Check out this Tesla Model X ‘Stormtrooper’ in Jetstream Blue

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This item comes courtesy of EVANNEX, who make and sell Tesla aftermarket accessories. The opinions expressed therein are not necessarily our own at InsideEVs, nor have we been paid by EVANNEX to publish these articles. We find the company’s perspective as an aftermarket supplier of Tesla accessories interesting and are happy to share its content free of charge. Enjoy!

Published on EVANNEX on December 14, 2021, through Matt Pressman

After driving Tesla’s white “Stormtrooper” Model X for three years, we decided it was time for a color change. For the uninitiated, there are two ways to change the color of your Tesla. The first – a custom paint job – is very expensive and permanent. The second – a vinyl wrap – is much cheaper, has color options and styles that are extremely difficult and expensive to achieve with paint, and can be removed if you decide to change the color of your vehicle in the future. For us, vinyl film was a breeze.

Above: A look at the new color of our Tesla Model X (Source: EVANNEX; Photo by Casey Murphy)

Usually we go to our friends Signature custom wraps and let them use their professional skills as vinyl wrapping to transform our white Stormtrooper into something more, well … heavenly … uh … blue. But our founder, Roger Pressman, decided to take on the challenge himself. Fifty working hours later (over a period of 8 weeks on nights and weekends) and more than a few repetitions, you can see the result in the video and photo gallery below.

Above: A look at the new Tesla Model X Wrap installed (YouTube: EVANNEX)

We asked Roger a few questions about the changing experience:

Some people don’t know what a “wrap” is. Can you give a brief explanation?

For sure. A vinyl sheet covers all of the outside surfaces of your Tesla with a sheet of vinyl that is generally between 3 and 4 mils thick. Wraps come in thousands of colors and styles. The vinyl has a special adhesive that holds the vinyl in place and, importantly, can be removed and reattached as you work. The glue will get stronger over time, but the film can be removed at any time if you decide to change the color. The vinyl can be heated to make it more pliable and remove wrinkles and other imperfections.

Do you recommend DIY car wrap for Tesla owners who want a one-of-a-kind color?

In general – no. You have to spend some time learning how to wrap a car and while there are YouTube tutorials, most of the good ones are done by professionals who make wrapping look easy. It is not.

How did you choose the case?

Blue is a very hot color for cars so I thought I would go in that color direction. I wanted something that wasn’t matte, but didn’t have a glossy, high-gloss look either. It had to feel metallic, change color in different lighting conditions, and look just perfect for Model X. I bought at least eight different vinyl samples in the blue family, tried them all on the car in the sunlight, in the shade and at night and decided that Oracal “Jet Stream Blue” would work for me. The vinyl is high quality and a little tricky to work with, but was the right shade and feel for Model X.

What part of the car did you start with?

I started with the vertical part of the tailgate thinking I would refine my technique on a relatively small panel. I started by placing an “insert” in the license plate area and using something called knifeless tape to cut a smooth edge. After removing all of the badges, I finished the tailgate area. Incidentally, wrapping the top of the hatch is challenging to say the least. Then I wrapped the rear bumper.

What was the hardest part of the car to pack?

The front bumper was hard – lots of indentations and compound curves.

And the simplest parts?

Heh … none of this was easy, but the parts that offered the least resistance were the doors and the front side panels.

Did you make a lot of mistakes

A lot. It was my first attempt at packing a car and nothing replaces experience. Some of my mistakes were correctable, others required removing an entire panel and re-editing, and I just live with a few.

Did you remove the headlights, taillights or other parts?

I removed a few things but not the headlights or taillights. Removing it is a lot of extra work and really not necessary with the Model X. The clearances between the body panels and most of the parts are large enough for the OEM parts to be wrapped. However, most professional wrap stores will remove the parts. It makes the wrapping work a little easier.

I see you deleted Chrome too.

New Teslas now come with Chrome Delete by default, so I thought I’d bring the look of our Model X up to date. I used a 3M 2080 satin black vinyl that looks really nice [It’s the vinyl EVANNEX uses for its Model 3 chrome delete kit]. The Model X’s mirrors were the hardest part, and frankly, they didn’t go down well with vinyl. So … I pulled the vinyl off the mirrors and used Spray Plasti-DipTM to get the chrome erasing effect. Just make sure you cover the car VERY carefully before you start spraying.

How did you get the cool chrome erase on the tailgate trim that allows the TESLA letters to appear in chrome. Did you do that on the car?

Not exactly. I removed the chrome accent piece. It is secured with standard OEM clips and a small amount of glue that you cut with the fishing line. Then I took it apart. There are YouTube videos that show you how to do it. After applying satin black vinyl to the flat base of the accent piece, I put the chrome letters back into the piece and bonded it back together. I liked the look.

Did you do anything else unique?

As a tribute to Porsche, I made my own version of the Taycan color-matching wheels. If you look closely, you can see a matching Jet Stream Blue color stripe on the inner edge of the 22 “Tesla turbine rims. Most people like it.

What advice can you give Tesla owners who might want to try this themselves?

Learn patience first, then learn the basics of swaddling. YouTube is a great resource. You MUST work on clean vehicle surfaces – wipe an already clean surface with 70% isopropyl alcohol before wrapping anything. You need the right tools. For example, you might think that a hair dryer does the same job as a heat gun – it won’t. By the way, be careful with the heat gun. Use a retractable knife with 60 degree demolition blades and replace the leading edge frequently. Use different sizes of squeegees and be sure to buy some wrapping gloves – they are invaluable to work with.

As you stretch the vinyl, stretch it so that tension is removed along the edges of the record. If you don’t, the vinyl will pull back and cause problems. Also, be careful not to let two pieces of adhesive touch each other – sometimes easier said than done, as large pieces of vinyl can fold up while you work. If that happens it is possible to rip the vinyl and ruin your work.

Would you do it again

I don’t think so, but I never say ‘never’. I’ve done DIY projects all my life and I have to say this is one of the hardest. It is time consuming and sometimes frustrating and tiring work. It is definitely not for everyone. But … when you are up to the challenge, when you finally do it is very satisfying.

PHOTO GALLERY

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Source: EVANNEX; Photos by Casey Murphy


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