RC Nightmare Community Blog

Painting Lexan Body part 1/2: Preparations, Masking

Painting a new body can be a daunting task but with some planning and patience you can get your design onto that clear body with ease and have it look like a masterpiece. I will show you how I painted the ATTK-10 body that came with the HPI Blitz ESE. The painting will be done with shaker spray cans.

The lexan/polycarbonate body is clear and comes with a protective film on the outside. Paint is applied to the inside of the body and decals applied on the outside. The ATTK-10 is a precut body with wheel wells and body posts precut/drilled. If your body is not precut you should get familiar with where the excess materials are around the body and ream holes for the body mounts.

To get the position of the body mounts, set the clear body on your truck ensuring that the wheels line up in their wheel well. Use a marker to mark where the body posts are.  Use a body reamer to ream out the holes. A drill and sharp bit will work in a pinch if you do not have access to a reamer.

HPI_Blitz_ESE_Unpainted

HPI Blitz ESE Unpainted

Decide on the design you want on your body. Not being a particularly artistic type I chose to use the features on the body as inspiration for my design. I would recommend this method if this is your first body and you are unsure of what design to use.  Most bodies will have ‘features’ that you can incorporate in your painting scheme. The design I’m going with will be a yellow/black /clear design using some features in the body mold to dictate where the lines are.

A simple way to try different designs before you spray any paint is to take some pictures of the clear body and use an application like MS Paint to lay down some colours/patterns that you are thinking of. It may not be an exact likeness of what your final product will be but it should be enough to give you a general idea. Another method to try different designs is to use a sharpie/marker on the outside of the body….just draw out what you want. If you want to try a different design, use some rubbing alcohol on a paper towel to rub out the marker lines and try again. :)

Once your design is settled there is some prep work to be done to the body before you can apply paint.

First, thoroughly wash the inside of the body with some soapy water and dry completely with a lint free towel. This will remove any lint/dust/oils that may be on the body, from the manufacture or shop you got your body from, leaving you with a surface that is ready to adhere the paint correctly.

Second, mask off your design on the inside of the body. Your options for masking are tape or a liquid mask. The liquid mask is a definite if you have an intricate/complicated design. If your design consists of mainly straight lines (like mine) you will be fine with good ol’ masking tape.

There are different kinds of masking tape available but I would recommend using the painter’s blue/green tape over the traditional beige masking tape. This is because the adhesive on the painters tape is not as sticky as the beige one so if you need to reposition it it will be easier to peel off and reposition.  They are both effective against paint bleeding.

Line up the edge of the tape with the lines of your design. You can make the tape follow a slight curve if you apply one edge first then flatten down the other side when you have your curve matched. If you want clear windows use the precut window masks or create your own. To prevent bleeding apply pressure on the edges of the mask.

You may use a knife to cut out details with the tape applied – make sure you use a sharp knife and do not apply too much pressure that may score the body. If the body gets scored, it will become a weak point that can break in a crash.

For masking larger portions that will be the same colour sheets of paper can be an effective mask/splash guard. If you are going to use paper be sure you have all the edges taped off completely. The spray is a fine mist that will find its way under anything that isn’t sealed completely.

I will be applying the black colour first so the masking will be for anything that is yellow/clear.

Trace detail for opposite side

Inserts traced from opposite side

TIP

: I wanted part of the back of the truck to have some clear detailing as defined by the roll cage. You can freehand cut out tape to match the size of the detail but this will involve a lot of trial and error/luck/skill. If your truck mold has symmetric features, a trick is to use the outside of the opposite side as a guide. Apply tape on the outside of the opposite side of the truck and trace around the detail/feature. This shape will be the exact dimensions you’ll need.

Once your body is masked off  you can start the painting. Painting Lexan Body Part 2 will be applying the paint and decals.

3 thoughts on “Painting Lexan Body part 1/2: Preparations, Masking

  1. [...] that our body is all masked off and ready let’s turn it into a [...]

  2. batman says:

    you should really try the liquid mask. alot less hassle to put on, to cut and no bleeding edges no adhesive residue. its only about $5 to do an sc truck.

  3. Allan says:

    Yeah, this is something i’m looking forward to trying out!

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