"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
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
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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
In future installments, we will be writing more "Product of
the Month" feature articles for the House of Kolor website.
If you have any suggestions, or questions concerning a new, or pre-existing
product, please e-mail us, and let us know. Who knows,
your e-mail may just spark the next product we put under the microscope.
Send any questions, or topic suggestions to Fraser@gotpaint.com.
Paint to live, live to paint
Kal Koncepts/Air Syndicate, Inc.
ABOUT THE PAINTERS:
Craig Fraser, and Dion Giuliano have been working together for the
past decade as Kal Koncepts, and Air Syndicate, Inc. Brandon Lambie,
the owner of "Black Sheep Kustoms", is the newest member of Kal Koncepts,
specializes in bodywork, and fabrication. Located in Bakersfield,
CA. Kal Koncepts/Air Syndicate, Inc. specializes in kustom graphics,
automotive airbrush, and the fine art of the Kustom Kulture. Craig
splits his time at the shop with his traveling workshop series, writing
articles, and teaching Paint Clinics for Coast Airbrush. He is also
the author of the book Automotive Cheap Tricks, and Special F/X,
as well as a number of kustom paint videos. You can check out their
kustom artwork on the web at www.gotpaint.com,
or give them a call, at the shop: (661)-836-3084. They can also
be found hanging out at the kustom paint forum,