Author Topic: How Clif Hinton custom paints his cars  (Read 269 times)

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Re: How Clif Hinton custom paints his cars
« Reply #2 on: Wed 02/06/19 05:49 PM »
Great stuff. Thanks to Clif and Ryan for passing this along.


Lee G.

Ryan K

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How Clif Hinton custom paints his cars
« Reply #1 on: Thu 01/10/19 07:25 AM »
Clif notes: (try the veal, I will be here all week)
1. Grinder or drill bit to remove rivets.
2. Paint stripper to remove original paint.
3. Valspar grey primer.
4. Cheap flat white spray paint.
5. Krylon Fusion gloss spray paint (whatever color needed).
6. Testors bottle paint or Sharpies for touch up.
7. Blue masking tape (gentle release for delicate surfaces type).
8. White vinegar for the decals.
9. Super glue to put the car back together.

Customizing Procedure
This is how I did it.

Preliminary Notes:

This is not easy. You need a steady hand and patience (don’t try to rush it). Despite your best efforts you will mess up some. I certainly did. There are about a dozen car bodies in the woods behind my house where I got so frustrated I threw them as hard as I could. For your first attempt I suggest a single color paint scheme like the solid black #07 Jack Daniels cars. Before cutting out decals, make 4 or 5 photocopies of each. I’ll explain why later. The examples shown in my photos will be sent to you. You can practice with these. I don’t need them. No charge.

Additional things you will need:

Small plastic baggies to hold car parts.

Small glass containers for stripping, I used small beakers.

Small flat head screwdriver for scrapping off paint.

Old toothbrush to scrub car body.

Wooden clothes pins to hold car when painting.

3/8 inch wide self-adhesive weather strip, to go with #5.

Make up brush to dust car body. 

Long cuff rubber gloves, when painting.

A place for painting. I did all of my painting on warm, dry, calm, sunny days in my backyard. I noticed you don’t have a backyard, not much of a front one either. You could paint in your carport but make sure to keep the door open and move your vehicle or anything else you don’t want accidently hit with overspray.

Fine paintbrushes for touchup.

Fine scissors for cutting out decals.   

X-acto knife, Scalpel, or single edge razor blade also to cut decals.

Fine forceps for decal dipping.

Small plastic containers for decal storage and wetting, I used plastic petri plates.

Scotch tape to help with masking.

Metal probes to help with decal placement, etc (dissecting needle/probe works well). 

Kimwipes for decal blotting.

Decal sealing solution. I used Microscale Industries, Micro Sol solution. It comes in a small plastic container (with red printing). You can find it in hobby supply stores and on ebay. for painting reference.

To improve efficiency and make the most of the “wait” times, I always did three cars simultaneously. I would alternate between the three while waiting for paint and decal drying.

To demonstrate, I used four Danica Patrick Hotwheels cars that were in my Grandchildren’s toy box here at my house (photo #1).

Step 1: Disassembly

Flip the car over.

Remove the screws (Team Caliber) or carefully grind off/drill out the rivets (everything else) (photos #2, 3, and 4).

Remove the bottom and interior pieces.

Carefully remove the clear plastic window pieces. This clear plastic tends to be very fragile and will crack/break with the slightest pressure.

Put all of these components in a numbered plastic baggie (photo #5). To ensure proper fit you must be sure to put the same pieces back on the same body. I used a Sharpie to put this same number on the inside of the car body (usually under the hood).

Step 2: Painting

You can now choose to strip the body down to the bare metal or simply paint over the existing paint scheme. Stripping takes a long time but gives slightly better results. Painting over the original scheme is quicker and with the multiple paint applications and new decals you usually can’t tell it wasn’t stripped first. The earliest ones I did were stripped. Most of mine were overpainted. Most if not all of the ones you got from me were overpainted.

If you strip:

Place the car body in a glass container and apply the paint stripper. I used an aerosol foam paint stripper I got from Lowes. Let it soak for several days.

Wearing protective gloves, rub the car body to see if the paint easily comes off. You may need the screwdriver to carefully scrape off the paint. Do not use sandpaper. Painting may not cover the scratches.

Once the paint has been removed you need to scrub the car in hot, soapy water to remove any chemical residue.

Let it air dry for several days.

If you overpaint:

Scrub the car in hot, soapy water to remove dust, oil, grease, etc.

Let this air dry for several days also.

Since you must hold the car from the inside to paint the outside make a device to mount it on. I used wooden clothes pins and a small piece of weather stripping (photo #6).

Mount the car on the holder. Make sure it is snug and will not slip out. 

(Since I’m right handed) Put a rubber glove on your left hand and grab the car holder. 

Carefully spray the primer with your right hand (photo #7).

Apply quick thin sprays. Do not overdo it. You may want to practice this a little on something else.

Keep the car in the holder and stand it somewhere to dry. All of these spray paints dry very quickly but I always waited at least a day between applications.

Leaving the car in the holder, apply the flat white (photo# 8) as in steps 9 through 12.

If you are doing a single color scheme, leave the car in the holder and apply that paint (photo #9) again, as in steps 9 through 12. All three of my examples are shown in photos #10 and #11.

For multicolor schemes: (this is a challenge)

Plan your painting to do the lighter colors first.

Remove the car from the holder and using the gentle release masking tape, mask it off appropriately.

Often the decals include thin lines to delineate the neighboring colors. You must be sure to put the masking tape in the right places.

To do this, stick a piece of the masking tape on a plastic surface (I used the bottom of a Petri Plate)

Cut from the photocopy mentioned earlier that part of the decal.

Using the Scotch tape, tape it to the back side of the masking tape.

Remove and cut along the line.

Apply the masking tape to the car, being careful to put it in the right place.

Peel off the photocopy and discard leaving the masking tape on the car.

Keep in mind you will need to do this multiple times to paint the color on the other side of the line. That’s why I said make 4 or 5 copies of the decals.

Once masked, remount in the holder and carefully apply that color, again, don’t overdo it.

Stand it to dry. I always waited several days.

Remask, remount in holder, and apply the next color. 

Repeat all of these steps (15 through 27) to complete the paint job.

Stand it to dry and go have a drink before the next phase.

Step 3: Decals

This can also be a challenge. Sometimes the decals are great, sometimes they are crap. Unfortunately, you will not know this until you start working with them. Compare the decal sheet with a reference photo of the car you intend to do. Think about the sequence in which the decals need to be placed. I always started at the nose, then the front fenders, left and right sides, rear fenders, rear, trunk lid, then hood. I always did the roof decals last. Often you will be putting decals on top of decals. It is essential to seal the underlying decal before placing another on top of it.

Make a 50% solution of the white vinegar and tap water. Pour into a shallow dish (petri plate).

Prepare a dish of tap water also (another petri plate).

With small scissors, cut out the decals as with as little excess decal film as possible. 

When practical, try to cut larger decals into smaller pieces. Large decals tend to wrinkle on the curved surfaces of the car. For example: On many decal sheets the front grill and headlights appear to be a single decal. If you do it this way the headlights will not be properly positioned. Cut the headlights away from the grill and apply as three separate decals. When I cut out my decals, I usually wound up with 40 to 50 separate decals that needed to be applied. Store the decals in a clean dry container (once again a petri plate works fine).

Remove any dust or fibers from the car surface using the make-up brush.

Thoroughly wash your hands, especially fingertips.

Using the forceps, pick up the decal and float (surface tension is our friend) in the vinegar solution.

Once it is loose from the backing, pick up the decal and backing with the forceps and dip in the tap water.

Place it where you want it and use the dissecting probe to slide it onto the car body. At this point you sometimes need three hands.

Blot and press out any wrinkles/bubbles with a small piece of a kimwipe.

Repeat steps 7 through 10 as many times as needed.

Periodically and before putting decals on top of other decals seal with the Micro Sol. In my experience, the Micro Sol never damaged the paint but do not apply it over Sharpie. It will dissolve and smear the Sharpie pigment. 

Using the dissecting probe place a small drop of the Micro Sol directly on top of the decal already placed on the car. As it dries it will suck the decal down and fuse it to the car. Do not touch it while it is drying, it quickly gets tacky and will stick to your finger and mess it up. Once it dries, it will take a crowbar to remove the decal.

To contradict what I just stated. For large decals seal these by putting a small Micro Sol puddle across one end of the decal already affixed to the car, then while it’s still quite wet, immediately, quickly, and carefully smear the solution across the entire decal with a very clean fingertip. Do not smear a second time. By then, it will be drying and will stick to your finger.

After all decals have been applied, sealed, and have dried you may have some where the decal extended beyond the car body (around the wheel well, etc). This excess decal can be easily trimmed off with a single edge razor blade or very sharp X-acto knife.

You are now done with this. Place the car in a dust free area to thoroughly dry. Go have another drink.

Step 4: Touch up and Clear Coating (an option)

Using Testor’s model paint and fine brushes or Sharpies carefully do any needed touch up. 

Due to the gloss of the spray paint and the shiny effect of the Micro Sol I was never compelled to use any clear coat. None of my customs were clear-coated. Some model makers use “Future” floor sealer as a clear coat. I never tried this and don’t know how to do this. Do not use Testor’s clear coat spray. It looks good initially but it “yellows” terribly over time. In a few months white cars will turn beige then yellow. This is bad stuff.

Step 5: Reassembly

During this process I would often wear a thin cloth glove on my left hand to avoid finger prints or scratching the car while handling it. Don’t use a latex glove, they are too “sticky” and are usually covered with powder.

Get the baggie of parts that go with the body just completed.

Place the car on its roof on a cloth covered flat surface (cloth to avoid scratches).

Insert the clear window piece/pieces. With some diecasts this will easily fall into place and will be held in by the interior parts. Some diecasts will require glue. I suggest Loctite Liquid Super Glue. Do not apply the glue directly from the Loctite vial, this would be too much. 

Make a puddle of super glue on the back of an index card and carefully apply the glue in tiny droplets with a dissecting needle. 

Do not allow the glue to get on the clear window part. It will damage (“frost”) the clear plastic and cannot be fixed.

Obviously, do not get the glue on your fingers and touch the car. Again, this will mess it up and cannot be fixed.

Insert and attach the interior pieces. You may need the super glue here also.

Reattach the bottom with the screws (Team Caliber) or super glue around the rivet stubs (everything else).

Allow everything to dry for a few minutes with the car still on its roof.

Flip the car upright and admire your work (and wonder about your sanity).

Step 6: Suggested Storage

I stored my completed customs in 9 inch by 14 inch Flambeau or Plano fishing lure trays purchased at Wal Mart. With proper positioning of the partitions the trays can hold as many as 16 cars.

Additional Trivia:

Before the NASCAR customs, from 1985 to 1997, I collected and built 1/72 scale plastic military airplane models (Testors, Revell, Monogram, etc). I had everything from WWI biplanes to modern jet fighters and bombers. This collection peaked at around 700. From 1991 until last year I was involved with the Eagle Squadron Chapter (Raleigh, NC) of the International Plastic Modeler’s Society (IPMS). This is a group of guys that expertly build plastic model kits. I learned some of my painting and decaling techniques from them. I did some research. There in Sacramento is the Silver Wings Chapter of IPMS. They have a web site. You should check it out. Just do a search for “Sliver Wings Chapter, IPMS” and you’ll find it. If you hook up with these guys, share this procedure with them. They would be amused and could probably tell you better ways to do your customizing. I’m sure they would welcome a new member.

Clif Hinton