The Network Evolution range of models are professionally airbrush painted resprays based upon the 1/76 scale die-cast metal British bus models manufactured by Exclusive First Editions (EFE). These are what are commonly referred to as code 3 models, and as such have no affiliation towards EFE's own official releases.
In general only working with the newest spec models available, the refinishing process undertaken for each one follows a methodical approach which begins with dismantling and seperation of all individual components. Bodyshells are bathed in paint stripper and taken back to bare metal for full removal of their factory finish. All trace of the original paint is removed during this stage.
Metal preperation work includes removal of die-casting scars, correction of mis-aligned components and light surface sanding as required. Other jobs such as light modification work, filler skimming and de-burring can also be carried out.
Surfaces are thoroughly scrubbed prior to cleaning and de-greasing to remove all trace of contaminants and ensuring perfect paint adhesion. The prepped shells are sprayed with a single-pack etching primer and cured.
High quality gloss coach enamel is spray painted directly onto the primer without the need for a base-coat. A complete single colour respray will normally consist of between 1-4 coats of paint applied and baked over several days. Rubbing down is carried out in-between coating as required, various grades of wet & dry paper are used for the purpose ranging from 1500 up to a 5000 grit.
Shown here is a mk.1 Leyland National partway through respray into Merseyside PTE livery consisting of Verona green and Buttermilk. Each component is prepared and spray painted individually.
Additional colours are masked and applied in stages as necessary. Tamiya low tack modelling tapes are used alongside 3M high tack automotive tape for detailed and accurate masking.
Smaller cosmetic details are hand finished and waterslide decals carefully applied, with many decals being produced bespoke for each model. From 2013 fully decorated bodyshells were being finished with an Acrylic clear coat, however this practice has now been phased out.
All spray painting is performed using American made Badger single-action airbrushes with a conventional compressed air system to apply paint at high pressure, typically between 40-60psi, a method that has been refined and perfected over the years.
The completed product is illustrated, a 1964 Leyland Atlantean with Alexander A type bodywork finished as Gateshead & District no.121 carrying the earliest pre-NBC variant of Tyne & Wear yellow livery with ivory relief and crimson lettering.
In addition to work on the metal bodyshell, the plastic interior has been repainted satin red, the wheels are airbrushed in BET crimson with chrome beauty trims hand finished, and the complete underside of the model is sprayed in gunmetal. For this particular vehicle almost every decal was produced bespoke.
The business generally specializes in producing models of the National Bus Company, BET and Tillings Group vehicles as well as the regional Passenger Transport Executives including Greater Glasgow, Greater Manchester, Merseyside, South Yorkshire, Tyne & Wear, West Midlands and West Yorkshire.
Authentic London Transport and London Buses Limited models are produced under commercial licence 04/4142 courtesy of Transport for London.
Commission work can be undertaken for individual clients, bus preservationists and operators.