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Spies Hecker tips – Mazda Machine Grey three-stage finish

The popular Mazda colour Machine Grey is applied using a cutting-edge robotic painting technology called Takuminuri, which makes the repair of this three-stage colour particularly demanding. Kevin Welling, Training Academy Manager for Axalta in the UK and Ireland, gives practical tips for repairing it with the Spies Hecker Permahyd Hi-TEC 480 Base Coat system

Spies Hecker Repair Tip – Mazda Machine Gray;

Mazda has used 46G Machine Grey since 2016 for various models. It is painted using the cutting-edge robotic painting process called Takuminuri that Mazda also uses for Soul Red. Machine Grey consists of three layers: a reflective layer, a translucent layer and a clear layer.

“The embedded aluminium flakes create a metallic depth of colour, while pigments in the reflective and effect layers give an intense contrast between light and shadow. It almost looks like the vehicle has been milled out of a single block of steel,” says Welling, Training Academy Manager for Axalta in the UK and Ireland.

It is not easy to reproduce this sort of original paintwork effect during repairs. “Because of its complexity, Machine Grey can vary from model to model, even from vehicle to vehicle, and this is why we have a selection of mixing formulas for Permahyd Hi-TEC Base Coat 480 in our Phoenix colour software,” adds Welling.

Here are Welling’s tips on how to achieve a good tri-coat result even with a colour as complex as Machine Grey:

Tip 1: Make spray out cards

Because Machine Grey is so complex, it is recommended that after measuring the colour with ColorDialog Phoenix, a spray out card is made in order to find the best match of the silver effect with the original paint. It is vital to check the spray out card and original paint work under different light sources, especially natural daylight.

Tip 2: Apply a black basecoat

After the substrate has been prepared, the black basecoat is applied to full coverage and blended into the original paintwork. With small repair areas, a reduced gun pressure creates a particularly smooth transition to the rest of the paint job. It is important to let the basecoat dry and the panel cool completely.

Tip 3: Use a contrast sticker

Before applying a slightly transparent effect coat of concentrated black that contains a very fine aluminium, it is advisable to affix a black and grey contrast sticker in a place that will be painted over. The sticker helps to track how much coverage is being applied by this effect layer during application, as it is important not to apply to full hiding. Apply the blender to adjacent areas before switching to the effect colour. The effect coat is ideally applied as a thin, closed even coat.

Tip 4: Check the result in natural light

After the effect coating has dried, check the contrast sticker to see to what extent the base colour has been covered by the effect coat. If the effect coat has been applied with sufficient translucency, a clear coat can be applied. The result is finally carefully and critically checked under different light sources. The decisive factor is how the repair looks in daylight; this will show whether a good match with the original painting and smooth transitions between the repair and the original paintwork have been achieved.

Tip 5: Watch the video

Spies Hecker offers refinishers all-round support, simple system solutions and practical tips for everyday challenges including specific advice on the repair of Machine Grey. The tips are available on the brand’s YouTube channel – – and via Each five to ten-minute video shows experienced paint professionals getting the best out of Spies Hecker products.

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