If you don’t already know, a Candy-Apple paint finish is a two-step process. First a base color is applied, metallic gold for example, then a special translucent paint in a color of choice is sprayed over. The result is a finish of great depth and beauty.
One can see the sparkling metallic gold under the semi-transparent red, blue or green top coat. Just like seeing the apple under its candy coating. Hence the name.
The picture above is an example. The gold FUSO name on the down tube is actually the base coat, it was masked off, then the red candy apple was sprayed on, and the mask was removed after.
When I went to work for Masi in Southern California at the end of 1980, I was amazed at the beautiful paint work coming out of the shop.
At that time I had been painting my own frames for a number of years, so I knew how to handle a paint gun, but what I didn’t know were the little “Tricks of the Trade” it took to bring a paint finish up to the next level.
Like for example, spraying 6 or 8 clear coats over decals, then when dry, sanding smooth with very fine 600 grit paper, before applying a final clear coat. The result was a perfectly smooth finish with the decals completely buried under clear coats, with not even the slightest ripple in the top surface above the decal.
I also learned about candy apple finishes. One of the ways it was used, you would not even be aware that it is a candy apple finish. That is when used to produce a brilliant red finish. Red is one of the most difficult colors to paint and look half way decent.
The reason is the best red pigment is made from Cadmium. But it is no longer used in modern paint, because it is highly toxic and very expensive. So synthetic pigments are used, and the finished job ends up looking slightly orange. Not a true red. Red paint is also prone to fade over time when exposed to sunlight.
What I learned was the spray a candy apple red over a bright white base coat. What you see is the light reflecting back on the white undercoat, through the red translucent top coat. The result is a really intense deep red. A true red color.
This process was not easy, because if the red was sprayed unevenly it would appear a darker or lighter shade in places where the paint was applied in heavier of lighter coats. For example, as you spray paint along the individual tubes of the frame there is a tendency to get a buildup of paint around the lugs.
If not careful, the lugs would appear darker that the main tubes. Or there might be dark blotches where the paint overlapped.
Many do not know that even on my production Fuso and Recherche frames this same candy apple red was used.
(Above and Right) But instead of a white base, I sprayed over a bright orange base coat.
The red appeared only slightly darker, but spraying over orange was a little more forgiving, therefore easier than over a pure white base.
Some of these frames are 30 years old and the red paint has not faded, the red is still as vibrant as the day it left my shop.
In the example above. The frame was painted dark metallic blue, and white decals applied. Next a candy apple red was sprayed over all, and the end result is a deep burgundy main color with red decals. Taking on a purple-ish hue in bright sunlight.
Finally, this Fuso Lux frame was first painted white all over. Then a candy apple purple was sprayed on the bottom section only. The white acting as the base coat. Where the color fade transition takes place, the tubes were masked off in a checker board fashion. The purple was faded over this masking which was removed when the paint was dry.
Then I came back a final coat of the purple, and sprayed slightly overlapping the white squares. The effect is a checkered pattern that appears to fade in from the purple, and then disappear into the white. It also demonstrates the effect of lighter and heavier coats of the candy apple paint that I mentioned earlier.
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