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Vehicle Spray Painting - Part 1. Introduction

The original colour scheme of the Landy was tiger-striped green and black, and my intention was to find a different colour with which to paint it. I'd tried some bronze green (the colour of my previous Series 3) but it didn't quite look right. So another paint colour was needed.

A while ago I happened to go into a branch of a leading retailer whose name I will not mention here; suffice it to say it begins with an "H". (For those of you not resident in the UK, it is a major chain which retails car parts, car enhancements and bicycles.)

I noticed they sold small kits of "touch-up" paint, and after some careful comparisons I purchased one of these. The colour was "Rover Nightfire Red" and the kit consisted of a dark red base coat, a metallic dark red top coat, and a clear varnish. Using the toothpick-sized paintbrushes supplied with the kit, I painted a small square on the rear tub of the Landy, and decided that it was quite a nice colour; but it would be nice to paint a larger section to get a better idea of the appearance of the end result.

Well, back at the shop that Saturday, I noticed a sign "Paint mixed while you wait - any colour matched".

"OK," I thought, "I'll give it a try." Clutching my sample touch-up kit, I approached the youth behind the paint counter with my request for half a litre of each colour. After peering myopically at the kit, he dived off to type things into his computer. He came back with a worried expression on his face.

"What car is it for?"

{Sinking feeling starts here}
"Oh dear," thinks I. "Here we go..."
(Aloud) "It doesn't matter, I just want half a litre of each of those colours".

"Yes, but what car is it for?" he asked hopefully.
"OK," I thought, mentally preparing myself. "A Land Rover."

"Ah!" (beaming). "Discovery?"
"No, One Ten".

"Er," (puzzled now), "Defender?"
"No, ONE TEN. Nineteen Eighty Three model. Defenders came into being in 1990. Never mind the model. My Land Rover is currently a green colour, and I want to repaint it in dark metallic red. This is more or less the colour I want" (holding up touchup paint kit).

"Oh." (Goes back to the computer, more frantic typing).
"Sorry, but we can't make up a colour unless we know what the car and model are."

"Look, I just want some paint. Paint, ok? Here's the sample. Match that."

"Oh, I see." (Scratches head, goes off to consult a colleague, comes back):
"I'm sorry, but we don't have any paint in stock. Can you come back on Monday?"

Me: (pointing to sign) "Your sign says that paint is mixed while you wait, to match any colour!"

"Ah, yes, but, er, we haven't actually got any paint in stock. We need to check whether our supplier has any, and they are not open on weekends. Can you come back on Monday mate?"

"Certainly," I replied, thinking "this is definitely the LAST time I EVER visit ANY branch of this shop again."
(Gathers sample and remains of pride, and heads for the door)

I seriously started considering where I could get some cochineal beetles.....

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