The plan for Sonex 1374 changed several times from the start of building to the final product. Initially I planned to polish everything with painted fiberglass parts. I purchased all the polishing supplies, nuvite in several grades, buffers and extra wool bonnets, a very cool cyclo polisher, and lots of mineral spirits and microfiber cloths. 40 hours or so into polishing I was re-thinking this plan. After seeing how much work was involved polishing, I decided to trim down the amount of polish by painting some, and polishing some!
The next evolution was towards a warbird theme. There have been several builders do this before me, and they always look really neat. The Sonex flies like a little fighter, so it might as well look like one! I studied P-51 paint schemes for inspiration and tried to adapt the common elements to the Sonex lines. The end result was something I felt really good about.
The final consideration was timing. Ideally I would have painted the various parts separately prior to final assembly. This wasn't possible for me because I was on a very tight timeline to get the airworthiness inspection completed, and there just wasn't time. The next best thing would have been to take the plane apart for painting, but having too much fun flying made this an undesirable option as well. This lead me to the conclusion that I needed to paint it using something quick and easy, while still fully assembled. I went with a rattle can paint job using Rust-oleum spray paint. It's not a perfect finish, but it looks pretty good none-the-less. Besides, a warbird should look a bit rough....it doesn't have time to look pretty. It's got a job to do shooting down other airplanes!
There are few final details to work out still, such as the tail and nose art, but the actual painting is finished and looking good. Not bad for a month of weekends and $100 in paint and supplies (but the vinyl graphics were about $100 as well)!
NOTE: photos link to full size image