SECRETS FROM THE PAINT BOOTH
Creating a new body is a task that we’ve all agonized over at some point along the way. I can’t begin to tell you how long I’ve stared at a clear Texan shell, trying to come up with something new. What’s worse is messing up a good design with colors that just don’t work together. If only there were a way to “try out” new designs before you commit to spraying Lexan!
Templates are the answer, and they’re as close as your computer keyboard. The personal computer and the Internet are among the most useful tools for any RC body painter. The Web provides an endless source of inspiration for new designs; you can visit the various manufacturers’ websites to see all the cool bodies that are available and exchange ideas with other enthusiasts in online painting forums (like the ones at radiocontrolzone.com). Here’s how to combine these resources and plan a new body using templates.
1 HIT THE WEB!
I race in a rally class at a local hobby shop, Xtreme RC in New Milford, CT; it’s fun but tough on Lexan. After retiring a well-beaten body, I picked up an HPI Focus body to be ready for the following week. Instead of hitting the workshop, though, my first stop was HPI’s website for a clean shot of the Focus.
2 PHOTO RECON
I found a detailed picture of the Focus on the HPI site and saved a copy of the image to my computer. If you use Windows, place the cursor over the image you want tc save and right-click the mouse button. Save the image as a “bmp” file for use in the next step.
3 PREPARE TO PAINT-VIRTUALLY, THAT IS
When you open the “Start’ menu, select “Programs,” then go to the Accessories section of Windows; you’ll see “Paint” on the list of choices. It’s only a simple graphics program, but it works fine for our purposes here. Open the picture that you saved and bring it up on the screen.
4 WHITE OUT
I selected white from the color menu and “repainted” the car a single color, creating a basic template of the Focus. Make sure that you keep the basic body lines intact. These will help you plan your scheme in the next step. Save a copy of the file at this point; doing that will allow you to return to the blank template if you aren’t happy with any designs you lay on top.
5 TEMPLATE DESIGN TIPS-BREAK OUT THE CRAYONS
It makes sense to use the Paint program to lay in colors, but if you work out a mural or a similarly complex design, you can just print out the template and have at it with your colored pencils, markers, Blow pens, finger paints … whatever.
6 KEEP IT SIMPLE
For race bodies, stick to a simple, flowing design with no more than three main colors. A simple design always looks clean and fast; speed is important, but image is everything.
7 POURING PAINT
Use the “fill” tool to play around with different colors on the body. Try different color combinations on the hood, roof, etc. If you aren’t sure which looks better, print out several variations and consult your friends to narrow down the best choice.
STICK WITH THE PLAN
When you’ve come up with something that you know will work, don’t deviate from the plan. Improvising invites the chance that you’ll mess up a good thing. Apply the masking according to your printout, and spray your colors working from the darkest colors to the lightest. If it’s easier to apply a lighter color first, be sure to back it with silver or white to prevent subsequent colors from bleeding through.
An airbrush isn’t always the answer! The quickest way to cover large, single-color areas is with your trusty ol’ spray cans. After my base color of Pactra Blue Streak had dried, I followed up with a few coats of Fluorescent Racing Yellow. After I removed the masking, I sprayed the inside of the body with Sprint White.
ADD THE DECALS
Apply the stickers and whichever final details you’d like to add to your new ride. A good-looking car with a few added details may be enough to psych drivers out of the way when the start tone goes off, so I don’t spare the details.
Creating a body design using a template is just another way of planning your paint jobs before you actually apply color to a body. It allows you to experiment with new ideas without wasting a lot of time-or wrecking a good body! If you enjoy painting by template, I encourage you to invest in a more sophisticated drawing program. It makes tasks such as creating a template and adding more advanced graphics a lot easier than Windows Paint, but even this simple program works well enough. Now that you have another way to create your designs and color schemes, go paint something!
Near the top of my personal paint-job ideas list was a touring car in honor of my hero and nickname-sake, “SpongeBob Squarepants”that is, until I received this photo from Javier Arroyo of Roseville, CA, who beat me to the punch with his Schumacher Axis 2 and its Protoform Stratus shell painted by local California artist Yendor. He created this masterpiece using vinyl masks for the let tering and a combination of hand- and airbrushed graphics to make everyone’s favorite aquatic Nick characters. Javier races at his hometown Speedworld Raceway but admits that the Sponge body is strictly for display now.
Do you have a sharp, uncluttered photo of your best paintwork? Send it in! Explain the types of paint, products and techniques you used to finish It. Be sure to include your full name and address and your email address if you’re online. For information about sending electronic images, check out www.caraction.com. Send print or slide photographs to “Body Shop; RC Car Action, 100 East Ridge, Ridgefield, CT 06877-4606 USA.
IN THE SHOP
Parma introduces FasTape, a new addition to its painting accessory lineup. The 18mm-wide and 18m-long roll of masking tape is extremely thin-sorts like the window masks in a Tamiya kit. The tape is truly the best stuff I’ve ever used to create hard lines and is as close to being bleed-free as you’ll ever find. The tape lies flat, stays in place until you peel it off and doesn’t leave any adhesive residue.
Item no. 40257; $3.79.
CONTACT THE BODY SHOP
Send your “Body Shop” questions and comments to Bob Hastings at firstname.lastname@example.org.
HPI (949) 753-1099 hpiracing.com.
PACTRA distributed by Testor Corp. (815) 962-6654; testors.com.
PARMA (440) 237-8650 parmapse.com,
Copyright Air Age Publishing Oct 2002
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