Part 4 - The Paint Test
I liked my Jeep but it looked like a Jeep, not a Jurassic Park Jeep, and paint was an investment I didn’t know if I was willing to make. Plasti-dip, however, was cheap and I began to think about painting the stripes on with that. Since my fender flares and other trim pieces were black, I thought black would look best for the stripes. A few minutes later, I had a concept developed in Photoshop.
The more I looked at that image, the more I became unhappy with an unpainted Jeep. I grabbed my tools, took off the rear fender flare, masked off the edges, and got to work. In hindsight, I should’ve done it a little differently. Instead of using several light coats, where the paint can dry to the masking tape, a single thick coat would’ve let me remove the tape without tearing the paint.
Perhaps because mine was a different model than the movie Jeep, my lines didn’t line up like they should have. Choosing to keep the sides movie accurate, my hood stripe ended up several inches short, though I doubted anyone would notice.
I continued on. Painting finished, I rehung the doors and reattached the fender flairs. There were a few spots where, from a certain angle, you could tell it’s a rattle can paint job but overall I was happy. It would only be temporary anyways. I had pretty much decided that it would eventually be the Sand Beige and Ford Red of the movies.
While I liked the Jeep, it’s not a Jurassic Park Jeep without door decals. Noting the black and tan color scheme of the Jeep, I didn’t want the full color decal of the movies, but a single black design. I loaded a vector file into Adobe Illustrator and tweaked it to my vision.
With a design in hand, I didn’t spend long looking for a vinyl shop, instead going with either the second or third listed in Google’s. The process was easy. Upload the vector file, set the size you want it printed, specify how many you want, and let them get to work. $42 later (plus shipping) my two decals were printing, and in my hands few days later.
Decals need to be applied on a clean surface, something Jeeps aren’t known for. I washed the door, soaping down the area as well as I could, and applied the decal. In an open air carport, wind can be a concern with a large decal like these, but the passenger door was easy to put on, as that side was most protected from the elements.
The driver side wasn’t as easy. As soon as I began to apply the top of the decal, a small gust of wind pressed the bottom onto the door, leaving a large bowed gap between them. I tried peeling it off to reapply it, but the small little separate pieces in the text preferred to stay on the Jeep instead of the paper. Eventually I massaged it into place, though not without a number of large bubbles, many of which required a needle.
Regardless, from more than three feet away, and for someone who’s not looking for every little flaw, it looked like it should: a subdued Jurassic Park Jeep.