Paint - Flat, Satin, or Gloss?

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TXFlyGuy

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Here is the question...

Which paint finish is best at hiding or not accenting minor aluminum skin issues? By that I mean, the skins may have some very minor ripples, or “oil can” effect. The surface is perfectly flat, but at a certain angle, under certain lighting, the skin appears to have waves or small dents in it.

Would a flat paint mask this problem, or make it worse? Satin paint? I would think a high gloss would really make any little imperfection stand out!
 

TFF

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It's why red necks paint their trucks in primer, to hide the dings. If you are going to try, flat. The problem generally paint not primer tends to show dents. Flat is your best bet. Most planes have the dimples you talk about unless filled and painted. Supposedly the big RV show plane guy goes through about a half dozen sets of skins per plane to make it truly perfect. But that is what he is after.
 

TXFlyGuy

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It's why red necks paint their trucks in primer, to hide the dings. If you are going to try, flat. The problem generally paint not primer tends to show dents. Flat is your best bet. Most planes have the dimples you talk about unless filled and painted. Supposedly the big RV show plane guy goes through about a half dozen sets of skins per plane to make it truly perfect. But that is what he is after.
That is what I thought. In another thread on correct paint for a WWII replica, this was discussed a bit. And flat certainly would help diminish those small ripples or waves that are in the fuselage skins.

My plane would look terrible in a polished aluminum finish for this reason. But with the correct paint finish, I think it will look very good. At least, I hope so!
 

TXFlyGuy

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Here are a couple examples, one with a metallic paint, high gloss finish, one with the period correct flat finish.

Aussie T-51 3.jpg Aussie T-51 4.jpg Aussie T-51.jpg

This P-51 was restored by Pacific Fighters, in Idaho Falls. They said that these always came off the assembly line (1942-1945) in a flat finish.

Berlin Express II.jpg Berlin Express over mountains.jpg Berlin Express.jpg
 

BJC

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IIRC, you intend to demo the airplane at air shows and fly-ins. If that is your intention, I would think that “period correct” would be preferred. Some research, and replicate, a specific WW II pilot’s personal paint job, which seems to add to the interest level in the scaled replica.


BJC
 

Jay Kempf

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I am sure flat finish was to keep from having a glare glint at a distance sort of early stealth. But I wonder also if they tested top end speed at altitude. Without a perfect composite finish it is possible that the flat finish acted like a bunch of tiny VG's to give a sort of boundary layer control to lower drag or trip the problem spots. Or it could just be as you say to cover up fitnfinish in a production plane that was moving fast through R&D while being produced.
 

TXFlyGuy

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Here is the scheme we have chosen, 3rd FG, 3rd FS, 5th AF, Mindoro P.I., 1944-1946.

This looks pretty flat in finish.

P-51 Jumpin Jacques flat.jpg Jumpin Jaques II flat.jpg
 
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