Creating and Communicating Color

The manufacturing process requires that we communicate color to our manufacturing partner in a way that is both precise and unambiguous.

Color goes beyond just body color. In some cases, our models have over 15 different colors per car, and you may be surprised to know that the car with the most colors is the Trinity 64’ TRINCool Reefer. This model has 16 unique, painted colors!  Although I haven’t done an actual survey, I would be very surprised if any model train manufacturer has given more attention to matching the number of subtle variations of color on a freight car as we have to the Trinity Reefer.  (And you thought the Trinity reefer was just a big white car!)  

 

There are different methods for how ExactRail creates and communicates color. However, my preferred method is to create actual paint swatches. In 8 out of 10 cases, I custom mix paint samples in-house to get precise matches. This process looks exactly as you would expect: me, standing in a paint room with an airbrush in hand, mixing and spraying paint until the match is exactly as we want. It is a time consuming process.

 

Given that we create a lot of actual paint samples in our product development process, I want to give a complimentary shout to a company that I believe makes a great product. I use a lot of Tru-Color paint when mixing color for our swatches. It is not the only paint I use, but it is definitely one of my favorite paints to spray. Tru-Color was formed in 2008 when the principles of Tru-Color acquired and reformulated the Accupaint line of paints. Tru-Color is contributing to a segment of our industry that doesn't see a lot of new innovation, and I think that this deserves praise.  If you are not familiar with Tru-Color, I would encourage you check it out.  Tru-Color can be found at trucolorpaint.com.

Happy railroading!

Blaine Hadfield


12 Responses

Scott P
Scott P

August 30, 2016

To Tom B – it is unfortunate that you have had a bad experience with Tru Color, lighting conditions in your layout room greatly affect color appearance (although darker is always easier to lighten than the inverse). Make sure your bottle is tightly sealed, it is my understanding that Tru Color can be refreshed with a little Acetone. Scott

Tom B
Tom B

August 29, 2016

Blaine, I don’t understand why people like this stuff. Yes, they have a bunch of colors available. But the colors that I would use are not accurate, take Great Northern Big Sky Blue for example, it’s way too pale Great Northern Empire Builder Green is almost black. It is difficult to apply and most importantly it disappears in the bottle just sitting on the shelf.

Mark Brunton
Mark Brunton

August 28, 2016

I really like this paint…..and don’t miss the discontinued products from others, as long as I can find colors I can use in this product. I airbrushed (6) SP&S N scale diesel units a few years ago, using Tru-Color (TCP-48 & TCP-47) SP&S colors yellow & green. Fantastic lay down and subtle gloss straight out of bottle. Flash and dry times are fast, and Microscale decals hugged the finish very well with no haze. I clear top coated only for sealing of decals and elimination of their edges. I used a double action Badger & 10# CO2 bottle for power (bad) but now bottle is nitrogen filled. Any decent brush in good shape works. “This ain’t no acrylic”….so provide for even better ventilation during use. I’ve bought fresh paint in Tacoma and am planning to use the SP&S yellow for some NP diesels soon. It should look great, especially after weathering.

Paul Berkebile
Paul Berkebile

August 28, 2016

Accupaint was my favorite paint for my model railroading, so I was ecstatic to see Tru Color come along!

Jeffrey Mills
Jeffrey Mills

August 28, 2016

I like the Tru Color Paint, I use it to paint G&W colors on my Ohio Central engines, and use the Micro-Trains decal sets.
I like to “what if” paint and decal undecorated cars for the OC, I have also takes a decorated car and painted over the road marks and added OHRS marks. Having car without railroad marks would make my work a lot easier.

Mark Vinski
Mark Vinski

August 28, 2016

It would be nice if the paint match and/or mixing formula for your cars were published or included with the cars.

Jim Schwinkendorf
Jim Schwinkendorf

August 28, 2016

I also Like Tru Color Paint. It covers well and goes on easily with an airbrush. It has become my replacement for Floquil. I highly recommend that you try it. Great selection of colors…..

Paul Federiconi
Paul Federiconi

August 28, 2016

Love Tru-Color paint also. Most variety of colors and very accurate colors too.

Richard Coleman,Jr
Richard Coleman,Jr

August 28, 2016

Talking about color it would be great to see the ari, utlx and trinty 16000 to 30000 gallon tank car offered. I see black,white,blue,green and gray ones come thru town. Also cars with red, black,gray and even green bands are seen.

Chris Roehl
Chris Roehl

August 28, 2016

Please consider including on the website the formula using Tru-Color paints for those colors used on ExactRail cars.

Rick Simpson
Rick Simpson

August 28, 2016

I’ve been using Accu-paint products for years – and when Tru-color acquired the Accu-paint line( George Bishop gave me the name of the firm who formulates these colors, I was very glad.
Great working ability, easy clean up, low odor and very rapid drying time all make Tru-color my only choice. Colors I use a lot of and the thinner I buy direct from the source that produces it in 1 gal or 5 gal cans. It’s expensive but easier in the long run.

Thomas Austin
Thomas Austin

August 28, 2016

Love Tru Color Paint…would love to see a paint match for the Quad hoppers and your MP freight car red…as it would look very nice with my expanding undecorated custom painted hoppers!

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