Kyosho Optima Mid Part 3 "Paint Work & Decals"

Kyosho Optima Mid Part 3 

"Paint Work & Decals" 

If you want to read the previous parts to this post,

Part 1 "What's In The Box" here.
Part 2 "The Build" here


Hello fellow RC enthusiasts from around the World, I hope you are all well!!

As the title suggests, I will be focusing on trimming, sanding and painting the body shell. I have decided to go with the standard Mid colour scheme and decals. This was mainly down to the fact that the model shop I was at today, had no yellow paint. I may, in the near future (funds allowing) buy another body shell, to do the Turbo Optima Mid colour scheme as I already have the wing and decals. 

As you can, I have bought Tamiya PS 1 (white) and Tamiya PS41 (bright silver).

The white paint is obviously the main body colour and I will be backing it in bright silver to solidify the white. Although the hobby store didn't have any yellow paint, I'm still glad I got it from there as £6.25 a can is a good price. The same paint on Ebay are around £10 each plus delivery.

Before I start painting, I need to cut out the bodyshell that can be seen above.  I know people who like to paint the shell before cutting it out. I am not one of those people. The cut lines in the shell are highly visible and should make cutting out quite easy.

 To cut around curves such as above, I have placed cut's up the plastic and that can be removed singularly and much easier. 

As you can see, I have removed the excess from the shell and cutting just short of the trim line. From here I will use the rotary tool to finish up to the cut line and also cut in the detail.

And just before I head off to the sander, I popped the shell on for a quick measure. Looking good. I spent 25 minutes trimming away the excess, if anyone is interested.

After a worrying 50 minutes with the rotary tool, I had removed all of the material up to and including the line. It still looks a little rough as the rotary tool leaves burrs behind.

Removing the material around the spur gear was quite difficult and took the most time. Again, it is looking a little untidy. I will now use some extra fine sandpaper to remove the burrs and protective plastic.

After 30 minutes sanding and shaping I was happy to move on with the process of washing the body shell thoroughly with soap and warm water. I actually used my Wife's head and shoulders shampoo. She'll never know!!

Once the shell was completely dry, I inserted the window masks as can be seen above. As I remember, Kyosho window masks are either too short or just perfect. In this case, they were all too short, so I had to align them as best as I possibly could.

Using a rotary tool to remove material has pro's and con's. The pro's are, it is very accurate and the con's are the burrs it leaves behind. It also lifts up the protective outer film leaving the body shell open to damage and over spray. Therefore, as you can see in the picture above, I have sealed all the edges with masking tape to protect it from paint or damage! Window's and body masking was another 20 minutes.

Before painting, I got the room up to about 32 degrees as this will aid the paint to adhere better and dry a little quicker.

With the room up to temperature and the UV lamp running, I layered 3 coats of the Tamiya white paint. I obviously waited for each previous coat to dry before reapplying. 

I left the white paint to dry in front of the UV lamp for another 60 before again layering down 3 coats of the Tamiya silver. Again I waited for each coat to dry before reapplying.

My humble little spray shop!! Laying down the 6 coats of paint took a total of 90 minutes, in anyone is interested. The total time I have invested on the body shell so far is 3 hours and 35 minutes.

After drying, I could at last remove the masking and outer film to reveal the new white paint job. Looking good.

There is still a little detail sanding to do here and there but, I'm happy with the result so far.

Another angle of the shell showing the spur gear cut out at the rear. I will now leave it overnight to cure properly before removing the window mask's and doing a test fit.

After waiting many hours, I carefully peeled away the window masks and it's looking nice and sharp as I hoped it would!!

And a view of the left side with the rear wing sitting in place for effect. The rear wing that is shown here may not be used in the final version as I have a plan for a painted polycarbonate rear wing that is on order. If the new style wing doesn't suit it's style, I may use the above one temporarily until I find a more suitable style.

Time to start adding the decals. As you can see, there are 2 massive decal cards with a multitude of different decals. Some of the supplied decals are simply for fun and don't appear in the box art, which I think is cool as you can stick them to your pit boxes or tools or whatever you like. My favourites are the comical mini optima mid which I will place on my toolbox!! There some big decals in here, the like's of which I have not seen since the building of my Kyosho Beetle. With use of such large decals, problems can easily arise and there are many so I will push on!!

I will not be following the build manual fitting sequence of the decals. I will be fitting the decals in 2 stages (with this being the first), and always from the top down. With my trusted soapy water, I located the first decal as can be seen above. It did take a good while to correctly position this decal, as it's not a easy as it looks. 

 The second decal I applied was the front (2 prong fork). This decal again did cause some issue as there are lines on the body that need to be followed. The worst decal to apply was the left side of the body that goes over the side. I fitted and removed it more than 6 times until I was finally happy, as if this decal is misaligned, the whole side will be out of line. Luckily, the soapy water got me out of trouble with little stretching to the decals.

Once I had the left side decals in place, I had a reference to work from. I could now fit the right hand side decal in a lot easier and quicker manner. The folding decals as I remember can be a pain, as they were today but they look so cool. I will be using a hair dryer/heat to ensure all these decals are secure before moving on to the decal fitting of stage 2. In the picture above, the "super suspension system" decal (in the manual) should be fitted before the pronged decal. This would have obscured some of the lettering, so it's a good thing I didn't follow the manual!!

A quick test fit of the shell, where I will leave it for 24 hours before I fit the remaining decals in stage 2.

To fit the decals so far has taken me 1 hour 20 minutes and a total time of 4 hours and 55 minutes on the bodyshell if anyone is interested.

I left the body shell overnight to let the decals dry, as there are other decals that will be placed on top of other decals and very close to others. With the decals dry and secured I moved on to stage 2, as can be seen above. Again the window decals have just enough length and width to cover the reveal, however you have to be perfect and I wasn't. Still, they are not that bad considering my shaky old hands. 

 When I mentioned about fitting the big side decals, I said they were a pain and this was the reason why. That bottom line of text, to the right of the 219 is at an angle as it should be. If had had not correctly positioned the upper decal, there was no way I would have be able to get the lower decal position correct. I'm glad I reapplied them (many times) and took the time to get them right.

The other side would have been the same story had I not applied and reapplied. Good old soapy water. I love those little comical optima mid stickers in the background. I wish other RC manufacturers did that!! As you can, see I have been pushing on, but there are still some difficult and delicate decals to apply.

And there she is in (nearly) all her glory. All the decals, as per the box art, are now in place. The only thing I yet have to complete is a new rear wing and then I will have almost complete the whole car.

As I have said, the white plastic wing will be replaced with a painted polycarbonate wing and I will change the rate angle on the wing. I have therefore not used the decals on the plastic wing as I may use them on the new polycarbonate one when it arrives. I should have been here today. DOH. 
It took me a further 1 hour 30 minutes to apply the last of the decals, bringing it to a total of 5 hours and 25 minutes if anyone is interested!

Finally the rear wing I intend to use on the Mid finally arrived today. It is 7 days late from a supplier I know is always overdue, but in the excitement of them being on sale I forgot how slow they actually were. The wing is a Schumacher Cat XLS (well it had to be), part number U5138.

As I was very happy with the shape of the last XLS wing I did, I brought it out to use a template and an example to follow.

With the wing ends together, I used a retractable pencil to gently scribe a line into the outer protective film of the wing.

Which didn't show up in the pictures.

With the excess polycarbonate removed (above), it was time to use the rotary tool to get the wing into shape.

Now I had removed 99% of the plastic and the wing was now the shape I wanted, I could put the painted wing back into it's storage position with it's car. 

After a good sanding and shape up the wing is ready for paint. As you can see above, the dimensions of the wings are not too far apart.

As the above picture clearly demonstrates, the dimensions are quite close. I think that the sloping incline on the wing is a lot closer to the original design Mid wing.

With the wing sanded, shaped and smoothed it was thoroughly washed (Head & Shoulders obviously) and dried. I then applied masking tape around the outside edges to protect from overspray. I quickly popped into my spray box/bench and got the room up to temperature.

After an even dusting of PS-1 Tamiya white, I stood the wing in front of my UV light to cure the paint for further coats.
The cutting, shaping, sanding and painting took another 1 hour and 30 minutes taking the total time to 6 hours and 55 minutes. Yes I didn't have to trouble myself with a different style wing but, it was something I wanted to do. If you are following this post, you do not have to copy me. That decision is up to the personal choice of the owner.

Before I painted the XLS wing, I was aware there would be a problem painting the wing side's as there is not enough space to let the paint in, as I have learned in the past. I planned to do what I have done in the past and paint the end's from the outside However, there was a major complication whilst painting the wing. I had used 2 different paints and although they did not react with one another, the Tamiya paint would not adhere to the other paint brand. This resulted in some paint runs and when I removed the masking tape, a lot of the Tamiya paint simply peeled off leaving the other brand still in place. I did try and sand the areas and tried to cover the damaged paint with a thicker coat of Tamiya white with even worse results. The paint would simply not stick and ended up with some massive paint runs. At this point I was contemplating using another new wing, however I thought I would have one last try as they are not cheap. I left the wing over night to cure and the next day hit it with the sandpaper to remove all the paint.  

After a long while I got the wing ends back to there flat finish, as they were originally. I then masked out the centre of the wing and carefully applied the white paint in very fine layers.

After the wing ends where evenly painted, I left it in front of the UV light. As I had been painting in fine coats the paint cured very quickly and I was able to remove the masking tape and reveal the finish as can be seen above. I was now happy I had saved the wing and I could push on and apply the decals.

Although the XLS wing is 10mm longer than the standard Mid wing, the decals fit well enough for me.

As there are not a lot of decals on the wing, it was quickly completed (apart from the mounting holes).

After using the original wing to line up the new XLS wing, I drilled two, 3mm holes for the mounting bolts. At this point, all of the decals on the buggy are box art. However, Whilst drilling the holes, I thought the rear of the wing looked really bare, so I added a single Kyosho sticker on the bottom to break it up.

The original Kyosho wing is on the left and the Schumacher Cat XLS wing is on the right for a comparison. With wing complete, it was time to get it on the buggy!!

Looking good!!

Another angle.

I like the little Kyosho decal, it stands out, but not too much!!

A picture of the left hand side of the buggy.

The paint work and decals are now complete but, I am not quite finished. I intend to replace these wheels and tyres with the original wheels but using the correct period tyres for the car. The correct tyres for this car have a Kyosho part number OT-66 and are Bridgestone tyres. I also need some red and white tyre paints for the correct detailing. However, I cannot afford the tyres for a couple of weeks yet.

I know I said earlier that I wasn't going to bother with the kit tyres, however I am going to include the "Sand Super" kit tyres. I am doing this for the benefit of the reader, in the off chance they are also building a Mid now or plan to in the future. I have shown you the build of the whole buggy but not yet the wheels. 

As you can see I have the wheels, tyres and foam inserts and a white tyre pen as I intend to write in the "Sand Super" motif on the tyre wall. As with most tyre painting, it is best done mounted to the wheel, as the tyres need to be stretched slightly over the wheel. Fitting the tyre when the paint is applied, will crack the paint from the tyre even though it is an oil based paint. 

 As you can see, the foam inserts have to be inserted before the tyre can be mounted to the rim and can be a tricky operation. Failure to seat the foam insert will lead to deformed tyre walls, uneven balance and a bad handling Optima Mid with a mind of it's own. 

After a little time and effort, the foam insert will fit perfectly inside the tyre with no edges of the foam sticking out. It is important the foam is not sticking out as it will catch the wheel as it is being fitted and again cause a deform in the tyre. With the tyre foam inserted correctly, I pushed on. 

As you can see in the picture above, I am carefully sliding in the wheel which is easier as the foam insert is properly seated with nothing to catch on!

A rear view of the wheel.

I am carefully sliding the tyre on whilst also stretching the tyre over the wheels inner fins. 

If the foam insert is correctly inserted, then fitting the wheel to the tyre should be quite an easy operation. If it is not easy, something is wrong and the whole wheel should be stripped and reassembled. If the foam insert is fitted correctly, then it should look like the wheel in the picture above. I may also add that these tyres are of a super soft compound and if the foams where deformed underneath, they would be very easy to see. That is not the case here, as you can see the tyre is quite square and flat as it should be. Happy days.

And then the next three all looking true. As I stated earlier, I will be detailing the lettering on the tyres but the tyre walls are contaminated (see picture) and will need cleaning with a damp cloth and left to dry before I apply the tyre paint. When the tyres are made, there are left over chemicals left on the rubber that will prevent the paint from sticking to the rubber. It is also very difficult to apply the paint to dirty rubber as the pen will not flow the paint from the pen. 

After around 90 minutes and some cleaning up I was quite happy with my results. The lettering is not perfect but I am getting better with each attempt. They are a lot better than some previous tyres I have done. This is an operation where practice makes perfect, so I will as ever, keep trying. The pen I used was a "Pilot Super Colour" permanent ink pen which cost £5.99 and has the extra fine tip, which is very important as wider pen tips will be too big and bleed over the letter outlines.

After removing the 2.2" JC Racing wheels and Schumacher mini dart tyres, I fitted them to the car and admired the difference the wheels make. Don't get me wrong, I love both sets of wheels but the tyre detailing, does make a big difference and I like it!!

As I have just stated, I also love the look of the 2.2" wider wheels at the back and the 2.2" narrow wheels at the front. But, I love this too!!

With that being said, I still plan on getting the correct (copies) Bridgestone (OT-66) tyres and finish the Mid to the best and highest of my abilities.

Until the next update, take care my fellow RC enthusiasts.

20/7/22 2023


  1. Looks incredible mate, thanks for sharing :)

    1. Thank you Anonymous, it means a lot and is very appreciated. Please read my other posts and share them with your friends. Kindest regards


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