Starting with a beautiful Lowbrow Customs P-Nut tank that Street Chopper had supplied, we began talking about what to do with this V-Twin Mfg.-powered project. After some emails back and forth we decided on an old-school flake job like some I painted in the ’70s. Back then the wilder the paint the better. Flake candies and whatever else we could come up with were on-going trends, but color was the real key on most jobs.
So with that in mind I applied the flake using a 0.015-inch flake in urethane clear. I mix my flake in the clear and put on about four to five good coats, then another five to six coats of clear over the flake. This will allow enough clear to sand and get a good surface for taping the designs.
This is where the fun begins! The clear over the flake is sanded here so it looks dull. I use FBS 1/8- and 1/4- and 1/16-inch tape when laying out my design. This tape is the best I’ve ever used.
This photo shows the tape being trimmed for the over and under ribbons.
This is the same step as before. I am just showing the layout on the side.
This is the finished layout for the top and right side. The only thing left to do on the layout is add a 1/16-inch accent stripe inside the inner panel and on the outside of the panel.
In this photo I have begun to tape out the different areas that will be sprayed. Here I have taped all the ribbons and then gone back and taped what will be another color border. I tape these areas all with the idea of being able to unmask those areas I want to spray, while leaving the rest still taped. The ribbons will be the last areas to be sprayed, so I tape all the ribbons first. Next I tape the outside border.
FBS makes a product called AutoGraFix tape. This tape is thin enough to see through, so you can cover your area with the tape mask and cut out what you don’t need. Twelve is the final top mask.
Here I’ve sprayed the main color, which is a House of Kolor Kandy Magenta. I then went around the edge of all designs with a candy purple faded into the magenta. After I was happy with the color, I pulled the 1/16-inch tape and tinted it with magenta. See photo 14.
Now I start pulling my taped areas to reveal the outer border. I used a HOK Spanish Gold here and then went back over the outside border that is gold and tinted with a light tangerine.
Now I’ve pulled the mask off the back panels. The FBS AutoGraFix tape has a low tack and unmasks without pulling tape or leaving any residue!
This photo shows the inner panel. Here I have unmasked the panel and started spraying the candy teal around the inner edge of the panel. I will then go to a candy lime gold in the center of the panel. I make the teal to lime gold fade very lightly. I sometimes mix the two colors together and blend over the transition point of each color to soften the fade.
After the fade is finished I pull the 1/16-inch inner tape and tint with teal. It gives a nice two-tone pinstripe effect.
Now I’m ready to pull all of the main mask and retape the main color for shadows.
I still leave the ribbons taped at this point when I airbrush the shadows. For the shadows in the lime and green areas I mix an organic candy green cut with clear SG-100 and add a touch of black and purple to gray the color. I want the shadows to build slowly so the paint is reduced with clear SG-100 to a fairly weak strength. I cast the shadows with the idea that the sun or light is above and to the front of the tank. I’m not too picky here as long as it gives the ribbons some depth!
Now it’s time to unmask the ribbons for color.
At this stage I apply the FBS AutoGraFix tape over the ribbon design. You can really appreciate how well this product works. Look at the image. You can clearly see all the taped designs through the tape for easy cutting.
I’m spraying the gold/tangerine ribbons here. I apply the gold color, fading the color around the edge of the design so the center is lighter in color. I then go around the edge with tangerine and follow that with magenta at the ends.
The next color sequence in the ribbons is the magenta to purple fades.
The next step in the ribbons is the candy blue to purple fades. I also work in some magenta to give it a better fade. The colors I used here are HOK Oriental Candy Blue, purple, and magenta.
Color work on the ribbons is finished.
All masking has been removed here.
Here I start un-taping the ribbon outline. At this step I begin airbrushing the shadows in which I use purple, magenta, and black over and under ribbons to accentuate the weaving effect. All colors have been cut with clear so they are weak and build color strength slowly. The shadows should be barely noticed for effect in some areas.
A close up of some of the shadow detail.
All the tape has been removed and the shadows completed. Ready for the first of the three clear sessions. I used the HOK UC-35 and put five coats to cover all the tape line paint edges. This will give me extra protection from sanding through to the color while I’m trying to get the clear flat.
Final tank finished and buffed! STC