Archive-X is a line of model paints that meticulously color matches the original paints used to paint the studio models in the original Star Wars films, to the best degree possible. Go check out their About Archive X Paint page for more details. They started a few years ago with a range of enamel paints, and more recently released a highly anticipated full line of acrylics, which is a boon to everyone building models in spaces where proper ventilation for solvent-based paints is difficult to achieve.
I knew right away I was going to want to paint up some color swatches for reference, and at first that was simply going to be some flat squares of paint. However, I thought it would be more useful to have swatches that represented more closely what each color would look like on a typical sci-fi spaceship model, with the play of light across raised plating, scribed panel lines, and greeblies.
So, I made up a set of 40mm x 40mm tiles, in sticks of 5 tiles each (because the Archive-X paints come five bottles to a box, so each box they came in matches a stick of five swatches). Each tile has some raised paneling, panel lines, a greeblie or two, and some other random surface detailing, all approximating the Star Wars aesthetic.
As per usual, I modeled these in SketchUp and exported the faces as an SVG file to be cut out of styrene on my Cricut Maker machine.
To assemble them, scribe a 40x40 mm grid on a sheet of styrene (I used .040" for the base, and .020" for the plating) and have fun detailing! And then masking....so. much. masking. to paint 41 different colors. Totally worth it though.
I also made up a set of labels matching the Archive-X typography to label the back side of each swatch. I printed them on simple sticker paper, but they'd be nicer on opaque white waterslide decals.
Once they're complete, it's advisable to clear coat them with a durable lacquer, like Krylon's flat Crystal Clear spray, to help protect them from wear.
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