Finishing the Viper – Paint and Decals

The final processes have begun. To achieve any kind of reasonable finish on this massive warbird, I have to learn a new skill.

I’ve used bog, (bondo) before on smaller projects, but this is a whole new ball game. To start, I asked around friends and people in the industry for advice. I got some good stuff too. Then I joined a Facebook group called Panel-Beaters Australia. Those guys and girls are amazing! Not one person patronised me. They all gave me great tips, encouragement and advice on how to get my surfaces looking good. Now, I’ve done no apprenticeship, but I like to think I can tackle most new skills well, to the point that I can get by and do a reasonable job. It’s not going to be perfect and I’m OK with that. I’ll do my best.

Through the use of orbital sanders, splines, straight edges, guide-coats and more, I’ve managed to make good progress on the fuselage. I’ve even got the first coat of primer on and it’s looking good so far. Hopefully the race is on now, to the finish line.

25 Sept 2023

I’ve been fortunate enough to finally get some quality time to myself and I made sure I didn’t waste it. Last night I rolled on two coats of precision primer/undercoat, followed by two coats of the final light gray semi-gloss. House-paint technology has come a long way and I can say that I rate their performance high, especially when applied with a micro-fibre roller.

First thing this morning, I measured and marked the nose for symmetry, so that the painters masking tape could be laid down. it was very exciting to roll on the burgundy stripe on top of the fuselage and around the front of the nose intake.

As soon as that was finished, I broke open my flat-pack of vinyl stickers that I had printed up years ago, praying that they were still good. As the paint was fresh and there had been virtually zero time for any dust to settle on the surfaces, I proceeded to rub on each decal in it’s place. Some pinstriping was then added, but it doesn’t stick very well, so I may mask and paint the black lines later, unless I can find away to fix them down with glue.


23 October 2023

After approximately 20 hours spent this weekend in the workshop, the Viper has progressed tremendously to ward the finish line. Starboard wing in it’s entirety and the whole back end of three engine nacelles has been sanded, primed and top coated with two coats of the grey, with the red bands added.

All I have left now is the port wing to be sanded and the entire underbelly of the spacecraft. I am not looking forward to holding an orbital sander upside down while I push up with only two and a half feet of clearance under the belly. My back certainly isn’t either.

I’ve also taken the opportunity at night, while it’s cool in the shed and I can’t make any noise, (neighbours) to start applying the rest of the vinyl decals.


October 29 2023 update.

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