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  1. #1
    LGM Graphix's Avatar
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    Painting the JMP Firebird, a tutorial

    Alright, after getting pretty much all the building done on my Firebird.... http://www.rcuniverse.com/forum/m_9370531/tm.htm
    It's time to get it ready for paint and paint this bad boy!!!
    Please be patient with this thread. I have to complete a couple of other jet paint jobs as well as mutiple motorcycles, so the Firebird is getting worked on in between other projects. However, this is the start!!!

    So, this will be a thread about prepping, painting, clear coating, and polishing an RC jet.

    I am going to start the process from the point of prepping a primed airplane. You can go back to my build thread to see a bit of the filling and sanding up to the point of priming. The reason I am going to start this thread from this point, is it realistically is not much different than prepping your standard Gel Coated ARF jet which is what most people are building and painting these days.

    So for the first step in this process, here are the materials you will need:

    1. 800 Grit wet/dry sandpaper (prefer the 3M brand, it is the most even cut, and lasts the longest)
    2. Guide coat. You can purchase actual guide coat in a rattle can or if you don't want to do that, and you want to use your paint gun more, some dark colored base coat paint will work as well.
    3. Spray bottle
    4. Paper towels and or a squeegee
    5. Your model
    6. A medium hard sanding block (foam rubber type) Soft enough to follow most contours, but hard enough to actually block a surface out flat.

    Ok, onto the process.

    Picture 1. Begin by spraying a light coat of guide coat on your model. Guide coat is a thin paint that is designed specifically to contrast the existing color of the surface you will be working on. In this case, I am using PPG Guide coat in a rattle can. Don't worry about getting even coverage, the guide coat is there to show you low spots, sanding scratches, imperfections etc.

    Picture 2. Begin sanding with your 800 grit paper. Sand first in one direction, then 90 degrees to that first direction. Try to avoid the urge to sand in circles and if you see an area that is low, or has a very deep scratch, avoid the urge to use pressure in just that small area. Sand over a large area until the area blocks out. If you put pressure in just one small area, you will just sand a low spot in that will show up very badly in your final clear.

    Picture 3. Almost immediately you can start to see the sanding scratches or any blemishes that might have been in the surface. These lines will all show in the final clear and worse yet, if you spray a metallic or pearl, they will show 10X worse in that paint as the flake will lay funny in the scratches and reflect the scratch itself. Use your squeegee (or paper towel) to wipe the surface continually so you can see how your sanding is going. You want the scratches to disappear completely.

    Picture 4. Once the area you are sanding has no more guide coat showing, move on and do another section.

    If you run into an area that won't block out, that will need some filling. That will be the next step. In the next segment, I will be doing some minor filling on leading edge seams, as well as fixing up a couple of small pockets along sharp edges of some molded parts.
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    remember when people actually BUILT their airplanes?

  2. #2

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    RE: Painting the JMP Firebird, a tutorial

    This is a rearly useful thread and will help those of us like me who dont know how to paint and prepare anything properly at all

    Dennis

  3. #3

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    RE: Painting the JMP Firebird, a tutorial

    Nice thread...  Subscribed!  very useful information   Thanks! 

  4. #4
    JKEpps's Avatar
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    RE: Painting the JMP Firebird, a tutorial


    ORIGINAL: Rush!

    Nice thread...* Subscribed!* very useful information * Thanks!*
    Ditto!

  5. #5

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    RE: Painting the JMP Firebird, a tutorial

    Thanx for taking the time to share this. I look forward to this.

  6. #6

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    RE: Painting the JMP Firebird, a tutorial

    I did the subscribe also... Enjoyed the build thread.

    You could help me out with your item #5, if you just ship yours to me!

    Cheers
    Rick

  7. #7

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    RE: Painting the JMP Firebird, a tutorial

    Hey LGM, So glad you are doing this. I'm in. Keep-em coming!!!!! Roy
    Scratch it till it bleeds Convert it till it chokes

  8. #8

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    RE: Painting the JMP Firebird, a tutorial

    LGM thank u for doing this thread this is priceless keep it going

  9. #9
    LGM Graphix's Avatar
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    RE: Painting the JMP Firebird, a tutorial

    Hi guys,
    I have a few more hours worth of sanding before I'm ready for the next step, maybe this week, not sure yet, but rest assured, this will be a complete thread for you all!
    Jeremy
    remember when people actually BUILT their airplanes?

  10. #10
    invertmast's Avatar
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    RE: Painting the JMP Firebird, a tutorial

    I'm watching and learning..
    Thomas W.
    Euro-sport Evo, Scratch built 1/7 F-14D Tomcat, 26.5% Gee Bee R2

  11. #11
    BaldEagel's Avatar
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    RE: Painting the JMP Firebird, a tutorial

    Jeremy

    Four or five saved posts from you to insert your valuble insights would make for much easier reading.

    Mike
    My Gast is Flabered.
    No matter what anyone say's 100% is the maximum you can get.
    If you see a deleted post, my Avatar say's it all.

  12. #12

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    RE: Painting the JMP Firebird, a tutorial

    Hi LMG,This would make an interesting thread if you painted the model first and then posted all the pics and descriptions of how to do it. At the moment it is a bit broken up with only the one good post. The first one at the start of the thread.

  13. #13
    LGM Graphix's Avatar
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    RE: Painting the JMP Firebird, a tutorial

    That would be great if I had the time to devote entirely to the model right now, but I figured posting as I go along, as I did with the build thread, will be fine. As far as being easier to read, honestly, just look for the posts with pictures in them
    remember when people actually BUILT their airplanes?

  14. #14

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    RE: Painting the JMP Firebird, a tutorial

    ORIGINAL: LGM Graphix
    As far as being easier to read, honestly, just look for the posts with pictures in them
    Priceless !! Now watch someone start posting random pic's just to screw things up

    Just post updates whenever you have the time. I don't care when that is. IMO you are doing us a big favor by sharing your expertise with us, and when something I want is free I accept it in whatever form it comes.

    Gordon

  15. #15
    invertmast's Avatar
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    RE: Painting the JMP Firebird, a tutorial


    ORIGINAL: Gordon Mc


    ORIGINAL: LGM Graphix
    As far as being easier to read, honestly, just look for the posts with pictures in them
    Priceless !! Now watch someone start posting random pic's just to screw things up

    Just post updates whenever you have the time. I don't care when that is. IMO you are doing us an big favor by sharing your expertise with us, and when something I want is free I accept it in whatever form it comes.

    Gordon
    +1

    You can't be picky about how you get free stuff
    Thomas W.
    Euro-sport Evo, Scratch built 1/7 F-14D Tomcat, 26.5% Gee Bee R2

  16. #16

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    RE: Painting the JMP Firebird, a tutorial

    Agree with that - I have been wanting to send a PM to LGM for months about how to do this painting, as my attempts are always a disaster. Then like manta from Heaven here is this thread!

    Thanks
    Rick

  17. #17

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    RE: Painting the JMP Firebird, a tutorial

    Well, it will definitly help you with surface prep, single/multi colors on a jet but his ARTISTRY, if that is word, is very unique. That is something I believe is a gift. Over time (a crapton of it) you can learn it, but to get to a jeremy level, I think it is something you are born with.

  18. #18

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    RE: Painting the JMP Firebird, a tutorial

    Agreed!!!!!!!

  19. #19
    LGM Graphix's Avatar
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    RE: Painting the JMP Firebird, a tutorial

    Alright!!!!!!! Let's get this back on track!!!
    Had the opportunity to paint a couple parts today since I was spraying some bike parts the same color.
    So I painted the stabs, and the bypass cover today.

    To start with, lets go back to post one for a minute, Here are some pictures of the products I used during the wet sanding.

    Picture 1. PPG Guide coat, this is the thin black that I spray on before sanding to show me any low spots.

    Picture 2. 3M 800 grit wet or dry paper, don't really know why I took a picture of this, but people seem to like pictures haha!

    Picture 3. Here is the color I am using for the overall bottom of the jet. It is a Pearl white tri-coat. The base is basically just a bright white, and the mid coat is a clear carrier with a gold pearl in it.

    Picture 4. The stabs which were sanded as per the first post here, were simply mounted on a paint stand so that they could be sprayed. I masked off the 1/4" rod that connects the 2 stab halves before spraying.

    Picture 5. Almost forgot, here is the reducer I am using with the paint. The paint and reducer mixes 1:1. I know there are guys here that like to paint their jets with over reduced paint, but it is pointless, you will only use more coats for even coverage and you end up with poor adhesion and a much better chance of runs.

    Picture 6. Here is the gun I am using for pretty well all of the painting, it is a Sata-jet RP 3000 digital. This is THE Ferrari of paint guns, spray with one of these and you'll wonder why you ever wasted your time with Horror freight paint guns.

    Ok, so during the spraying process I can't take pictures of myself, so here is a run down of the steps involved:

    Step 1. Mix your paint 1:1 with reducer. Pour the paint into your gun, I recommend the use of a paint strainer to keep any crap out of there, however, I ran out of strainers so I couldn't take a picture of one for you.

    Step 2. Make sure the part you are spraying is CLEAN. Wipe it down with a lint free cloth and a degreasing agent such as PPG's DX320.

    Step 3. Wipe the part down once more lightly with a tack cloth to remove any dust

    Step 4. With my paint gun set to 21psi at the gun, and a wide pattern, I begin to spray the stab halves starting at the bottom and working my way up, I prefer to go this way when spraying white as it's almost impossible to see the wet pass through the overspray, starting from the bottom I can see the dry edge getting covered much easier. Spray at a distance of about 8" from your part. The Sata will give you a spray pattern about 8" wide at that distance. When spraying, overlap your passes by 1/2 the width of your spray pattern. With a good paint like the PPG Concept series, even a white will cover in 2 coats.

    Step 5. Wait 15 minutes in between coats. I applied the mid coat (pearl) in the same method used for the base coat but only required one coat for the pearl effect I wanted.

    Picture 7. Ok, so now I'm a bit of a jerk because I forgot to take a picture of the stab bottoms in the white. However, here is a picture of the bottom of the stab masked out. I used 1/8" 3M blue fine line tape for the initial tape line and used 3M masking paper and tape to fill in the area I don't want paint to get on. I waited 1 hour between spraying the last pearl coat on the white and masking.

    Picture 8. Here is the main color I used on the top of the stabs. Another Tri-coat paint. This one has a prismatic pearl in it though. This particular color costs almost $2000 a gallon!!!!!

    Step 6. After wiping down the stab again (finger oils from masking will cause fish eyes) I spray first my base coat in the same method described above, and then my mid coat. I also sprayed my bypass cover with this color as well.

    Step 7. After removing the masking (which I do while the paint is still wet, you will get a crisper line this way) I mixed my clear. I used PPG 2001 clear with DU5 Hardener.

    Picture 9. Clear

    Picture 10. Hardener

    Step 8. Mix the clear together in a 3:1:1 ratio. I do NOT reduce my clear anymore than recommended by manufacture. Doing this will reduce gloss, reduce adhesion, make it far easier to get runs, and will likely "solvent pop" (where it looks like you have millions of micro sized holes in the clear leaving a hazy look) If you spray your clear properly, after wet sanding and polishing you will have gained very little weight.

    Picture 11. Here I tried to take a picture of me spraying the clear, unfortunately, it only got me, sorry guys, I know the paint would have been more interesting but when holding a camera phone and trying to not get runs, you gotta take what you can get

    Step 9. Spray the clear the same way as the base coat, but here it is very important to watch your clear. You want it to be a wet coat but not so heavy that it will run. So, you want to spray it so that it does not have a "dry" look to it, however, do NOT try to get it to look like glass just by spraying it or it will run. This type of paint will go on looking fairly orange peeled, but it will flow out into a nice smooth finish. I wait 20 minutes and then spray a 2nd coat. If you have sprayed your clear wet without it being to heavy, this will give you enough clear to sand out tape lines, any orange peel you get, and polish it back without going through the clear.
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    remember when people actually BUILT their airplanes?

  20. #20
    LGM Graphix's Avatar
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    RE: Painting the JMP Firebird, a tutorial

    Alright, so now why is the rattlesnake paint so expensive you ask? Well, it's really hard to show you what this paint does in pictures, but here are some different angles and lighting conditions with the bypass cover to show you the paint.

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    remember when people actually BUILT their airplanes?

  21. #21
    JetCatJimmy's Avatar
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    RE: Painting the JMP Firebird, a tutorial

    Ok, that is sick. Great paint! I'll have to get me some of that when I pimp out the Tempo.
    Jimmy

  22. #22

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    RE: Painting the JMP Firebird, a tutorial

    Hey Jeremy - what's the deal with those black handle doohickeys on your paint cans in this pic

    [img]{akamaiimageforum}/upfiles/52999/Xw77528.jpg[/img] ?

    Looks like some kind of combo handle/pump, or something like that ?

  23. #23
    LGM Graphix's Avatar
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    RE: Painting the JMP Firebird, a tutorial

    Hi Gordon,
    Those are lids for my paint mixing machine, they replace the metal lids and then I can just put them into the mixing station and turn it on. For the extreme pearled paints like the rattlesnake I'll let them mix for a good 20 minutes before I paint. They have a trigger on them so that to pour I just tip, pull the trigger, and the paint comes out.
    Jeremy
    remember when people actually BUILT their airplanes?

  24. #24

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    RE: Painting the JMP Firebird, a tutorial

    Interesting that you don't heavily reduce your clear. Conventional wisdom on the jet forum has been 100% to 200% reduction to save weight. Learn something new every day. Well, almost every day.

  25. #25
    LGM Graphix's Avatar
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    RE: Painting the JMP Firebird, a tutorial

    ORIGINAL: Bob R2

    Interesting that you don't heavily reduce your clear. Conventional wisdom on the jet forum has been 100% to 200% reduction to save weight. Learn something new every day. Well, almost every day.

    I've read that many times, however, I want my paint to work the way it's supposed to work, not have any issues etc. In the end, if you spray good clean coats, let it flow as the clear is designed, I would venture that my 2 coats of clear are no heavier than most guys that are reducing their clear 200%. I don't know how many coats they are applying, but if you want any chance of sanding out paint masking lines you will need to have at least a 4mil film build when dry (this requires an 6 to 8 mil build wet). I like to get about a 5mil dry build, with 2 coats sprayed the way I spray, I get pretty close to that. After wet sanding and polishing I end up with between 2.5 and 3.5mil.
    The other issue with over reduced clear, is if you do need to do a spot repair, you run a high risk of wrinkling the existing clear. I weighed the stabs before I painted them today, I'll weigh them again tomorrow after sanding and polishing and let you know how much weight I added to each stab.
    remember when people actually BUILT their airplanes?


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