Just one in a seemingly endless series of unfortunate fluid encounters
by Trevor Hewson
As mentioned in my review of the Graupner Junkers 52 in the June edition of Sloping Off, I was delighted to discover the Hicote range of Acrylic car paints. With these I managed to paint the engine cowls on the Junkers without any of the spatters and runs that usually attend any attempt on my part to get a thin liquid to lay flat on a vertical surface (I've always thought it must have been quite an optimist who invented the very idea of painting!).
So, when it came to the task of painting the cowl on the Sukhoij, I happily settled for the nearest colour in the same range of paints. What is more, I still had some of the primer left that I had used last time, so nothing should go wrong there either.
The first painting session was aborted before it started. I had gathered up all my bits and pieces - you know, plastic gloves, face mask, little bits of wood and string to suspend the items to be painted - ventured outside, opened up the garage and lo! it was full of displaced garden furniture etc. due to building (or, more accurately, repair) work going on elsewhere. So, two weeks and a little furniture removing later, I tried again.
After shaking and warming the can of primer, I took the lid off and, being a clumsy sort of fellow, knocked the spray nozzle off in the process. Not to worry, the nozzles are designed to be replaceable - except this particular one didn't seem keen to be replaced. At first I thought I had broken the nozzle but comparison with the others that litter my bench showed no obvious difference, so I tried again to refit it, this time pressing a little harder.
Of course, there is only a certain amount of pressure you can exert before the aerosol is activated and paint starts spurting in all directions. At this point a short sharp push seemed in order to snap the nozzle into position.
At first this seemed to work - the paint was now coming out through the nozzle rather than squirting out underneath it. However, when I let go, two things happened:
1) The nozzle fell off again - which was disappointing.
2) The aerosol carried on - which was stupefying!
Now free from the constrictions of the nozzle, the nicely shaken and warmed can was in full flow resembling not so much a can of paint, more a Roman Candle!
What to do? First reaction was to find something to stop it - where did that nozzle go?! No sign of it. Anyway, it hadn't been much help so far. So I upended the can and stood it on the floor where it fizzed threateningly - even more reminiscent of November 5th than in its Roman Candle mode. I must say it lasted longer than the average firework, but after about ten minutes it fizzled out, leaving its own brand of smell and mess to remember it by.
So ended the second session (and, incidentally, the best part of a large can of cellulose primer). Off to the shops where I discover an Acrylic primer especially for use on plastics. Brilliant it is - and the nozzle stayed in place throughout. So there was a little bit of a silver lining - but it's nothing compared to the white lining that now decorates various parts of the garage!
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© Trevor Hewson 1995