One of the greatest things about SWSM kits are the detailed resin castings of wooden objects. These wooden objects are to start off with a "wood-like" base coat of paint using something like PollyS Earth or Floquil Earth. This goes back lots of years and is filled with tradition from the old craftsman kits. I have had kits that were 40 years old and they said use Floquil Earth to colour wooden objects.
Well the times have changed and modern paints have improved by leaps and bounds. The current best practice is to use rattle can spray paint to put on the base/primer coat for castings. The pigments and spray nozzles are so good that they are beginning to displace the airbrush. I see that people are replacing PollyS and Floquil Earth with a Krylon camouflage paint for wooden objects. The most often recommended "Camo" paint to replace Earth paint is Camo Khaki. So I wanting to keep up with the times, I when out and bought a can and sprayed some resin castings. When the paint dried the base coat looked green and nothing like the old Earth colour. I double checked the can to see if I picked up the wrong can, but it was the right can.
Hmm, when I look at the photographs of castings being painted, the base colour didn't look anything like the old colour "Earth". This got me thinking. Did Krylon make a "Earth" colour and was it available in Canada. So I went to the big box stores to see if could find it on the shelves, but no one stocked it or planned to. I looked on Krylon Web site and it is NOT available in Canada. Period. What to do?
I tried to use the Khaki, but things did not look right. So during a recent trip to Cleveland, NRMA Train Show, I stopped by a Walmart and picked up a few cans of Camo Sand. When I got home I tried it and it looked much more like Earth. Yippie. But why do people say to use Khaki?
So the scientist/photographer in me said "... why don't you over analysis the question..?" I resided the temptation for a few hours and could not help myself. (I think I need help!) So here is a few bits of data and pictures to show what I meant.
So I decided to test some sample paints to compare them and to find out which ones were closest to Earth colour. In this picture you can see the 6 paints I tested. From left to right; Tamiya Wooden Deck Tan, PollyS Earth, Flquil Earth,a Custom Mix from Lowes, Camo Sand and Camo Khaki. The paints were applied to a White art board. The solvent based ones (tamiya and Floquil) had to have two coats to get uniform colours. The rest it just took one coat.
I then let the paint dry and went outside with a Macbeth colour chart and took a photograph in a clouded sky around 3:00 PM. I then imported it into Photoshop Lightroom and colour calibrated the white balance of the image to make sure the colours were true.
I then measured the average RGB and CYMK values for each colour swatch to ensure I over-analysed the paint.
Things to note here,
- White is very white proving the white balance worked
- Both Earths and Lowes are very similar
- Camo Sand CMYK is close to the Earths
- Camo Khaki CMYK is very different
So Camo Sand is a good replacement for PollyS and Floquil Earth and Camo Khaki is not. Camo Khaki is closer to the colour of wet dirt.
Before you crucify me; I'm not saying don't use Camo Khaki for a base coat for wood, just know that it will shift your colour palette and accommodate for that shift. For me, I will use Camo Sand on wooden objects until a best method comes along and I am willing to change. One thing I did notice with Camo Sand is that it does go on rather think, no matter how far away I spray from. I had to use compressed air to get the wet paint out of the fine cracks to see the fine details. Maybe more practice will help. (BTW: I like the way the Tamiya paint applies and I don't mind it being a bit thin.)