Words and Photos by David Harrington
From RC Driver Issue: 133
By the time you’re done building a chassis, painting the body can be a chore but this is no time to be in a hurry. For me it is the best part of seeing an RC vehicle come together. When I saw the Vaterra Ascender release I just saw an awesome ‘86 K-5 Chevy Blazer body with a cool molded plastic chrome grill. Yeah, there is a cool new innovative chassis underneath but I love my Chevys and had to have it. It’s funny how life works. When I started painting Lexan bodies they didn’t usually come with trim decals and I had to learn to paint everything. Now most bodies come with trim and detail decals and the Ascender is no exception. I especially like how the window decals are tinted. But decals get torn off on the trail and I’ve got to the point where I like to do my own details. So I saw this as a good opportunity to share some detailing tips on how I tried to kick this body up a notch. I spent all week building this truck so let’s get to painting!
• FasMask liquid mask #40281
• Faspearl Silver #40050
• Faspearl Blue #40055
• FasKrome #40300
• FasBlack #40001
• FasWhite #40000
• Faslucent Red #40307
• Faslucent Orange #40309
You should be able to just trim the body on the lines make the holes in the pre-marked spots and drop it on the chassis. If life was only that easy for me! I seem to always have to do something different. I wasn’t a fan of how the sliders wrapped around the door so I left the spacers out to narrow them up then I shaved gap between the body and the sliders. To lower the body I had to cut where it meets the bumpers. I started at the wheel wells and cut up at an angle. That took about an eighth of an inch off the front and back. To get the other eighth off, I notched the body slightly. I not only like the way that lines up the bumpers but I also like how it tucks the wheels into the wheel wells more.
I always debate with myself over the masking technique and I usually end up using liquid mask. While this is a simple scheme that would be easy to tape off and tape would save me from cut- ting some straight lines, ultimately I would still do some cutting. Liquid mask is easier to cut and minimizes frustrations that paint bleeds can cause. I laid two good thick coats of Fasmask with a foam brush, allowing a couple of hours to dry between coats and overnight after the last coat.
Most of the cutting will be done in this first step. I traced the details on the outside with a perma- nent marker and then carefully cut them on the inside. To start, I cut the rear roof area out, the outside of the front and side windows, rear gate latch, the trim piec- es, the turn indicators, the line that splits the two- tone around the trim of the rear taillights and the panel between. Make sure you leave the headlight area masked. I found a brochure for ‘86 Blazers online and checked out my color options. I settled on a light blue and silver theme but I had to mix my own blue. I wanted to get a shade close to the factory color so I added a little bit of Faspearl Blue to the Faspearl Silver. The blue will overpower the silver quickly so it doesn’t take much. It will look darker in the bottle and I feel I could have gone a shade darker. After getting a color I liked I laid three coats, starting with two lighter coats before laying a heavier coat.
After that last big step the bulk of the hard stuff is done. It’s all downhill from here. I already cut the line for the two-tone scheme so I just had to remove the mask from the bottom area and lay my FasPearl Silver in the same manner as I did the blue.
Normally I would have backed the last two Faspearl colors with FasKrome to make them opaque but since I was using the silver behind the blue I saved some time and skipped to this step. Next I cut out the centers of the turn indicators and rear taillights, just removing the outside trim. The rear center panel I did similar to the rear trim panel. Then I removed the mask from the rear latch before spraying the FasKrome in those areas and then backing the whole body.
For the rear panel I wanted to try something different. I have demonstrated a brushed aluminum technique in the past and this was the perfect practical application for that. I laid a thick coat of FasKrome and then before it dried I took a large soft bristle brush and dragged it through, trying to keep my lines as straight as possible. I then backed it with FasSilver and then FasBlack. I got in a hurry and didn’t lay the silver thick enough. You want a good coat of it so the black doesn’t show through too much.
Back in ‘86 the roof would have been black, white or color option one which would be the blue. I decided to go with a white roof to compliment the scheme but first I had to cut the trim around the rear window before removing the mask from the roof. I also cut out two small squares in the rear taillights. Then I laid three good coats of the FasWhite. I wanted to make sure it was opaque so the other colors wouldn’t show through.
Now I cut out all the windows and removed the trim around them. Most ‘86 Blazers had brushed aluminum trim but black vinyl was an option which I thought would complement my bumpers so I also removed the trim pieces before filling these areas with Fasblack. I also backed the whole body in black for a clean, finished look.
I finished up the painting by removing the mask from the turn indicators and rear tail- lights. I filled the indicators in with Faslucent Orange and the taillights with Faslucent Red. I did not back these semitransparent colors because I will be adding lights later.
The molded chrome grill looks great on its own but I had to give it some love too. I
filled the in-betweens on the grill with FasBlack using a No.1 Round brush. I kept paper towels nearby to wipe off any mistakes. Another factory option was to have the center trim of the grill painted the body color so I taped off that section and sprayed a couple of coats of the color that I mixed up.
I just wanted the body I saw on the box. The Vaterra body looks great on its own. I could have just sprayed some blue and been done with it but I think the extra time I took really made a difference. When I took it out for pictures I thought it looked just like the real thing! Now I get to finally drive it and that is the best part!
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