Viper: White Paint

Posted December 4th, 2011 by Devin and filed in Colonial Viper MKII, Modeling

Vipers are white, which poses a special problem in that white is one of the absolute worst colors to have to work with.  Some will say it’s replicating a bare metal finish that’s the most difficult, but I’d rather paint a dozen aluminum and tin and steel clad aircraft than just one in white.

I started off the process by covering the already painted engine intakes with Silly Putty.  Then it was time to mix up the paint.  Here I’m using the lacquer based Mr. Color gloss white.  I prefer acrylics for most everything except priming, but since white is so troublesome, I wanted something that would dry fast and stick like glue immediately; acrylics dry fast but can sometimes take days until they’re ready to sand/feather or mask over.   The obvious issue with lacquer as opposed to acrylics is that they are about as toxic as standing water in an abandoned Jersey City lot, but they do spray and work beautifully.

I did an initial coat of the stuff that I’d thinned a bit too much.  It went on translucent, so I made the best of it and got as much coverage as I could.  There were a few imperfections that I’d missed, and the ever-present dust particles that stick in the paint no matter how well I clean the area, that I had to take care of.  Fortunately the paint was dry enough to sand in a couple of hours.

The next painting session went better, and I’ve got a good overall coat of white now.  There are a few places where dust needs to be polished out, and a spot of rough paint below the canopy where the surface is grainy — from not getting a wet enough application — but I’m hoping that I can work these areas and not get back down to primer and need to spray them again.  If that’s the case then the next stop is either masking and spraying the red stripes, or making the engines and other bays for dark gray paint.  I haven’t decided which to do next.

The end is (almost!) in sight.

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