The Surf Crate above was done using Sizzlers-Hotline spectraflame paint. In this case, Hot Pink.

As you may be aware, the first step to achieving spectra-flame type paint jobs is a good polishing of the casting. Simply put, the better the polished casting looks the better your spectra-flame finish is likely to come out. And because the spectra-flame paint is applied in such light coats (to achieve the “transparent” look), any dark spots or blotches in the polished casting will show through.

But once you have a good, highly polished casting in hand, your next step is to acquire the appropriate paint. Sizzlers-Hotline custom mixes his own special brand of repro spectra-flame paint, and if you’re after a particular odd color (or shade) he can probably help. Another choice is the Tamiya “clear” paints pictured below.


Tamiya offers four basic colors of the clear paint: blue, green, red, and orange. They offer these paints in aerosol form, but if not you’ll need an airbrush to achieve a spectra-flame finish. In fact, you’ll probably want to use an airbrush anyway, as it will allow you much greater control over the thickness of your coats. And when spectra-flaming, two decent thin coats is often all that is necessary over a highly polished body.

I’ve also been told that fingernail polish, thinned with rubbing alcohol, will produce a spectra-flame finish when sprayed through an airbrush onto a polished casting. Check out the Nail Polish section of the site for more details.

Krylon also has a paint out called “Stained Glass” paint which has a “spectraflamed” look to it and is transparent. Although not available in traditional colors, it is a great substitute and an inexpensive investment.   They also have a gold chrome and silver chrome paint that dries to a seamless and shiny surface very much like a polished body – this is a great option for use under a spectraflame color to help cover blotches and spots that would not disappear during polishing. The results are often indistinguishable from the polished cars of others. This can generally be used under most any transparent paint.

If you can find it, a “satin” clear-coat would be most appropriate on restored spectra-flame cars. The originals were never super glossy, just super shiny. On more recent castings, like the Surf Crate above, original accuracy isn’t such an issue. Two coats of urethane [gloss] clear were used on the Surf Crate. You can leave your spectra-flame car un-cleared, but then you lose the protection that a topcoat gives. It is recommend at least one light coat of some type of clear.

And finally, be careful when masking spectra-flame paint jobs for graphics. Because the paint is sprayed directly onto a polished casting, there’s no inherent bonding surface (unlike spraying over primer). Therefore, the paint may lift easily when the tape is removed. Always use quality automotive-grade masking tape like 3M products.


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