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Customizing Diecast 101: Squirting Flames Page 3

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With the tip of the blade, raise one edge of the tape mask that you want to remove, and then pull it up with tweezers. You’ll now clearly see how the flame design looks on the body. When you’re satisfied with the design, carefully peel the mask off the body and put it temporarily on a clean glass or plastic surface to use again later. Make sure that the tips of the tape don’t touch each other, or they will be impossible to use again.


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The two Zephyrs now have the airbrushed fades where the graphics will go. I used a custom mix of PPG automotive paint, “pearls” and candy colors. I sprayed white primer over the areas on which I planned to apply graphics because the bright paint I planned to use later would show up better. I then applied yellow paint followed by airbrushed streaks of orange and a little red, too. I applied the yellow again to highlight certain areas, all the while keeping in mind where I’d position the mask.

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Apply a light coat of two-part automotive clearcoat to protect the fades. Always use a respirator when painting, especially when clear-coating. The light clearcoat is essential because you’ll reapply the mask and remove it for use on the next vehicle. It also allows an easier fix if subsequent coats of paint bleed under the mask.


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Carefully apply and position the precut flame tape masks. Tweezers are handy for placing the mask just where you want it. With the masks in place, lightly spray the body with black primer (over the bright color). Spray on the black base paint, and then follow the edges of the mask with a mist coat of Pearl Green. The second, lighter color provides a glowing outline that adds depth to the graphics.


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Remove the tape mask and place it on a clean piece of glass if you plan to use it again. (I used the same mask on the pickup.) If the black base paint bleeds into the flame designs somewhat, that isn’t a major problem because the pinstriping you’ll add later will cover this. If you want to remove the bleed, lightly scrape it off with a hobby-knife blade, or use a paintbrush that has been dipped into lacquer thinner to gently brush it away. When you remove the bleeds, remember to clean your paintbrush often. (You won’t be able to remove the bleeds if a clearcoat isn’t there to protect the airbrushed fades.)

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Updated: June 30, 2011 — 11:23 AM

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