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Airline Paint Graphics  
User currently offlineGorbidog From United States of America, joined Oct 2004, 151 posts, RR: 2
Posted (9 years 9 months 1 week 1 day 1 hour ago) and read 1943 times:

My question pertains to how airliners are painted, especially in the past decade or so with the fancy "cartoon" graphics and the like.

For example, how is the "faded U" painted on the tail of the latest United Airlines' paint scheme? The way the white "U" fades to the top, it would appear that someone either used some sort of 'peel and stick' printed graphic, or they practiced a lot with the spray gun to get that effect to look just right. As an airbrush modeller, I can attest to how hard it is to control a small spray gun, let alone attempt to create such an effect on a large surface as a vertical stabilizer - it would appear to be an extremely daunting task.

Likewise, the fancy "Wunala" schemes that Qantas uses, how do the painters get the proportions and scales of the miscellaneous graphics correct on such a large canvas? Do they use some kind of "light projection system" to mark the aircraft prior to the taping process? Or are some of these elements hand painted with a brush?

Basically, my curiosity is based on how the painters are able to successfully transfer a design on paper to an actual aircraft, and be able to maintain the proper scales and proportions to create the end product.

If anyone has some insight on this subject, I would be interested to learn more about the process ... thanks!

Bert Chiu


Sticks and stones may break my bones, but please don't throw stuff 'cause our bamboo floor is delicate!
13 replies: All unread, jump to last
 
User currently offlineQwerty From United States of America, joined Mar 2001, 383 posts, RR: 0
Reply 1, posted (9 years 9 months 1 week 23 hours ago) and read 1845 times:

For example, how is the "faded U" painted on the tail of the latest United Airlines' paint scheme? The way the white "U" fades to the top, it would appear that someone either used some sort of 'peel and stick' printed graphic, or they practiced a lot with the spray gun to get that effect to look just right.

Probably just a halftone paint job - 1st grade definition: dots of (same)color of varying sizes with varying white space.

I doubt it would be a decal unless there was a need for more/all colors.


User currently offlinePHLapproach From Philippines, joined Mar 2004, 1240 posts, RR: 20
Reply 2, posted (9 years 9 months 1 week 21 hours ago) and read 1804 times:

The fade on for the new UA livery and TED, was simply a blend. You arc the gun towards you to get that gradient effect. It's the same type of application as how your own car would get repaired for a spot repair. As for Wunala, they probably would just lay the Red basecoat, then didn't they hand paint the rest of the aircraft like Air China's Tails?

User currently offlineEMBQA From United States of America, joined Oct 2003, 9364 posts, RR: 11
Reply 3, posted (9 years 9 months 1 week 20 hours ago) and read 1782 times:

The fade on for the new UA livery and TED, was simply a blend. You arc the gun towards you to get that gradient effect.

Incorrect.

It is a series of ever narrowing and defining stripes. You can only see it looking close up, but if you step away it produces an optical illusion and gives you the 'blended' look. If the stripes are not spaced out just right or the stripes are not defined correctly it will give you a poor effect.

The former Northwest 'Worldplane' where just stickers. I just missed seeing this plane get painted in AMA back a few years ago, but did get a look at all the pictures. The blueprints on how to apply these special liverys are very specific. They give locations from frames and stringers or spacific locations on the plane. When we unfold the 'masking' it also has '+' marks that are used to locate and align these masks. Also... LOTS and LOTS of standing back and giving it the 'eye' to make sure your laying it out right.

[Edited 2004-10-29 04:00:43]


"It's not the size of the dog in the fight, but the size of the fight in the dog"
User currently offlineTrolley Dolley From , joined Dec 1969, posts, RR:
Reply 4, posted (9 years 9 months 1 week 19 hours ago) and read 1729 times:

My friend has worked on the Air NZ Lord of the Rings fleet as well as the Air Pacific Flying Islands schemes. These are the largest sticker jobs in the business apparently, covering 2/3's of a 744 in some cases. The stickers are simply squares and they work off a pattern to cover a large area like a 747. A bit like quilting....

He said getting the first line was the hardest, it has to be perfectly straight. Everything else just falls into place after that.


User currently offlineGorbidog From United States of America, joined Oct 2004, 151 posts, RR: 2
Reply 5, posted (9 years 9 months 1 week 15 hours ago) and read 1668 times:

EMBQA, thanks for describing the painting techniques used to paint the tails of the new UA and TED planes. That makes sense from my standpoint, and only now do I vaguely recall reading somewhere (maybe it was Air Transport World) that there was quite a bit of "trial and error" involved in getting the look to come out as a smooth gradient transition.

Also Trolley Dolley, thanks for the insight on the "sticker quilting" technology. I knew that the decal appliques were being used for four-color process style effects, but didn't realize that they got so much coverage out of them as in the case of the LOTR plane.

I am impressed by some of the overall color schemes seen on airliners these days, but have to admit that there are instances where they have been getting a bit carried away, as in the Disney-themed JAL airliners.

Any further insight on airliner "decorating" techniques would be greatly appreciated.



Sticks and stones may break my bones, but please don't throw stuff 'cause our bamboo floor is delicate!
User currently offlineDalmd88 From United States of America, joined Jul 2000, 2535 posts, RR: 14
Reply 6, posted (9 years 9 months 1 week 14 hours ago) and read 1652 times:

The DLExpress Powerpuff Girls 737 was painted. The template was punched with little holes and layed on the aircraft. A powder bag is applied over the holes leaving the outline on the plane. The painters then follow the line. Teh current shaded DL tail is done in the same way.

User currently offlinePHLapproach From Philippines, joined Mar 2004, 1240 posts, RR: 20
Reply 7, posted (9 years 9 months 1 week 1 hour ago) and read 1538 times:

EMBQA, wow that's amazing how they get those lines to look like the a blend, completley fooled me. I guess all these liveries are pretty much impossible to know what they do unless your up close to them on the ramp, or see the process.

DALMD88, I had to use that same process on a T-Bird. I also saw it on "Overhaulin" they did it on a El Camino for a tidal wave design. Tons and Tons of pin holes, then just use the chalk to transfer the design.


User currently offlineSanthosh From India, joined Sep 2001, 545 posts, RR: 1
Reply 8, posted (9 years 9 months 1 week 1 hour ago) and read 1506 times:

Can anyone explain me how this is painted on the tail of Air Asia B737?

View Large View Medium
Click here for bigger photo!

Photo © M Radzi Desa



George



Happy Landing
User currently offlineEMBQA From United States of America, joined Oct 2003, 9364 posts, RR: 11
Reply 9, posted (9 years 9 months 1 week ago) and read 1488 times:

Can anyone explain me how this is painted on the tail of Air Asia B737?


That is just a big sticker. Its the same way Frontier Airlines does their 'animal tails'

[Edited 2004-10-29 23:31:09]


"It's not the size of the dog in the fight, but the size of the fight in the dog"
User currently offlineTbanger From Australia, joined Jul 2004, 266 posts, RR: 0
Reply 10, posted (9 years 9 months 6 days 22 hours ago) and read 1427 times:

This photo when viewed LARGE is an excellent example of how dots are used on tails to give a faded or shiny look.


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Click here for bigger photo!

Photo © Ryan Hemmings




User currently offlineSanthosh From India, joined Sep 2001, 545 posts, RR: 1
Reply 11, posted (9 years 9 months 6 days 22 hours ago) and read 1415 times:

EMBQA & Tbanger. Thanx verymuch for the info.
George



Happy Landing
User currently offlineDaddad525 From United Kingdom, joined Sep 2004, 83 posts, RR: 0
Reply 12, posted (9 years 9 months 6 days 20 hours ago) and read 1393 times:

Flew on a Gulf Air A340 HKG-BKK last year. Didnt see the plane before I got on, but at BKK. Appears somebody had gone mad with a mat-paint blue spray gun. Totally horrendous.

As for the QF examples...even my 15 year old daughter thinks the designer must have been on something serious.


User currently offlineHorus From Egypt, joined Feb 2004, 5230 posts, RR: 60
Reply 13, posted (9 years 9 months 6 days 20 hours ago) and read 1379 times:

Daddad525, I think you're referring to this c/s:

A343

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Click here for bigger photo!

Photo © Kevin Minter



GF painted 4 of their aircraft (one from every fleet type) in special 'Islamic Art' to mark their 50th anniversery some years ago. Apparently they have been loved by most passengers that the airline was decided to keep them indefinitely.

Here are the other 3:

A332

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Click here for bigger photo!

Photo © Garry Lewis - AirTeamImages



A320

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Click here for bigger photo!

Photo © Wael Tayara



B763

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Click here for bigger photo!

Photo © JKSC




I have to say the colour schemes are great especially the one on the A340!


Horus




EGYPT: A 7,000 Year Old Civilisation
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