Part 3 - Painting a Mercedes F1 Body
By Will Haines
Here is what we are trying to duplicate. The 2013 Mercedes W04:
And if you can't wait to see the final result then skip to the bottom of the page :)
I chose to use the Speed Passion F-68 body shell.
The paints I prefer to use are FAScolour, brilliant for airbrushing and the pressure packs (also called spray cans) from SPAZ STIXZ and TAMIYA for backing and larger areas.
To make up the scheme there are three actual colours used. The main being SILVER – TEAL - BLACK and I’ll also be using BLACK TINT for the shaded areas on the F1.
The decal kit I’m using is one I have laying around. It is the 2012 scheme (Part n#PLD-019). More recent decal sets are also available the 2012 and 2013 decal sets are shown below (2012 first):
Body Trim and Masking
We start by cutting out the body to suit the F1’s chassis and we want to cut it out completely so there are no alterations needed after painting as this may damage your finished product. Photo below shows the body fitted to the chassis and clear of all moving parts:
The Speed Passion body comes with multiple nose cones. I chose nose cone # B as it is the closest to the 2013 front, it points down on more of an angle than the actual F1 but I just trimmed it up to look as similar as possible, the difference shown in below photo.
Next I mark on the outside all colours and shaded areas, this is for reference back to the lay out while painting so that both sides are even. It is fine to write on the outside of the body with a marker pen as when you peel off the protective film your pen marks will go with it. If you accidentally write on the body shell rather than the film you can remove it with metholated spirits (even permanent marker).
The lines marked above are where the real F1’s silver starts - shown below:
So the aim here is to replicate the look, instead of cutting it and showing the RC chassis and components I’ll paint it black to give it that illusion
I mark on the outside the driver detail then later transfer that to the inside. I leave this part of the F1 last so for now I tape it up:
On to the air dam masking:
To achieve this I’ll spray a very light coat of black tint just inside the mask area with the spray gun.
Final fit below to visualise where the marks and decals are in relation to the real F1 and they are pretty close:
Painting the Body
Now we start to paint up our F1. The first 2 steps need an air brush. It does not need to be expensive, a $40 gun and a standard air compressor will do (you can even buy cans of compressed air if you're just starting out). Start with 22 PSI and adjust from there to get the desired paint flow. Practice on a white sheet of paper first until you get used to the gun.
Step 1 - Black Shading
Now I mentioned in an earlier episode of this guide to spray black areas first. In this particular case I’ll leave the solid black areas until last as it will be my finish backing colour. Therefore I’ll mask the areas in question up as you can see in the next picture. Before removing the masking tape and applying the black I’ll back it all in white to separate the colours (at Step 3 below). Ie; by backing my lighter colours in white they will still be crisp clean colours when I spray my black coat. If I didn't back it in white first the black coat would dull the silver and teal colours.
Paint all areas that are black shaded remembering shading is a very light coat you may not see any great effect at this stage but it will be noticeable later in the process.
Remember to remove any masking after paint is applied, I would remove it very carefully just before it is dry. This leaves a nice edge and won't peel any paint off as can happen if you wait until completely dry. However, if you have let it dry and you have put down a few coats then it will pay to score lightly the edge to be peeled off with a sharp hobby knife to ensure a clean edge.
Step 2 - Teal Colour
Next is the Teal colour which starts off at the front arms with a very light coat and ends up as the solid Teal colour at the rear. Start at the front and work your way to the rear. So we start with a light coat at the front, two light coats is fine at the front. Work your way back starting at a different point each time until you get the desired look.
Step 3 - Silver Colour
Next step is the Silver colour. This can be done with a spray can or pressure pack seeing it is a larger area to cover. Again as described earlier light coats until you get the effect you’re after, I applied three coats.
When dry apply a light coat of white to seal the colour in. This brings out all the colours more, also I’ll be backing the body with black so using white separates the light and dark colours as mentioned earlier.
Step 4 - Black Colour
Now it is time to apply the black areas. Remove all masking, except the driver. Here again we can use a spray can or pressure pack to finish the body off, spraying 3 light coats then letting it dry for about an hour then apply 2 more coats as the backing to complete the body itself.
Painting the Driver
This section describes how I paint the driver. You can at this stage paint him one colour, put the seat belt decal on and you’re done, but I like to put a little effort in here as well.
I’ll do up Nico’s cockpit, for starters his helmet is easier to paint up. I started earlier by detailing the driver on the outside, now we transfer to the inside, I use the sharper end of a bamboo skewer for the black lines in the race suit and gloves; this gives me control of where I want the lines to go and keeps them thin.
When using the skewer, just coat it in paint, too much will leave larger lines and not give you the desired look, you may have to coat the skewer a few times whilst completing this task, think of it as the old ink quill, when it starts to run out re-dip and continue.
Next are Nico’s yellow gloves and steering wheel and harness, for this I use a small art brush and the blunt end of the bamboo skewer for the dials on the wheel.
Firstly I mix up yellow and a very small drop of black just to darken it and I’ll just go around the edge of the gloves let that dry and fill in the rest with the yellow. Doing this gives a shadow effect and makes them look 3D.
Here's Nico's real steering wheel I'm using as a rough guide:
Once the gloves and harness are done and dry I back them with white, using the art brush, to bring the colours out, this is very noticeable in the next two pictures.
Before backing with white:
After backing with white:
Using the same procedure as the gloves we move onto the race suit. Their race suit is a Silver White colour, again I’ll mix up some silver and a small amount of black and paint the edges of the suit and then when dry will spray a very light colour of silver, while still damp not dry, back with white to lessen the bright silver colour.
There we have it Nico Rosberg at the wheel of your F1; sorry the photo does it no justice at all. The helmet is painted yellow and I added his helmets detail in, then the helmet decal in the decal kit used to finish it off. Below are the painted helmet and the real helmet I used as a reference.
Fit the Side Pods
When you purchased your body kit it comes with double sided tape which is used to attach the side pods to the body. Cut the tape into small strips and place around the pod where it is to be attached
After it has been put together I reinforce with heat proof tape (also called fibreglass tape), it is stronger and lighter than race tape.
I’ve fitted the body to the F1 just to see how it looks and so far I’m happy, I was not happy with the silver paint finish it must of been a dud can seemed too thin and didn’t give an even finish??? But it is what I have got now and hopefully after applying the decals it will not be as noticeable to me. You can see the effect it left in the next photo
Remove the clear body film before applying the decals.
I cut the decals out with a sharp hobby knife and cut as close to the designs as possible, this helps when applying to a curved surface, the more decal there is the greater the challenge to bend it to adhere tightly to the body.
Seeing the decal kit I’m using is actually last years model it does not have the Black Berry sponsorship decals, most of the 2013 sponsors are there so looking at the F1 photos I started to apply all decals to be used.
All the decals that are relevant to 2013 are applied. It is a little bare where the Black Berry sponsorship is so I will put a SERPENT F1 decal there instead. With the SPEED PASSION F-68 Body it comes with the side wings which the real F1 has, I will put them on as I painted them up while painting the body. Mirrors are personal touches, the SP-68 body does not come with mirrors so I’ll utilise the ones left over from my time with the 3Racing FGX, as they come with everything in their kits.
There were a few imperfections that I noticed but all in all I’m happy with the job being the first MERCEDES F1 I’ve painted.
Without the wings painted:
Painting the Wings
Let’s take it to the next level now and paint the wings to really complete the look.
Painting the wings is done in the normal way, paint the Silver then the Teal, I then spray it all with an auto clear paint, I use a cheap clear from auto shops, this gives it strength to stay on as just painting it leaves it very prone to cracking and peeling. Before the auto coat I apply all decals then spray the clear coat. 2 coats gives a perfect finish.
The wings I used are from 3 racing and are for the FGX series F1 to me they are more realistic than the front lexan type and more durable as well, the rear wing side fins are cut to mimic the real WO4 F1.
Let each coat dry completely before applying another coat or color, rushing here will do more damage than good. Clean each part with metholated spirits first, mask any areas you wish to keep black as the wings are black themselves, spray all silver and let dry. The teal is the next thing to spray and that is the center of the rear wing. My wing has two fins the top one is done solid teal the middle one is shaded in from the center of the wing up, and the top tips of the front inner fins
NOW IT IS FINISHED
This is the real car at the 2013 launch
And this is my SERPENT F110 RC version
Hopefully this will help you in your next effort at painting up an F1. Enjoy your painting.
Until next time
The RC Formula1 Photo Gallery includes a lot of cool looking paint jobs as well as tips on taking great photos of your pride and joy.