Monday, January 16, 2017

Estes Solar Warrior (#3225) Build, Paint Fix, TIP

I put together two Estes Solar Warrior kits at the same time. On one, the upper section was sprayed purple. On the other, metallic red. The purple went on fine. The metallic red was another story.

Just to one side of the upper fins was a raised area. The paint was lifting and wrinkled.
I didn't get a picture of it before, it didn't occur to me at the time it could have been a blog post.
The lifted paint blob was shaved off with a knife and the edges lightly sanded with 400 grit.

Some Duplicolor Filler/Primer was sprayed into a small cup.
A Q-tip was dipped into the primer and dabbed onto the rough spot.
Dabbing on the primer a little thick was the equivalent of three or four separate coats. That should be enough to fill the low area.

On the left is the primer/filler sanded to the surface of the red paint.

Some gloss white was dabbed over the area for an undercoat. That was sanded and another application of white followed.
The mask was interesting. This Rustoleum red metallic is pretty forgiving when used as a touch-up.

Scotch tape was set into the root edge fillets. A mask of the same color won't be noticeable when stuck in a fillet area.
Notice how the masking tape edges at the top and bottom are lifted. This lets the paint "feather in" to the color underneath.
After the mask was lifted and the paint totally dry, some polishing compound was applied over the blended area (under the lifted tape) to match up the gloss.

When doing this kind of touch-up, spray straight over the area. Make no effort to spray under the lifted tape. The whole idea is to spray the touch-up area then polish out the paint over spray afterwards.
This touch-up isn't perfect but much better than what it was before. Nobody else would notice unless you showed them.


  1. Does the lifted, wrinkled section resemble alligator skin? I've had the same problem twice this week. Trying not to overspray, and using light coats but still "crackling". What could be causing that?
    Another problem I've been having this week is paint cans clogging up with plenty of paint still left in the can. Despite vigorous and prolonged shaking before and during spraying, I've had to throw away 3 half full cans in the past few days. Any remedies, or is this something that we all have to just live with? I tried inverting the can and blowing out the clog, no cigar. Becoming very expensive to finish my rockets.

    1. Hi Bar,
      The small section didn't resemble alligator skin but was two lifted areas like there was a small pebble underneath. Something on the body tube was resisting the paint. I can't say what is causing your problem, could be too cold weather temperature.
      I think Rustoleum (if that is what you are using) sells their cans thinking the customer is only going to use them once then throw the can away.
      The Rusto nozzle (while good when first used) can clog up before the can is used up.
      I have returned the can to Home Depot saying the nozzle is clogged and I can't use the paint. They'll trade out for a new can.
      I've also emailed Rustoleum and told them of my problem. Tthey sent me 20 new nozzles! If I get a clogging can the old nozzle is pulled off and a new one goes on.
      Inverting cans doesn't work like it did 20 years ago. On some spray cans the internal design feed is different and it doesn't clear the paint out of the straw.

    2. Hi Chris,
      Thanks for the tip. Didn't think about replacing the nozzle, thought the clog was in the straw inside the can. Swapped out a new nozzle from a new can on a clogged can, it worked (at least for now)! Will be trying other brands to see if any are better, don't want to be swapping nozzles every time there's a clog.

  2. Back in the 80's, 3M sold a brutally expensive masking "rope" that allowed a body shop to do touch up jobs on cars in much the same way. Now I see all I have to do is roll back regular masking tape. Thanks for the tip.

    1. Hi Lonnie,
      If the rope were "brutally expensive" I'd never buy it! Hope this works as a cheap alternative. You do have to polish the feathered in sides, though.