gorbidog
Posts: 145
Joined: Thu Oct 07, 2004 9:02 am

Airline Paint Graphics

Fri Oct 29, 2004 6:02 am

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!
 
qwerty
Posts: 380
Joined: Sat Mar 17, 2001 7:31 am

RE: Airline Paint Graphics

Fri Oct 29, 2004 8:05 am

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
Posts: 1054
Joined: Tue Mar 23, 2004 6:37 am

RE: Airline Paint Graphics

Fri Oct 29, 2004 10:05 am

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
Posts: 7797
Joined: Sat Oct 25, 2003 3:52 am

RE: Airline Paint Graphics

Fri Oct 29, 2004 10:44 am

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"
 
Trolley Dolley
Posts: 548
Joined: Sat Jul 29, 2000 1:57 pm

RE: Airline Paint Graphics

Fri Oct 29, 2004 12:04 pm

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
Posts: 145
Joined: Thu Oct 07, 2004 9:02 am

RE: Airline Paint Graphics

Fri Oct 29, 2004 3:55 pm

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
Posts: 2399
Joined: Fri Jul 28, 2000 3:19 am

RE: Airline Paint Graphics

Fri Oct 29, 2004 4:11 pm

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
Posts: 1054
Joined: Tue Mar 23, 2004 6:37 am

RE: Airline Paint Graphics

Sat Oct 30, 2004 5:45 am

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.
 
Santhosh
Posts: 543
Joined: Sun Sep 16, 2001 5:14 am

RE: Airline Paint Graphics

Sat Oct 30, 2004 6:08 am

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 Landings :)
 
EMBQA
Posts: 7797
Joined: Sat Oct 25, 2003 3:52 am

RE: Airline Paint Graphics

Sat Oct 30, 2004 6:30 am

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"
 
tbanger
Posts: 253
Joined: Tue Jul 27, 2004 6:11 pm

RE: Airline Paint Graphics

Sat Oct 30, 2004 8:51 am

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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Photo © Ryan Hemmings


 
Santhosh
Posts: 543
Joined: Sun Sep 16, 2001 5:14 am

RE: Airline Paint Graphics

Sat Oct 30, 2004 8:59 am

EMBQA & Tbanger. Thanx verymuch for the info.
George
Happy Landings :)
 
daddad525
Posts: 82
Joined: Wed Sep 22, 2004 5:51 pm

RE: Airline Paint Graphics

Sat Oct 30, 2004 10:34 am

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.
 
Horus
Posts: 5131
Joined: Sun Feb 22, 2004 1:04 am

RE: Airline Paint Graphics

Sat Oct 30, 2004 10:50 am

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

A343

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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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Photo © Garry Lewis - AirTeamImages



A320

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Click here for bigger photo!

Photo © Wael Tayara



B763

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Photo © JKSC




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


Horus

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