One of the most challenging obstacles for a conversion painter to overcome at this point is how to determine whether the metallic pattern is even and, if spot painting, making sure that the color and metallic pattern matches the existing finish. Because of the matte appearance that the waterborne base takes on when it flashes dry, the visual aspect of determining color-match accuracy and proper surface texture is no longer reliable. The painter must rely on the knowledge that you have selected the correct sealer, mixed the base color accurately, and applied the correct spraying technique during both the coverage and control coats because until the final clearcoat is applied, the basecoat will have an orange peel texture to it and the color will not take on its true tone even under ideal lighting. The tried-and-true painter's practice of simply dipping the mixing stick into the paint to check for color-match accuracy is also out the door with waterborne base colors.

For painters who are just starting out with waterborne paints, Ramos highly recommends using the viscosity cup during the mixing process to assure correct reduction of the paint. Incorrect viscosity such as a mixture on the thin side will result in a topcoat separation that takes on the appearance of the dreaded fisheyes. For those that have no prior background in solvent-based painting, textbook procedures such as this are good to learn and should be made part of your regular mixing routine.

The mechanics of building a street machine sometimes hold enough of the unexpected to challenge even the most devout DIY-er. Enter the painting arena and the variables can and often do increase exponentially. Add to this the constantly changing chemistry of paint materials to accommodate new OE colors as well as the limitations set forth by air quality management agencies, and painting can turn into quite a challenging task. As automotive technologies progress, it is the ongoing job of our clean-air agencies to observe that progress and find new and better ways to keep our world clean. Sometimes, it's not easy to accommodate the changes that come about, but when change is inevitable, it's usually better to embrace them rather than to resist.

Cost And Quality Comparison
We had a unique opportunity to see the difference between a single-stage, solvent-borne color versus the same color formulated with Envirobase HP waterborne-based paint. We ordered a quart of Omni (PPG's economy paint line) from a local paint supplier with the understanding that this would be a single-stage paint with no clearcoat. We were also advised that this particular color formula (Corvette Arctic White) might not provide as good a color match as the waterborne Envirobase High Performance waterborne basecoat/clearcoat system would. We thanked them for their advice and proceeded to paint the parts with the solvent-borne, single-stage paint.

The Omni single-stage paint formula consisted of the same four toners as the Envirobase HP basecoat/clearcoat formula, however, as our paint supplier predicted, we noted that there was a slight color variance under certain light. The accompanying photo shows that difference especially with the license plate frame. The Omni color match passed the inspection of most who saw the job, but discerning eyes noticed the brighter shade of white on the repainted parts. The gloss and texture of the Omni single-stage was beautiful, however, this type of paint was not intended to give a precise panel-to-panel match.

The Envirobase HP basecoat system is designed to provide an exact color match to the OE finish. Specific sealer, an extensive selection of basecoat toner formulas, and the VOC-compliant clearcoat help the painter accomplish this.