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#43 John Andretti STP/ Thank You Firefighters! (1998 Pepsi 400 scheme)


Slipster17
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This is my first deep dive into a modelling project after being absent from the hobby for a loooooooong while. So of course I wasn't going to go easy on myself! 😅

The special reverse & chameleon colored STP / Glasurit Paints scheme that Andretti drove in two races at the tail end of 1998 (the Pepsi 400 'Thank You Firefighters' version specifically)

I've wanted to build this paint scheme for since the early 2000s but never really felt I had the skills and know-how to do it properly. But this new urge is spurred on partially by seeing the Testors line of colorshift spray paints available in my local craft stores. I bought a few colors, played around with them on some test bodies and decided the effect wasn't exactly what I was looking for...... but then I went on a search to find one that did match the real car as close as possible. The original paints that the actual car was painted with have long since been discontinued - but I landed on GreenStuffWorld.com and sampled a handful of their airbrush colorshift paints. All I can say is, WOW. Color, quality, ease of application - these guys have it covered! Their 'Celestial Azure' (a teal to purple shift) was my final choice for this build.

Paint chosen - I bought 2 sheets of the old Slixx decals for this car from Mike's, a Revell 96-2000 Pontiac donor kit and set to work!

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Edited by Slipster17
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On the chassis I scuffed the rolling surface of the tires, borrowed a single side exhaust pipe from my scrapyard to make this build race accurate, chopped the rear springs a little bit to get a completely level stance and cut a little extra piece of parts tree to create an 'Earnhardt Bar'. Also from the scrapyard, the larger more period correct engine air cleaner.

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On the outside I did my best to putty and sand the the seam between body and front bumper and make it disappear, as well as completely smooth out the lower grilles so a later decal lays flat. Then, because I am making this one a single side exhaust, I cut out a chunk of the driver's side-skirt to leave room for the larger pipe and then puttied in the gap on the passenger side.

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Moving on to the paint booth....... 

Primered and then shot the whole body with TS-36. Wet sanded between a few coats.

(IGNORE THE OTHER SPICY BIT TO THE RIGHT IN THE PHOTO..... we'll discuss that one in due time 😉)

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Tried my hand at creating a masking template using a super spiffy technique I saw a modeler use on a YouTube video. The basic gist is that you find a pane of glass (like from a photo frame) and place the decal sheet below it. Then you cover the top of the glass with painters tape and use a hobby knife to trace the design you need off of the decal sheet. You can then easily peel the tape up from the glass and transfer it to the car body.

Rather than freehanding the side swoops with 2mm tape on this one - the above method is what I went for. Made sure to burnish the edges to press them down good. Only had one small instance of spray leakage on the trunk so I consider that a huge win! Laid down a base coat of black before 3 coats of the Celestial Azure colorshift.

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Edited by Slipster17
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Borrowed an airbrush from my Father-in-Law (a huuuuuuge scale train nut!) to lay down this colorshift and I gotta say..... I think I need to go buy my own. So much more control over the flow and finish than a rattlecan!

Seeing how this turned out gives me goosebumps - only a tiny bit of residue from the painters tape that needs to be addressed. I can't wait to get started on decals!

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Edited by Slipster17
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  • Slipster17 changed the title to #43 John Andretti STP/ Thank You Firefighters! (1998 Pepsi 400 scheme)
  • 2 weeks later...

Dreading tackling the last few decals on this guy - mostly due to the 'ribs' on the back of the Pontiac body. Going to take a lot of patience and solvent!

Most of the white decals you see here are double layered BTW - the cracks visible in the rear stripes will be covered with the second layer.

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