Sunday, March 22, 2009

'69 Charger 500--MCW Paint

After a few weeks of humid and wet weather things are finally clearing up. I figured I could try the paint on the 69 Charger 500 model without too much fear of the humidity causing the paint to "cloud over".

As I said last time, after some online research it seems that an outfit called Model Car World is where all the serious builders go to get their factory-perfect colors. Their website has an almost bewildering choice of paints....I played it safe and chose Hemi Orange since most of the 1:1 photos I have are of a red/orange Charger 500, so I figure this color to be accurate.

It took a few weeks to get the paint, but when the bottles arrived I was happy....the Hemi Orange looked perfect when compared to photos of 1:1 69 Chargers.

My standard rig for painting bodies is a Testors "Clear Blue" compressor, which is on loan from a friend, and a Badger Model 200 airbrush. I have to give the loaner back so I bought an expensive compressor but it hasn't arrived yet--next paint job though we'll see if the added advantage of a moisture trap and adjustable output help.

The Badger Model 200 is single action, so it's not a good choice for anything tricky, but for painting bodies it gets the job done, and is relatively easy to use and clean compared to my double action airbrush.

I was surprised that the MCW paint is hobby lacquer--I assumed it was acrylic based but it isn't. It is prethinned, and for me the paint went on perfectly without any sort of thinning or futzing necessary--just load up the brush and shoot. After each coat I ran a bowl of lacquer thinner (Ace's cheapo high-test lacquer thinner--I have read that I need "quality" lacquer thinners for good results, but so far I haven't seen any difference--and besides, I am just using it to clean things, not to thin the paint). After 2 color coats I broke down the airbrush for a quick clean, then reassembled and kept spraying. I had no issues with clogging, which I attribute to the paint being correctly thinned and repetitive cleaning of the brush.

I applied 6 color coats--the MCW site says not to use mist coats, so I didn't. I let each color coat dry for about 10 minutes then lightly sanded out any imperfections with dry 1200 grit sandpaper. It's always a bit scary to scratch a freshly applied coat, but I have found that lightly dry sanding between lacquer color coats doesn't hurt anything. The paint has surprisingly small amounts of orange peel, compared to say Duplicolor or even Tamiya lacquer, and it self-healed surprising well, spreading itself around and "deblotching" to a certain degree. Another thing I learned (or "re-learned"--I already discovered this but had already forgotten....): that for ALL spray painting, ALWAYS start the spray stroke while NOT pointing the can or airbrush directly at the subject you're painting! This seems rudimentary--since that first shot almost always leaves runs and blobs of paint--but somehow I always find myself forgotting this simple rule.

In spite of some minor issues along the way, the result is, so far, the best/smoothest paint job I've done yet. Some of the paint in the engine compartment chipped a bit when I test fitted the hood, but I can probably touch this up without too much trouble. And the orange does look like the right orange. Yes indeed--MCW rules!

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