Retrocomputing Spray Paints: Amiga Beige, Commodore, And ATARI Grey

[retrohax] has provided vintage computer guidance for years, and part of that guidance is this: sometimes using paint as part of restoration is simply unavoidable. But the days of tediously color-matching to vintage hardware are gone, thanks to [retrohax] offering custom-mixed spray paints in Amiga 500 Beige, C-64 Beige, and ATARI ST/SE Grey. (At the moment only delivery within Poland is available due to shipping restrictions, but [retrohax] is working on a better solution.)

As a companion to making these vintage colors available, there is also a short how-to guide on how to properly prep and spray paint a computer case for best results that talks a little about the challenges in color matching to vintage hardware, and how getting custom paints mixed makes life much easier. Hackers may value making do with whatever is available, but we can also appreciate the value of having exactly the right material or tool for the job.

It’s not every day we see someone mixing custom spray paint colors, but off the shelf options don’t always cut it. Another example of getting specialty materials made from the ground up is custom plywood specifically designed for laser-cutting puzzles, something done because the troubles that came with off-the-shelf options were just not worth the hassle.

19 thoughts on “Retrocomputing Spray Paints: Amiga Beige, Commodore, And ATARI Grey

    1. “(At the moment only delivery within Poland is available due to shipping restrictions, but [retrohax] is working on a better solution.)” I am assuming you didn’t read the full article, so I thought I would repost the relevant portion to simplify things for you.

    2. “Due to flight restrictions of pressurized materials, shipping ONLY TO POLAND – please contact us if you want to get this product. We are currently working on a new shipping solution.”
      Should Donald Papp wait with this until end of pandemic?

    1. which wavelength is necessary for the retrobright process? I think less than 390nm is not cost or power effective in LED technology. Of course the sun is not always reliably available :)

  1. I think in the UK there is a custom spray can bloke making any colour you like in every town.

    The one here does it by code or colour match and the cost is no different from buying a can at Screwfix.

  2. Nice idea, but looking around me, I have an old IBM XT monitor where the plastics are now 3 different colours of beige. The screen surround being lighter than the main case. I am sure when they were first made they didn’t look like this! So which hue would you be matching to when touching up?

  3. “It’s not every day we see someone mixing custom spray paint colors, ”

    Actually, in the car repair business, it is commonplace. After some time, paint changes color from exposition to the elements, and when not painting the full vehicle, paint needs to be tailored to the general “tone” (?) of the other parts. Or one gets a car with a part (say, a door ) that is visiblly different in color fro mthe rest of the vehicle.

  4. If you have a spray gun, custom mixing your own is trivial of course, but you do need that initial investment.

    But there are plenty of companies around that will do custom color matching for everything from cars (mentioned above) to metal cabinets, to plastics and fabrics. I’ve called Fibrenew to come in and fix scuffs and shipping damage on several metal, fiberglass and composite enclosures — kind of amazing how they can turn a reject part into as-new in an hour or two. A bit spendy for a personal C64 resto, but it might be worth calling and asking what they can do to mix up a batch of color.

  5. Do they really need custom colours? IME plastics were specified as being in a Pantone colour. So I’m guessing it’s just that a reliable source is long gone. Pantone swatches against the inside of a good condition case should suffice though.

    Exception being the ‘wood effect’ used on the VCS and VideoGenie (and almost on the ZX80)…

    1. I remember back in the 80’s one of the TRS-80 magazines said a stock Mercedes color was a perfect match. I don’t recall any other details, but always found that humorous.

  6. I would not use this, or any other paint, on units that have become yellowed over time. That is just a part of their aging. However, I do see a use of the paint to restore the original look of machines (and game consoles) that have been altered, damaged, or modified.

  7. I saw a YouTube video from a conference in the USA last week where a collector of Atari computers painted all his computers that needed retrobrighting…and also created XEGS style Atari CX40 by painting the original black ones.

    Being in the UK, and not being able to find the paint he used, I looked in local shop the other day (The Range), and saw that maybe Ford Polar Grey seemed like a good match.

    For a consistent colour matching on a computer which is bad I think it’s worth giving them a spray…but I have yet to try it. But make sure you use a Primer first for plastics before doing the top coat

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