Getting Ready to Paint 1 Picking a Colour

Defenders are basically trucks and usually coloured appropriately truckish.  Maybe it is the military origins honed by years of utilitarian uses.   That is reflected in the LRs one sees around Accra.  Dark Grey, Dark Blue. Dark Green.










However, in Ghana lately the most popular colour for the rebuilds coming out of Opere’s shop seems to be white.  That may well have been inspired by my colleague Stephane who had his Defender done that colour last year and it generated a great deal of positive comment.   It makes for a very pretty truck.  However, we are looking for something a bit less pretty, more truckish.  Somehow the idea of touring the Sahel region of Africa in a bright white truck that stands out from everything else does not quite seem appropriate.

A great many of Opere’s rebuilds end up white










After  looking at lots of choices, reviewing colours on-line and going by paint shops to see what they offer  we  shifted our preference a few times.  We hovered on white for a fair bit, shifted to burgundy for a short bit, and then finally settled on  what the Land Rover official colour scheme calls NATO Lightstone.  Right in the military tradition.   In more common terms one might call it Tan, or Caramel.   Some chips we have seen call this Sand, but that is misleading.  The vehicle already seems pretty sand-coloured.   We have chosen, or at least we hope we have chosen,  something darker and more vivid.   This choice was inspired because we saw one drive by (without our camera in hand).  With a white roof and white wheels it will look very sharp, but not so sharp it will look terribly out of place in Ougaudougou or Timbuctu.   We have no photos yet, but here is a neat site that we used to test colours.  Try the Desert Sands in the bottom left-hand corner of the chart, on the 90/110.     That is the only way you get to see the colour now because we do not have any examples


Every tow truck one sees in Ghana is an old Series Land Rover 



Picking a colour is the easy part.  In Ghana even getting a vehicle painted comes equiped with its own socio-cultural nuances.  I have a “welder” who does the body work and who is responsible for getting the vehicle ready, but only up to a point.  The “sprayer” does more than just paint, but it is really tricky to figure out where the welder’s responsibility ends and the “sprayer’s” responsibility begins.   During the bodywork the welder (Paani – see separate post) went through the vehicle and straightened crooked pieces, replaced rusted parts, punched out and filled dents and sealed any unwanted screw holes.  But when he finished he left the fill sections a bit rough on purpose.   That,  I learn has to be done by the sprayer just before the paint goes on, so it is clean and there is no water that has penetrated the filler.  That makes sense once you learn it, but you have to learn it.  There is a lot to learn, I have never had a vehicle fully painted before and that fact that it is a fixer-upper truck that I want to convert to something comfortable and attractive means I cannot count on everyone else to bring the attention to detail, I have to do that myself.