Thursday, April 15, 2010

More Wolfgang Goodness

I'm breaking some of my own rules on photography for these pictures, but what can you do when there is no sun?

I will hand it to Subaru designers... They know how to build the curves just right so that you really get some great looks when it is polished up right. Next to Porsche, I don't know another car that bends the light and looks as good as Subaru. Everything else is either too rounded or too square to bend like this. Subaru adds bends in the middle of curves and it really throws light well. The hood scoops don't hurt either. I prefer the ones on the Legacy, but they definitely add a lot.

Headlight Polishing

Here are some examples of my headlight polishing work.

Poorboy's Black Hole

Here are some shots in the sun (albeit the shady side sometimes). check out the depth and clarity of the reflections. Not bad for charcoal. This isn't a color known for reflections.

You'll see it get deeper on a black car, but this is as good as it gets on Charcoal. This is the after effects of the Part 2 of my detailing project. It was fully polished prior to the application. If that isn't deep enough for you, then maybe Saturday's project will satisfy you.

That is straight up Black Hole. I polished and everything first, of course, but I didn't put anything on top of the Black Hole. I just wanted to see how it would look on a real black car. Porsche black is awesome. They don't put any metal flake in it or anything. It is just pitch black. You should see this when the sun goes behind a cloud. It is ridiculous!!

1994 Toyota Supra

I love this car... Say what you will about his choice of wheels and body kit (he actually didn't get much choice in the kit. The guy he sold it to and then bought it back from put that monstrosity on there) but this is still the baddest car I've ever detailed. I'd take this over anything else I've touched any day of the week. It is a gorgeous car that performs like nothing else. This motor produces just over 850 HP and puts over 600 of that to the wheels. The owner has been modifying Supras for a very long time and he knows how to build them right. This is an awesome car to behold and even more awesome to ride in.


Wolfgang Sealant Money Shots

Mmmmmm.... I gotta say, if there is anything better than Wolfgang Paint Sealant on black, then I haven't found it yet.



Of course the final result is only as good as the prep. That story is in another thread that I have to still write though. I just wanted to show off the Wolfgang sealant a little first. Man I love that stuff!!

XMT 360 vs Swirls

(this is a product review from 2007, but I felt the pictures were worth putting on the site)

I tried out a new product this month that I've been doing some testing on. I'm getting really really good results with it and I thought it was time to put the stamp of approval on it. I'm sure that Pinnacle could care less what I think about their products, but I really do like to think that I put a product through the rounds before I'll ever recommend it to anybody. My criteria for approval (again, as if Pinnacle cares) is that it must be easy to use. It can't be some 12 step system that costs $20 bucks a bottle before I can get results. Secondly it has to work. I don't like hit and miss results. I want it to perform consistently. The last thing I need professionally is for a product to fail when I need it to work. And lastly it needs to be worth the price. There is too much competition for products out there to have people wasting money and time on crap that doesn't live up to the price tag. So with those things in mind, I am pleased to put my stamp of approval on Pinnacle XMT 360. (no big head here)

This product was first released a couple months ago and I was so excited to give it a whirl. It was promoted to be the ultimate 'all in one' product that can remove oxidation, remove light swirls, and add polymer protection to your car. Now anything that can do all three of those is a winner in my book. The XMT polishes are very impressive and I had really high expectations for this product. Pinnacle knows they are dealing with a very fanatical market and they have a lot of reputation behind their products. I bought a bottle without any concern that it would fail or disappoint. I just needed to find out what the limits were so that I knew what projects I could use it on.

The first vehicle I tested it on was definitely an Everest. It was a '92 Mazda POS pickup truck. I had it donated by a neighbor for my OCDetails Spring Cleaning Event. The fifth annual one I might add. Anyway, the goal with this truck was to demonstrate and practice oxidation removal. It had terrible oxidation on it.

Unfortunately my camera guy failed to operate the camera properly and I didn't get many pictures that show the work. I do have one that you can see the before/after idea. The left side of the fender is not touched and the right side is. I think you can tell the difference with this. Just imagine how much better the pink truck looked when it was bright red again. The owner is actually washing it on a weekly basis at last!

It handled the oxidation with the greatest of ease. There were just a couple spots that I decided to change pads and go with a little more abrasiveness, but for the most part that entire truck was polished with the Edge 2000 blue pad and XMT 360. I wanted to use a softer pad so I could see the product do as much as possible. I didn't want the results to be because I used a cutting pad and the product be useless. Needless to say, it passed the oxidation removal test.
We then used it on a BMW M3 and noticed great swirl removal abilities. The Bimmer had really really hard paint and it wasn't really the right job for 360, so it was decided that moderate to heavy swirl damage wasn't it's forte.

Moving on to the other day when a '97 Audi A4 was dropped off with massive oxidation and swirl damage. I seriously considered the possibility that 360 was not up to the task and just grabbing a medium cutting compound and maybe a yellow pad to make fast work of it, but curiosity got the best of me and I strapped on the blue pad and grabbed the 360. I was honestly not prepared for the results. I did use the green pad for the hood, but the rest of the car was done with the blue pad and XMT 360. I'll just let the pictures do the talking. This first set is the rear fender in the before, durring, and after stages.

You want to know how long it takes to get results like that? Check this video out and see for yourself. I needed to go over that trunk again with 360 and buff it off a little better, but I've got video of that too.
Here is another short video of that rear fender. You can really see how effective this product is on swirls. Here is that trunk lid after another pass with XMT 360.

Just to give you an idea of how bad these swirls actually are, take a look at this closeup.

I'm sorry for all the ladies and children who might have had to see that image. Terrible neglect... I honestly wasn't expecting what I was using to clear that up, but it did. Much of the swirling must have been in the oxidation, but some of it was in the clear and this product polished it out just fine. Here is one more disturbing picture of the paint. This is where I needed a bit heavier cutting power.

360 still did the trick as you can see from these 'after' pictures. I waxed it with Pinnacle Liquid Souveran spiked with PolyCharger for a little added boost in durability and appearance. That's a topic for another thread.

So anyway, the purpose of this post was to hopefully turn you on to a terrific product that could significantly improve the appearance of your car. It does great on fine swirls and even heavier ones. I would very much like to see how it does on the Legacy paint. Based on the tests that I've done with it, I believe that it would be very effective and not leave the hazing that some products can leave behind. With the Edge 2000 blue pad I think it would be just enough bite to cut the swirls without the need to follow up with a lighter polish.

How To Photograph Your Work

I'm not a photographer by any stretch of the imagination. I'm not going to tell you what F stops to use or what appartures to set your camera for (if cameras these days do any of that). I pretty much just point and shoot. What I'd like to tell you about is how to show off your work properly.

I see pictures all the time of black cars in the shade reflecting brightly lit backgrounds. Yeah, that doesn't work for me. Any dark color will reflect brightly lit objects, so it isn't a fair view of what you have accomplished. Likewise, just a brightly lit paint job doesn't always do much for showing off the work you accomplished.

For example, this car I did using XMT 360 to test the swirl removing and shine capabilities on a light colored car. Here is the after shot of the deck:

Pretty slick, right? Slick, but not perfect. I remember that car well and I know I didn't get it perfect simply because it was a college kid's daily driver and only got washed when she brought it home between semesters. Here is the before and after of a swirl removal project on a similar condition vehicle owned by the same guy using a FLEX DA, blue Edge2000 pad, and XMT360:

Even though it looks better by far, just having the paint lit doesn't show that there are still quite a few swirls on the paint. The whole car essentially looked like that second picture, but you can't tell unless the sun is in the shot.

Black is another great example. It is easy to put a black car in the shade and have it look stellar.

While those pictures might look like well detailed cars, it is really tough to say unless you have the sun in it. The sun won't let you hide squat. Case in point... Here is the fender and hood of that Porsche. You can tell that with the sun in the shot you are going to see all the imperfections. The hood is still not perfect, but rock chips will do that.

Granted, sometimes it is hard to get the sun in the picture and still show what you are trying to show. Sometimes getting the sun in it isn't even possible. Here is a good example of that. I wanted to be able to show the detail of the flames, but getting the sun right in the middle of the tank washed everything out. However, having it in there a little bit shows that I'm not trying to hide anything. Even without the sun you can try to get a light bulb or something in there and that will do the trick too.

Camera quality being bad doesn't matter either. I did these pictures with the camera on my Blackberry Pearl, so don't think that having a crappy camera is an excuse for not being able to really show off your work.

Sometimes I don't even think it is necessary to get the sun in every shot. With the sun at the angle it was by the time I was finished with this vehicle it was impossible to get a very good sun shot. So when I posted pictures I made sure I had at least one sun shot to show I was being serious about removing the swirls. If I was going to take the time and had the ability to do this on the hood, then it can be assumed that I probably did that on the rest of the vehicle.

Light colors are tricky. All I can say is try to take the most unforgiving angles that you can find. Get any light source that you can find to reflect in the paint. Just avoid the shade and relying on the brightly lit background to serve as proof of your skill. Any color in the shade will reflect brightly lit backgrounds, so try to get as much direct light on the paint as possible. Even light colors can impress if you do that.

I'm not saying that you should avoid the money shots by any means. What good would cameras be if we couldn't use them to take advantage of perfect angles and special lighting? Definitely leverage that if you can. It produces some great results!

shady side on silver:

extreme angle on white:

shady black: (screw the car... I want that house!)

more shady black:

total shade oxidation removal: (you can't see it, but the paint is still pretty borked on this paint, but the point was to show the difference)

definitely one of my favorites:

curves do wonders in the shade:

and of course, the irresistible self portrait:

The whole point of this thread is to say don't be afraid to show off your work! You know you did a great job, so don't hide it by taking pictures of the shady side. Get the car out of the garage and into the sun. A picture of a black car in the garage reflecting the shelves three feet away is not impressive. I'm sure the paint is perfect and it looks spectacular, but if it wasn't then the car would still reflect the same. Do your work justice by taking pictures out in the sun where we can see that you did an awesome job and there isn't anything to hide. Don't avoid the money shots, but make sure you get some real before and after shots as well.

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