Monday, January 10, 2022

Where's my Nutmeg Spice?


In the run-up to Christmas, I ordered some picture fromes from Wilko online. The local branch seems to mostly stock empty shelves and I need three identical ones. When filling in the order, I stuck a couple of emulsion match pots in the virtual basket since I wanted to add to my stocks. 

To my surprise, my favourite shade "Nutmeg Spice" wasn't in the list. I use this "dog poo brown" as the basis for all my scenery as it's a nice mud colour. I'd hoped to bag a couple more pots as I was down to my last 3/4.

Not to worry, obviously an online thing - but dropping in to the physical shop last week, they not only didn't have any, but there's no longer a space on the rack for it. 

Nutmeg spice has been discontinued!

My search for a replacement saw a quick trip to Homebase. There I could have endless shades of beige, but brown? Farrow and Ball do a nice "London Clay", but it's a fiver a pot. Four quid gets you "Cecily" from Craig and Rose. That's still over twice the price of the proper matchpots. 

On Saturday, my parents were heading to Stratford, a town much better supplied with shops than Leamington, with a dried up pot of the "spice" and instructions to look for colours like mud, or dog poo. 

They returned with Johnstone's paint "Mocha" which looks like an even better earth colour than "Nutmeg Spice". And B&M stock it for £1.49 a pot. Result!

You might wonder why this matters - well, when I produce a project for a magazine, the whole point is the readers can replicate my work. That means easily available products, not poncy paint. It's why I stick to Humbrol as much as possible, and why I wasn't interested in mixing colours for this job. Keep it simple, and the projects are accesible - which is the point of what I do.


Simon Hargraves said...

Cheers for that Phil, I'll have to pop in B&M next time I'm in Ashford as I haven't got any suitable earth/dog poo coloured paint!

Huw Griffiths said...

Of course, people learning about this "scenery" malarkey could always try an alternative, low cost, approach.

Instead of going for specific colours, there's nothing wrong with keeping an eye open for matchpots in "there or thereabouts" colours that are being sold off in places like Wilko, B&M or even B&Q.

It might also be possible to save a lot of money by doing this - money that can then be used for something else.

The world outside is rarely "accurately matched colours" - soil colours vary a lot - so do road surfaces - and a standardized concrete colour is yet to be invented.

Even colours / shades of trains and road vehicles vary - between vehicles and over time.

Whilst I think of it, how accurate is many people's perception of colour (especially from memory)?

How about one classic example of this - pointed out in a 1980s photography magazine - what colour is a lion? Forget about the children's colouring book idea of bright orange. If they were that colour in the wild, they'd never get to eat because any potential prey would spot them a long way off. No - they're more likely to be a dull sandy or muddy brown colour, rather like the terrain where they come from.

I'm sure people could come up with lots of other examples.

Anyway, returning to the matchpots, if you're using them to paint scenery etc., I can understand a desire to use something that's widely available. However, I don't see any problem with suggesting using something people have already got (or can get cheaply) in an approximate range or vaguely similar to what you've used. Let's face it, if someone's following a guide printed now, they might not be able to get exactly the same stuff you used in a few years' time.

Saying that, how much of a problem is this - are you really too worried about an exact colour match or just something that looks credible?

Duncan Young said...

The last sentences say it all Phil, which is why I remain loyal to your Blog- keep up the great modelling!