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Thread: Painting a fueselage 2 different colors - paint entire airplane one color first?

  1. #1

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    Painting a fueselage 2 different colors - paint entire airplane one color first?

    I plan on painting my airplane primarily yellow, with some black and red stripes as well. The stripes are as wide as 6 inches in places. Should I paint it all yellow first and then just paint the stripes on over the yellow? Or is it better to mask off the stripes from the yellow and paint them right over the primer coat?

  2. #2

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    Quote Originally Posted by Vetteman89 View Post
    I plan on painting my airplane primarily yellow, with some black and red stripes as well. The stripes are as wide as 6 inches in places. Should I paint it all yellow first and then just paint the stripes on over the yellow? Or is it better to mask off the stripes from the yellow and paint them right over the primer coat?
    I think the real answer is, it depends on the results you want. My RV is getting ready to go to paint and I had similiar conversations with my painter. He's painting the striping over the primary white base coat. Since my striping is also metallic, it also needs a clear coat which compounds the discussion. The issue is whether or not you find the edge of the striping offensive or not. If you paint on top of your base coat, there will be a definite raised edge. Conversely, to mask the striping off as part of the initial base coat and to ensure that there are no gaps or overlaps adds significant labor to the project. So as I started off saying, there is no right answer, just the one you make based upon your opinion and priorities.
    --
    Bob Leffler
    RV-10 Flying
    www.mykitlog.com/rleffler

  3. #3

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    I will note that how each color's tone appears is influenced by the color underneath it. If the base cote is white, you get good results painting a stripe of any color over it. With a base coat of yellow, I suspect that your stripe's appearance will be influenced by that yellow base. So in that case, you will likely get better results from masking out the stripes before painting the main fuselage color, and then masking to paint the stripes with only the primer underneath them.

    The layering of colors is a frustrating subject. You will get a slightly different appearance from using a white primer vs a grey primer. To explain another way, since each layer of paint is only a few thousandths thick, the reflection of the light will always show you something of the lower layers of color. Plus, the reflected light will show the contours of those lower layers shows if you don't do your prep perfectly.

    Best of luck,

    Wes
    N78PS

  4. #4
    prasmussen's Avatar
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    Your screen name suggests you might be thinking of automotive finish standards where weight and flexibility of the surface may not be issues, grasshopper.
    The journey is the reward.

  5. #5

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    Yeah I have an 89 Vette - had a 72 back in the day. But I wasn't going to go with the automotive paints.

    I have taken a good long look and study at the Stewart Systems waterbourne ecocrylic (including a visit to the factory) and am going to give it a try. What I like about it is there is no solvent, so my garage and house are not going to smell like solvent. And it cleans up with just water.

  6. #6

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    I can offer the caution that Stewart appears to go on easily, but a friend reports that the shelf life is relatively short and begins the moment it goes into the can. A friend used some that was not that close to what he thought was the published shelf life and he wound up stripping his entire wing and starting over with a more traditional paint system. So get it and use it while its fresh....

    I will note that there is no magic to paint. If you are painting aluminum or composites, PPG or Dupont are still both good choices. Fabric is another story.

    I will note that the weight of the finish is generally determined by the painter, not the paint. Just don't over do it.

    Best of luck,

    Wes
    N78PS

  7. #7
    I paint a lot of experimental for clients (over 200 now). I use Sherwin Williams Acry-Glo paint. On any light colors (yellows, reds, orange, etc) you should paint the entire aircraft white underneath first so you end up with the proper hue of the colors you picked. Then your yellow over the white, progressing through the darker trim colors. Try to run your trim paint lines away from rivets if metal skins. After all paint is complete, use 2000 grit wet / dry paper and wet sand the edges down. Then buff to bring back the gloss.

  8. #8

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    Sep 2012
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    Hey iflyamphib,

    Do you shoot teh acry-Glo with an HVLP gun? If so, what is yoru air pressure setting at the gun? I have been reading a lot of good things about Acry-Glo and may go that route. Anything you can tell me about it woudl be appreciated.

    thanks!

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