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Old Dec 14, 2013, 10:55 PM
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United States, TN, Signal Mountain
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Help!
Help painting Cowl and Wheel Pants

As you can see in the attached picture, I have spent a lot of time covering my Goldberg Super Chipmunk. Now, itís time to paint the cowl and wheel pants (they are fiberglass from Fiberglass Specialties). However, Iíve never done this before and really have no idea what Iím doing! Iíll be using a glow engine, so the finish has to be oil resistant. Iím trying to do a decent job without breaking the bank.

These are the steps that I have pieced together after reading other posts and articles.
  1. Wash with soap and water
  2. Block sand with 220 grit (dry)
  3. Blow out all dust with air gun
  4. Coat with glazing putty to fill pin holes
  5. Wet block sand with 220
  6. Spray with primer
  7. Wet block sand with 600 grit
  8. Spray final paint (use 3M thin vinyl tape to mask)
Iíll be using a Preval Spray Gun to spray the paint.

Here are my questions:

For the primer, will Rust-Oleum Automobile primer in a rattle can from Home Depot do the job, or should I use a more expensive filler primer from an automotive store? (I picked up a can of Dupli-Color Filler Primer from OíReillyís, but itís twice as much as Rust-Oleum)

For the white, I plan to use Rust-Oleum oil-based protective enamel gloss white. Will that do the job? Do I need to thin it any before spraying it?

For the red: Any tips on how to match the red covering? I went by OíReillyís and learned that the smallest size of their least expensive automotive paint would cost about $50 once I bought the hardener, etc. The covering is Sig Aerokote, so there isnít a matching rattle can paint I can buy (like LustreKote).

Is it necessary to spray a coat of clear coat on the finished product? If so, what brand/type.

Any tips on how to mask both sides of the cowl so that the curves match?

Thanks for your help!
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Old Dec 15, 2013, 08:36 AM
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Traverse City, Michigan
Joined Dec 2005
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In my opinion, you have some steps out of order.

My schedule would be to

wash with dish soap and warm water
sand with 220
Blow with air gun and then wipe clean with a solvent wetted cloth
prime with Duplicolor high build sandable primer
sand with 300 to expose high and low spots
use glazing putty for low spots and pin holes-repeat as necessary
spray with Duplicolor high build
sand with 300
spray top coat

I have never used Rustoleum primer. Although I use Rustoleum top coats I strongly suggest that you use an automotive high build primer. It is sandable and dries quickly. It is designed to do the very thing that you are planning. Duplicolor makes a readily available primer. You get what you pay for.

The glazing putty tube states to use it over primed surfaces. Do not apply it to bare wood or fiberglass. The putty "eats" into the lacquer based primer, forming a chemical bond. It just sits on top of glass, forming a weak, mechanical bond.

Rustoleum white should work well. The can states to thin it with acetone, or mineral spirits. I thin to the consistency of milk. Maybe 40% thinner?60% paint.

I spray a test panel to check viscosity and spray pattern.

You have discovered why I paint entire airframes. Finding a quality, color matching paint is nearly impossible. Automotive paint will probably attack your Rustoleum, anyway.

Here's my suggestion. Rustoleum has at least 3 Reds. Pick the one closest to your covering, and use it.

Although most paint will easily go over most brands of automotive primer, I would suggest that you stick with one brand, when it comes to color coats and clear coats, if you use one.

I do not clear coat my Rustoleum painted models, both gas and glow.

To mask the sides evenly, make a template for your design. Use it to transfer masking outlines to the surface. Repeat for the second side.

I suggest that you let you paint thoroughly dry before spraying each additional color. I like to wait at least a week.

After the first day, set your painted parts in the sun, if possible. The UV helps to cure the paint.

Also, since you are painting just the cowl and wheel pants, I suggest that you purchase aerosol cans instead of quarts. Unless you plan to use the same colors, multiple times, it will probably be less expensive to buy the spray cans.

Rustoleum's aerosols spray well. Although most of my airframes are sprayed with an HVLP gun, I have painted models with Rustoleum aerosol cans. The finish turned out well.

This model was painted from aerosol cans.
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Old Dec 15, 2013, 08:41 AM
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Notice that I suggested 300 grit for final sanding. 600 grit tends to polish the surface. The 300 will leave a more coarse surface, allowing your color coats to have better adhesion to the primer.
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Old Dec 15, 2013, 09:01 AM
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Tom, thank you for the thorough reply. This is very helpful!
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Old Dec 15, 2013, 10:08 AM
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I have not priced one yet, but I heard that my local paint shop, that carries automotive paints, will mix up a rattlecan for you.
they can color match from your covering, and put it in a spry cay for ya!

like I said, I have not priced one yet, I doo know that auto colors are not cheap!
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Old Dec 15, 2013, 11:29 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by whiskykid View Post
I have not priced one yet, but I heard that my local paint shop, that carries automotive paints, will mix up a rattlecan for you.
they can color match from your covering, and put it in a spry cay for ya!

like I said, I have not priced one yet, I doo know that auto colors are not cheap!
Back in the 60s, I had that done. If I remember correctly, I got two cans for $.7.00.

At roughly 10 times that, now (inflation), I would assume the costs to be prohibitive.
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Old Dec 17, 2013, 07:07 PM
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I have a lot of experience with Fiberglass Specialties parts, and one thing I insist on is sanding every square inch of the part with care, to remove all glossy areas.

Final sanding with some detergent before priming is recommended.
Then follow all Tom's suggestions...He and I have become highly experienced with Rustoleum paints (I use rattle cans, he does spray guns) over the last few years.

Rustoleum is glow and gas proof after about a week of drying.

Nice looking build....

Earl.
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Old Dec 17, 2013, 08:06 PM
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atleast he should be using good ol red, white, and blue!
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Old Dec 18, 2013, 12:23 PM
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here is a Cowl and Wheel pants from a 1/3 scale Corby starlet that i recovered and used rattle cans to paint. Used automotive Filler primer and Valspar spray cans from Lowes as well as Valspar Clear coat.

I also painted the Pilot with the same paint/primer
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Old Dec 18, 2013, 04:49 PM
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Nice JOB !! I can appreciate the hard work and preparation.

That kind of work doesn't get done in one sitting...

Earl.
Kudos.
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Old Dec 18, 2013, 06:29 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by epoxyearl View Post
Nice JOB !! I can appreciate the hard work and preparation.

That kind of work doesn't get done in one sitting...

Earl.
Kudos.
Thanks Earl, yeah it a couple of sittings She was a 3 month project
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Old Jun 27, 2014, 02:29 PM
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I finally finished painting my cowl -- I'm very pleased with the results. Thanks for the help! For the red paint, I ended up going to a local automative paint store. They did a color match on the covering and mixed up a spray can of machine enamel for $18 -- after doing the paint match, they took some time to tweak it to get a good match (thanks Tim!). I'm very pleased with it.

One issue is that the paint has a bit of an orange-peel look to the texture -- I think this has to do with my lack of experience with the spraying process (you can see it where the light is reflecting in the picture). Is there anything I can do about it now, such as sand with very fine paper (1200 grit)? If I do sand it, wouldn't I have to put a clear coat on it? If so, what is a good one to use without breaking the bank (Rustoleum?)?
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Old Jun 27, 2014, 05:15 PM
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lumpy bumps (orange peel)

Yes a sanding is in order, and when it's nice and flat looking, with no glossy spots, you can spray clear over it,and get the color back, - if you don't sand through anywhere..A second coat of Red would be a better choice.

I'd suggest setting the spray can in fairly hot water to thin it (either the Red or the Clear),and wiping the can dry before spraying the hot paint on the cowl. The warm paint will flow much better.
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Old Jun 28, 2014, 12:53 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by epoxyearl View Post
Yes a sanding is in order, and when it's nice and flat looking, with no glossy spots, you can spray clear over it,and get the color back, - if you don't sand through anywhere..A second coat of Red would be a better choice.

I'd suggest setting the spray can in fairly hot water to thin it (either the Red or the Clear),and wiping the can dry before spraying the hot paint on the cowl. The warm paint will flow much better.
exactly! I use the hottest water I can get out of my tap, give it (the can) a good shake while filling up a small pot, let sit in hot water for a few, then give it another good shake!

and if your gonna wet sand, I would put another coat or two!
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Old Jun 28, 2014, 11:23 AM
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Thanks for the advice EpoxyEarl and whiskykid. So, it sounds like sanding and hitting with another coat or red is the best option (after letting paint can sit in hot water). What grit sandpaper would you recommend? Also, what about the line between the red and white - I'm thinking if I sand that out, again, I have to hit with clear coat?
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