Badge Repainting – Howto

So my 12 year old 900 SE had basically no paint left on the badges on the back, they were black and ugly with just a few silver streaks.
Rather than shelling out for new ones, I thought hey, what’s a bit of silver paint, easy job.
So I got my silver touch up paint from a generic auto shop, and had a bash at painting the badges with a fine brush, and the results were crap. The paint just insisted on running over the edges of the top face, and of course trying to get an even layer is impossible, always get streaks and stuff. I sanded most of the silver off again, making sure I got all the bits that had run over the edges, ahead of doingthe job properly.So I had to figure out how to mask out the badge to spray it properly. The solution – Blue Tack (or yellow tack as in my situation). I saw some plastacine my boss had laying around for molding work and that gave me the idea, something that can be easily molded around the shapes of the letters, leaving just the front face exposed.

So anyway, first step is to mask off the general area using good old newspaper and masking tape. Ensure the entire area is well covered, don’t want any overspray. I know I could have taken the badges off, but they were well stuck on and I didn’t have any good double sided tape to put them back on afterwards. It was good that they were nice and firm on the car, made it easier later on when pressing goop around them.

Then comes the fun part, the tack mask. Just start rolling tack into little rolls and squashing it around the letters, filling in all the gaps. Start with a bit less than required, then add more tiny balls of stuff to fill in as neccesary – it’s much harder to remove too much tack as it pulls whole areas off if you try. A toothpick works wonders for neatening up edges and pushing tack into small corners. It goes without saying that this is the most important step, getting the tack neatly to all edges of the front face. It’s great because you can take as long as needed to get that perfect finish.
If you can find yellow stuff I reccommend it highly as it has great contrast to the black plastic, outlining edges really well.

Then you can spray away to your hearts content. As usual, light coats are the way to go, leaving a few minutes between each. Especially important here as the work piece is vertical, and runs are going to happen easily with a bit too much paint.
Even here you can see the great smooth finish on the lettering, and all the marking in the tack aroung the letters where it was pushed into place with the toothpick.

Then just let the paint dry for a few minutes and remove the masking. The paint was intitially a bit furry around the edges where it was ripped from the paint stuck to the tack, rubbing some other tack around the edges acted nicely as a very gentle abrasive removing the bad edges leaving it nice and smooth. A very very fine grit sandpaper would probably be good on the edges too, although I haven’t needed it.
I think you’ll agree it’s a great result. Compare to the 900 SE badge I still have to do on the other side.

Up close the finish isn’t factory perfect, but it’s a great outcome for the ease of the process. A very carefule sand on the edges with fine grain paper would probably straighten up the few edges that bled under the tack a fraction, although these aren’t visible except upder close scrutiny.