Sheet Metal RC Design

by Chris Duzenberry

Chris is an art major who up until 2 years ago was allowing his talent to play second fiddle to his career as a Communications Engineer . Taking TeamDuze online changed the focus to the customizing and detailing of R/C vehicles, helmets , and shippable items. His forte lies in taking the customer vision for a project , and allowing his talent to dictate a spectacular outcome. His mantra ” The Details Matter!”

We will start off with a list of items that I used through out the job.

( 1 ) Iwata HPCS and Revolution airbrushs.
( 2. ) New #11 X- acto Blade
( 3 ) Grafix Frisket Film Matte in Color
( 4 ) Tamiya Lexan Acrylic Paints and thinner. ” Flat Aluminum ” Gun Metal ” Metallic Grey ” Black ” White
( 5 ) Parma Lexan Water Based Paints. Createx can also be used. ” Black ” Pearl Silver
( 6 ) 1 Paper Clip
( 7 ) 1 Business Card standard size.
( 8 ) 1 Atomik F150 Pre-Cut Lexan body for R/C ( 9 ) Printed out Graphics from the computer. You will need a program like PhotoShop or Paint Shop for Mirroring the images .

#1 Wash and Scuff the body using mild soap, Scotch Brite pad, and lukewarm water. Dry completely using a lint free cloth, and allow to air dry, wipe again just before applying masking material. Scuffing the body will promote adherence of the paint.

I pulled up on the computer the graphic files sent to me from Vertigo Performance in Photo Shop. I manipulated the image down to the size I needed for this paint job and then created a mirrored image. If it were not mirrored then the lettering would be backward on the detail and would be reversed once painted. I then printed the graphic on normal paper, cut it out and taped it into place where I wanted it.

 

Next, I took the Grafix Frisket film and cut a piece to the size of the area that I wanted to mask off, and applied the frisket to the area. Frisket film can be tricky to use on these bodies as it sometimes does not want to adhere. Press the edges down really well so that you do not get spray under the mask.
With my X – acto blade, I free hand cut the image into the frisket. Use caution to not apply to much pressure as you do not want to see the cut marks on the lexan. The graphic is used only as a reference. I did not cut out all the details as I wanted to achieve a certain effect with the logo. Therefore, I only cut the perimeter lines that would be aluminum, the inner VP lettering, the inner lettering for the VP, and the flame embossment. I did the same with the small VP logo that would be on the rear of the truck. For the lettering on the sides, I cut the perimeter and the inner lettering.

Reference pictures below .

 

 

 

Once all the graphics were cut, I then unmasked the first area that I would be painting. Normally in painting designs for Lexan, you would paint dark to light. In this case, I did not. As long as the graphic is backed with either white or Silver, you can paint the detail pieces and then go back to the main body work.

Now that we are ready to begin painting the details, I unmasked the first area that I would paint. I removed the perimeter around the lettering. Using Parma Faskolor White I shook the bottle and removed the cap. With the little bit that was in the cap I dipped the end of a straightened paper clip into the paint in the cap and just dotted the areas of where I wanted the rivets for the sheet metal to be in the logo. Continuing to the other smaller logo’s in the rear doing the same.

 

 

Let that dry for 10 – 15 minutes and next with the FasBlack I dipped the straightened paper clip end into the cap of the black paint and dotted over the white. Being careful to not scratch the white away but to ensure that the coverage of the black goes over the white completely. Let that dry for 10 – 15 minutes. . At this time I am not worried about the rivets on the rest of the body. These will be taken care of later. Reference pictures below.

 

 

After the black is dry I then loaded just a small amount of Tamiya Acrylic Flat Aluminum into my HP-CS and shot the unmasked border. Reference pictures below.

 

 

 

 

I then removed the masking for the embossed flame area inside of the letters VP see as well as removed the internal portion of the Vertigo Lettering on the sides.

 

 

I did not apply a drop or light shadow on the flame as I want them to look recessed into the logo. I took Tamiya Acrylic Gun Metal and shot the flame area in all of the VP’s and I faded half of the lettering. I achieved the fade by painting heavy on the bottom of the letter and pulling the brush away as I moved toward the top of the letter. This will be a very subtle fade as the other color will be very close to the Gun Metal color. Reference pictures below.

 

 

 

With that completed, I then removed the outside Graphic and the rest of the mask for the design. When removing the frisket it can sometimes leave behind a sticky residue. Using the frisket you just pulled up use the tacky portion and stick it to the residue and lift. Generally this will work. If it does not be sure that the paint has dried really well first, then take some painters green tape and carefully blot to remove, or if you do not want to risk removal of the painted area, you can use a Q tip with non blurring thinner, rubbing alcohol, Windex, or BoLink Body Wash to name a few. All of the cleaners, do not leave any film or cloudiness behind. DO NOT USE ACETONE as it will cloud the lexan.

Now for the Shadows! I used Tamiya Black and painted drop shadows on one side, and using Tamiya white I painted light shadow’s on the opposite. This helps to provide depth to the lettering.

 

 

This allowed me to then use for the main color again the Tamiya Flat Aluminum. The shadows do the work to separate the colors for me. I applied the main color with several light coats and then backed with white.

 

 

On the lettering, I used Tamiya Metallic Grey from the top of the letter down toward the middle making sure to fill in the lettering. I then backed this with white as well. In some light the lettering looks solid on color and then others you can see the difference.

 

 

Now we will move onto the graphics for the main portion of the body. This is where the fun begins. Taking a regular sized business card and figuring out the way that you want the panels to lay on the truck I began by just holding the card in place and using Parma FasBlack painting half on and half off the card all the way around the card. Try to keep the angle the same, still painting half on and off all the way around the card. This will help to keep the look of the panels going all in the same direction. . As you can see in this picture, I then went and using the same method with the straightened paper clip I dipped and white and did the corners and then in black. Don’t forget that the entire truck is to look like riveted sheet metal. So I put rivets where the sheets would be fastened to some kind of under member to keep them from flapping around. . I also painted a drop shadow behind the lettering and the logo to provide more depth.Reference pictures below.

 

 

 

On this body, I opted for a Black cover on the bed. So I took green masking tape and taped off the perimeter of the cap and used the black at the same time as doing the above detail work.
Once the black is dry, it was time for the main event. Usually for main body colors I like to use my HVLP ( High Volume Low Pressure ) gun. For those that do not have the larger gun you can achieve the same with the airbrush.
I created a custom silver color as I wanted it a bit deeper than just Parma FasPearl Silver. So I mixed FasPearl Silver with a few drops of Black to get that deeper gun metal look, but as NOT as deep as the Tamiya Gun Metal. Using VERY light coats I covered the entire body three times. Light coats with even coverage will work better every time than 1 heavy coat.
A little tip: most people choose to back main body colors with either silver, black or white. White will brighten and enhance most colors, black will deepen and richen, and silver will hold the color right where it is. In this case, I wanted a deeper richer color so I backed it with Parma FasBlack.
Time to tear down and clean the brushes and let the body dry for 24 hours (drying time may be different depending on humidity in your location.) Some people will heat set the paint, and others will cure them in a dry room. I have a special setup where they get some heat setting and some normal curing. The thing with Parma and Createx paints being water based is that in order for them to set they must evaporate all of the water from the paint. So either way works.
Once the paint has set for 24 hours, I then backed the entire job with Pactra Spray Can Outlaw Black. I did this as the Pactra Lacquer based spray cans have excellent nitro fuel resistance to the paint. Nitro Fuel will remove the Parma and Createx paints from the Lexan.
Normally the next step would be to remove the excess Lexan and fit the body. In the case of the Atomik Pre-cut body, all I have to do is insert the window insert using double sided tape and fit the body to the truck.

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