House of Kolor
Product Demo: Unravelling the Mysteries of FA01 Flattening Agent
"UNRAVELLING THE MYSTERIES OF FLATTENED CLEAR"
"Learning how to get killer results out of your FA01 House of Kolor® Flattening Agent."
By: Craig Fraser
I figured the best, and least boring way to demonstrate the proper use of FA01 Flattening Agent would be to put together a mini tech article. Besides learning how to use the flattening agent, I thought I would sneak a couple of other kustom paint tips in here to keep it interesting.
For this demo, we are going to paint up a Jr. Dragster body for a local competitor in California. If you have never heard of Jr. Dragsters, they are actually more than just a bunch of go-karts. These dragsters are NHRA sanctioned, and while their motor may be based on a 5 HP Briggs & Stratton, they can put out up to 71 hp, and reach up to 96 mph in the 1/8 mile. (Well over 100 in the 1/4 mile!!) Pretty fast considering these bracket racers start at the age of 8, and go all the way to 17. Many of the new names in the NHRA are former Jr. Dragster racers. So with that being said, these kids, (and their sponsors) take the paintjobs just as seriously as the big boys. If anything, the JR. Dragsters have been giving the bigger classes a run for their money when it comes to best appearing car, with the most radical paintjobs.
The paintjob in question was a perfect candidate for the flat clear. They wanted a nostalgic hot-rod scallop job, with a skull logo on the top, Von Dutch striping, and old school lettering on the sides showing it's name, "Stray Cat". This paint job was just begging for some flat clear.
1. After sealing the body with House of Kolor® Ko-Seal primer, Dion lays on a coat of BC25 House of Kolor® basecoat black with his trusty LPH-400 spray gun. If we were going to be immediately clearing the job, we would have just gone with the Black Ko-Seal, but in this case the graphics will take a day or so. A little longer than the Ko-Seal window will allow. With the BC25 black, we will be lightly scuffing the surface before applying the first graphics in order to keep that re-application window open.
2. After lying out, and masking the scallops, Dion sprays the graphic a BC26 basecoat white as a base for the color. This makes the following coats of SG105 Blue Blood (red) even brighter. For ease of application, and to eliminate multiple coats for coverage, we will sometimes mix a bit of the Blue Blood into the white, giving ourselves a pink sealing coat. This will then require less coats of red for coverage. This trick can keep the edges down when pin striping is to follow.
3. With the graphics unmasked, the rest of the artwork can then follow. I used transfer tape to help mask off the skull, then some freehand airbrushing to finish off the features. With the skull unmasked, I can then come in and airbrush halos, and add the necessary outline pinstripes. The black is double reduced down, with just a little SG100, and a combination of KK04 Oriental Blue Kandy, and KK17 Violet Kandy added to it. This gives me a nice transparent black that is great for blending, and shadowing. The blue/violet addition keeps the sepia in the black from taking over, and giving everything a brown tone. This can be cool if that is the effect you are going for. I just add the complimentary colors until I get the shade of black that I want.
4. With the Von Dutch striping done, I tackle the outlining of the scallops. To make the Blue Blood (red) really pop, I felt that white House of Kolor® Striping Urethane would do the trick. The rest of the striping on the car has already been done with U03 Roman Red, and U01 Black. Even though it is not necessary to catalyze the House of Kolor striping urethane, I like to add a few drops of KU150 to my Striping reducer. This helps the paint to flow better, and when dry, the striping will resist any pulls, or bleeds, even if you have a nasty clear run to deal with.
5. Dion polishes off the dragster with a nice session of UFC35 Kosmic Urethane Flo-Klear. He uses the same LPH-400 gun, but with his 1.5 nozzle set. This atomizes the clear the best, and works killer on small, or large vehicles alike. The trick to using the FA01 Flattening Agent is to either use it as a final session of clear over a cured, and sanded clear base, or to use it as a flow coat at the end of your standard clear session. Because we had graphics that we wanted buried, Dion opted for two separate clearing sessions. This also gives us the opportunity to sand in-between sessions to remove any imperfections.
6. For the final session, Dion sands the entire car with 600, and puts it back in the booth. Now here is the trick to successfully using the FA01 Flattening Agent. We learned this trick from the House of Kolor training staff.
We first mixed 2 parts UFC35 Kosmic Urethane Flo-Klear to 1 part KU150 Exempt Catalyst in the standard 2:1 ratio.
Next, we mixed 1 part FA01 Flattening Agent to 1 part RU311 Medium Reducer. FA01 Flattening Agent is surprisingly thick, so be sure to stir the FA01 well before adding the reducer.
Lastly, we added 1 part of the FA01/reducer batch to 1 part of the pre-catalyzed clear batch. This may seem like a lot of reducer, but remember the FA01 is also thickening up the mix.
Since this is a flow coat, and is not used for leveling, or burying, you will only have to apply 2-3 medium wet coats, giving the same window between coats as you would give the normal clear. I also like to do the touch test on a surrounding masked off area, just to be sure. The touch test is the easiest way to see if the clear is wet, sticky, or tacky. If the clear is wet, then it is too soon to recoat. If it comes off in strings, then it is getting closer. If the clear is tacky and does not come off on your finger, then it is ready to recoat. Even though this clear will begin flattening out within an hour, do not touch it. It may look dry, but it is not.
One of the worries that many painters have with today's flattening agents is the streaking. I have heard them described as invisible kandys. Where you can only see the tiger stripes long after it is too late to do anything about it. While it is true that you can tiger stripe any flat clear, this rarely occurs as long as you are careful with your overlap, keeping it at 1/2 - 3/4, and you keep the coats to a minimum, such as we did in this project.
As the micro-fine glass beads work their way to the surface, the surface texture will be broken up, and the flat look is achieved. Another upside to this clear, is that it is very tough. I have used it on rifle components for competition Air-Soft guns, and the FA01 enhanced clear is actually tougher then the factory anodizing that comes on the gun bodies.
Well, there you go, one killer Old School paintjob for a 13-year-old kid's NHRA Dragster. The body looked great in the booth, but it never really looks finished until the car is assembled. This goes for any vehicle, no matter what size. (I especially liked the powder coated red wheels that they went with). My favorite part of this paintjob is that you can take this design, drop it down in a drag strip in the middle of the 60's, and it would fit right in! As kustom painters, air brushers, or pin stripers, we need to be able to stretch and paint any style that our client requires, while still keeping our underlying artistic fingerprint on it. Not only is it important for kustom painters to be up on the styles, and artistic elements of customizing, but also it is important to know about the materials available that can enhance the overall appearance of the paintjob. This car would have looked killer in full gloss, but would never have that true Old School "Rat-Rod" look if it weren't for the flat clear.
We have successfully used FA01 Flattening Agent to create flattened paintjobs in just about every aspect of kustom painting. It is consistent, and streak-resistant enough to use on full sized vehicles, yet will also flow through a large airbrush, or touchup gun for those small projects out there. For projects that require a fingerprint free surface it is perfect. It is also tough enough to be used on the head of a golf club, and receive no more chips then the factory powder coat. I recommend every kustom painter give FA01 a try. You will be surprised as to how many different applications you can use it for, and it is a great addition to any kustom painter's arsenal of special effects.
Paint to live, live to paint