Tuesday, June 9, 2009

British PRU Blue for ACW Union Trousers

Finding a good blue for Union trousers has been challenging. In the past I have tried using Reaper's True Blue as seen in my Iron Brigade photos. I also tried using Vallejo's Sky Blue, probably the most commonly used color for painting Union trousers. I painted a couple packs of 10mm and a dozen 15mm figures this way. I was not satisfied. The color is too light and bright. I was getting depressed.

Some fellows on TMP suggested using Howard Hues, which has a blue designed specifically for Union trousers. I have never used HH paints before. After researching HH, I heard mixed reviews about their paint. Since no one in metro-Orlando carries Howard Hues nor will special order paints, I would have to use mail order. Not really worth it because the stores selling Howard Hues really don't sell anything else I need at their prices. So my search for the ultimate Union blue went on.

A couple weeks ago I stopped by the local general hobby shop looking for some Pollyscale paints. Yes, I use more than craft paints! Being a model railroader since childhood, I remembered Pollyscale's Great Northern Big Sky Blue. Would it work for Union trousers? Nope. Didn't look right, even if less intense than Vallejo's sky blue.

Then I looked through Pollyscale's military colors and found British P.R.U. Blue, which if I recall is an airforce color. Looked good. Last week I bought a bottle and tried it out. Below is the result. I really like it. It looks like as close to Union trousers as I'll probably find. In room lighting, it looks a bit duller than in the photo, taken in direct Florida morning sunlight. The color comes closer to the jpg in the upper left. Also, I should have left a figure painted with Vallejo Sky Blue for comparison but forgot--the difference is dramatic. (Note: The Battle Honors figure below is not finished, which is why it looks so sloppy!)

Now that I finally have found a Union trouser blue I like, I can get cracking on my ACW projects again, but I'm thinking that I might need a darker Navy blue than Ceramcoat's Navy blue. Nah, I'll probably let that go. True Indigo would look too dark on a 15mm game table.

Give Pollyscale's British P.R.U. Blue a try. Let me know what you think.


  1. Bob,

    Try using Delta Ceramcoat Prussian Blue for the Union coats. It is much darker. Se my blog posting on the "semi-Tuaregs" I recently painted. They are in three different blues - Prussian blue, sky blue, and uniform blue, from darker to lighter.



  2. Thanks for the advice. I checked on Ceramcoat Prussian Blue and the Delta website says it's a limited color. I'm pretty sure the craft stores no longer carry it because I don't have it in my collection. I do have Americana Prussian Blue. Not sure how close it is to the Ceramcoat. Prussian blue is darker than the Navy I'm currently using.

  3. Quickly tried the Americana Prussian Blue on a primed Union figure. The color dries almost black, too dark for 15mm by far. Americana Navy is also very dark, as well as being a Transparent color, which I avoid. I'm sure the Ceramcoat Prussian Blue is lighter than the Americana color, and is probably just the right shade. Maybe I'll mail order it: http://www.hofcraft.com/delta2ozsale.htm