View Full Version : Detailing with Sharpie -- Do it!

2010.02.06, 12:48 AM
I think I'm reasonably well-known now for decorating my cars using Sharpie markers only... it helps save weight and the smallest tip sizes can get the ink pretty much wherever you need it to go. An Xacto blade can clean up any stray ink, and the result is equivalent to airbrushing with masking tape.

When decorating this F430 GT I found out that 1000 grit sandpaper does an even better job than Xacto -- it takes off just the ink you don't want and affects very little of the gloss. The result is the best Sharpie job I've ever done and a very quick job too; the entire preparation of this body took maybe an hour and a half. :)


The side vents are a little tricky on this particular body. Try to fill in the "mesh" area with a normal fine-tipped sharpie, let dry, and then sand away the excess using 1000 grit. I actually needed to pull out the Xacto blade afterwards to deal with some bleed. The upper side vents are done purely using an Extra Fine tip Sharpie.

Even the spoiler is done using Sharpie -- just take quick, even strokes across the width of the spoiler and the color will come out evenly.


The rear vents involve lots of Sharpie ink, then 1000 grit, then a bit more Sharpie ink to fill in vents. That's really it, it's a 5-minute job.

The window and headlight trims are an ideal place to use the marker: easier to apply than paint, faster drying, and there's always a nice edge you can just rest the tip of the marker on and drag it around the opening.


The front vents are easily done by defining the edges with an Extra Fine Sharpie: mash it against the corner and drag it around, the edge will come out clean. Fill in the center with the normal Fine size and you're done. :)

I rather like this F430 GT, it has low weight (35g), good weight balance, and there's no front splitter to contend with. It is a bit high though, hence the almost slammed stance. I typically avoid slamming bodies but it looks like CG might be a problem with this one. Cheers!

2010.02.06, 01:01 AM
Brian, on all my airbrushed bodies i get back from Davey G., i always do the vents etc...with a sharpie marker.;) looks good.

2010.02.08, 09:58 AM
Don't do it- sometimes it'll end up looking purple-ish than black and if you were to glosscoat over it will run all over the place. I suggest any archival ink marker like Micron- goes on black(or whatever color you get), can be wiped off if applied incorrectly, and most importantly is glosscoat-friendly.

2010.02.08, 10:33 AM
i always use Gundam Paint Marker for all the small details

2010.02.08, 11:36 AM
i always use Gundam Paint Marker for all the small details

They're nice, but still bleed from gloss/dullcoat sprays.

Davey G
2010.02.08, 11:52 AM
Looks hot, as per the PN rules are you allowed to run this? I thought it cant be a straight up white body? Sharpie counts as paint? Just curious.


2010.02.10, 06:25 PM
Thats pretty cool Brian. Is that the stock wing you're running on the 430 ? Thx.

2010.02.17, 10:52 PM
Color0 - I think all your W-B cars with the Sharpie-Detailing done to them look good. The new F430 GT Looks the Best though to date! Really low.... How high would you say the lower side body panels are to the ground? You probably remember me asking a while ago how low I thought too-low is for bodies for racing conditions on RCP. But again the F430 looks great, both setup & Detailing. I can never get my SHarpie jobs top look as clean as yours though. :o

2010.02.18, 06:43 AM
Dave- I think the GSR stickers + sharpie counts as sufficient paint. I mean, the car looks pretty realistic and should be distinctive enough to recognize. I'll be sure to clarify with Phil before I enter any Regionals... :p

Roger- Yes that's the stock wing. Given the CG of this body in general though, I'm definitely open to trying a Lexan spoiler or nothing at all on the rear end.

Felix- There's about 3mm between the F430's side skirts and the ground... I will say that's pushing it, if the track is bumpy. If your car has a softer T-plate you'd probably want to raise the body to 4mm clearance, and/or just take a dremel and start shaving that side skirt down (upwards, to be accurate).

As for the comments on alternative solutions, I'm well aware that there are better inks you can use for this job than Sharpie. Gundam markers are definitely good for small, small details; but the point of Sharpies is that they're lying around everywhere, and honestly I'd like to see fewer bodies that have great airbrush jobs on them but aren't subsequently finished off at least semi-properly. Cheers, gentlemen. :)

2010.02.18, 07:24 AM
Looks hot, as per the PN rules are you allowed to run this? I thought it cant be a straight up white body? Sharpie counts as paint? Just curious.

Youve got me currious now. There is a rule that says you have to have paint on your body? Could you point me towards it? I find it hard to believe that there is any such rule and that it gets enforced. At your (Maj's) regional last year I saw multiple white bodies with whatever paint had been added all sanded off (driver said it was to reduce weight because his team mate was running one without paint that felt much faster). I dont see how it could have been clasified as having "paint" or not being a "straight up white body".

I wont mention what "team" these two guys (one with un-painted white body, and one with painted, but paint removed white body) raced for :D

2010.02.18, 03:23 PM
Thats why after Dave airbrushes them, i like to finish them off with Sharpie/decals for the finished look. I would rather run a painted body myself. Looks good on track with everybodys paint schemes.;)