Getting better

As previously mentioned, I’ve been putting off painting the body on the ’50 Olds because that is where I expected it all to go off the rails. I don’t know why I have such trouble getting body paint to look good. I’ve probably watched twenty videos showing how to do it at this point, and it looks so damn easy. Yet the second I touch the paint can, it all goes to hell. But what really doesn’t make any sense is that I can make the primer look perfect, just not the color coat.

I finally had to suck it up and go for it:


I really hate that I can’t photograph this one in anything approaching the correct color, but you’ll get the idea. The paint went down with only a couple of very minor imperfections (a couple specks I had missed in my final cleaning and a rogue fiber about half the size of an eyelash). It looked very, very good.

It turns out that my primary issue was misunderstanding what was meant by the term ‘wet coat’. My mist coats would go down fine, but when I got to the first wet coat, I would put too much paint on and it would start to run. I think I now understand why they always put the term ‘wet’ in quotations when they talk about it. I was trying to get the entire surface of the body to look like it was covered in liquid, which can only be achieved by covering the entire surface in liquid. Once you do that, all that liquid starts to run. This time, I just sprayed until the whole thing was covered fairly lightly. When I pulled the can away to check my work, I noticed that the light reflecting off of it made it look very shiny, as if it was wet. So you don’t want it to be wet, you only want it to look wet. Lesson learned.

Once the paint was dry, I started to work on the side chrome with Bare-Metal Foil. I’ve used the product around a window and even did the grill of the last build with the stuff, but I was concerned with how well I would be able to apply it to the long, thin chrome strips on the sides of the car. It turns out that my concern was not misplaced. Putting the stuff down wasn’t much of an issue; I had the first piece in place and tacked nicely (using toothpicks and tweezers) in ten minutes or so. Where it all went bad was in trying to trim the piece and remove the excess foil. The trim on the side of the car is raised only very slightly. When I began to run my X-acto knife down it (brand new blade, using only the weight of the tool) it slipped a couple of times in both directions; some damage was done to the trim and some to the body paint. I cursed under my breath, but continued. Repeating the process on the other side of the car, I had exactly the same result: damage to the paint and trim.

I truly believe in the Bare Metal Foil product, but in this case I simply couldn’t make it work. It’s one thing to apply it around a window where you have neat little grooves to use as cutting/tucking guides, however, on the long, flat side of the car, I simply couldn’t achieve a good result. Knowing that it would only get worse as I tried to cover more of the trim, I scrapped it and started over.

Removing the Bare Metal Foil from the portions I had already applied it to did more damage to the paint. My once nearly pristine finish had a couple of gouges in it. I did some wet sanding on the body and painted it again. This time there are a couple of noticeable flaws in the surface. Fuck. I’m going to continue pressing forward though, knowing that with my current skill level any attempts to improve it will only make it worse.

After the paint had time to dry, again, I took another shot at the trim. This time I masked it off with Tamiya Tape and hand painted it with Testors Metallic Silver. I had a couple of very small oopsies, but overall it looked much better than what I was able to achieve with the Bare Metal Foil in this particular application.


Again, I am very disappointed that I’m not able to get the actual color of the thing in the pictures. It’s a much deeper color, more like burgundy. All I can get in pictures is red or brown. My trim is far from perfect, but it looks fairly good, even under the unforgiving eye of the digital camera. I joked previously that the GTX would be my 3-foot car (stand that far away and it looks good) and my next one would be a 2-foot car. It looks like It will be more like a 1-foot car, so I skipped one step completely. Though this one is far from completed, maybe the next one (a 1975 AMC Gremlin) will be the one that looks good even if you hold it in your hands – but don’t touch it, dammit!

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