F-16 Intake Tutorial

Here are some suggestions for puttying, sanding and painting
the insides of your F-16 intake.

I don't know where Pete "Pig" Fleischmann came up with the idea of pouring latex house paint down an intake,
perhaps it was a home-improvement project gone wrong, but it is a brilliant way to get a great finish inside your intake.

Use your putty of choice to fill the seam. I prefer superglue.
I dip the end of a brush handle and carefully reach in through the rear of the intake.
Let each application dry and repeat until the seam is completely filled.

Prepare sandpaper by pulling it over a sharp edge as shown. Rotate it 180 degrees and repeat.
This 'breaks the back' of the paper allowing it to be rolled smoothly.

I then roll the sandpaper and tape it to a straw, paper overhanging the end.
Notice the tape (and piece of pink straw) on the aluminum rod. This prevents the rod from sticking out of the straw.

Insert the rod into the straw and wet sand the seam. Start with 320 or 400 grit and work down to 600 grit.

Sand from both ends until the seam is smooth.
Sand the entire inside of the intake to allow the paint to adhere better.
Clean out the sanding residue then wipe the insides with a cleaner (I used 409).

Paint the exterior color (in this case F-16 dull gray). Mask the gray. Airbrush white around the edge of the mask.
Sand out any overspray and clean the insides for painting.

Tape the end of the intake tube. Also mask the hole for part C34 with blu-tack or clay.

Ready for the Pig Pour.
I used the paint shown that I had sitting around for almost 2 years. You can buy small 'sample' cans at your local
paint or home improvement store. Semi-gloss worked out perfectly.

Fill the intake up until the paint almost touches the mask.

Brush paint up to tape. Get as little on the tape as possible.

Open the mask on the rear tube and let the paint drain out. Continue holding it above the cup for the following steps.

Do your best to remove any paint from the masking without touching the painted surface.

Remove the mask before the paint dries. If you wait until it is dry it will tend to peel up with the mask.
If any paint has seeped under the tape, carefully remove what you can with a toothpick and a clean, wet brush without disturbing the white. You can always go back and touch up the gray later.

Clean any paint off the outside of the rear tube. Add a strip of masking tape to extend the length of the tube. Pull the paint down onto the tape. Adding the tape allows more of the paint to drain out rather than building up on the inside edge of the tube.

Prop the part up allowing the paint to drain and dry. Allow it to dry for a good full day or longer before handling.

If there is too much paint built up on the tube edge you can cut away that which will be hidden by the fan.

Ideally your part will be perfect and require no further work. Because my paint was old and used, I had a few imperfections in my finished part. I was pleasantly surprised to find that once the paint was completely dry I was able to carefully sand out the imperfections and polish the paint to a perfect finish.

For more pictures and info check out the In-Progress thread at ARC.
Feel free to add comments, share your painting experience there and suggest any tips on improving the process.

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