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 Stain Color Samples (400k picture)
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Section Hand

Posted - 08/01/2004 :  01:28:17 AM  Show Profile  Reply with Quote
Figured I would share these "Color Chips" with everybody, as they might be helpful .... plus I've added some notes about the different stains too.

I like to make one of these "Color-Chips" for each stain that I use, as it helps me visualize which stain I want to use while building a structure.



1) All stains were completely mixed.
2) Brush well cleaned after each sample was made.
3) Each sample was brushed across wood 3 times.
4) After brushing, was wiped with clean cotton towel.

Top Row
Roundbell WS-1 Driftwood
Roundbell WS-2 Natural Pine
Roundbell WS-3 Oak
Roundbell WS-4 Maple
Roundbell WS-5 Cherry
Roundbell WS-6 Walnut
Roundbell WS-7 Mahogany
Roundbell WS-8 Teak
Roundbell WS-9 Rosewood
Roundbell WS-14 Hickory

Bottom Row
MixWax Water-Based: White Oak
MixWax Water-Based: Colonial Pine
MixWax Water-Based: Vermont Maple
MixWax Water-Based: Rosewood
Floquil Flo-Stain: Cherry
Floquil Flo-Stain: Mahogany
Floquil Flo-Stain: Rosewood
Builders-In-Scale: Silver Wood
Age-It (MicroMark): Brown
Age-It (MicroMark): Rail Tie Brown
Age-It (MicroMark): Gray

NOTE: The top row of color-chips initally appear to be faded. To verify, I held up the actual color-chips to my computer monitor, and in reality the colors shown above ARE ACCURATE. I believe they appear faded because I used a lighter-weight masking tape when creating the top-row name tags.

NOTE: The dark streak across the bottom of the "bottom row" is alcohol/ink mix (A/I). I brushed it on, so I could see how the colors would look with a A/I mix ontop.


Type: I think it's oil-based. I called Roundbell, they said to only use Mineral Spirits as a thinner.

Finish: Slight shinny finish and slight oil reside left on wood after stain has dried. I didn't experience any problems with wood-siding wrapage.

Coverage: Driftwood, Oak, Maple, Mahogany, Rosewood and Hickory had a nice amount of pigment, and covered wood very well. All other colors (Nat Pine, Cherry, Walnut, Teak) had very little pigment and coverage was very weak/light. NOTE: I think my bottle of Walnut is defective, I made sure it was completely mixed, but still the color is very weak, almost like a natural pine.

Notes: I really like the Driftwood, Oak, Maple, Mahogany, Rosewood and Hickory. Each had a nice unique color and was easy to use. I didn't like the other colors (Nat Pine, Cherry, Walnut and Teak) because they were very weak and thinned down to much.


Type: Water Based.

Finish: Nice flat finish and no residue after stain has dried. Because of the water base, they probably aren't good for staining wood siding. But they worked and looked beautifully with stipe-wood.

Coverage: Excellent, stain covered the wood very evenly.

Notes: I only tried 4 colors (Home Depot has about 12 colors total). They looked GREAT! Note that these are the WATER BASED MinWax's, and do not contain any sealer. They're super easy to use also, and clean-up with water.

Floquil Flo-Stains

Type: Solvent Based.

Notes: I love these, enought said. Just wish they still were available!

Builders-In-Scale "Silver Wood"

Type: Alcohol and Dyes (Ortho-Dichiorobenzene).

Finish: Nice flat finish and no residue after stain has dried. I didn't experience any problems with it warping siding.

Coverage: Excellent, stain covered the wood very evenly.

Notes: I love this stuff too. Looks incredible when used on stripe-wood, gives it multiple shades of silver and browns.


Type: Not sure (possible Dye and Solvent).

Finish: Very slight shinny finish (more then Flo-Stain, less then Roundbell). No reside left on wood after drying.

Coverage: Excellent, stain covered the wood very evenly.

Notes: I use the "Brown" color a lot, and its a nice warm coloration. I don't use the "Gray" (it should be renamed "Black"), because it is very similar to a Alcohol/Ink mix (which is cheaper, and easier to fine-tune the color). The "Rail Tie Brown" has a strong green tint to it, which is probably very useful for staining Ties, but I don't like the color for use with buildings.

MinWax Oil Based Stains (Not Shown)

I read about Dave Revelia's models, and he said he used this stuff (or was it the water based?). I'm totally baffled, as I didn't have a good experience with the MinWax Oil based stains (the sealer and oily finish caused me major anguish). Maybe it's because Dave was using stripe-wood, and I was using wood siding? Or maybe because ....... He's a master, and I still have a huge amount still to learn. I'm guessing its the latter.

Edited by - LLayton on 08/01/2004 01:54:48 AM

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Premium Member

Posted - 08/01/2004 :  08:14:15 AM  Show Profile  Reply with Quote
Hi Larry
Very interesting and informative demonstation you have done.

I remember a discussion at the fsm Yahoo Group when they first were introduced that the Roundbell stains had very little pigment when compared to Flo-Stain.
I think if I remember correctly when a bottles of driftwood were compared the Roundbell pigments just barely covered to bottom of the bottle whereas the Flo-stain had a lot more pigment in it.

I like the BIS silver wood stain and plan on getting some.

I have also used a mix of India Ink and Ammonia.
This was recommended by Terry H. and if you buy the Lemon scented Ammonia and use the mixture outside the smell is not bad.
This gives more of a silver gray than the A&I mix which I also use frequently.
I have not used the MinWax water based stains but the results look promising.
Thanks for the very informative demonstration.

John Bagley
Modeling the Alaska Railroad in HO in Wildwood Georgia.

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Premium Member

Posted - 08/01/2004 :  08:19:08 AM  Show Profile  Reply with Quote
Thanks for the post. I think that you just saved all of us a lot of experimenting. Did any of these cause more warping than others?


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Posted - 08/01/2004 :  10:13:45 AM  Show Profile  Reply with Quote
Larry this is some excellent work on your part and I really appreciate it. Are you planning on doing any sample boards for the various paints as well? I for one would love to see a list of the various cheapo acrylic paints and how they stack up against polly or floquil.Thanks Pat

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Posted - 08/01/2004 :  5:00:14 PM  Show Profile  Reply with Quote

Thanks for all the work & for posting the results. It will be a helpful reference tool.


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terry hansley
Crew Chief

Posted - 08/01/2004 :  10:53:32 PM  Show Profile  Reply with Quote

Thanks, It`s guys like you that keep this forum so darn interesting.

Based on your experiments I think I will try some of the BIS silver. I`ve been using the Sherwin Williams formula for driftwood that has been around on the Internet for a while, and I`ve been very pleased with it as a base color.

Terry H

Edited by - terry hansley on 08/01/2004 10:55:30 PM

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Will Robinson
Section Hand

Posted - 08/03/2004 :  11:06:24 AM  Show Profile  Reply with Quote
Thanks Larry,

As others have noted, this is a great reference tool. I like the look of the Minwax WhiteOak with A&I and will try it on a roof top shed.
thanks for posting

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Premium Member

Posted - 08/03/2004 :  11:47:44 AM  Show Profile  Reply with Quote
Larry, this is an outstanding idea! You've gone to a lot of work and saved some of us a lot of work at the same time. I'm going to post a copy of this in the Forum Archives as a reference.

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Posted - 08/03/2004 :  12:18:27 PM  Show Profile  Reply with Quote
A great effort on your part , Larry ....can't thank you enough .
One quick reference to this thread is all we need .Lots of information here, probably more than I'll ever use.

Thanks again,

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Section Hand

Posted - 08/05/2004 :  02:52:26 AM  Show Profile  Reply with Quote
Thanks for the tip about India Ink and Ammonia. It does sound interesting .... does Ammonia have better properties than Alcohol, like better penetration of the wood, less wood warppage, etc? Anyways, it sounds interesting, I'm going to give it a try this weekend! Thank you.

Yes some of the products caused more warping than others (on wood siding). Please note that I didn't have any noticable warpage problems when using strip-wood. After trying the products on wood siding, here's my opinions:

No warpage: Roundbell, Flo-Stains, MinWax OIL based.

Very minimal warpage: BIS Silver-Wood, Age-It

Definitely will cause warpage: WinWax WATER based.

I've already created another group of 10 color chips (see my next message), but I don't have access to the digital camera for about 1 week.

Interesting idea .... I'm thinking it might be neat to do acrylic color-chips using plastic (instead of wood siding), and use it for comparing colors that resemble wood (new wood, aged wood, driftwood wood, etc). Hmmm .... I like it, thanks for the idea!

Your all more than welcome. To be honest, I created the color-chips for my own self-serving purposes (ie: my search for a Flo-Stain replacement) and didn't plan to share them.

But night after night, I kept learning so much reading these message boards (about acrylic paints, mounting castings for painting, photograph/camera tips, building dioramas, all the wonderful model pictures, etc) ... I really felt I wanted to try contributing something too, even though I'm not as experienced or skilled modeler as most of you. So I'm really very happy to know that you found it interesting and helpful also.


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Section Hand

Posted - 08/05/2004 :  03:04:17 AM  Show Profile  Reply with Quote
Problem: Many of the older kits I have (FSM, SSI, Master Creations, Sierra West) contain construction manuals that specifically state to use Floquil stain (or Flo-Stain) colors. I used these stains years ago, and found them to be excellent. Since these stains are no longer available .....

Goal: To find stains that are similar in color and properties to the old Flo-Stains: Good even coverage on wood, nice flat finish, and doesn't cause wooden siding to warp (most of these older kits contain wooden siding).

Attempts: I've tried a few products so far, some were very close to filling my needs, but usually fell short in 1 or 2 areas (see my old message above).

Additional Product Test Report

Tandy & Fiebing Leather Dyes - I purchased 4 Tandy colors and 4 Fiebling colors from www.TandyLeather.com (nice reliable source). After trying out these products, I really felt they could have been GREAT, but I was really turned off by the colors. Many of the colors (tan, light brown, med brown) had a strong bright-orange/bright-rust shade to them, and the Buckskin & Beige colors were almost yellow. The product gave extremely great coverage on wood, but did leave a slight shinny finish. I'm pretty sure that somebody with more experience in color mixing, could come up with some nice colors (maybe by mixing in various colors of inks?). NOTE: I also tried the "Gray" color (with hopes of making a "Driftwood"), but the gray pigment would almost instantly settle to the bottom of the bottle (into a big unusable glob) everytime I tried to thin down the color. I tried using the Tandy Thinner, the Fiebing Thinner, DioSol, Alcohol and even water ... none worked, and instantly ruined the product.

The reason I'm posting again ...........

1) I was lucky to find some bottles of old Flo-Stain from Link & Pin Hobbies (www.linkandpinhobbies.com) awhile back. These bottles were very old, and the color pigment has totally settled. I also have some old bottles of regular Floquil paints (from early 80's), and their pigment had totally settled also. The little gears started rolling in my head!

2) I measured the bottles of old paints and stains, and noted the following:

Old Flo-Stains
DioSol at top of bottle = 12/8" high.
Settled pigment at bottom of bottle = 3/8" high.
Ratio = 4 dioSol : 1 pigment

Old Floquil Paints
DioSol at top of bottle = 7/8" high.
Settled pigment at bottom of bottle = 7/8" high.
Ratio = 1 dioSol : 1 pigment

3) I decided to try using Floquil paints, thinned down with DioSol, to create my own Flo-Stains. Using the above ratio information, I figured: 1 part Floquil Paint (1:1 ratio) + 3 parts of DioSol = 4:1 ratio of old Flo-Stains.

4) I used some small glass eye-droppers from MicroMark, and was happy to see that (40) eye-dropper "loads" filled-up a 1oz Floquil bottle almost perfectly.

RESULTS: Can I get an AMEN please

The results were exactly what I've been searching for. I wanted to share my above findings with everybody because I'm feeling so happy right now. I plan to upload a picture of the "color-chips" in about 1 week (I had to take the digital camera back to work). In the meantime, here's the colors I've mixed-up so far:

Floquil Rust (1 part) + DioSol (3 parts) = Looks like cedar to me, I'm thinking it would be nice for buildings found around a sawmill.

Floquil Oxide Red (1 part) + DioSol (3 parts) = Looks like FloStain "Mahogany".

Floquil SO Freight Car Brown (1 part) + DioSol (3 parts) = Looks like FloStain "Cherry".

Floquil Earth (1 part) + DioSol (3 parts) = Looks like thinned down Floquil Earth, maybe "Natural Pine".

Floquil Rail Brown (1 part) + DioSol (3 parts) = Nice brown with hint of green, looks like Hickory to me.

Floquil Roof Brown (1 part) + Floquil Rust (1 part) + DioSol (6 parts) = Looks like FloStain "Rosewood".

Floquil Roof Brown (1 part) + DioSol (3 parts) = Nice general brown color.

I also made 6 variations of Floquil CN Gray (with same 1:3 ratio), some with a dash of "Grime" or "Weathered Black", which created a nice range of "Driftwood" variations.

PICTURE of COLOR-CHIPS should be ready in about 1 week, sorry for the delay (they needed the camera back at the office).


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Premium Member

Posted - 08/05/2004 :  03:08:18 AM  Show Profile  Reply with Quote
Super work - sorry to be so late in the acknowledgement but I have been busy wrecking the BWWW tank.


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Section Hand

Posted - 08/05/2004 :  03:27:35 AM  Show Profile  Reply with Quote
I just checked Link & Pin's website (wanted to see if they still have some Flo-Stains). I have no business interest in this hobby shop, so I feel (well, I hope) its okay to post this message.

They're having a 40% off sell starting August 10th.

L&P has been around for many years, I think I purchased one of my 1st kits from them back in 1975. Just my opinion, they're a really wonderful hobbyshop, focusing on the needs of craftsman type hobbist, and even releasing special custom versions of kits sometimes.

www.jaystrains.com is another great source that I've purchased from, for many many years too. Just FYI ... in case anybody is looking for "hard to get" items, Jay probably has it!

P.S. MikeC ... I'm not sure what's the policy of posting about hobby stores (I have no business interest in either shops). Please DELETE this if it's against the forum policy.


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