Tiger Force Vehicle Painting How-To
When I was a kid my favorite sub-team was the Tiger Force. I’m not exactly sure why it is my favorite but it was something about the colors on the vehicles that really made them stand out. Once I got into customizing figures, one of my first customs was an attempt at a Tiger Force Whale. I had a few extra Whale shells laying around so I figured I would try to replicate the Tiger Force paint scheme on it. Needless to say that first custom didn’t come out so good. The colors were all wrong and the paint just looked like crap. Well after several different paint techniques and whole lot of color matching I finally found a good combination of colors and a technique that even a novice could use to start their own Tiger Force custom. What follows is almost a year worth of trying different ways of painting and hope that it will help someone out there who is wanting to make their own Tiger Force customs get a good start. So with out further or do lets get started.
Step 1: Parts Gathering
Gather your parts, Im using a Phantom X-19 vehicle for my custom.
In addition to your vehicle you will need the following items.
- 1 Can of White Plastic Primer
- 1 Can of Krylon Fusion Sunbeam Yellow
- 1 Can of Krylon Fusion White
- 1 Can of Krylon Satin Touch Mimosa
- 1 Can of Glossy Clear Coat Paint of your choice
- 1 Bottle of Acrylic Black Paint
- 1 large Paint Brush
- 1 Small Paint Brush
- 1 Washable Black Marker
Here is a picture of all the Materials listed above, which also shows what the cans of paint look like:
Step 2: Preparation and Primer Application
Once you have all the materials begin by Disassembling the Vehicles as much as possible, the more you take apart the easier it is to paint.
Once you have the vehicle completely broken down, you will need to make sure all the stickers are off and the sticker residue is removed. You are now ready to primer all the parts. I know some people don't like to primer their vehicles but when you are doing a Tiger Force vehicle it is an absolute must. The primer will cover up a lot of scrapes and scratches and it also gives a nice white coat which will allow the yellow and white to come out very bright when you put those colors on.
Once you parts have a nice coat of primer on them let them dry for at least 24 to 48 hours before moving on to the next step. Make sure to primer ever part that will be showing including any guns, missiles or stabilizers.
Step 3: Base Color Painting
The Tiger Force Base colors are made up 3 Colors: Sunbeam Yellow, White and Mimosa. After your primer coat has dried you begin by painting the back 2/3 of the vehicle yellow and the front 1/3 of the vehicle white. You will want to paint the white all the way up to the yellow, this helps make sure there is an even coat of paint all the way through the vehicle.
Once your yellow and white paint have been applied let it dry for 24 to 48 hours. It is important to give these coats of paint time to dry or else you will run the risk of the paint bubbling or cracking when you apply the Mimosa color.
Once the yellow and white is nice and dry it is time to move on to the Mimosa Color. Make sure you have your yellow and white paint cans close just in case you need to touch up around the brown in case of really bad over spray. With your Mimosa color in hand, hold the can about 3 inches from the vehicle and spray a nice light coat of paint right where the yellow and white come together make sure not to put it on too thick or you paint will bubble and crack due to the different brands of paint being used.. Then pull the can a little farther away, I normally go about 5 inches up and then make another pass, the will produce an over spray affect that will blend the 3 colors together. Like I said if you go to far in the white or yellow just put a light coat of that color on top of the brown and the fix it as needed. After the first light coat has been applied let it dry for a day and come back again and put a second coat on, although this you will want to put it on slightly thicker than the first coat.
Allow the brown color to dry and we are ready to move on to the next step.
Step 4: Tiger Stripe Painting
Let me start of by saying that there many different ways of doing Tiger stripes and my way not be the best and fastest way but it does produce good results. If you would like to do your stripes a different way then feel free to skip this section.
Before any Tiger Stripes are painted there needs to be some preparation done. After you base colors have dried, you will need to put a nice coat of Glossy clear coat on the entire Vehicle. The clear coat has to be glossy or the marker will not work right when you go to apply it. Apply your coat of glossy Clear coat and allow it dry. Once your clear coat is dry we are ready to move on the actual placement of the Tiger Stripes. With your Washable marker in hand begin drawing out your stripes starting from the front and working your way to the back. There is a basic patter I use and if you look at the pictures you can make out how I layout the pattern. If you are doing a plane or helicopter that requires the underside to be painted as well make sure to carry the tiger stripes from the top of the vehicle to the bottom part as well. The reason for the Clear Coat at the beginning is so that if you make a mistake while drawing out your tiger Stripes, you can take a wet napkin and simply wipe off the part you messed up on and redraw it. If you use Matte or Satin Clear Coat you will NOT be able to erase the lines once you have drawn them.
Once your lines are drawn out you ready to start painting them. You start out by painting over your marker lines and then filling the middle of the stripe in until it is full. You may need a smaller brush to do the ends of the stripes depending on how well you are with a paint brush. Continue on until all the stripes are painted, I normally put 2 coats on each stripe just to make sure they are nice black and no yellow is showing through.
Once you black paint is dry you are now ready to seal the stripes in by putting yet another coat of Clear Coat on it. Since this is your last coat of paint you may want to put a little bit thicker coat on, as this will be your final finish on the vehicle. Apply the clear coat and allow it to dry 24 to 48 hours. While this is drying you can move on to the next step.
Step 5: Accessories and Misc. Parts
Now that we have the hardest part done it is now time to work the other parts of the vehicle. For these parts you will need the following paint.
- Krylon Fusion Black Paint
- Krylon Fusion Safety Red
I normally follow the same scheme when it comes to painting the other parts. Any weapons, propulsion devices, missiles, etc. are all red in color. Any items that hold weapons such as missile boxes, missile launchers, storage covers are all black. Also on Airplanes I try to make the rear stabilizers black as well. Again I would suggest priming all the parts before painting. Determine which parts will be black and which parts will be red. Once you have the parts separated, paint them their respective colors and allow them to dry. If you want to put a coat of clear coat on these items I would give the paint 24 hours to dry before applying it but the clear coat is not necessary if you don’t want to do it. After all your parts have dried its time to move on to the last step.
Step 6: Final Assembly
Once all your parts are dry you are now ready to reassemble your vehicle. I have found that while reassembling some vehicles you will get some parts that naturally rub together. I normally take a piece of shipping tape and apply it to the area where the rubbing occurs to help protect the paint from being chipped. Once you have your vehicle assembled your almost done. What you see is the full assembled vehicle which is not ready for sticker placement.
Step 7: Sticker Placement
The last part and probably the most important part is applying stickers to your vehicle. In my opinion the stickers are what makes the Tiger Force vehicle complete. You will most definitely need a set of stickers with the mouth and eyes on it as well as some Tiger Force emblems. I would also suggest trying to find a sticker sheet for your vehicle you are using and combine those stickers with the Tiger Force ones. There is a guy in Mexico that produces some outstanding sticker sheet but they can be quite pricey. However he produces some of the best sticker sheets around. He can be reached by email.
Just simply email him asking for a sticker sheet list and he will usually email you the list back to you. Keep in mind that he does live in Mexico so expect at least a 2 week wait for you stickers. I can say from personal experience that I have ordered well over $500 worth of stickers from him and have yet to be disappointed with his products or his delivery time. However for those of you who don’t want to deal with someone out of the country there is another alternative which is 334th Joe Company.
He does produces some sticker sheets that are a little cheaper but the quality is not that great. I also have some of the Tiger Force Emblems on a white sticker sheet that I would be more than happy to send anyone. All I ask is that you send me a couple dollars to cover shipping.
Once you have your stickers applied you now finished with your Vehicle. You are now the proud owner of a Unique Tiger Force Vehicle.
Thank for taking the time and letting me share my painting techniques with you and I look forward to seeing what some of you can do.