Christen Eagle paint job

Discussion in 'Finishing Techniques' started by PTAirco, Dec 3, 2016.

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  1. Dec 3, 2016 #1

    PTAirco

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    Looks like I'll be fixing up a Christen Eagle that ran into a hangar wall when the previous owner decided to start it from the outside. Most of the basic fabric work has been done in Polyfiber up to the pink and some silver.


    Has anyone here ever painted an Eagle in the typical paint scheme?

    I talked to the owner of a beautiful example recently and he spent 1400 hours on the fabric and paint, with 800 of that on the painting! I know, if it's your own airplane, you get fussy about stuff and you get lost in trying to achieve perfection. This particular owner I'm working for will have to sell his DC3 to be able to afford the Eagle paint at that rate... Luckily he would be fine with Polytone paint, but that raises the problem of what to do about to do about the paint on the metal and fiberglass parts. Polytone sort of works, but it doesn't adhere terribly to anything other than fabric and it's soft. I know there is MK2 paint sold by Polyfiber and I have used it, but it is super expensive. I'll need 8 colors in addition to the basic white!

    I am mainly wondering how others approached the masking and layout problems.
     
  2. Dec 3, 2016 #2

    plncraze

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    What about vinyl stickers for the trim?
     
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  3. Dec 3, 2016 #3

    BJC

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    Have you checked with Aviat? They may have some templates available.


    BJC
     
  4. Dec 3, 2016 #4

    Topaz

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    This. Get hooked up with a really good vendor who prints and applies printed vinyl transfers, the kind you see on cars, trucks, and busses. Those last for years, are color-safe outdoors, and won't peel off in-flight if the team applying them is even half-way competent and you talk about leading edges, etc.. Print costs should be reasonable. You're here in SoCal, PT, so I can hook you up with someone good if you like. Other than covering and the base (white) color, you may not have to touch the airplane.

    Unless your client was dripping money as he walked in the door, the actual fact of hand-masking all what?, seven colors? in a pattern like that is going to be something you want to farm out to a specialty hot-rod shop or something anyway. And that is going to be in the "if you have to ask, you can't afford it" price range.

    1776128.jpg
     
  5. Dec 3, 2016 #5

    TFF

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    They sell masks. A couple were just done on the Biplane forum. It did not take all that long in my opinion watching the threads with the masks. Hand taping would be horrible..
     
  6. Dec 4, 2016 #6

    Turd Ferguson

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    There were two options for feathers. Full feathers and tapered feathers. Just call Aviat and order the appropriate mask.

    The whole plane is being repainted?
     
  7. Dec 4, 2016 #7

    PTAirco

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    I know Aviat sells templates. Very basic paper stuff. The pattern is not all that difficult to mask, mostly straight lines and constant radii. Just lots and lots of it.

    The vinyl option was mentioned to me and I read about it on other forums. I'd have to try some to see if it's feasible. What concerns me is that a fabric wing has all kinds of lumps and bumps from the rib stitching and how hard would it be to get the vinyl to conform to those? On a Red Bull racer with a smooth carbon wing, sure, but fabric?
     
  8. Dec 4, 2016 #8

    Topaz

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    It'd be fine. The stuff looks like paint when applied by a competent team.
     
  9. Dec 4, 2016 #9

    PTAirco

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    Yes, it has some of the fabric work done, to the pink stage and some silver. All the fiberglass and metal parts will need re-painting too.
     
  10. Dec 4, 2016 #10

    Kevin N

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    Can't imagine polytone on an Eagle. There is so much metal and fiberglass that it will look like an Eagle done in polytone. The whole airplane and the unique paint scheme was meant for urethane. I understand the cost and I certainly don't envy you masking it out. I was a helper on an eagle paint job in the late '70's. I know how much work an eagle is.
     
  11. Dec 4, 2016 #11

    TFF

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    There is vinyl wrap like the Black and purple one and there are the vinyl masks which is how the custom car painters do it today. The mask has the whole design on it; you peel off one feather, paint and when dry, you put the peeled off mask back on, peel off the next, repeat.
     
  12. Dec 4, 2016 #12

    TFF

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  13. Dec 4, 2016 #13

    PTAirco

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    Here's a German example from a company that makes vinyl wrap: http://www.biplaneforum.com/photo/img_5905-6941.html

    Saw it on Biplane forum. Looks like it conforms very well to the rib stitching. Would cost about $2,000 in materials. I wonder if the labor is a lot less than paint though; I can see getting it on smoothly and working out bubbles could be a hell of a task.
     
  14. Dec 4, 2016 #14

    PTAirco

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    The beautiful example I saw recently was done in Polytone for the white, with the colors in Aerothane. It looked fantastic. The Aerothane goes for about $150+ per quart (x8). Cost isn't a major issue here, but he wants a flier, not a showplane.
     
  15. Dec 4, 2016 #15

    TFF

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  16. Dec 5, 2016 #16

    Topaz

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    You'd be amazed. I've seen a good crew do a full-size truck, including all the seams and trim, in less than an hour.
     
  17. Dec 5, 2016 #17

    Little Scrapper

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    I have a lot of experience with wraps.

    My truck is wrapped in 3M brand vinyl. 3 years of abuse in snow, salt, sun, mud etc. Zero delamination anywhere, not even a hint of it. It's still flawless. I can wax it, scrub it etc, you don't even know paint is under it.

    I also have a truck where I had the company cut out stickers from the wrap. So, instead of wrapping they custom made stickers. The 3M brand vinyl is awesome. The wrap based stickers have zero signs of delaminating.

    My buddy has a landscape business and his F350 is rusted etc, pretty bad. 2 years ago he went to the same company and they wrapped it 100%. I mean, every inch of the truck is covered in wrap.

    His truck literally looks like a brand new model.

    Anyhow. The 3M vinyl is good, semi trucks which drive a lot of miles and have all the exposure to the elements use it too.

    As far as 1,400 hours to paint a Christian Eagle? Something very wrong about that. Yeah, it takes time but not 1,400 hours, at least for most people.
     
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  18. Dec 6, 2016 #18

    Turd Ferguson

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    How much does it weigh? That's the deal killer for me.
     
  19. Dec 6, 2016 #19

    bmcj

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    Just guessing, but I'd bet the difference between vinyl and paint is negligible.
     
  20. Dec 6, 2016 #20

    Turd Ferguson

    Turd Ferguson

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    I bet they are close if you include the liquid vehicle in paint.

    Yeas ago I hauled freight for a 3M plant where they made the reflective film for road signs. Didn't take much to reach the 4000# payload limit.
     

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