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-   -   Painting a body A to Z (https://www.rctech.net/forum/painting-designs-graphics-photography/331304-painting-body-z.html)

vintage tone 09-28-2009 03:16 PM

Painting a body A to Z
hey Everyone, I made this for friends on a French forum so i will translate it to english within the next hours :)

for the time being until I redo all the links individually, you can find all the original pictures here:

I got several PM on different forums asking me to make a step by step of a relatively simple paint job. Feel free to PM Me if you have any questons or wish to have a body made. I will not be able to paint anything until Mid Nov and have two lined up when I get back to the US. If you need anything delivered before the end of dec I will not be able to do so.
This post is just a way of doing things, there are many ways to paint, that s is just one of them. hope you enjoy it and that it will motivate people to get hooked up!
I will post a reply with links to affordable but good airbrushes for lexan and RC applications.

Preparing the body:
We cannot stress enough how important it is to prepare your body right. Any kind of paint job actually, put some effort in your prep will pay off big time for the final result. Make sure you have a clear vision of the final result , organize your colors and make sure you have everything ready before you start.
So 1st step is to wash the inside of your body with dish washing soap to remove all chemical residues from the molding. Use a clean new sponge dedicated to your prep to not contaminate it with yesterday s lasagna. Dry it completely with a tissue or paper towels but make sure there s no lint or dust left inside.
After this step I would strongly reccomend to put on latex gloves so you don t smudge it again with fingerprints and skin oils, sweat that could prevent the paint from sticking to the lexan.

[b]Trim the bodyb]
I prefer to trim the body before painting it. It reduces the risks of screwing up your paint job, scratching it or chipping it off greatly and if something dramatically wrong happens, you can just start over with another body.
Most quality bodies HPI, Proline Axial have an outline molded in that you can follow to cut the body out. You can trace it with a Sharpie on the outside protecting film if it helps. From there you can cut the body all around with Lexan scissors or do the cut and snap trchnique i d be describing here
I personally like the trace and snap way better, it leave very clean edges and is faster but whatever floats your boat.
Apply enough regular pressure to mark the body with the tip of the blade but dont try and cut thru. Test on scap 1st if it s your 1st time.
It s important that you keep the body steady during this process. Make sure you rest your hand onto it to keep it steady. try and do as much of the tracing as possible without lifting the tip of the blade up. It comes with practice but it really isn t hard, keep a good control of the blade and don t press in too hard.
Once you ve traced the body all around, it s time to cut out the wheels pits like so. This will help snapping the lexan easy without too much stress on the body.
Do not go too far into the body, make sure you stop right at the tracing or a hair before. Don t use the tip of your scissors but do as shown on the pic, you will have a much better control that way.
Allyou need to do next is push on the parts you wish to snap off. It should snap clean with little effort. If you need to cut out straight lines you can use a ruler to help you guiding the blade. Make sure you rest the blade well against the ruler, it will slide out of the gouge easier than you think and you don t want to scratch and damage your body.

Your body is now ready to paint.
Remove all lil imperfections left behind, you can use a file or your scissors. Make sure it s all smooth and remove and dust if you used a file from the inside. Blow it away with your airbrush / hairdryer

Tape or Liquid Mask ?

If you re new to painting, use the windows mask that came with the body. They usually fit nicely and will save you some cut out that can prove tricky.
The principle of masking is rather simple, paint an area of your body and protect another with your mask so paint doesn t spread everywhere.Then unmask it and paint the next area in a different color.
There is a thumb rule painting Lexan since you re working with a clear body painted from the inside: Always start with the darkest colors so they don t come and bleed thru the lighter colors.
Tape is perfect to make straight lines easily, it comes in all sorts or width from pinstripping to very wide painter tape. 3M Blue and regular painter tape work very well with RC applications,leaving clean edges as long as you spray thinner than the tape is. Tamiya tape is brilliant for tricky, smaller details or lines, it s very expensive and a waste of money for larger area. You can also get masking tape anywhere from wallmart to the dollar store, some work well some dont , try em out on scrap and see for yourself .
Always store your tape in a ziploc bag so lint, hairs, dust doesn t come and stick to the sides and will make it useless for masking.

It s possible to make very complex masking with tape, it s just very time consuming and never as safe as liquid masking. If the tape lifts up even slightly, paint will bleed under it and make a nasty stain. You also will need to unmask and re mask every step with tape, taking a risk everytime to damage your paint job. Here is an exemple of a fairly complex tape masking , all the trims and chromes of a body to illustrate that it is possible but time consuming and really tricky. You will need to mask all the transparent area with newspapers, plastic bags or masking tape that you tape to your masking.

Vynil masking is very close to tape, with the same advantages and cons. Tricky to use on very curved surfaces but works great on flatter surfaces. You can buy vinyl full sheets from Parma and draw out your own graphics on them. You can also buy the very same vynil sheets from sign making stores and pay 1/5th of the price.

The main plus of masking tape as I willtry and demonstrate here is that you mask 100% of your body very easily, then you cut out your masks one after the other. It s a huge time saver. If you screw up a cut, use tape to repair it. If you apply it and cut it out right, it will never bleed and will stick to the body perfectly evenly, even in twisted and curved places.
Parma Liquid mask is a thicker latex that becomes transparent when cured. Apply it with a soft wide brush. Not a hard painter brush, you want you brush to be soft enough to lay down thick and regular coats. Apply 2 to 4 coats, let each coat dry enough so that the next one will not rip it off and mess it up. 15 mins and a lil help from the lady s hairdryer works just fine. Don t brush it too quickly or it might foam up, air bubbles will result in tiny lil holes when you will cut it out.
Work quick and steady but don t rush it, once again make sure your mask is thick enough, if your mask is too thin, it will be a nightmare to peel it off.
1st coat
2nd coat
Go across the direction of the 1st coat, cross them to achieve maximum cover and not leaving empty spots.


3 coats later all you need to do is wait for it to cure 24 hrs tobe on the safe side
Rest of the translation coming soon :)

vintage tone 09-28-2009 03:20 PM

Part 2
So next step, let s mark precisely what we want to cut out on the outside protecting film with shapries or Bic equivalent. Get a set of shapries in different colors and sizes, you will find very handy to use different colors and width for complex graphix . Here I m marking all the chromes and trims. I find them to look a million times better when painted than the stickers. It s also a lot of work and can be tricky to cut out but well worth it for a cool real chrome look in the end. Details and attention to every little step and details is what makes a great paintjob to me, no matter if I m mpainting and RC car or a guitar.

Time to cut them out from the inside. Another plus of masking tape vs tape or vinyl is that you really don t need much pressure to cut thru it and therefore risks of scratching the lexan and weaken the body are reduced.

Use a ruler or any tool for straight lines or curves when you can if you wish. Anything from cans, files, thicker cardbord , anything that will help you trace a perfect circle or any shapes that you find hard to free hand.
Here for the circles and round shapes i m using a rounded tip exacto blade that i prefer to the pointy one but that again is a matter of taste. You can use anything from razor blades to hobby knife blades etc etc as long as they are small and short enough to fit in the cramped areas of the body.

Here is how to gently left up the liquid mask. Lift it up slowly and if you see any signs of it trying to pull the rest off, release the tension immediatly and cut it clean again. That will happen especially on the tip of the flames areas and pointy areas in general. As usual try it on scraps and lexan cuts.
Remove all the parts of the graphixs that will be your 1st color, in this case the chrome

I decided to add a couple stripes on the side of the body to illustrate that you can mix tape and liquid masking easily as you wish. So I m masking the whole area and then cut out the stripes that will be sprayed darker to offset the chrome and give a more realistic look to this part.

Time to spray the chrome paint. This is true mirror / chrome paint it will need to be backed up with black so like i said, darker colors 1st so the black doesn t bleed thru lighter candy (transparent colors). It s not silver paint but real mirror from Alcad II or spazstix. It s expensive but it really pays off for a neat final result.Spray it in very thin coats and it check from the outside in the light reflection if the chrome effect is regular. You really do not need much of it so don t go and build up thick coats, it s a waste of money and the thinner the better.

When all the chrome is done, I remove the masking tape for the stripes and cut out the straps on the tool box that will be sprayed black at the same time.

Once again you can clearly see here all the advantages of using the liquid mask, cutting out masking after masking step by step as you go along.
Now it s ready to back up the see thru chrome with black, always spray the 1st coats very thin and regular.

All the black is now done, note that I sprayed thinner on the running board the so to keep some transparency and back this area up with another color. Here a dark silver pearl that will bring a more realstic feel than plain black and chrome contrast.
The straps on the tool box are now black as well.

All the trims and detailing are done and it s ready for the graphics and main colors.
In between working on the body, I made some flames tests on scraps , I will use them for the final graphics of this lid.

Ok one more final part to translate :) I hope everything is clear and that you enjoyed it so far.

vintage tone 09-28-2009 03:24 PM

Part 3
Time to trace out your graphics on the outside of the lid, on the protecting film. Here some tribal flames. If you re not comfortable free handing them, print them out, cut them out, tack them inside the body and trace them. If you don t have a light table, use a flashlightor a lamp behind it to see them better.
Same technique as cutting out the chromes, cut out your graphic from the inside with a light enough pressure but hard enough to cut clean and neat edges. Remove the masking as shown in part two and then clean up the tiny bits and dust. Wipe the sharpie on the outside with denatured alcohol or similar. careful with acetone, it can damage and cloud the lexan.

Effects and highlights

Now you can do all the highlights and effects you want. Here I m starting with a see thru neon blue with a little pearl flake on the edges of the flames.

Then two thin coats of translucide blue for the whole nose area, that will give a blue / purple hue to the nose of the car under certain lightning and will remain black under others.

Check against the light that your coats are regular and uniform although as thin as possible.

Here I m adding some candy purple accents and shading with a touch of another pearl flakes in the mix on the opposite side of the neon blue ones to accentuate the graphic and give it some depth.

Once you d be satisfied with you effects and shadings, carbon fiber effect, pearl, metalic , streaking, sponge textures and whatever else you wish to use, back them up with solid white ( or black depending if you want them to pop out or blend in) around the areas that you wish to stand out.
That is a tricky part and there s no room for error. You have to be very accurate on your free handing. One way to do it is to aim slightly on the outside of your graphics, spray on the mask and the overspray will fill in the graphic enough. You d have a good control that way in the tricky areas . You always way to start spraying from outside of the graphic and come towards it so nothing like an airbrush spit comes ruining it.

Make sure against the light that the white is opaque and uniform enough where you want to be, where you wish for the graphics to pop out.
The thinner the line, the less paint, lower the PSI and the closer the tip of the gun should be to the body.
Once satisfied I can go ahead and spray the black.

Once the black is totally dried, I cut out a thin hairline around the flames, like a pinstripe. It will offset the flames nicely if you shoot it with a bright color and will blend them in smoothly if you shoot a darker color. You can also add all sorts of effects , gradient etc etc into it.
Once all your graphics are done, remove all the rest of the masking but the windows of course.


For this body, my friend wanted a metallic black but not a sparkle ( big flakes) . He wanted something that would pop in the sunlight and not a boring plain black but he didn t want it to be too flashy. So i mixed some green and blue pearl flakes, quite thin ones and sprayed them all over the body in a super thin regular coat then came back and did a couple more streaks in the fenders adding a lil silver metallic flake to the mix.

It s all done now, well almost , I d have to unmask the bed and do a brushed aluminum effect, could be carbon fiber faux wood, ghost flames , another solid or candy color , whateveryou decide :) Tint the windows if you wish to etc etc . Put your stickers on and voila :)
Here are some shots of the body under different lights. It s very hard to take good shots of those complex metallic effect, they are almost like holographic paint and show under some lights totally differently so it doesn t really do it justice.

enjoy and grab a paintbrush, a rattle can or an airbrush !
It's a lot easier than you might think !

grouch 09-28-2009 03:32 PM

Even though I can't read it, I loved it. Nice work.

vintage tone 09-28-2009 03:45 PM

translating it as we speak :) !

vintage tone 09-28-2009 06:26 PM

another nite shot of this one in the process

grouch 09-29-2009 01:13 PM

Awesome work. Thanks for the time you put into the tutorial. You have some mad skill.

vintage tone 09-29-2009 01:50 PM

thank you ! means a lot :)
My pleasure, if it can help anyone getting started or inspire anyone to try out different techniques that s what it s all about.
I will do more in different styles and techniques when I can.

vintage tone 10-03-2009 07:22 PM

hey everyone
I have no idea what to do to have it as a sticky as many of you asked me .
Maybe if you guys ask the moderators or rate the post they will ?
I dont know .

bboy 10-03-2009 07:30 PM

Thanks for sharing!

vintage tone 10-03-2009 08:13 PM

Ty BBoy
well that s the idea is sharing and eventually get people inspired to paint or answer their questions about how to do this or that.
I got TONS of PM asking me to make a sticky of it but I can t do it myself i think a moderator has to do that.

Sorantiz 10-05-2009 06:19 PM

Wow, great little tutorial, thanks for posting it! Like the body too, its sexy.

vintage tone 10-08-2009 01:23 AM

Ty Sorantiz ,
I Will put a couple more as soon as I m back home.

climbaatizept 10-12-2009 07:14 AM

I will use some of the tips that are here in my next painting!
Just brilliant :nod:

gixxerman 11-20-2009 04:35 PM

Thank you for taking the time to post this! Very informative. I will try some of the tips you suggested.

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