What a big weekend! Beautiful shooting weather on Saturday with sunshine and a fairly steady NW wind for a shoot at 300m on decimal targets! We each shot a 20 shot string and then continued with another 40 shots each – partly for load-development and partly for practice (and 100% for fun!). Jared beat me by one point in the official 20 shot match but I still got more centres. 185.2 vs 184.3.
On Sunday, despite being pretty tired from Saturday’s shooting, the shooting adventures continued with more preparation of my stock. Once again, the weather was perfect for this! Jared parked himself in front of Bathurst (GO HOLDEN!) and did some reloading, and I ventured out into the sunlight with some sandpaper and beer.
Step 6 – Sanding and Flatting
The primer on the stocks is fully cured so it is time to prepare them for paint. My first task is to sand the primer. This has two purposes. To get rid of the orange peel effect (of which there is a LOT as my spray gun nozzle is really too small for high-build primer!) and also to give the primer some tooth so the airbrush paint sticks. Did I mention that I dislike sanding? I would usually use 600grit wet-dry paper for this but it wasn’t making a dent in the terrible primer job so I got aggressive with some 400grit.
This is what the primer looks like after some sanding effort. You can clearly see the orange peel – this needs to disappear before the artwork goes on. More sanding needed!
Step 7 – Filling Imperfections
As the grapefruitesque surface started to take on the characteristics of peach skin, It became apparent that the primer had not dealt to all the flaws in the casting. Pinholes were becoming more apparent the more I sanded. These are holes in the aluminium from the casting process and will look awful in the final finish. They are very unlikely to be buried in the clearcoat – in fact, the clear will probably accentuate them.
I headed off on a spelunking expedition in the depths of the darkest cupboards in the garage… To my delight, I emerged with some fine 1k filler putty! After some research on the interwebs, I discovered that it a nitrocellulose putty (must. resist. dangerous. thoughts…) and can be topcoated with anything within the hour… perfect!
In my excitement, I used my fingers to apply it (this technique was refined VERY quickly after I realised how much extra sanding it involved!).
It looks messy and ugly but after sanding, it is very smooth and quite pretty! It is very obvious where the pinholes are!
In this one you can also see the difference between sanded primer and un-sanded primer! (hint: one is smooth and one is rough!)
Step 8 – Fixing my mistakes
Due to uneven application of the primer (I should have used a bigger spray gun… whoops!), and some over-enthusiastic sanding, I burnt through the primer in some places. It is out of the question to paint directly onto the aluminium but each burnt-through area is only a couple of millimeters in diameter – hardly worth mixing up some more etch primer and primer…
I remembered a stock that I painted earlier this year. I used 1k rattlecan etch primer from Colorpak and painted directly on top of the etch primer. A quick glance at the instructions confirmed that it is compatible with just about anything so I purchased a can with the intention of touching up the mistakes. I don’t usually like to mix paint systems but the existing primer is fully cured and inert, and the new primer just needs to gas-off a little before I airbrush over it. It says it is compatible with all epoxy topcoats so I will trust the instructions!
I went a little bit overboard and ended up spraying the whole stock. Oh well! All the aluminium is protected, I have an even colour to put my basecoat on (none of those red dots to hide!), the putty is sealed and WOW! what a silky smooth finish! I must have done a very good job at sanding and filling on the previous steps!
If I don’t mess it up again, all that is left to do is a very quick scuff up of the primer to give the new paint something to stick to, a quick degrease and then paint!
Step 9 – Get excited about painting!
I got some stencils cut today (more about that when I start using them) and have picked out some colours…
These ones I think!
Still a little bit to do before the fun stuff starts but I am almost there! Getting excited now!