Black does not actually refer to a colour, but to the property of objects to neither reflect nor transmit light, but to completely absorb it. The most common black colours are bone black, Frankfurt black, soot in its various forms (lamp black, China ink, etc.), clay slate, etc. On fabrics, however, black colours are produced with logwood (Haematoxylum campechianum) and chromate of potash or with iron salts and tannic acid. In addition, several coal tar dyes, aniline black, [blue-black] nigrosine, etc. can be used.


The black boots of these Airfix 1:76 scale Soviet soldiers look realistic because, for reasons of aerial perspective, no black was used at all. The figures were undercoated khaki drab (Vallejo Model Color 70.924 »Russian Uniform« tinted with straw), after which the boots only needed to be glazed with PRIMAcryl 13.789 »Neutral Grey«. The colour black can only be seen in the deepest shadows, to the right of the tree trunks, under the rifle, and to the right of the prone motorized riflemen.

Single Pigment Colours

A small overview of black (PBk) single pigment colours theoretically suitable for miniatures, models, and dioramas. Theoretically, because we don’t use pure black when painting figures and models. Neutral grey is the better black for facings, gaiters, boots, hair, hats, shakos, knapsacks, cartridge pouches, bandoliers, hand grenades, and for underpainting areas that are later to be painted white, bronze or gold.

  • Lamp Black (PBk 7, soot, opaque)
  • Ivory Black* (PBk 9, animal bone char, opaque)
  • Mars Black (PBk 11, opaque), Liquitex 276
  • Iron Oxide Black (PBk 11, opaque), Lukascryl 4799
  • Atrament Black (PBk 31, opaque), PRIMAcryl 13.791

Mixed Pigment Colours


* not vegetarian/vegan.

Source: Meyers Großes Konversations-Lexikon, 6. Auflage 1905–1909

Model Paints