Monday, October 22, 2012

That Elusive Coyote

A while back I put up a tutorial on how to paint the USMC Woodland MARPAT camouflage.  Here is the image of a swatch I made--my attempt at matching the colors using mostly GW paints:

The colors are Chaos Black, Khemri Brown, Snakebite Leather, and the green is an odd blend of Vallejo's Gunship Green mixed with a few GW colors.  It was an imperfect solution at best.  Clearly the weakest match in the mix is the Snakebite Leather masquerading as Coyote 476 (FS20150), which in a way has become the USMC's signature color.  In addition to the color being prominent in the MARPAT pattern itself, it also is the color of their boots and body armor.

When it came to painting the body armor, I was even less satisfied using the Snakebite leather, so instead I used Desert Yellow, toned down with a was of Devlan Mud:
Clearly the color of the armor does not match the brown color on the uniform.  But it was the "best" I could do, so I decided to let it go...for a while.

But now that I've started getting interested in Flames of War, I have started collecting a large amount of Vallejo's Model Color line.  With a lot of colors that seemed very close to Coyote, I decided to try to match it once more to the real thing and see if I could do better.

The following three sets of two photos each show six swatches of paints with a sample of Coyote, the first set from a coat, the second from a boonie hat, and the third from a jacket.  I took each set from multiple angles since the angle of light reflection off both the fabric and the swatches had a significant effect on the appearance of the colors.

The colors of the swatches are as follows and are arrayed on the images in the following pattern:
Vallejo 879 Green BrownCitadel Desert YellowVallejo 880 Khaki Grey
Citadel Snakebite LeatherVallejo 873 US Field DrabCoyote 476

Yes, you read that right--the bottom right is a sample of a Coyote 476 spray paint I obtained.  I can't use the spray paint to paint the models, I'm including it here for comparison purposes.  (The first thing you'll note is that it's not a great match for the Coyote on the fabric samples!)

This first set of two images have the swatches with a camouflage coat.  This has gone through the wash a few times, so it is slightly faded.

The second set of two images have the swatches with a boonie hat.  The boonie hat is newer than the coat, and has not been washed, so the colors are richer.

The third set of images have the swatches had .  The jacket surface is more reflective than the other fabrics, so the lighting made a big difference here.

What did I learn from this exercise?
  1. I need to get a life.  
  2. Since the Coyote spray paint itself is significantly different from the Coyote on the uniforms, it's clear I'm obsessing too much about this.
  3. The best matches are clearly 873 US Field Drab, 879 Green Brown, or 880 Khaki Grey.  All three of them are easily "close enough".  However, I think the winner is the 873 US Field Drab, especially on the coat and boonie hat.
I still haven't found a great match for the green in the MARPAT pattern, so my search continues...

1 comment:

James said...

Outstanding! Thanks for going to all this trouble -- I was just looking for the best match for coyote brown, and I agree it is the US Field Drab.