Firstly I must comment that the quality of the fibreglass shell made by AK Sportcars
was really very good. Strong and still light. When we start work on a fibreglass/GRP car body shell we always test bake them to check for air pockets, and this kit passed. The only issue with the one here is that the nose cone is off angle fractionally and the rear wheel arches are different shapes either side.
Before I start talking about the use of House of Kolor candy concentrates I am going to briefly talk about the fibreglass preparation. The first job was to remove the mould seam line from the gel coat. Then we coarse sanded the body to reveal high and low undulations on the surface. Again the AK kit scored well here, by no means perfect, certainly respectable which helping to minimise the total number of labour hours involved.
With all the Major dents and high spot corrected we epoxy coated the GRP. We use an epoxy on all GRP due to its far superior adhesion qualities. The epoxy was sanded at 240 grit to help remove imperfections A second coat of traditional 2k primer was then applied, guide coated and rubbed down.
So on to the colour, for those of you not familiar with the process of using H.O.K candy concentrate it all starts with a straight even metallic base usually a silver or a gold. We actually had to re paint the silver on this AC as a few body shape issues appeared after the first silver application. If you spot any imperfections after laying your base coat do not ignore them make sure you rectify them before any further paint on especially with candy as correction is a testing task. The trick to applying candy is taking your time, following the rules, and not getting lazy or cheap.
So what’s the rules that no one tells you:
- Candy is a transparent colour and keeps getting darker the more you apply. If you put on too much you will get a candy blood red instead of apple red.
- Build up candy concentrate in weak colour coats, building it up gradually. I find about 5g of concentrate per100ml of clear works well, taking approx 8-10 coats to reach desired depths. If candy concentration is to high colour will build to quickly and any runs will be impossible to deal with. Runs go black and you wont be able to sand them out without changing the depth of colour in the surrounding area. Runs in low intensity colour coats can be taking out successfully before additional coats.
- Watch the edge of every panel where clear often accumulates. Failure to keep panel edges even will result in black lines around the edge of your panels.
- Mistakes are extremely hard to correct with transparent paint tints. Blow ins will only make every bit of colour overlap darker.
- With candy a lot of paint has to be applied, in stages. Leave extra flash time between coats. Getting carried away or lazy and putting on twice as thick coats due to the low covering nature will not only make the candy uneven but will also promote the chance of solvent pop occurring. This car took three days to apply the candy. 2.5 coats of candy with drop coats over three painting session. Each paint session also had three people sanding, cleaning and partially re masking in-between to try and eliminate any contaminants before next candy concentrate application session. So keep it clean and correct any problems ASAP.
- Allways paint with body panels mounted to ensure even coverage. Nothing worse then putting the doors on only to find that they are 10 shades darker or lighter.
- With the panels on you will need to logically consider your paint process. For example when painting the shuts/jamms/ and door internals plan your job to avoid additional overlaps of candy concentrate.
Before we put on the non tinted final clear coats (yes more clear coat) we need to paint on the black racing stripes. Masking stripes for painting on too a car sound easy but it’s really not. The masking of the stripes took about a day. We started with a datum / centreline and worked outwards laying the lines from the centre out. click for tips on how mask a car for stripes with the continuous curved surfaces of a car like this AC replica the lines cannot be truely parallel to each other and you need to adjust by eye to get the correct even looking flow.
The stripe took two of us just under a day to mask unitl we where happy with it in detail and from multiple angles.
Hopefully you will see why candy colour can be expensive the process to ensure that the paint lay cleanly and evenly is considerable in comparison to metallic and pearl coats as is the volume of products consumed.
Candy apple red concentrate supplied by House of Kolor Uk.
The gold discolouration on the stainless exhaust looks perfect with the red and black. Cannot wait to see this AK all fitted up and road legal.