One More Look At Basecolors

As part of my asking about new blog topics, I received a request from Jay Arr for a deeper exploration of non-black basecoats for Turboshifts. This sent me off on a couple of tangents. I will be doing a total of three blog posts with the first one being focused on non-black opaque undercoats. The other two will expand on the idea of tweaking the look of a Turboshift.

Traditionally (granted it seems a little weird to use "traditionally" for a company that is just turning six but ...) it was recommended that almost all of the paints be used over black. With the Remix, we rethought some of this advise and started to suggest something slightly different for some of the metallics. 

So I decided to use this first post to provide more detailed examples of the Turboshifts, Zenishifts, and Metallics over different colored opaque acrylics. I also wanted to provide some explanation for the thought process behind the current recommendations listed below. Note: The recommendation for a specific paint can be found on the Remix bottle.

Current Recommendations:

  1. Most Turboshift paints require a BLACK basecoat for their true shifting color to appear
  2. Mother Lode and Pearly Gate must be used over WHITE for the paint to look white
  3. Zenishifts work well with a heavy zenithal (IE Fully Black to Fully White) basecoat.
  4. Many of the Metallics need a BLACK basecoat for the most vibrant result
  5. Many other Metallics look most vivid when used over a similarly COLORED basecoat

    Examples: I choose to feature three Turboshifts (3D Glasses, Blue Raspberry, and Ice to Never), two Zenishifts (Hemogoblin and Twin Sons), and three Metallics (Curacao, Multipass, and Redrum). 

    Design: A series of 3D printed bases listed as "cracked desert" were painted using standard opaque acrylic paints sold for miniatures. Each set included one black and one white base with a grey base added for the Zenishifts. Then additional bases were painted with different shades of the primary colors for the paint tested.

    The primed bases were photographed, test paints were applied, and the final examples were photographed. The final composite photos have the opaque base on the top and the Turbo Dork painted bases underneath for each section.


    I chose the example Turboshifts based on their "color in the bottle". 3D Glasses has a red tint in the bottle, Blue Raspberry appears white, and Ice to Never looks blue like the final paint color. You will have to take my word for it that something like Grey Robber which is greyish in the bottle behaves similarly to one that is white. I picked undercoat colors for each of these Turboshifts that were close to the two shift colors then added a shade lighter and one darker for each.

    3D Glasses shines over black and looks a funky light orangey-red over white as expected for a "red in the bottle" color.  In contrast, all of the different shades of bluish-green and purplish-red blocked the shift from showing, although 3D Glasses did give the bases painted with these colors a nice glaze. 


    Blue Raspberry shifts from blue to purplish-pink over black and essentially has no color over white, as expected for a "white in the bottle" Turboshift.  Blue Raspberry behaved similarly to 3D Glasses in that it blocked the shift over the non-black colors while providing a whitish gloss. 


    Ice To Never is blue in the bottle and is representative of a "true2color" Turboshift. Its shift from greenish-blue to purple is readily observable over black but only shows a pale version of itself over white with essentially little if any purple. The latter observation is true of the other non-black colors tested.

    To be honest I was very skeptical that any of the non-black colors would bring out the shift of a Turboshift but I want to have clear examples of what happens with a non-black undercoat.

    When light shines on the tiny glass-like flakes or prisms within a Turboshift, it is refracted or reflected off of the undercoat based on its color. This interference effect is most saturated over black resulting in the most distinctive colors. 

    This is why the recommendation is that using a black basecoat for the Turboshifts will guarantee that their true shifting color will show. 


    I chose two examples of Zenishifts based upon no better reason than I really like one of them (Twin Sons) and the other was a good contrast (Hemogoblin). I picked two undercoat colors for each of these Zenishifts that were close to the two shift colors with one light and one dark per color.

    Hemogoblin appears orangish over white and dark green over black as shown in the examples below with grey coming up as a paler green. Putting Hemogoblin over orange or green did not shift its overall color from that of the opaque undercoat.

    Twin Sons appears bluish-green to blue depending on whether it is over black or white. Over grey, it looks very much like the way it does over black. The same thing is true over green; whereas over blue, it is just the blue that shines through.


    The results with Hemogoblin were fairly clear cut as relates to black/white and other colors. While those with Twin Sons were a bit more messy. In any case, following the recommendation for Zenishifts should give you the most consistent and distinctive zenithal effect.


    I chose to look at three metallics recommended for use with a similarly colored basecoat --- Curacao, Multipass, and Redrum. I found a light, midrange, and dark shade of the metallic color for each of the three paints. 

    Curacao is a bright bluish-green that looks good over all of the undercoat colors tested. However, putting Curacao over turquoise rather than black or white requires fewer coats to get the same final effect. 


    Multipass was originally intended for use over white. For comparison, it is brighter in color over white as opposed to black. However, it took less coats of Multipass over orange to essentially obtain the same final color as over white.


    Redrum, like most of the original Metallics was supposed to be used over black. Over black, it appears as a dark blood red as opposed to the anemic red color over white. In contrast, Redrum is a more vibrant red when placed over a red undercoat. This is particularly true when a brilliant red is used.


    As illustrated here, Metallics work fairly independently of basecolor. You can use them over black, white, or some other related color and in general, you can get something that looks fine.  The difference is in the coverage and in how bright the paint appears. This is why with the launch of the Remix, we decided to separate the Metallics into two groups, dropping the previous advice to use almost all of the Metallics over black.

    The recommendation for the first group of paints is to continue to use them over black. These tend to be the true metals like Gold Rush and Silver Fox. The second group of paints including Curacao, Multipass, and Redrum, tend to look their best over a similarly colored basecoat. Many in this second group were originally intended for use over a white basecoat. However, based on feedback from others and our internal testing, it was found that using a colored base is more user-friendly, requiring fewer coats to get the same effect for these paints.


    Hopefully, this blog post has demonstrated Turbo Dork's thought-process behind the basecolor recommendations that appear on the side of the bottles. The intent is to make it easy for the user to get the most vibrant colors/shifts with the least amount of work and frustration. 

    As always, Turbo Dork paint is about the fun and experimentation so have at it if you have some other ideas to try out with respect to opaque undercoats, particularly for the Turboshifts.

    This brings me to the subject of the second post in this series which is tweaking the look of a Turboshift by highlighting with a Metallic.