Tuesday, October 24, 2017
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Viper Gets it’s stripes

This article was originally published in RC Driver’s June 2016 issue.



It’s been a while since my on-road cars received new bodies, and since recently my electric road car got a new hot rod body, I think my nitro powered HPI RS4 Evo 3 was getting a little jealous. So I decided to hook it up with a new lid as well. Recently Delta Plastiks USA started distributing a large a selection of these Italian made bodies here in the U.S.A. Therefore I decided to look for something in their large selection of bodies.

I have always loved the Dodge Viper. Something about it just looks aggressive, like it is about to att ack. Now that I’ve chosen my body, I needed to choose a paint scheme. Aft er looking at pictures of Vipers it became obvious that it has to have stripes but I wanted to do something a litt le diff erent. I liked the theme they are using on the most current Viper, with the thick black stripe down the center, and a thinner red stripe down the side. I thought it was interesting how the off set brighter color made the whole stripe seem off set, so I thought, what if I off set my whole stripe but run the brighter color down the center pulling the eye back the other way? I didn’t know how that would turn out, but I gave it go. Some paint jobs tell you how they want to be done. The easiest way to do stripes and keep them straight as possible, is going to be masking tape. Spray cans are the quickest and easiest method for applying solid colors. This also makes sense since this body is going on a nitro car and spray paints are more fuel resistant. So masking tape and ratt le cans it is. I have no choice; the body made me do it! This will be a paint job that anyone looking to att empt their fi rst paint job can do.


1 To start with, you will need to trim the body out. To do this you need a pair of scissors designed especially for cutting out Lexan bodies. These scissors have long handles for leverage, and short curved blades for cutting small areas. I cut about 1/4 inch around the line before going back and making my cut on the line. This body also has a wing so make sure you do not discard that with the scraps. When it is all trimmed out, I test fit it on the chassis to mark where my holes will be. Alignment is critical on an on-road car because you do not want tire rub, so check and recheck, before making your holes with a body reamer. It is criti- cal you use a reamer intended for Lexan bodies, as a drill will make a mess of things. I make small holes, and recheck the alignment so I can make slight adjust- ments if needed, before opening the holes up. The holes for the wing are clearly marked, so those are easy. Since this is a nitro car I will need to make holes for airflow, glow igniter, fuel tank, etc., but I wanted it to look clean for photos so I will do that later. I did, however, have to make the hole for the pipe to come out.


2 I feel it is important to mount the body before you start, as it will save a lot of hassle later. With that out of the way, we can get to it. In order for the paints to lay properly and for the best adhesion, the body needs to be free of oils. I give it a good scrubbing with dish soap and warm water. After drying the body with some lint free towels, it is time to start masking. First I will start with the precut window masks that are included with the body. Start with the side and back to get warmed up, as these are the easiest. Then move on the front windshield. This gave me some frus- tration because of the curve in it. I found it best to line it up along the side and then start lining up along the roof line. When you get it along the top, pull the side up, reposition the corner, and work your way from top to bottom. When using masking tape I really like to use Parma’s FasMask tape. Hardware store tape is thick and leaves gooies. That blue painters tape isn’t tacky or flexible enough. Parma’s tape is super thin, but plastic coated, and it is yellow for easy visibility. I start running my stripe from the windshield down. To keep it straight through the curves of the nose, I had to make a couple of slices. I used three pieces of slightly overlapping 18mm tape for the wide stripe and 10mm for the thinner line. Then I lined up the tape in the roof before doing the rear deck. I had to make one more slice before going down the back.


3 Before laying the paint, you should go over the entire mask and make sure none is lifting. On this body all the louvres in the hood are critical. I start by laying the Silver Streak. This is a fairly opaque color, but do not try to make it opaque in one coat. Lay a thin transparent coat, wait five minutes, then lay another thin coat. After the third coat it should be mostly opaque, but you will still see a little light if you are looking tin direct sun- light. Before laying the Metallic Black, I remove all the 18mm pieces of tape. When laying the black, I just cover the whole body in the same manner that I laid the silver. That way if it dark- ens the silver it will be even and consistent over the whole body. Unfortunately, this particular can had a defective nozzle that sputtered in my stripe, making lay it darker than intended to hide the sputters. I’ve never had that problem with Duratrax paint before; this was just an anomaly. To bring out the metallic in the back, it will need to be backed with a few coats of the silver. No need to back the whole body. Just cover the black. I also painted the wing at this time. I did want to back it with silver so it would show, so I just laid the black extra thick.


4 Finally I will lay the Pearl Blue, after removing the strip of 10mm tape. This tape had lifted slightly in a couple of spots. To clean it up, I just scraped the overspray off with the tip of my hobby knife. Then I sprayed the blue in a strip right down the stripe. The pearl color will be slightly transparent, so don’t get too carried away with it. It will then need to be backed with the silver. I just cover the whole inside of the body with the silver for a uniform look.


5 With all the messy painting out of the way, we’re just finishing up now. After giving some time to dry, I remove the window mask, and then the overspray film. I love removing the overspray film to reveal the true paint job underneath! One of the reasons this was such a quick paint job is because a nice set of decals with all the details included. They are precut, so it is a matter of peel and stick. Line up a corner or edge, and then just work my way back and forth to keep air bubbles out. If you get a bubble, just stab it with the tip of your hobby knife.


6 One last thing! I just need to mount the wing. To mount the wing, you just need a Phillips head screwdriver, and a 5.5mm socket for the included screws and nuts. You can find a 5.5mm socket on the 4-way wrench that comes with nearly every RTR. That’s it; it is ready to drop on the chassis!

Now that it is done, I’m not sure about the positioning of the blue stripe. I like that I offset my stripe, but I think maybe I should have put the blue stripe on the out- side instead of the center. I do like that this gives my paint job a unique look. I am also glad I used blue instead of red, because that just makes it fit in with my other paint jobs. I could just be nitpicking, but the point here is that you shouldn’t be afraid to experiment a little. That’s the only way you can really see how thing will work out.

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