Space News
space history and artifacts articles

space history discussion forums

worldwide astronaut appearances

selected space history documents

related space history websites

  collectSPACE: Messages
  Models & Toys
  Painting shuttle external tank models

Post New Topic  Post A Reply
profile | register | preferences | faq | search

next newest topic | next oldest topic
Author Topic:   Painting shuttle external tank models

Posts: 93
From: tucson az usa
Registered: Jun 2002

posted 09-25-2005 05:56 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for mslekar   Click Here to Email mslekar     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
What's the best color or paint to use on the shuttle external tank? Also, it appears the corrugated section in the middle of the tank is also a yellowish orange while the main body of the tank is that orange and or rust appearance but definitely a darker shade.


Posts: 1705
From: Newnan GA (USA)
Registered: Aug 2005

posted 09-25-2005 07:34 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for capoetc   Click Here to Email capoetc     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
I built a shuttle model a few years back, and I just kept mixing paint until I was able to match the photographs I used (I couldn't find a color that would work pre-mixed).

It took some trial and error, but it came out really well.


Posts: 605
From: Longview, Texas, USA
Registered: Apr 2000

posted 09-25-2005 08:07 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for dtemple   Click Here to Email dtemple     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
One other option is to consider painting the external tank white. Remember it was white for the first couple of shuttle flights. Of course for the white to be accurate you would need to build the orbiter as "Columbia" or you could build it as the "Enterprise" which did sit at Pad 39A during tests in 1978 or 1979.

joe bruce

Posts: 99
From: Spokane, WA U.S.A.
Registered: Nov 2004

posted 10-05-2005 12:58 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for joe bruce   Click Here to Email joe bruce     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Find a photo of the ET and get close to the color you see. The tanks acutally go through a color change as the foam is exposed to UV. They start out their life as a ocher (light yellow) and then tan to the darker color we see in the photos. How deep the tan depends on the exposure to UV. Areas at the interface of the LH2 and LOX tanks with the intertank region often appear lighter.

I have a cube of ET foam that I acquired from Michoud. That is what I was told by the manufacturer and with time I actually saw it happen to my sample piece. My piece is about 10 years old and is a reddish brown.

John K. Rochester

Posts: 1273
From: Rochester, NY, USA
Registered: Mar 2002

posted 01-09-2008 01:48 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for John K. Rochester   Click Here to Email John K. Rochester     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
I'm always on the lookout for colors to use on my models, and I found a terrific paint for the External Tank: Rust-Oleum Painters Touch Satin, color Cinnamon. It's the best match I've found to date!

Jay Chladek

Posts: 2211
From: Bellevue, NE, USA
Registered: Aug 2007

posted 01-13-2008 08:57 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for Jay Chladek   Click Here to Email Jay Chladek     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
On the last tank I did, I tried to avoid custom mixes as much as possible since I was working on such a large model (1/72 scale). Thankfully I found much of what I needed in the Floquil Railroad colors line at my local hobby shop. They have many premixed shades of browns, oranges and yellows which are perfect for use on an External tank with only a little alteration as needed.

So for the main tank coloring, I used SP Daylight Orange mixed with a touch of boxcar brown. The intertank region was done up with UP Orange and the yellow areas on the tank were done with UP Armor Yellow.

All times are CT (US)

next newest topic | next oldest topic

Administrative Options: Close Topic | Archive/Move | Delete Topic
Post New Topic  Post A Reply
Hop to:

Contact Us | The Source for Space History & Artifacts

Copyright 1999-2012 All rights reserved.

Ultimate Bulletin Board 5.47a