Gorbidog From United States of America, joined Oct 2004, 151 posts, RR: 2 Posted (10 years 1 month 3 weeks 2 days 20 hours ago) and read 2001 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!
Qwerty From United States of America, joined Mar 2001, 387 posts, RR: 0
Reply 1, posted (10 years 1 month 3 weeks 2 days 18 hours ago) and read 1903 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.
PHLapproach From Philippines, joined Mar 2004, 1247 posts, RR: 18
Reply 2, posted (10 years 1 month 3 weeks 2 days 16 hours ago) and read 1862 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?
EMBQA From United States of America, joined Oct 2003, 9364 posts, RR: 11
Reply 3, posted (10 years 1 month 3 weeks 2 days 15 hours ago) and read 1840 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 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"
Trolley Dolley From , joined Dec 1969, posts, RR:
Reply 4, posted (10 years 1 month 3 weeks 2 days 14 hours ago) and read 1787 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.
Gorbidog From United States of America, joined Oct 2004, 151 posts, RR: 2
Reply 5, posted (10 years 1 month 3 weeks 2 days 10 hours ago) and read 1726 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!
Dalmd88 From United States of America, joined Jul 2000, 2614 posts, RR: 14
Reply 6, posted (10 years 1 month 3 weeks 2 days 9 hours ago) and read 1710 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.
PHLapproach From Philippines, joined Mar 2004, 1247 posts, RR: 18
Reply 7, posted (10 years 1 month 3 weeks 1 day 20 hours ago) and read 1596 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.
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.