The Finishing Touches by Kurt Klewin [kklewin at]

The Finishing Touches…


I guess I’ll never really feel like my plane is ever finished, but now that it’s painted at least to most folks it looks “done”.  To most of us the process of finding a painter is a combination of frustration and sticker shock.  I knew my limitations when it came to painting.  I have a hard time keeping up with my 3 year old and his water colors so I knew I needed professional help.  Lucky for me, and every RV builder, Calvin Gillis and his family provide professional RV painting here in Oklahoma City.  Apparently Calvin has been one of only a few word of mouth professional RV painters that has painted many RV’s and I would venture to guess has the best price around.  I did my looking around and was directed to Calvin by several RV builders.  I checked out the quality and was very impressed.  But most importantly, the price was less….much less…than my other quotes. 


I set up a time to deliver my 6A in mid February and dropped into the grass strip next to Calvin’s Hanger.  The strip is in fairly good shape and is more than long enough for an RV.  I checked in as often as my schedule allowed to follow the progress.  As many of you know it is hard to imagine all the labor and processes involved in painting an aircraft until you see it first hand.  Washing, filling, sanding, filling, sanding, priming, and more sanding.  The cowl is especially labor intensive as all those pin holes take lots of filling and sanding to get a nice finish. 


Once all the filling and sanding is complete the plane is washed with a commercial grade cleaner and primed.  The first layer of paint, usually white, is then applied.  Any blemished, pin holes, or imperfections are then filled and sanded and white is reapplied.  The Gillis’s are old pros at laying out your trim pattern.  This process can take from one to three days depending on the complexity of the paint scheme.  Calvin called me several times to ensure he was applying the trim as I wanted. 


The metallic blue and grey application involved many coats and a couple clear coats to top it off.  The metallic colors are a bit more labor intensive than the standard colors, but I sure liked how they looked in the end.  Seeing the plane when the paint was finished is almost overwhelming.  Not only does it signify one of the last major projects involved in building an RV, but it is finally a unique reflection of your personality put to canvas, or in this case, aluminum. 


The Gillis’s paint shop is centrally located just south of Oklahoma City, Oklahoma in the town of Tuttle.  Their schedule can fill up fast so if you need your RV painted call them early.  Once they pull your plane into the hanger they will have it painted in about two weeks.  They are fast, professional, and the quality is great. 


If you are interested in having the Gillis family paint your RV I would give them my highest recommendation.  You can reach them at 405-381-3701 or 405-326-0689.  You can also email them at:


High build and bondo have been applied.  Now it's being sanded off in preparation for wash etch and alodine.

Time to wash etch and alodine.  Justin is scrubbing with industrial soap under the wing.

Plane is painted overall white first.

The paint scheme is in place and the first color stripe is about ready to paint.