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New Body

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Painting a New Body

If you’ve used your RC truck for any length of time you’ve realized just how easily the body can get trashed.  So, eventually you’ll be faced with a decision: buy a pre-finished body or buy an unfinished body and paint it yourself.  This article deals with (you guessed it!) the latter.

The first thing you’ll need to do is to decide on the type of body and the manufacturer of the body. I decided to use a body from Pro-Line Racing

Most bodies are covered with a protective film layer.  Be careful not to peel it off until you’re done or else you may get overspray on the body when you paint it. Most guides tell you that the first thing you should do is to wash the body. Instead, I recommend you trim off the excess material, cut the wheel holes, and then scuff the body with steel wool (don’t scuff the windows if you plan on leaving them clear!). Scuffing makes microscopic scratches that the paint can stick to. Once you scuff the body, then it’s time to wash it. The reason I recommend this is washing it will remove all the steel wool dust. This stuff is tough to remove any other way. Here’s the body getting all scuffed up then taking a nice bubble bath.

Use a gentle dish detergent when washing the body then dry it with a lint free cloth.  Some people even recommend to wipe down the interior of the body with rubbing alcohol to remove any last traces of dirt or oils. Keep in mind that once you get the body clean, be careful with your hands.  It’s very easy to get hand oils on the body and this will cause the paint to not stick.  You might want to get a cheap pair of cotton gloves like the kind used by jewelers so you can handle the body while working on it without getting oil from your hands on it.

The next thing you’ll do is mask the body. If you’re painting the body one solid color, then all you’ll need to do is mask the windows (most bodies even come with pre-cut window masks). If you are planning on painting the trim and other things, well then you’ve got your work cut out.  I planned on painting the trim black and the door handles, hood vent, and grille chrome, and the body yellow.  So I  decided that the black trim would be painted first and I masked off everything else.  Masking takes the most time in this whole process. The first mistake I made is I forgot to mark the body post holes, which I promptly remembered as soon as I finished masking the body.  Off came some of the masking tape where I estimated the posts would be.  I laid the body on the chassis and using a black Sharpie, I marked the holes.

Now that the trim is painted it’s time to break out my X-Acto knife. I then proceed to trim away the areas that are to be painted chrome. I didn’t realize how difficult this would be.  In some cases there is no indication from inside the body where the outside details are. You’re sort of cutting blind.  Here’s the body with the black trim and the chrome sections done.  Next up is to paint the body yellow.

After I painted the body yellow I decided to go back to the hobby store and buy some window tint paint. I was originally planning on leaving the windows clear but decided at the last minute that tinting the windows would give the truck a nice finished look.  So far everything has been working out pretty well. The owner of the hobby store sold me Pactra’s window tint (RC294).  He didn’t tell me that I needed anything else.

After arriving back home, I grabbed the body and proceeded to tint the windows.  To my horror, the yellow, black, and chrome sections that came in contact with the tint turned gooey and started to run. The tint had the same effect as though I sprayed turpentine all over the inside of the body.  It also bled through the paint turning everything black.  As you can see below, my whole paint job was ruined.  Looking for answers I took the can and read the label. On the back of the can is text that reads “To assure successful results, it is necessary to spray a minimum of two coats of RC290 Covercoat over the previously painted surfaces prior to applying Window Tint.” D-oh!! The guy at the hobby store never mentioned this!!!!  I placed a call to him and he told me he would give me a discount off of my next paint purchase.  Wow, could he spare it??

So in the end my show body has become a bashing body. Most people who see it ask my why it looks like a car that had an interior fire, which I must admit it does. 

The last step in this whole process is to make the holes for the body mounting posts.  If you look closely at the picture above you’ll see that I’ve peeled off the clear plastic layer that contained the marks where I was supposed to make the holes. I was so upset at the whole job being ruined I peeled it off without thinking.  This means I had to find out where the holes were to go the hard way.

Once I found the location of the holes I used my Ultimate Body Reamer (Duratrax DTXR1157). This thing isn’t cheap but boy does it work. I highly recommend it over other reamers. Not only does it cut holes, it’s solid aluminum that’s anodized a nice shade of blue.

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