Notice how close each one is to the official Federal Standard. They do vary some, but all are recognizable as the stated color. What comes out of the bottle is indeed not "perfectly uniform" from brand to brand. But, the differences between them are slight. I would expect an identical comparison of this sort with any other color to produce similar results. And indeed, online forums are full of folks who feel "Brand X" is the best match for any given color. Well and good. As it should be.
But, Light Gull Gray is one color. Late 1941 5-H is entirely another. Even the OP can see this. If he likes the one more, he should use it. But, it will probably be quite removed from "historically accurate" because he has chosen a color that is nowhere near the official standard, whatever brand he has selected. It is his model, and he should have fun (make himself happy) painting it. But, he has also expressed confusion, and asked which is correct. True North's color is either correct, or more within the ballpark, at least. Models he saw which were painted by others in Light Gull Gray (they pleased themselves) are not correct. But, the best advice in the end is exactly what you gave him..."Paint it what you feel comfortable with."
Quote: "At some point you have to trust some researched references if you at least at heart wish to paint and build with historical accuracy."
What I know, and trust, are the standards the colors are based upon. I know Federal Standard, understand the basics of CIELAB, and have a rough grasp of the Munsell system. Depending on the brand and era intended, hobby paint makers of specific US military colors are generally working with these. How successfully they adhere to them, and how rigid their quality control is, results in all the discrepancies encountered. There are standards. Following them is another matter.
Then--after whatever effort any company goes through to produce colors to the standards--the average modeler uses their eyesight in the end, and all the standards go out the window. Human eyesight is variable by individual, and the light conditions they use vary widely. Chip sets help, but individuals don't all see those colors uniformly. What you think is a match to your chip set, I might not.
So, we're back to the standards. And I know them (at least for the subjects I model) and trust them. And I am then a bit more inclined to trust the manufacturer's claim that their paint matches the standard than any individual's claim that it does or does not. People see whatever they want. The standards are fixed.
So, when a person asks a paint question here, I can/will tell them the standard. After that, it's a free-for-all, and people are perfectly free to paint their models in anything that suits them. The standard in this case is 5-H Haze Gray, and that is based on Munsell system values. True North looks to have gotten pretty close from examples I see online. But, the gentleman still does not feel that is right, and wants to go with a color based on the Federal Standard system. Entirely his call!
The pursuit of historically accurate hobby colors will--by its very nature--always be elusive, because it is tied to a given individual's quest, and every individual is different. Some will find it fun. Vive les différences!
Those two PS pigments could not be more different. Polly Scale Light Gull Gray can not be used as Light Gull Gray. Way too dark. This supports your point about what paint is labeled and what comes out the bottle, I recently purchased Polly Scale 5N. What came out of the bottles was Testors Marine Color 5N. Again two different pigments.
At some point you have to trust some researched references if you at least at heart wish to paint and build with historical accuracy. I trust Alan Raven and S&S who devoted their own time and unselfishly shared their research .
Much of what you said is so true but the fun is really the perceived hunt for the historical accuracy.
5-H (not S-H) Haze Gray is the official WWII US Navy paint color, used in all its painting manuals, instructions, etc. of the time. It had a specific color, composition, and so forth, as would be expected.
Various brands of hobby paint makers all make different paint lines. Many are not aimed at model ships, specifically. They may be geared towards railroads, cars, armor, or aircraft, or might just put out a general range of colors that they feel will cover a wide range of topics.
They then also do not use consistent names for their colors. Things like "rust red," or "eggshell blue" are fanciful descriptive terms, but do not match anything official. The same generic color in one paint brand might be called something else by another brand. Sky blue, eggshell blue, light blue... Adding to this chaos is the fact that different brands often have different standards, such that--even when two brands are trying to produce the same official color--they might both end up slightly different from each other.
So... In this specific case, "light gull gray" is a common aircraft range paint color, and even then, it could be slightly different looking depending on if it was made by Vallejo, Polly Scale, or whomever.
Whoever told you to use it probably also gave you a specific brand, like..."I like Polly Scale light gull gray. I think it's a good match for 5-H."
There are a handful of paint brands that do produce specific paint lines for model ships, and in those lines, they will use the actual name of the color that the Navy used for it. For example, White Ensign Models Colourcoats paint line (one of the earliest/first brands to make lines specifically for ship modelers) will sell you a paint actually labeled 5-H Haze Gray, and it will have been matched by them to the official Navy color.
Otherwise, if you are buying your paints from a store shelf, and using one of the major brand lines, you probably will not find a paint in their range labeled specifically 5-H. They may well have the color you want, but it will be called something else (like, "light gull gray.")
This is what makes the subject of painting model ships very complicated. It is not straightforward. You will find as you get more into this hobby that there are websites with charts that will give an official color (like 5-H) then list all the possible matches for it in various different popular paint lines from different brands.
So... Your cammo book is accurate. The official US Navy color to use is 5-H Haze Gray with MS-22. However, finding a bottle of that color, labeled that way, will be challenging. If you prefer a certain brand, you were probably told that what the best match for the official color in that brand is their paint labeled "light gull gray." (And other brands might either call it something else, or possibly not even offer the right color at all.)
Hope this has helped.
I am currently trying to paint the MS-22 camo scheme on my South Dakota class Battleship model but am confused. according to my camo book it says to use S-H haze grey on the superstructure and gun mounts. yet I was told that is not accurate to use light gull grey instead. Can anyone please tell me which is the right color?
I would appreciate any advise on this, and I thank you for your time.