazed but there was the proof, the black stood out agains clear sky, cloud and the ground.



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Old 04-20-2024, 07:39 AM
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Of all my planes the black and dark blue ones are the easiest outline to see. But with any airplane you need to know what it is doing to be able to control it. Once you lose prespective the trouble starts.Also the sky you are in plays a part. When I tow gliders broken clouds in the sky is better than a solid blue sky. At release altitude it is easier to see the tow as it flies with changing clouds in the background. Dark planes with lighter colored outer wing panels start to look like the outer panels disappear. Excessive lighting will make a plane disappear especially in lower light conditions. Its a form of camouflage.
Old 04-22-2024, 05:12 AM
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RobinLeblond
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Wow, lots of super interesting information, thank all!
Old 04-22-2024, 10:13 AM
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wojtek
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Honestly, from all of my experience, once you are far away enough to where you care about visibility on the jet, you are pretty much flying just an outline or a dark spot anyway… closer up, a more colorful and vibrant scheme will give you better visibility, but at moderate distance are beyond. It really doesn’t matter.

for what it’s worth, light grays, and gray/blue camo blend in and will sometimes make the plane almost all but completely disappeared against the sky/clouds …
Old 04-22-2024, 10:32 AM
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Hey Robin, I don't know how far along you are on the project but there are epoxied that hold up well under black finishes. I used West Systems but it was over a structure. Lance Campbell Built a beautiful SR 71 and he was telling me about a more heat resistant epoxy he used to lay up the fuse. It was a long time ago and I didn't remember the name but it may be in the blog where he cronicled the build.
Old 04-22-2024, 10:51 AM
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RobinLeblond
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Hi Jo, I'm at the stage of finalizing my plug, so yes, I'm quite ahead, but I'm also taking the opportunity to do paint tests.
For the moment I use an industrial epoxy specialized for boats (and therefore resistant to chemicals and gasoline) from a local company (here in Quebec).
The skeleton was completely designed, built, and tested from a load resistance point of view (weight vs G), a smaller model was made and tested with an EDF.
It is a relatively small model (48 inches of wingspan) to fly with a Jet Central Rabbit (first generation).
More details to come eventually, I estimate that I still have a year of work to do... ....scratch building is not simple, at least it isn't when having a full-time job…
I will eventually post some pictures of the project here.
Again, thanks to all, I'm planning to go with a scale paint, all black, but maybe in glass finish (instead of mate) for easier and better long-term cleanup. I'm not sure yet, I will do some tests...
Old 04-22-2024, 10:57 AM
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Also, I will avoid letting it stand under the sun, not only because of the epoxy but for every other reason (electronics, fuel, some plastic parts in the fuselage, etc...). I think that while flying it, airflow will be good enough to cool it down...

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