Thursday, May 08, 2008

Back to RC, Etc.

Society has some mixed up priorities. For instance, I've been trained to think that when school is in session, I should be spending more time studying and otherwise fulfilling my scholastic obligations instead of racing RC cars. Go figure. Fortunately, school is not always in session and I can spend some time playing.

I decided my big car (Losi XXX-T) needs some stuff that I didn't get a chance to get for it last year, including some new turnbuckles and a new body. The new body is fun because it means a rare opportunity to exercise my inner artist. There are many cool effects that can be done with these car bodies. The interesting thing is that they are clear and you paint them from the inside so you have to reverse the order of painting the design. This also make the finish look great. That ultra glossy shine is automatic since it's showing through clear plastic. This will be my second attempt at car body painting; my first resulted in a really neat paint job on my little car (Associated RC18T). The current cosmetic state of these cars is depicted well by this pic on an old post. ("My Racing Team Grows by One", June 2007) You can't really tell from the pic, but the big car's body is a little trashed. It's got a couple of tears and some hole and it's in a general state of disrepair.

So as I said, this gives me a chance to exercise my inner artist. I've decided to try some different techniques and masking systems to see if I can get better results than in the past. As a kid I build many plastic models and I never really got very good at it. I always had a hard time keeping the paint from bleeding under the masking tape and getting a good finish, but I think I have many strategies to avoid this. For one thing, I ponied up and bought good masking material. If you have to measure something, then the measurement is only as good as the measuring tape, and this is a similar situation. For masking I will be using special low tack masking tape made by Tamiya for modelers and vinyl masking material that is used by professional sign and graphics people. This last stuff comes from the roll end department of a local plastic supply on a 30" wide roll, so I can have nice big pieces to make a design then transfer it to the workpart. When I was younger I didn't even know this stuff existed. I'm excited to try it.

This same inner artist had an affair with an airbrush about 12 years ago too. I took a few classes from a guy named Chad Bailey, who is an extremely talented artist. (My claim to fame with his work is he used my airbrush for some background fading on one of his paintings, "Where Eagles Play".) Airbrushing is really fun, but I didn't stick with it for many reasons. For one thing, my parents weren't willing to allow me space in the house for it since it requires some kind of spray area inside. This continues to be a good reason why I still don't do it. I also sold my airbrush since I never used it.

At this point (if you are still reading) you may be asking yourself, "what it the world does airbrush have to do with RC car?" The answer is simple, airbrushes are the key tool for getting great car body finishes. (Here's an example.) Only a limited amount of paint for this application is available in rattle spray cans. If I had an airbrush I would be able to use dozens more colors and using the colors that are available I could mix other paint colors. Have you ever tried mixing two spray cans together? If you are really good you can mix it by applying light coats of the colors you want to mix, but this isn't nearly as consistent.

Anyway, I'm excited to try some new things.


At 7:40 PM, Blogger Chelsea said...

Good job Baby! You should someday do a blog about graduation day! Hint hint! You should show your final car for everyone to see. It turned out quite well! My talented little graduate!


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