Before we take a look at this project, we at Killer Paint would like to ask a moment to focus on the rash of destructive wildfires taking a heavy toll on the western United States this summer. Whole towns have been forced to evacuate, and many people have lost their homes and livelihoods as houses and businesses have been laid to waste in the wake of these fires.
It is equally important, if not more so, that we take the time to recognize the men and women who dedicate themselves to fighting these fires, giving their every effort to protect lives, property and the environment. We offer our thanks to the firefighters doing their best against sometimes terrible odds in trying to oppose these primal forces of destruction.
Recently, in our own proverbial backyard, three firefighters working for the U.S. Forest Service lost their lives fighting the wildfires near Twisp, Washington, on Wednesday, August 19. We offer our sympathies to the families, friends, and colleagues of those who gave their lives protecting others here and elsewhere.
Some time ago, a customer came to Killer Paint, requesting a special custom refrigerator, based on a World War II bomber.
This unique conversion was one of the more elaborate fridge projects done at Killer Paint. Actually, most of the work wasn’t paint at all. Mike’s concept idea was to make the refrigerator look as though it had been built from a salvaged aircraft. The entire exterior was re-skinned with aluminum sheeting, rivets, and much more…
The owner of this refrigerator, Troy W. was the pilot of a converted B-17 that had been put to use in aerial firefighting. The aircraft, dubbed the Flame Dame was the model and inspiration for this project.
So to match to appearance of this plane, hundreds of the rivets were attached one by one to form panel lines similar to the original World War II bomber. The aluminum was lightly scuffed and weathered to give it a distressed, worn look, and the rivets were lightly stained to make them look aged and a little gritty. While the refrigerator was brand new, it wasn’t supposed to look that way.
Small metal pipes were bent into shape and attached to the side of the fridge to simulate fluid lines, along with many other details that were also added.
The “Flame Dame” pin-up art on the original aircraft was a very basic art style. Mike wanted to put something more artistically robust on the door, though. He chose a classic pin-up, an homage to the great Gil Elvgrin, to turn into the new Flame Dame, with a fiery dress and mane of hair.
Some more added details include a large “124,” which was painted on one side to match the number on the original Flame Dame bomber, while some smaller aluminum pieces made to look like access panels were added, too.
Here is a video showcasing the project. The door is wired to set off the digital player built into the refrigerator and play several different aircraft sounds.
Mike also wanted to incorporate some authentic aircraft parts into this refrigerator. For instance, the door handle is made using an air speed indicator pitot tube. The Grimes wingtip lights that are mounted on the upper sides are actually wired up to light up and flash in conjunction with the sound triggers when the door opens.
With all the hardware going on the outside of this thing, Mike decided to add something fun and convenient to the mix as well.
So he went and got a mountable metal bottle opener and secured it to the side of the fridge on a round baseplate.
It may not be something you find on the outside of any aircraft, but it is definitely something that works well on the outside of a refrigerator.
At least now nobody will have to go anywhere to open their cold ones.
Sure, LED lights and such are cheaper and easier to work with, and there is a multitude of color choices available, and so on. The problem with that route is that they just don’t light up with quite the same full-bodied glow as good old-fashioned neon.
After trying out some of the other high-tech lighting packages, it was clear that neon was still the way to go, unless something specific were requested. In this case, after considering a few options, Mike decided on basic red for the lighting, creating a fire-like glow, and to tie in with the pin-up art on the door,
When this baby is placed in its final location, the light really turns the whole thing up a notch, especially in “man-caves” and home theaters, which is the place most people have in mind to put one, when they come to Killer Paint looking to get a custom refrigerator of their own.
Just because this refrigerator was complete didn’t mean that the work was done. You can’t just throw this one in a cardboard box with some foam peanuts, especially with fragile glass neon tubes on the back.
After having a sturdy shipping crate built with foam padded lining, the Flame Dame fridge got packed up all safe and snug, and was ready to ship off to its new home.
To accompany the project, Mike also painted the back of a bomber jacket with a second Flame Dame pinup to match the one on the door of the fridge. A local seamstress sewed the patches from different firefighting organizations on the front and sleeves of the jacket as well.
We hope you enjoyed taking a look back at this project. Let us know if there is anything you would like to see us post here in the future!
Maybe this project gave you some ideas, or you already have an idea in mind for your own refrigerator, car, truck, motorcycle, etc.
The Original Killer Paint Facebook Page: https://www.facebook.com/pages/THE-Original-KILLER-PAINT-INC/297040465604
The Killer Paint Website: www.killerpaint.com
American Red Cross: http://www.redcross.org/
NCW Fire Relief Fund: http://www.cfncw.org/firerelieffund/
National Fallen Firefighters Foundation: http://www.firehero.org/
KP Blog Archive- Helping a Veteran and Firefighter Battle Cancer: https://killerpaint.wordpress.com/2015/08/14/helping-a-veteran-and-firefighter-battle-cancer/
Washington State, Volunteering as a Firefighter: http://www.dnr.wa.gov/WildfireVolunteer