How I Modeled The Knight Bus from Harry Potter and The Prisoner Of Azkeban

Using Wood Carving, Vacuum Forming, Plastic Shaping, Painting, Special Building Jigs, Model‑Making and Custom Appliques

making the knight bus

Chapter 8: Priming and Painting the Bodies

From the previous chapter:
The car body that came with the r/c “guts” popped right off and my little effort… popped right on!

making the knight bus

I made a jig out of some scrap plywood to hold up the whole fleet for painting. To prevent them from falling over or sliding, the jig had to be fairly tight. I would also be moving this thing around. The above photo shows the interior of my inadequate, underpowered spray booth.

For future reference — if you’re making your own spray booth, it is considered a minimum requirement to have 100 cubic feet per minute of fan/blower for every square foot of booth opening. The fan should also be a “squirrel cage” type or some other type with the motor enclosed to prevent explosive gasses from possibly being exposed to a spark! Now my booth opening is 2 feet by 4 — pretty big. I should have an 800 cubic foot per minute fan! For the most part, the paint stuff goes up and out. I used a conventional “box fan” before I learned of the proper ratio of fan to area… So, some of it backs up into the house — ticking off the normally patient wife. In the summer time, I can “over-pressure” the whole house with window fans and that helps a lot. In the winter, I wait till no one’s home…

The photo above shows the primed bodies. I use Krylon brand auto-body spray paints. They're mostly formulated for fiberglass body parts and so “give” a little. I was not planning to sand this project (a plus!), but when needed, this paint can be sanded to a glass finish. It also fills in light scratches, comes in black and white as well as this useful shade of gray.

making the knight bus

Here are my beauties! I used the color “Grape Pearl” from the line of “Colors by Boyd” specialty auto body paints (manufactured by Testors for automobile modelers — and us!). These paints are a “kooky” range of extra-spectrum pigments that seem to have some fluorescent qualities mixed in. These paints answer the need to replicate the wild colors applied to cars in the 50s and 60s. But Grape Pearl seemed to match Harry Potter's Knight Bus description, “violently purple” by the good Ms. Rowling.

Next — Chapter 9: Painting the Windows of the Knight Bus

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