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Screen shot 2015-08-20 at 3.34.23 PMBefore 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.

FireCrossBlackBandRecently, 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.

1512347_10152081036890605_526938099_n2 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.

1524667_10152091387895605_1234058207_n2The final touch that Mike likes to put on many of the custom fridges that come out of Killer Paint is to light the back with neon.

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.

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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.

If you would like to contact Killer Paint about working on your own project, visit our website, or contact us at

Related Links:

The Original Killer Paint Facebook Page:

The Killer Paint Website:

American Red Cross:

NCW Fire Relief Fund:

National Fallen Firefighters Foundation:

KP Blog Archive- Helping a Veteran and Firefighter Battle Cancer:

Washington State, Volunteering as a Firefighter:


This project was just delivered to our customer, Tiffany G. She brought in her 2015 Harley-Davidson Freewheeler trike and wanted an elaborate vampire theme and some fire to go with it.

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A cemetery setting is the backdrop for this theme, so there are a bunch of other elements involved, working to tie the whole thing together.

Tombstones and skulls and such are woven into the artwork, and lots of ominous mist snaking its way throughout the different pieces of the design along with the True Fire™. Of course, there have to be numerous bats found throughout the artwork too.

IMG_1884BOur customer wanted the vampires on her trike to be on the sensual, mysterious side of the spectrum, and not in the monstrous or gory range. So Mike made sure to keep the blood to a minimum. But still enough to make sure there is no mistake that these are vampires, despite their beauty.


This project got more than just a paint upgrade, though. To the inside of each of the fenders, a pair of physical skulls were fabricated to partially cover and disguise the handles mounted there.

Once they were made, the open-topped skulls were attached firmly to the fiberglass shell before being blended seamlessly into the body.

Mike made sure that they each received some added shading and highlights so that they will both have a little bit of extra depth and pop.


In order to not go into overkill (*cough*) with too many vampires, and help incorporate some more cemetery elements of the theme into the design, Mike put a grim reaper on the other fender. He also tucked a weeping angel statue on the side panel of this side. (Don’t blink!)


Along with the almost obligatory fire leading the front fender, there is a sultry vampiress as well, done in much more vibrant, colorful hues to stand out on the front of the trike.


The rear end of the Freewheeler got something a little special. Mike painted a portrait of our customer Tiffany in his trademark Skelebrities™ style. The background has a cemetery gate that carries over onto each of the fenders, while ghostly figures also lurk around in the background.

(It is difficult to tell from these photos, but the tail lights were reworked, and new lights in an iron cross design were integrated into the fenders.)


We hope you enjoyed seeing how this project turned out. We know the owner of this unique trike sure did! Let us know if there is anything you would like to see us post here in the future!


Maybe this trike gave you some ideas, or you already have an idea in mind for your own car, truck, motorcycle, etc.?

If you would like to contact Killer Paint about working on your own project, visit our website, or contact us at

Related Links:

The Original Killer Paint Facebook Page:

The Killer Paint Website:

Harley-Davidson Website:

This project rolled out of the Killer Paint shop back in 2006. Back then, the owner of this Limited Edition 2005 Dodge Daytona extended cab truck brought it to the shop to get the Mike Lavallee treatment.

This race-inspired performance pickup was begging to be given a head-turning look.
Daytona Pick-Up (3)B

The truck’s base color was to stay the lovely Dodge “Go Mango” color it came in. This color already looks hot, but with Mike’s airbrush it got hotter, with some True Fire™.

Daytona Pick-UpB

The hood and grill lead the charge with a sheet of fire coming off the front, as well as some smaller flames off the headlights.

Keeping the stock color was a great choice, as the rich reddish-orange pearls of the background can work exceptionally well with fire, and Mike knows how to pick the best “temperature” of flames to really work with this color.

Its luminescence adds a boost to the glow of the flames, really making the whole thing light up in the sun.

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The sides of the Daytona also got the classic comet-streak of fire coming off of each of the wheel wells, running down the side and trailing off into smaller flickers toward the back. Fire off the wheels always makes it look faster, right?


The Ram Daytona pickup was produced with a rear-fender stripe, just like the one on so many classic Dodge Challengers. This vinyl stripe was removed, and redone in paint. Of course, the “Daytona” logo inset on the stripe had to be set on fire, too.

Mike had something special in mind for the tailgate of this performance truck. He painted peeling shreds, revealing a black opening with flames erupting out of it, and a fiery-looking ram bursting its way out.


As one might guess, ram murals on Dodge trucks have been popular with Killer Paint’s other RAM-owning customers, too.


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 truck gave you some ideas, or you already have an idea in mind for your own car, truck, motorcycle, etc.

If you would like to contact Killer Paint about working on your own project, visit our website, or contact us at

Related Links:

The Original Killer Paint Facebook Page:

The Killer Paint Website:

When painting helmets, motorcycle parts, car parts or any number of other items that come by the shop, it is usually necessary to use some kind of stand or mount to put them on when working on them.

For years here at Killer Paint we have used any number of methods, from homemade stands to improvised or re-purposed equipment, (even the occasional spare box) to keep items steady during a project.

Recently, Mike discovered a company that builds parts stands specifically tailored to the needs of the custom paint trade, called UltraStands. Now their products are standard equipment in our shop, holding many of our projects securely in place while they are being worked on, and we wanted to give them a shout out to let them know how much we use their product.


This UltraStand has an optional tool tray, and has the curved magnetic attchment, ideal for fenders or other curved parts. The stand can be assembled with rubber feet or roller wheels

11206061_10153288681955605_7747553336075732456_nThese stands are designed to be highly adjustable. They can be easily raised and lowered, pivoted and tilted, as well as rotated a full 360º so that you can work on a project at the angles or positions you need, with minimal fuss or effort. Equally important, is that they are ruggedly built with heavy gauge steel, and are very sturdy. There are standing floor models, as well as table clamp-mounted versions.

One of the great features of the UltraStands is that there are a wide variety of specialized attachments, designed specifically to hold the kinds of items that regularly come into a paint shop.

For instance, there are curved mounts that magnetically hold most metal motorcycle fenders, mounts that will hold most helmets upright and stable, and solutions for large parts like automobile hoods. They are highly customizable, and are available with different options to suit many needs.

11329739_10153288738480605_6454726773665424298_nNew configurations and  attachments are being developed regularly, and we are excited to see many of the items they will release as the UltraStand product line grows.

We will try to post more about some of the different extensions, attachments and accessories as we get our hands on them…

If you would like to visit the UltraStand Facebook Page, they post regular updates on their newest innovations and attachments.

There are many additional photos there of the wide range of products and the different way they are used to keep project pieces in place, hassle free.

There are also a handful of videos demonstrating some product features here.

Related Links:

UltraStands on Facebook:

UltraStand e-mail:

This firefighter’s helmet just departed the shop here at Killer Paint on its way to help raise funds for a family struggling with the costs of cancer. (see below)


3691670_1433372832.334Tim Ridenour is a US Navy Veteran, and Retired Greenville, Ohio Firefighter. In September 2013, Tim was diagnosed with a Stage IV Glioblastoma Multiforme (GBM) brain tumor.  He has undergone two surgeries and required a surgically implanted shunt.

Tim continues to undergo chemo, a treatment which is a 24 hour, seven days-a-week commitment. MaryAnn, his wife of 32 years, is now his full time caregiver, and does not work outside of the home.

They are having a difficult time making ends meet, as medical bills and unexpected expenses continue to mount. This helmet will be a raffle prize as part of a fundraising event on taking place on Saturday, August 29.

(click photos to enlarge)


If you live in the Troy, OH area and wish to attend, it will be held at the Troy Elks, at 17 W. Franklin St. at 6:30. The event admission fee is $5.00.


Screen shot 2015-08-13 at 4.59.01 PMIf you cannot participate in the fundraising event, but still wish to contribute to Tim and his family, there is currently a crowdfunding campaign underway (as of this posting) over at Gofundme to help relieve the financial burdens of this already terrible situation

(click here to donate)

Their goal there is to raise at least $10,000 towards his treatment and expenses.

Related Links:

Fireman Tim’s Brain Cancer Fund:

Greenville Fire Department on Facebook:

Troy, OH Elks Lodge #833:

Back in 2011, former client John C. brought back a car that had been previously painted at Killer Paint. The 2005 Dodge Magnum, dubbed “Black Cherry.” This car was unique in that it was painted red, but with black true fire, when it is typically the other way around.

Black Cherry Magnum Driver's Side View- Killer Paint Black Cherry Magnum Front View- Killer Paint

This time though, he wanted to do the paint on this car entirely over for a good cause. Working with the Big Cat Rescue organization in Tampa, FL, the “Black Cherry” would be transformed into a tribute vehicle, bringing awareness to their cause:

31765“Big Cat Rescue, one of the world’s largest accredited sanctuaries for exotic cats, is a leading advocate in ending the abuse of captive big cats and saving wild cats from extinction.  We are home to about 80 lions, tigers, bobcats, cougars, servals and other species most of whom have been abandoned, abused, orphaned, saved from being turned into fur coats, or retired from performing acts” from

The Magnum was getting a bumper-to-bumper repaint. This time, the artwork would be much more ambitious, with cat portraits, texture effects, True Fire flames and more…

“Cat’s Roar” Magnum

The starting basecoat color is a favorite custom recipe of Mike’s, which is a deep, reddish-brown pearl. The paint gradually transitions darker and darker, all the way to black on the rear end. Mike used his Grunge FX™ spray mask to create multiple layers of subtle texture all over the car. He added multiple sets of cracks, with flames erupting from them in places. Larger True Fire™ flames roll off of the front wheel wells and down the sides, into the murals on the sides.

Cats Roar Magnum

IMG_1342BWhile the name Mike Lavallee is most often associated with the True Fire™ technique, not many people are aware that wildlife artwork has been one of his specialties for most of his career as an artist.

The driver’s side door murals are of Big Cat rescue residents Joseph the Lion and Sasha the Lioness sitting together, wreathed in the trailing flames from the front of the car. (click to enlarge)


On the other side, also surrounded in flames, is the portrait of an intense, aggresive-looking Sundari the Leopard on the passenger-side doors.

Sundari is also a resident at the Big Cat Rescue habitat. This leopard’s spots gradually trail off along with the flames that weave in and out of them, and merge into the darker background color toward the back end of the car. (click to enlarge)

Prominently displayed on the hood is a stylized lion’s head, made to look like a stone sculpture. Flames roll out of its mouth and from the cracks in the background, creating something of a ring of fire around it.


269906_10150298648130605_2548347_n2Under the hood, the engine cover got the custom treatment as well.

It got the same base pearl brown base coat and dark fade. Layered texture and cracks were added too, matching the color scheme on the exterior of this project.

True Fire™ flames were added, rolling off of the front edge, and the raised “HEMI” badges on either side got some extra shading and a faux stone texture with cracks to make them really stand out. (click to enlarge)

Finally, on the backside of this Magnum is a portrait of the black leopard Adonis, the last Big Cat Rescue animal pictured on this car. This guy has a rich golden glow behind him, to make sure he stands out from the dark background on the Magnum’s rear end.


This project wasn’t only about a body repaint, though. Many sponsors would contribute more modifications and upgrades once it left the shop here at Killer Paint. The Cat’s Roar sponsors logos were added to the rear window in metallic charcoal vinyl graphics.

The new Morpheus wheels from sponsor Diablo USA were sent to the shop here at Killer Paint though, so that they could a little extra custom touch before they were put on the newly rechristened car. The inserts were removed, and given a fade and Grunge FX™ treatment to match the body of the car.


Once complete, it toured over 56 countries, and made a number of car show appearances, not least of which was its 2011 SEMA Show appearance in Las Vegas. The “Cat’s Roar” also won over seventeen 2011/2012 First Place or Best of Class awards along the way, including:

  • Awards
    Best paint, Show Stoppers, July 2011
    Best Paint and 2nd in class, Verizon Extreme Autofest, 2011
    Best Murals, Show Stoppers, 2011
    Fabulous Flames, Good Guys, 2011
    Best in Class, Monterey Bay Mopars, 2011
    Top 20, VIP Spring Fest 07, 2012

On August 17th, 2012, the car was put up for auction as part of the prestigious Mecum Muscle Cars & More Auction in Monterey, CA, with half of the proceeds donated back to the Big Cat Rescue organization. This Magnum was designated “Star” status, which meant its sale was broadcast live on Discovery’s Velocity Network.

We hope you enjoyed seeing the transformation of this Dodge Magnum from one custom to another. If there is anything you would like to see us post about here in the future, please let us know in the comments.

If you are interested in having a project done at Killer Paint, feel free to visit our website at, or send us an e-mail at

Related Links:

Cat’s Roar Magnum Facebook Page:

Big Cat Rescue Website:

Big Cat Rescue on Facebook

Auction feature page at Mecum (more photos):

Earlier this year, Jim and Mary W. came to us about their stock silver 2015 Dodge Challenger SRT Hellcat. They wanted to put some classic Mopar “Plum Crazy” purple on the car.


Jim is a crab fisherman, and he was going to be away working during the project’s scheduled window. In fact, Jim had never even set eyes on this car before he had to depart to the north. It was up to his wife Mary to help coordinate getting the car to the Killer Paint shop, filling us in with what he wanted to do with the car, and making some other necessary arrangements.


Mike wanted to give this car a design echoing that of some classic Challenger paint schemes, but kick it up a few notches from just a basic old-school design. The hood vents got some purple flames, and a stylized Hellcat emerges from the purple on the rear quarter panels and over the wheel wells. More purple flames adorn the cat. Custom “Hellcat” lettering sits on the rear fenders, in silver. FullSizeRender-22B

Jim wanted to replace the normal emblem behind the front wheel well with a “707” (yes, it’s a 707), which was painted in a faux-dimensional emblem style. Even the brake calipers got a coat of Plum Crazy.

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His first time seeing his car would be when they came to pick it up, after it was fully completed. The whole thing stayed under strict secrecy until then, as to not spoil the surprise for him when he finally got back home. When the time came at last, Jim and Mary came to the shop, and were able to view it, just as it was finished getting its final polish and wipe down.  Jim was overwhelmed to say the least.


Then garage door was raised, and the car was rolled out for him to finally see in the full daylight. Well, more like somewhat overcast daylight. Can’t win the weather lottery every day. It is Washington State after all. See the original video here.

Jim loved his new car and the artwork that Mike did so much, he recently decided to make it a part of himself, also… with a matching tattoo.

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Let us know in the comments if there is anything you would like to see us post here in the future.

If you are interested in having a project done at Killer Paint, visit our website at, or e-mail us at

We often have people come to Killer Paint to have motorcycle helmets painted. Every so often, we get something a little different. For instance, we recently completed painting a skydiving helmet for customer Jeff V.

Custom Skydiving Helmet by Mike Lavallee, Killer Paint

The shape of this helmet is a bit different than your average motorcycle helmet. It is very compact, close fitting and aerodynamic, with a large visor. As such, there is less usable space to paint, so artwork needs to be effectively placed. For this helmet, Mike painted some of his signature gem-eyed skulls, with plenty of fire in and around them. On this helmet, the cool gray of the skulls and the hot fire contrast nicely, and help the artwork stand out.

Custom Skydiving Helmet by Mike Lavallee, Killer Paint Custom Skydiving Helmet by Mike Lavallee, Killer Paint

Jeff has a tattoo representing his time serving with the U.S. Marines. If you look closely, the hole in the skull pictured below is in the shape of the USMC emblem as well.

Custom Skydiving Helmet by Mike Lavallee, Killer Paint

Jeff sent us some photos of himself in action, wearing the helmet. You can see how high up they are, as the clouds are below them!

Skydiving Formation, Custom Helmet by Mike Lavallee, Killer PaintSkydiving Formation, Custom Helmet by Mike Lavallee, Killer Paint

We hope you enjoyed seeing how this project turned out. We’ll try to bring you more interesting projects here as we do them. If there is anything you think you would like to see us post about here, let us know in the comments!

If you are interested in having a project done at Killer Paint, check out our website at, or e-mail an inquiry to


In 2005, Jesse James and West Coast Choppers built a special El Diablo II bike for musician Kid Rock. Mike was brought in to do the artwork on this special bike.

Kid Rock El Diablo Motorcycle by West Coast Choppers and Mike Lavallee

This ride has a chromed frame, black wheels and a vibrant orange paint job. Many other small custom additions make this bike stand out from your standard WCC El Diablo.

Kid Rock El Diablo Motorcycle by West Coast Choppers and Mike Lavallee Kid Rock El Diablo Motorcycle by West Coast Choppers and Mike Lavallee

The tank features Mike’s signature True Fire, and a stylized West Coast Choppers cross logo. The gas filler cap is made to look like a loaded revolver…

Kid Rock El Diablo Motorcycle by West Coast Choppers and Mike Lavallee

The rear fender has some more fire, a small portrait of the “General Lee” from The Dukes of Hazzard
and a fiery skeleton. The title from Kid Rock’s “American Bad Ass” sits arched above it.

Kid Rock El Diablo Motorcycle by West Coast Choppers and Mike LavalleeKid Rock El Diablo Motorcycle by West Coast Choppers and Mike Lavallee

The rest of the other painted parts all got a touch of fire added as well.

This bike, along with Kid Rock himself and Jesse James were featured in Motorcycle Mania 3 – Jesse James Rides Again in which they ride across the deserts of Northern Mexico, down to Copper Canyon.

Kid Rock El Diablo Motorcycle by West Coast Choppers and Mike Lavallee

We hope you enjoyed this look back at one of the special projects from the way-back machine. Let us know in the comments if there is anything you would like to see posted here in the future…!

This episode (Season 2, Episode 7,) originally aired on September 7, 2004.

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This project was Jack Osbourne’s BMW X5. This time it was a pretty low-key build.

Mike painted a small mural of the Osbourne family in a skeletal visage. This is an early instance of Mike’s “Skelebrities” style artwork. All of the artwork runs down the driver’s side

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Rumor has it that while Jack has since sold the X5, he kept the hood for the wall of his office.

Thanks for stopping by! Let us know in the comments if there is anything you would like to see on this blog in the future.


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