LAS have recently been modernising a Monaco Diplomat, if you have been following our case studies you will know that we have re-floored the motorhome and re-made the T.V. cabinets. As we wrote in the case studies it turned out fantastic and took many years off the appearance. There is one big problem now, whilst the inside now looks new and very modern, the outside appearance looks very dated with its main colours being gold and white. The idea we had was to change the gold and keep the white, whilst at the same time match the new colour with the vehicles existing silver decals.
After some considerable debate a colour was chosen, this was without the owner’s knowledge at this point. He was contacted shortly afterwards and his answer was “I trust your judgement, if you think it will look good, then that is what I will go with”. This was not the answer that we needed to hear from him, as the floor had been replaced, the front T.V. unit had been rebuilt, and new LED lights had been added, to which none of these items had been chosen by the owner, or more importantly seen by the owner. So now to have another “I trust your judgement” answer, things were getting a little bit scary.
The colour that was chosen was graphite grey with a green pearl which was a Mazda car colour.
In theory, if you choose a light colour, it doesn’t tend to show up small imperfections on the panels, which with a vehicle 10-12 years of age you are bound to get, and yes the Mazda colour we chose was a little on the dark side.
The panels were then prepared and as with most of LAS work, we decided to go the whole hog and remove the lights, the locker, the latches and then the front and rear panels. If it came off then we took it off! Also, the mirror arms were sandblasted along with the electric entrance step.
We then filled in the dents and deeper marks; this was to make the panels as flat as possible, so as not to show any imperfection when it was painted with the darkish graphite grey. Next, the decals were masked and then removed ready to be replaced with paint.
Then we needed to mask out the windscreen and front window, because that upper front part of the body was gold, and now also needed to be grey.
Once all the preparation had been finished, we were then ready to paint. Preparation is one of the most important parts of the bodywork operation; painting is only a small part of this.
Due to the age of the vehicle, a problem called micro blistering occurred on the locker, which meant that the panels had to be taken back to the fibreglass and aluminium. When this happened, we had to prime it by using an etch aluminium primer where it was necessary. Once the primer had been applied, then the base colour coat was put on. This base coat had no shine to it until we applied the lacquer, which is the final part of the painting process. Once this had been done the RV was then left overnight for the paint to cure.
The next day we removed the masking to reveal the new paintwork. At this stage, you think that you are home and dry, but all the parts that we removed before painting now needed to once again be refitted, not to mention the flatting and polishing.
Many hours later, the new paintwork looked stunning. More to the point, the owner loved it. As you can see from the pictures the RV now looks great and has many more years left in it.