• The "Baby Flamed" Extreme Liberator 18

    From Beginning To End, A Custom Build-Up

    This feature article was originally published back in 2005 on the old Scream And Fly site. I thought it would be good to re-publish these articles because in addition to being really interesting and useful, this type of material never ages. What was written and shown back in 2005 is just as pertinent as it is today, so I thought I would re-introduce this material to readers that may not have been here back in 2005. This time the article features many more images than the original publication in 2005.

    With the 2005 boating season in full swing, most people are busy using, upgrading, and tinkering with their boats. After all, it’s the rite of passage that every high performance boater enjoys and modifying our rides is a key component to this sport. While most of us will perform some of the usual engine rebuilds and modifications, Randy Corson is back in his usual routine – painting and building custom performance boats.

    Scream And Fly members are well acquainted with Randy “The Wildman” Corson and his extreme powerboat creations. Two years ago we featured what became known as the “Flamer” – a twin Mercury V6 powered beast of a Liberator 21 tunnel, complete with Randy’s signature multi-flame paintwork and an audio system to match.

    Randy, a veteran custom auto painter from Florida, has painted many very fast boats and his trademark wild styles and colors have caught the attention of many in the performance boating community. These days “The Wildman” has more time to pursue his passion for boating, and he customizes several boats each year. Randy has also become a Checkmate and Liberator boats dealer, allowing him more chances to get his hands busy working on custom boats.
    1. A new shipment of Liberator tunnel boats arrive, ready for paint and rigging.
    2, 3, 4: Liberator 21 custom-painted by Randy, inspired the colors and design of this Liberator 18.
    This year’s project starts with a 2006 Liberator 18 Stealth tunnel in solid canary yellow gelcoat with a custom interior to match. The fast four-seater was built extra strong to handle the weight and power of the Mercury 300X outboard that will power it. The goal for this build was to create a boat that would handle a variety of conditions while providing blistering performance on demand. Of course, before the power, fancy rigging, and hundreds of watts of stereo power go into the hull, it has to be given a new skin of blue, green, and lime flames.

    It takes many stages in the paint process to create such an intricate and multilayered design. First, the new hull’s yellow gelcoat is sanded down using a 400 grit dual orbital sander, which is followed by wet sanding by hand.
    1 and 2: Applying House of Kolor "Lime Gold" fade over the basecoat.
    3 and 4:
    Drawing out and tracing the flame patterns, which are duplicated exactly on the other side. This is all done by hand.
    The actual paint process begins with a hot lime fade using a PPG basecoat formula. Achieving the proper look to the fade can take several hours, and this will affect the overall look of the final product. After the fade is laid down, the symmetric flame patterns are taped. Since the flame design must mirror itself on both sides of the boat, perfection is crucial. This may sound easy, but keep in mind that most flame paint designs are not symmetrical. Unlike linear designs, flame patterns are all curves which cannot easily be measured and located on the boat. So, templates must be made and carefully traced. After tracing, the flame design is taped onto the boat.
    Taping the flame stencils takes many hours of precise work. The flame patterns are duplicated exactly on both each side. Below, the boat is masked and ready for more paint.
    Fantastic marble effects in the flames are achieved by using different shades of blue and green as a basecoat and then applying House Of Kolor Silver Marbilizer for the marble textured appearance. In addition to the marbleized paint, House Of Kolor candy Cobalt Blue and Oriental Blues are used to finish the flame design. Remember that candy paints are applied to be translucent, so the marble finish beneath adds to the overall appearance. The result is a stunningly deep and lustrous finish that dares the eyes to wander.
    Basecoats of blue and green are applied, and marble blue paint added prior to candy paint overcoat. The overall paint scheme begins to take shape, which also extends into the interior.
    Between marble coats of paint and clearcoats, the finish must be sanded down to remove the “orange peel” texture that the spray gun produces. Randy tells us that the clear coat must be sanded down the next day to avoid allowing the paint to fully cure. Randy sands down three coats of clearcoat starting with 400 grit sanding pads, then working up to finer grades all the way to PPG cutting and polishing compounds. The end result of this multi-stage sanding process is a mirror finish that is smooth as glass, even across tape lines.
    The final look takes shape with a lot of polishing that leaves the surface glass-smooth and free of any ridges.
    Randy’s flame paint design required almost three weeks of work, and an additional week of time for rigging. Randy knew this boat was going to be heavier than the average lake running tunnel boat, but he still wanted to run over 110 mph. So the old adage, “there’s no replacement for displacement” came to mind. The 2002 Mercury 300X will guarantee enough grunt to accomplish this task while maintaining the reliability and economy of an unmodified powerplant. A SeaStar Pro hydraulic steering system will keep the boat tracking straight and easy during long full-throttle river runs, and a 28-gallon fuel cell will keep the engine well fed.
    Final polishing and rigging with a Mercury 300X. Afterward, a new custom interior is added that matches the color scheme of the boat.
    Of course, no hot boat is complete without a serious audio system, and 600 watts of power deliver fiberglass-shaking tunes though custom speaker enclosures located throughout the boat. All hardware is powder coated blue, including the custom setback unit from Hydro Dynamics. 40-ounce carpet is a snap-in option, and a full complement of Gaffrig marine gauges completes the performance package.

    Performance is as expected - very fast yet predictable. The boat has already run over 100 MPH and it's still being dialed in. There's no doubt this baby Flamer will meet and probably exceed its goal of 110 MPH. As expected, Randy's challenge is over, and this boat will likely be for sale as he prepares for his next project. What will that be? Well, we know it will be fast and have one wicked paint job.

    Photo Gallery - Click images for full size

Chris Carson's Marine