Scrounge: A Different Theory of Camouflage on My Truck

The conventional theory of camouflage is to visually break up the shape of a vehicle. that’s why military camo usually has large arbitrary strip like lines across the surface. For years, I’ve been experimenting with a different theory of camouflage; whereby I’m trying to break up the surface of the vehicle, with the illusion of depth. This is my latest effort, my 1987 Toyota pickup truck. A lot of guys who have an old reliable truck that they don’t want to sink a bunch of money into for paint and body work go with camouflage instead. A fairly common trick ‘out here’ since the flat paint hides all kinds of dents.

Note: I’m getting a different truck ready to drive, it will have a tree related mural on it. it will be more involved than previous murals, so it will be an ongoing project. You can see the plans and progress here:

Plans and Progress of the Leaf Truck Mural

The truck was previously in New York State, where they obviously use salt on the roads in winter. It’s so rusted that I’ve decided to put my major efforts into a 1986 Toyota truck that I bought for $175. But it needs motor work, and who knows what else, so I decided that while I’m driving this one, it should look better.

The body work described here can hardly be called that, compared to the difficulty of making a car body ready for a gloss finish. But I knew that the camo would be very distracting, and, I found that if the screw heads are spaced closely enough, it has an appeal all its own. The screws are all self drilling, that saves a lot of time. I found that the “Lath Screw” head looks best. It’s a low profile head that looks as though it has a flat washer welded to it. All the pieces have a paintable clear caulk behind them. The back sides of the new pieces are painted before installation. Below are a few of the many holes in the body, and the sheet metal repair of them.I had interruptions on the days I wanted to paint, and when I did get the time, it was a rainy day. So I finally found a place in the barn where I could put the truck sideways, and just barely get it out of the rain. That’s what you see below.I didn’t want to spend time masking with tape and paper, so I used transfer paper from the vinyl sign making process. It’s adhesive on the back, I put it where I want masking, then trim the edges with a knife. In this picture, I started it at the wrong angle, that’s why it’s so wrinkly. This costs a little more than regular paper, but I knew this would be a time consuming paint job.Next, I snapped a chalk line along the side. I’m not sure that you could have a wavy line here, and still make the theory work. A strong horizon line is important.Then I painted the roof, front, and back with flat black paint. All the greys are a mix of flat black and flat white. this is Rust Oleum brand oil based paint, but it’s not a color like red that will fade, and I don’t plan on driving this truck for years. Otherwise I would use single stage urethane. I had to buy a quart of flat white, but the gallon of flat black I got for free. It was inside a large tool box that was given to me. i also painted the ground part of the horizon.  The windows are covered with black sign vinyl left over from sign jobs. I am thinking about cutting numerous slits in this vinyl, in the windows I look through. Other than for backing, I don’t use these windows, and I could just rely on a mirror. I really did not want the continuity of the vertical tree lines interrupted by windows. Transit buses use a special vinyl to put ads on windows; it has a bunch of little holes next to each other, so that riders can see out. I can’t paint on that stuff, so I’ve experimented with the slits in vinyl theory. It works, but you -must- use black vinyl.Prior to painting, I sanded the chrome surfaces, then sprayed them with adhesion promoter, along with other surfaces. In the next picture, you can see three things: at the top is the metal ring I use to mask the tires while spraying wheels. this saves time and hassle trying to mask rubber. Below that is the can of adhesion promoter. Wanna guess the price? About $25. Yow! That’s expensive, but some places you can’t cut corners. Below that is the poster board stencil edge I used for the tree foliage above the horizon line. I stopped taking how-to pictures at this point. It was late, and this ended up being a 24 hour paint job, including a 4 am attempt at rest.  I made the paint into 4 shades of grey, I used a regular spray gun to paint the blend from sky to horizon, and from horizon to bottom of truck. I used a detail gun to paint the trees. A detail gun is pretty easy to use as a big airbrush.

Know for certain that there is a very definite mathematical way to get this illusion. It’s once again later that I wish, so I’ll skip the details of how to use the gun and plan out the illusion. If you want to know the details, leave a comment, and I’ll put then in a reply.

Now, the results. First, the driver’s side, because I like it better. The driver’s side isn’t darker, it just looks that way from where these pictures were taken. You’re wondering how the two sides could look different? As I said, it was a long painting session, and I didn’t follow the illusion plan as carefully on the driver’s side, which was painted second. Exhaustion and all that. I needed to have the passenger side done and mostly dry so that I could move the truck closer to the edge of the barn, and have more room to work on the other side. The woes of redneckery, and all that.

If you have questions put them in a comment. thanks for visiting Quill and #graytreescamo #foresttreescamo #camotoyotatruck #toyotacamotruck #camotruckknoxvilletn #camotruckseymourtn TN street art vehicle graphics