Snyder & Short
Paint Chips

SETS 1 & 2

Kenneth H. Goldman

Dark gray is darker than light gray but lighter than black. But in a world that is not black and white, "gray" tends toward the predominant of the visible electromagnetic wavelengths that make it up. Basic black doesn't really exist, and professional cotton graders can distinguish more than thirty different shades of white! Gray can be bluish, greenish, reddish or just about any other "ish." And if that isn't confusing enough for you, what the heck is Ocean Gray -- especially when the color doesn't specify which ocean? The same confusion applies to the browns, greens, and blues used in various Navy camouflage schemes.

It is bad enough if you prefer to mix your own paints, but what happens when you can't even trust the various paint manufacturers to agree on what exactly is Haze Gray or Mountbatten Pink Dark? Snyder and Short Enterprises has come to the rescue with its straightforward presentation of two paint chip sets. Both have been carefully matched with either Navy Yard-issued paint chips or the 1929 Munsell Book of Color on which the US Navy specifications were based. The first set, twenty colors, covers the blues and grays from prewar through 1943. The second, thirty colors, completes the collection with browns and greens (used by the amphibious and PT forces in the Pacific), and late war neutral grays.

pntchp01.jpg (20877 bytes)
Set 1
(not all colors shown)
pntchp02.jpg (23317 bytes)
Set 2
(not all colors shown)

Though there were inevitable variations in different manufacturing lots of the same color -  not to mention wartime exigencies that might result in nonconforming color mixtures -  you no longer have an excuse for not at least starting with the right colors. Whether you tone down these colors for a more convincing "scale effect" is of course up to you. Hey, you can't expect John Snyder and Randy Short to do everything. (Please note that the illustrations accompanying this review do not do justice to Snyder and Short's fine work. They do not capture the richness and depth of these hand-mixed - not printed! - paint chips. Your computer mixes light, not pigment, resulting in substantially different colors.)

Snyder and Short has also released an eight-chip set of Imperial Japanese Navy colors and promises additional sets for 1999, including: Royal Navy - 27 colors (due out in June), Kreigsmarine - around 25 colors, and Regia Marina - nine colors. Chip sets can be ordered directly from them at:

Snyder and Short Enterprises
9475 Kiefer Blvd. #224
Sacramento, CA 95826
tel. (916) 736-1918
fax (916) 455-8871