Tru-Color Frequently Asked Questions

We get a lot of questions, here’s some of our answers

With so many options and colors, you’re bound to have specific questions. Each customer has different needs so if we haven’t answered a question you have, feel free to get in touch with us.


Does Tru-Color Paint discontinue colors?

Tru-Color Paint has NEVER discontinued any color from the entire product line. A few distributors may discontinue carrying a selection of colors due to slow sales on some colors, but they are readily available from us directly ! We carry the ENTIRE Tru-Color Paint product line from all categories – Railroad, Military, Automobile, Matte (sprayable) and Flat (brushable) in 30 ml (1 oz.) and 60 ml (2 oz.) bottles.

Is Tru-Color Paint the same as Accupaint?

Tru-Color Paint is based on a similar formulation as the old Accupaint product line. It has been modified to produce a better flow through your airbrush. Most air brush ready colors dry to a high gloss or semi-gloss finish so that you may decal immediately after drying and can be easily masked for multiple color applications.

What type of paint is Tru-Color Paint?

Tru-Color Paint is an acrylic solvent based paint that is designed to be airbrushed directly from the bottle without thinning.  Tru-Color Paint can be blended to produce a variety of shades and hues for your specific product needs.  Although Tru-Color Paint contains a small percentage of acetone we DO NOT RECOMMEND that acetone be used to thin (dilute) the Tru-Color Paint.  Adding just acetone to thin Tru-Color Paint may harm the intended gloss or semi-gloss finish our paint is intended to give as it will dry too fast.  Also, too much acetone will cause the solvent system to evaporate too quickly during air brushing causing the painted surface to appear rough and/or it may blush.

How do I paint 2 or more colors on a model?

We recommend using our masking paper when 2 or more colors are to be painted on the model. Note that the model should be thoroughly cleaned before first color is applied. After each color is applied, place model under a heat lamp for 30-60 minutes to ensure complete solvent removal and to get superior adhesion of the paint onto the model for masking.

What causes a rough surface or blushing?

A rough surface or blushing after applying Tru-Color Paint series TCP-005 to TCP-350 means that the paint was drying too fast. Suggest increasing air pressure or add a few drops of TCP-015, Thinner or TCP-310 Retarder to slow the evaporation rate to a bottle.

Can Tru-Color Paint be diluted (thinned)?

Tru-Color Paint can be diluted, if needed, for ease of application. Please use TCP-015, Thinner, or TCP-310 Retarder for dilution of Tru-Color Paint as it has the blend of solvents that will not interfere with the drying time or the gloss or semi-gloss finish that Tru-Color Paint is intended to give.

What pressure do you recommend for Tru-Color Paint?

We recommend a starting pressure of 28 PSI. This will vary according to the type (make and model) of the airbrush you are using, tip size and the desired quantity of paint you wish to deliver to the model. The optimum pressure, we find, is between 28-35 PSI.

Where can I obtain Tru-Color Paint?

Many hobby shops in the U.S. and Canada currently carry some portion of the Tru-Color Paint product line. Hobby shops vary greatly with some carrying 120+ colors and some just carrying a few colors. Please contact your locate hobby shop to purchase Tru-Color Paint.  There is a listing of stores carrying Tru-Color Paint shown on this website. If your local hobby shop does not carry Tru-Color Paint, have them contact us for information, or you may purchase directly from us.

Is there a color chart available for Tru-Color Paint?

No, since printed colors do not truly represent what the finished model will look like we felt it was misleading to produce a color chart for Tru-Color Paint. Instead we offer a color chart scan on this website that is representative of the Tru-Color Paint product line.

What are the Flat, Brushable Paints?

The Flat, Brushable paint line was developed to replace the discontinued paint line that was so familiar to many hobbyists. This series (number 800-850) can be thinned with TCP-015 to a consistency that can be air brushed. More colors will be added as time permits.

What are the Matte, Sprayable Paints?

The Matte, Sprayable paints are designed to be sprayed directly from the bottle with little or no thinning. Their finish will be a matte to flat appearance. More colors will be added as time permits.

Is there any preparation to the model required?

As with any other painting project, the plastic model should be thoroughly cleaned with soap and water, rinsed and dried with a lint free towel. Try not to handle the model excessively (keep oils off model). You may apply primer, if desired. Brass models take special preparation. They must be sand blasted or treated in a similar fashion to insure that Tru-Color Paint will adhere properly; particularly important if masking of the painted model is needed for subsequent paint applications.

Do you need to apply a gloss finish to the painted surface before applying decals?

No, most Tru-Color Paint products dry glossy or to a semi-gloss state, so no further finish is needed before you apply decals. Note: In extreme high humidity areas it may be necessary to dry the model under a light bulb (not too close!) to give a high gloss finish.

What do you recommend for clean-up?

We suggest that you use acetone (nail polish remover without any scent) to clean-up your airbrush and paint cups. This dries quickly and removes all residual Tru-Color Paint cleanly.

Why so many freight car colors?

There were many variations of brown and red paint applied to freight cars. Many railroads also painted their own rolling stock which led to more colors as they used what they could purchase locally. Many colors changed over time due to weather conditions and age. Many pigments were changed due to laws affecting their use. Some manufacturers were not consistent from batch to batch, particularity in the 20-40’s era.

Is Tru-Color Paint compatible with other brands of paint? Can they be mixed?

Tru-Color Paint is NOT mixable with any other brands of paint due to the vast differences in solvents used in their manufacture. However, Tru-Color Paint can be sprayed over a model, in most cases, already painted in another brand of paint. You should evaluate this by sampling a small section prior to painting the entire model.

What product lines do you offer ?

Tru-Color Paint is now available for model railroads (over 360 colors and counting !), the model Automobile market, Military markets consisting of Naval, Aircraft and Army/Marine colors beisdes the Matte and Flat colors mentioned previously.

Do you offer military colors?

Tru-Color Paint has added a military paint line. Many colors have already been released and many more are scheduled for release in 2018 through 2019. Nearly every U.S. Naval ship color from 1938 to present day will be available for the modeler, U.S. aircraft from 1935 to modern jets as well as U.S. Army and Marine Corps colors for armored and other vehicles and uniforms will be in stock by the end of 2018. See the military section for what is current and the release date for the other colors.