LunchBox - finished - at last
Many thanks to those of you who kindly gave advice when it came to spraying. I have decided to list all the mistakes I made, in the hope that people might learn from my mistakes.
As a brief introduction, whilst this is indeed my first R/C build since 1987 and actually my first ever hard shell spray, I am a professional mechanical engineer and therefore many of the general techniques employed are known to me. I also of course have a wealth of knowledge within our company whom have given advice, one whom has reasonably good experience in spray painting.
The first mistake I made was using 3M Scotchbrite pads on primer paint (the fine / white version). Whilst they have excellent qualities for certain jobs including removal of sheen from unpainted plastic prior to priming, they are IMO not well suited to rubbing paint. Perhaps I didn't "use them" properly, however I found wet and dry papers, in various grits from 1200 thro' to 8000 much better.
Second mistake I made was using a dry cloth to dry bodywork after cleaning (which started th thread). Cleaning with water, toothbrush, soapy water grounds out static but the dry cloth / rubbing regenerates a static charge which dust spores (and paint dust in the extractor booth) clung to whenever it was agitated whilst spraying. SOLUTION - drying conducted using only lint free paper towels (patted, not rubbed) then a high pressure, oil free, air line to chase the tiny beads from all crevices, holes etc. I am aware that some pat dry, then air dry under a box overnight, however I found that residual deposits within domestic water (calcium, chlorine / other chemicals and dirt etc. within the water tank, albeit in tiny amounts) dried on in "spots" causing later headaches.
Third mistake I made was spraying in an industrial extractor booth which is generally used for spraying (transport brackets bright red or oil flanges gloss black). As brackets and blanking flanges are, generally speaking, disposable items, they are sprayed quickly and without great accuracy thus red and black dust paint dots were prevalent. The extractor booth is also located within 3 metres of a shutter door to the outside and is thus not a dust free environment. SOLUTION - Body sprayed on a rolling table on plastic sheet about 18 inches in front of the extractor, instead of within the actual cabinet.
Fourth mistake I made was spraying the mist coats too close and too thick. For anybody who hasn't read that blog on Italian Horses dot net, you really should. It is a masterclass in getting a piano finish on your bodywork.
Fifth mistake I made was waiting way too long between mist and wet coats. Provided they're kept thin, mist coats can be applied one after another within a few minutes of each other, provided the paint has "gassed out". I found that Tamiya rattle can paint gasses out once misted within 3 mins and wet in about 5-10 mins. The only process one should really wait for 24 hours (before flatting / rubbing back, washing and repeat) is chemical hardening, not "drying".
Some things I got right first time:
- Future Floor gloss over the top of decals (two mist coats and one wet - airbrushed using 0.4mm nozzle) is fantastic so thank you to all those who have raved about this instead of Tamiya X-22 etc. on this site. Whilst FF, Pledge and its namesakes is banned from retail sale in the UK/EU due to standards relating to substances which might be accidentally swallowed (anti-tamper caps, vibrant fluorescent colours and something to make it smell horrible all required). Auction sites still sell it. Also, I had to spray this whilst working from home (post COVID), thus had to make a "push" extractor into the garden (photos).
- Decals applied and moved into position using the soapy water (dish detergent / washing up liquid) trick, dried and de-air-bubbled using cotton buds and subsequently warmed using a hairdryer to stretch them into bumps and curves. Pushing the decals into grooves using the round part (not the sharp end) of a tooth pick / cocktail stick gives really excellent finish. Thanks to whomever uploaded that "geek-out video" to the tube of the Fiat 500 Abarth. Everybody loves a geek-out.
- 6000-8000 grit wet and dry. Beautiful stuff. Especially for removing overspray.
- Final flat ~ rubbing compound ~ wax polish, was completed with 8000 grit (very wet and super light pressure), then "Mer", then Autoglym Super Resin polish, all automotive products.
- I bought a Sparmax compressor and Harder Steenbeck airbrush for detail work and gloss coats. Whilst they're expensive, I didn't want to chance my "entry level" plastic airbrush and aerosol as trials showed it to be inaccurate, and not fine enough.
PS - I rolled it on the first outing, so the roof's now scratched. Sorry Vanessa!
NEXT Project - Bother in law bought a Super Clod Buster. I bought a Trumpeter LCS-2 USS Independence in 1:350.
Thanks again people, you are all very kind and helpful so I hope the above acts as a good lesson / payback from myself.