# clearcoating and fluorescent paint

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#### neil_w

##### Hunkered down
TRF Supporter
I know that fluorescent paints should have white under them, and are naturally flat. I am still not quite sure the best way to handle clearcoating though.

I'm going to be painting gloss black, then applying some fluorescent yellow-green accents (Testor's enamel). The final finish for the rocket will be matte, to be provided by Krylon UV-resistent matte clearcoat. I don't know if matte is really what I want, but I'm curious to try it, and a few matte rockets I've seen look fantastic.

Anyway, there seem to be two ways I could go here:
1) Apply matte clear to entire rocket, after fluorescent coat is applied
2) Apply matte clear to black undercoat, then apply fluorescent on top of that, and then leave the fluorescent uncoated.

The tradeoff here is whether to maximize fluorescence or protection. Will matte clear coat significantly dull the fluorescence? Will uncoated fluorescent paint be too vulnerable to wear and dirt?

All input welcome. This is my first time using either matte clear or fluorescent paints, so I'm not really too certain about anything.

#### Woody's Workshop

##### Well-Known Member
Flattening additives will make the paint somewhat chalky.
It would be best to clear coat over all of it, it will last a lot longer.

##### Well-Known Member
No clear coat for fluorescent paints, must be ultra flat to retain brightness. Last coat on over white primer. All fluorescents going on must be compatible with primer that is completely cured. Fluorescent paint is thin and hard to work with, requires multiple light coats and doesn't last well under rocket launch conditions. If you clear coat you are better off just to use regular paint.

#### modeltrains

##### Well-Known Member
I'd wager fluorescent is flat because it needs all those microparticle facets in order to bounce light back to the viewer.
Flat paint has a surface resembling microscopic sandpaper which is what breaks up reluctance below what makes a smooth surface shiny.
Been years since I've coated a fluorescent but I want to remember it soaking up the gloss like a sponge and taking on a deeper hue - but I'm not going to bet either my cats or kit stash on that memory being 100% accurate.
(hmm ... "cats or kit stash" ... I wonder if cat ladies have a cat stash)

##### Well-Known Member
I'd wager fluorescent is flat because it needs all those microparticle facets in order to bounce light back to the viewer.
Flat paint has a surface resembling microscopic sandpaper which is what breaks up reluctance below what makes a smooth surface shiny.
Been years since I've coated a fluorescent but I want to remember it soaking up the gloss like a sponge and taking on a deeper hue - but I'm not going to bet either my cats or kit stash on that memory being 100% accurate.
(hmm ... "cats or kit stash" ... I wonder if cat ladies have a cat stash)
Yes, any clear coat over fluorescent just fills it in, makes it look like regular paint, smoother and a little shiny. Memory is still good. . . but then you loose track of the cats and the stash.

#### neil_w

##### Hunkered down
TRF Supporter
So I guess I'll matte-coat the whole rocket then apply the fluorescent and leave it uncoated. We'll see how it goes.

This rocket (my avatar) will probably not fly that much, so hopefully the paint will hang in there at least for a while.

##### Roger Smith
So I guess I'll matte-coat the whole rocket then apply the fluorescent and leave it uncoated. We'll see how it goes.

This rocket (my avatar) will probably not fly that much, so hopefully the paint will hang in there at least for a while.
Is the rocket black with florescent green accents? If so, I'd recommend painting the rocket gloss black and applying fluorescent vinyl then gloss coating the whole thing. A print shop (or http://stickershock23.com/) can probably cut the fluorescent parts out of self-stick vinyl for you.

-- Roger

#### neil_w

##### Hunkered down
TRF Supporter
Is the rocket black with florescent green accents? If so, I'd recommend painting the rocket gloss black and applying fluorescent vinyl then gloss coating the whole thing. A print shop (or http://stickershock23.com/) can probably cut the fluorescent parts out of self-stick vinyl for you.
Sadly, the paint job I have settled on for this rocket does not lend itself to a vinyl job (parts of it do, but many parts don't). Of course, I could try to come up with something different, but I've become somewhat attached to this paint scheme and would like to try to make it happen even though it might kill me in the process.

That said, if I become convinced that it really is folly, then I'll (even if reluctantly) try something different. I have a little time to work it out, since the black base coat is not on yet and my painting tends to be spread over a long time period.

One option is just to gloss coat the whole thing with future, and let the fluorescent paint lose its glow. It's still the color I want, although I really do like it in its raw form in the small testing I've done.

#### samb

There is no law that says a clear coat is required. Your trade-off is protection versus a kick a glow. After a few flights it won't matter anyway IMO.

#### GregGleason

##### Well-Known Member
Have you thought about Trim Monokote? They have day-glo and neon colors.

http://www.monokote.com/trim.html

You can paint it what you want, then cut and apply the trim accents.

Greg

#### blackjack2564

##### Crazy Jim's Gone Banana's
I have several rockets with fluorescent paint on them. Red Red-orange-lime green. Rustoleum.

Clear coat is a MUST. Otherwise if left in sun, they will get splotchy grayish burn marks on them. The clear will bring out the "pop" that's associated with this type paint. I alway use gloss. First few coats ar lightly fogged on. Followed by 1 nice wet coat.

My Comp 4 is 12years old & still looks great.

Un coated the finish is VERY soft, mars easily and dirt can stain it. Coated..... these rockets literally blind you, looking at them in sunlight.

The top pic, Wildman 3 inch, was spotted in a field from over 1/2 mile away by just the orange fin tip!

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#### modeltrains

##### Well-Known Member
Nosecone for the Estes QCC Explorer&#8482; which has been barely started for several years now. In the meantime I don't remember what was used to clear coat the fluorescent band. Or what brand of spray paint the fluorescent is. Apparently I went for satin instead of high gloss.

Fluorescent paints need UV light to work. A UV blocking clear coat will dull and change the color.
A non UV block clear may work.
http://www.dayglo.com/who-we-are/fluorescent-color-theory/
M
That is interesting, thanks!

. . . but then you loose track of the cats and the stash.
Cats? What cats? There are cats?
:wink:

#### neil_w

##### Hunkered down
TRF Supporter
I have several rockets with fluorescent paint on them. Red Red-orange-lime green. Rustoleum.

Clear coat is a MUST.
I believe you're the first person I've seen recommend clear-coating fluorescent. Certainly the rockets in your pictures look great.

I think I have two tasks ahead of me:
1) Experiment with clear-coating my paint on a test piece or two
2) See if there's another paint scheme that might lend itself better to cut vinyl (this is going to be tough, but worth a try).

#### tomsteve

##### Well-Known Member
neil, that is one wicked cool rocket and paint scheme!
something you might want to look at is one of the mopar greens.

or maybe gm synergy green

heres a place you can get rattle cans of the colors

http://www.automotivetouchup.com/touch-up-paint/
Sadly, the paint job I have settled on for this rocket does not lend itself to a vinyl job (parts of it do, but many parts don't). Of course, I could try to come up with something different, but I've become somewhat attached to this paint scheme and would like to try to make it happen even though it might kill me in the process.

That said, if I become convinced that it really is folly, then I'll (even if reluctantly) try something different. I have a little time to work it out, since the black base coat is not on yet and my painting tends to be spread over a long time period.

One option is just to gloss coat the whole thing with future, and let the fluorescent paint lose its glow. It's still the color I want, although I really do like it in its raw form in the small testing I've done.

#### tomsteve

##### Well-Known Member
p.s.
that synergy green is a metallic and pretty friggin sweet

#### Woody's Workshop

##### Well-Known Member
p.s.
that synergy green is a metallic and pretty friggin sweet
I'm glad you think so.
No offense, but I've seen this color up close, and it doesn't do a thing for me.
And I'm one that likes green. Just not this one. But I don't like GM either...

#### Flyfalcons

##### Well-Known Member
I clear coated the flourescent fins on my Nike Smokes. They both look great.

#### My Gypsy

##### Well-Known Member
Paint the entire rocket matte white. Then fluorescent green. Mask off the green areas and apply the black. Top it off with a few coats of clear, matte or gloss.

##### Roger Smith
Paint the entire rocket matte white. Then fluorescent green. Mask off the green areas and apply the black. Top it off with a few coats of clear, matte or gloss.
Is there really a way to clear coat florescent paint? My experience is the same as others have shared. Spraying clear coat over the florescent paint causes it to dull.

Years ago I painted a Talon florescent blue and orange, feathering the colors together. I was really happy with the way it looked until I sprayed some clear coat on it.

I guess it would be best to try it on some scraps before doing it on the rocket.

-- Roger

#### neil_w

##### Hunkered down
TRF Supporter
I did a quick initial experiment on a test piece painted (crudely, by hand) in the same scheme as the rocket. I coated one half of the piece, including one fluorescent edge, with Future. *Indoors*, it was almost impossible to tell the difference between the coated and uncoated edges, although at the correct angles to the overhead light you could see that one was glossy and the other flat. But there was no meaningful difference in "brightness". It still looked good.

I will need to see how it looks outside, unfortunately we're in for some non-sunny weather for a while so it'll have to wait. But I'm encouraged. Yes I was planning to go matte, but switching over to gloss with Future would be an easy change to make and I would have no problem with it.

I should probably make a larger test piece also.

#### Marc_G

##### Well-Known Member
Paint the entire rocket matte white. Then fluorescent green. Mask off the green areas and apply the black. Top it off with a few coats of clear, matte or gloss.
+1

White, then green, mask, then black.

##### Well-Known Member
With the complex paint job you want use My Gypsy and Marc_G suggestions. I would add just to make sure you leave the tape on the fluorescent until the very end and to use a high quality tape and high quality compatible paints and clear coats. I have never tried liquid mask over fluorescent, seems like that would not work. The paint job will be a lot of work, especially the letter stenciling, but no sacrifice is too great on a paint job for a scratch built rocket on its first flight. Looking good is the key factor.

#### thequick

##### Well-Known Member
My attempt painting a rocket with fluorescent yellow was disappointing. The rocket was primed. Next followed a base coat of white (two or three layers, I forget) then several light coats of fluorescent. The first problem I had was getting an even yellow. Differences in paint thickness were very noticeable. In some areas where the paint went on thick the yellow seemed to have a reddish/ pinkish tint. At this point the paint was still fluorescing strongly and had a matte finish. But I wanted a gloss finish so I color sanded the paint in preparation for a clear gloss coat. After sanding there was a noticeable reduction in the fluorescence. After applying the clear the fluorescing seemed to be reduced further. In the end the final yellow doesn't seem much brighter than a standard gloss yellow.

#### o1d_dude

##### 'I battle gravity'
I believe you're the first person I've seen recommend clear-coating fluorescent. Certainly the rockets in your pictures look great.

I think I have two tasks ahead of me:
1) Experiment with clear-coating my paint on a test piece or two
2) See if there's another paint scheme that might lend itself better to cut vinyl (this is going to be tough, but worth a try).
Seriously?

I've been recommending clear-coating fluro paint since at least 2010.

Rusto fluoro pink with metallic black trim (fin can on rockets) have been my flying colors since my days in AMA Free Flight. When I BAR'd, I brought them with me.

That being said, gloss clear coat will subdue the brightness of flouro colors but protect the finish from staining (exhaust smoke, dirty rails, mud, etc.) Unless you store your clearcoated rockets outside in the elements, the yellowing many warn of will NOT occur.

I also wax my rockets for additional shine and protection. Synthetics seem to work best followed by a buffing with a wheel.

#### neil_w

##### Hunkered down
TRF Supporter
Seriously?

I've been recommending clear-coating fluro paint since at least 2010.
Sorry if I missed your previous writings on this subject. In any case, right now I'm leaning towards a coating of Future, unless further testing suggests otherwise. Even if I end up losing some (all?) of the extra fluorescent glow, I'll at least have the color I want.

#### o1d_dude

##### 'I battle gravity'
I should caution you that many of the fluoro colors are quite difficult to get an even non-blotchy color. I believe this is because fluoro paint is somewhat translucent. After all these years, an even coat is still a challenge.

Metallic colors can pose problems as well. There's a sweet spot between too light and too heavy. Too light and the gloss is missing, too heavy and the flakes "pool" and you wind up with an uneven distribution.

Practice, practice, practice.

I've been meaning to try my airbrush with art fluoro colors but never seem to get around to it.

#### neil_w

##### Hunkered down
TRF Supporter
I should caution you that many of the fluoro colors are quite difficult to get an even non-blotchy color. I believe this is because fluoro paint is somewhat translucent. After all these years, an even coat is still a challenge.

Metallic colors can pose problems as well. There's a sweet spot between too light and too heavy. Too light and the gloss is missing, too heavy and the flakes "pool" and you wind up with an uneven distribution.
I've had good luck with metallics so far but am quite nervous about working with the fluorescents. I'll try to do some practice runs before I commit the final model.

#### modeltrains

##### Well-Known Member
I've had good luck with metallics so far but am quite nervous about working with the fluorescents.
Guess what we need to find for you is a fluorescent metallic?

#### neil_w

##### Hunkered down
TRF Supporter
Guess what we need to find for you is a fluorescent metallic?
Sounds awesome, sign me up.

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