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850 FireFlake Blue
#726619 02/24/18 2:12 am
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We've all seen these glitzy fireflake blue commando's.
And I want that scheme for an 850, a Roadster.
As shown in the brochure - although this is a Mk 1A, not a Mk 1
(both types were being built together at some stage - they were variants, not a progression))
[Linked Image from s17.postimg.cc]

[Linked Image from vintagecycleprints.com]

The only official colour charts to show what was available for 1973 are earlier ones,
this one being for 1970. (Anyone got a 1973 or 1974 example ?, they seem like hens teeth)

[Linked Image from i.postimg.cc]

Tricky to find oem paint bikes though, in anything remotely like oem condition.
Or at all really.
That blue metalflake paint doesn't survive well in use ?
Or owners strip it off and make it black & gold ?

When I went hunting for something to get a paint match off, this is what turned up.
An oem sidecover, still in its shipping carton. 06-3504/4 Steel FFBlue sidecover, no decals or pinstripes
(pinstriped and decalled is a different part number)

[Linked Image from s17.postimg.cc]

So then I went hunting the coloured flakes to make it thus, and this is the match I found.
(The stirring stick is the basecoat colour used on this sidecover)
[Linked Image from s17.postimg.cc]

Hmmm, this is quite a lighter shade of blue than the regular restored Commandos in Fireflake Blue.
What is going on. ? Is FireFlake Royal Blue different to Fireflake Blue
More on this...

Edit, sometime later.
I tried an attempt at a Fireflake Blue some years back, before I knew precisely that FireFlake Blue was colored flakes.

Paint shop did a blue lacquer with silver flakes.
Not that different to Fireflake Blue, but it just doesn't have that sparkle when viewed in the sunlight.
Tank developed a pinhole/rusthole while this was in process, which I welded up.
And then more pinholes appeared, so I shelved it. Time to resurrect it. ?
Click for a bigger view
[Linked Image from i.postimg.cc]

And, there is this...
[Linked Image from i.pinimg.com]

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Re: 850 FireFlake Blue
Rohan #726796 02/25/18 7:54 pm
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I believe the earlier Commandos with fiberglass tanks and side panels had the fire flake in the gel coat. That may explain why the later painted steel tanks look a different shade. Is that a steel side cover?

Last edited by htown; 02/25/18 7:58 pm.

1978 Bonneville T140E
1974 Trident
1970 BSA Thunderbolt
1971 Norton Commando
1972 Norton Commando
1973 Norton Commando
1974 Norton Commando
2018 Kawasaki Z900RS


Everything will be alright in the end. If its not alright, its not the end.
Re: 850 FireFlake Blue
Rohan #726817 02/25/18 11:48 pm
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Indeed. This is an earlier fibreglass NOS sidecover, with the flakes in the gelcoat like you say.
Currently on fleabay.

[Linked Image from i.ebayimg.com]
https://i.ebayimg.com/images/g/LHAAAOSwBUVZ18jn/s-l1600.jpg
https://i.ebayimg.com/images/g/f0kAAOSwb69Z18jm/s-l1600.jpg

My sidecover shown top of this thread is steel, and is painted - with coloured flakes.
The back of it is painted a plain blue, and there are a few coloured flakes here and there on it - overspray from the painted on flakes on the front.

Its difficult to find any early examples of that strong blue color like a lot of current bikes seem to be painted. ?

Re: 850 FireFlake Blue
Rohan #726938 02/27/18 8:05 am
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Anothery.
Bit small....

[Linked Image from i.postimg.cc]

Re: 850 FireFlake Blue
Rohan #727122 03/01/18 12:04 am
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Duplicolor rattle can Metal Specks Blue with Spraymax 2K rattle can clear coat.
[Linked Image]Hosted on Fotki


1978 Bonneville T140E
1974 Trident
1970 BSA Thunderbolt
1971 Norton Commando
1972 Norton Commando
1973 Norton Commando
1974 Norton Commando
2018 Kawasaki Z900RS


Everything will be alright in the end. If its not alright, its not the end.
Re: 850 FireFlake Blue
Rohan #727254 03/02/18 4:23 am
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I did a set of sidecovers in Metal Specks green - but didn't like them.
The specks were too fine - they have to go through the spray nozzle after all.
And the green is quite a dark shade, not really like Fireflake Emerald Green at all.

Yours seem to have retained some of the sparkle though.



[Linked Image from s13.postimg.cc]

rather than...
[Linked Image from i.ytimg.com]

Re: 850 FireFlake Blue
htown #727832 03/07/18 2:40 am
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I have a 1972 Commando with original fire flake blue paint. It has fiberglass side covers and a steel tank. The paint on both side covers and the tank is in excellent condition. However, the fiberglass side cover color does not exactly match the color of the tank. It is very noticeable. The flake embedded under the gel coat is very large and gives the coating a texture. Conversely, the flake embedded in the tank paint is fine textured and the finish is very smooth.

I have verified with Raber's in San Jose CA that Norton's did come from the factory with the very heavy flake texture on the fiberglass side covers. I do not like the mismatch with the tank paint, but keeping the motorcycle original takes priority over attempting a re-paint the side covers to get them to match the tank.



Don Lozano
1974 COMMANDO
1973 COMMANDO
1972 COMMANDO
1970 T120R
1970 TR6C
1967 T120R
1965 A65T
1977 R100/7
Re: 850 FireFlake Blue
Rohan #727840 03/07/18 2:57 am
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Can we see a pic of this anywhere, be interested to see ?

And, do you know if it was sold new like this though ??
750 tanks/sidecover sidecovers in steel or fibreglass appear to be almost a subject on their own ?

[Linked Image from static.mijnwebwinkel.nl]

Back of a pair of Fibreglass 850 FireFlake Golden Bronze sidecovers

[Linked Image from i.ebayimg.com]
https://i.ebayimg.com/images/g/OuwAAOSwhe9eDyLr/s-l1600.jpg

Re: 850 FireFlake Blue
Rohan #729252 03/20/18 1:42 am
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You might do some more or deeper research before painting anything. If I recall correctly, some (Triumph) colors were base-coated in gold or silver to get the final color. Folks had a hard time matching paint colors because they didn't know there was a base color added. It's conceivable that Norton may have done the same thing, which may explain why that NOS side cover appears "lighter"? Silver base coat?


"It is no measure of health, to be well adjusted to a profoundly sick society."

Re: 850 FireFlake Blue
Rohan #729256 03/20/18 2:25 am
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Forgot to mention my tank and side covers were painted over a silver base coat. This helps metallic colors pop imho.


1978 Bonneville T140E
1974 Trident
1970 BSA Thunderbolt
1971 Norton Commando
1972 Norton Commando
1973 Norton Commando
1974 Norton Commando
2018 Kawasaki Z900RS


Everything will be alright in the end. If its not alright, its not the end.
Re: 850 FireFlake Blue
Rohan #729267 03/20/18 5:19 am
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This subject has been repeatedly well discussed, when you hunt around.
(Although sometimes with different conclusions !)
The colored flakes were simply sprayed mixed in a clear coat over a blue base color..
and then clear coated over. The flakes have quite a sparkle to them on their own.
The flakes are so dense the base coat color is not really visible.

Someone over on the NOC site posted this as the supplier of the blue colored flakes that Norton used back then.
[Linked Image from metalflakecorp.com]

And this is the rather elusive color page that optionally came with the brochure, in this case 1971.
(Anyone got a 1972, 1973 or 1974 example ??)
Same same as the above ....?

An example of the elusive Commando Color Colour Chart Page.
[Linked Image from s22.postimg.cc]

And these are the flakes I obtained, mixed into clear (in a glass jar)
[Linked Image from s14.postimg.cc]
The base coat color is still in the works....



Re: 850 FireFlake Blue
Rohan #749077 09/13/18 11:21 pm
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What is said to be a NOS fibreglass sidecover on fleabay.
Damaged decal, it is noted.

Colored flakes in the gelcoat....


[Linked Image]



Re: 850 FireFlake Blue
Rohan #749555 09/17/18 9:46 pm
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I saw these bikes when they were new. The flakes were HUGE, like in Rohan's picture, top one. The flakes were in the gel coat, by the way, which is how they got away with it. Those flakes would not likely pass through any gun nozzle, at least none that I have.

We called them "Wheaties" and while they were super cool at the time, they did not age well. Seems like the metal flake stuff became popular in the domain of the lowriders at the time, and no where else.

My friend's '72 Combat 750 has a re-paint in this color. It's a fair match to the original color minus the huge flakes. It's looks simply marvelous to me. I had to have a local paint shop match the color when his side cover fell off and went skidding down the road. (Does this happen to everyone? Happened to me, too) They nailed it.

[Linked Image]016
Cheers,
Bill


Bikes
1974 Commando
1985 Honda Nighthawk 650
1957 Thunderbird/T110 "Black Tiger"
Antique Fans: Loads of Emersons (Two six wingers) plus gyros and orbiters.
Re: 850 FireFlake Blue
Rohan #749566 09/17/18 11:16 pm
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A neato pair !
That looks like about the color I'm doing an Interstate in.
Also minus the big flakes.

Those flakes come in all sizes, I've found.
0.008 is common, 015 is available, some are 025 or 030, and some even bigger.
You can buy a special nozzle for the bigger sizes, I'm still considering if its worth it.
The flakes even come in different shapes, darned if I'd sit there whittling them down...

HD introduced their range of 'hard candy' metalflakes a few years ago,
and while they sold some they weren't entirely hugely popular, and have since dropped most of them.
The color range was near identical to Nortons, timewarp back to 1970-ish....

Re: 850 FireFlake Blue
Rohan #749858 09/20/18 1:15 pm
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THis guitar build thread might be of interest.
www.tdpri.com/threads/the-emeraldcaster-project-aka-son-of-meloncaster.86203/page-13

The guy uses a sieve to sprinkle large metalfalkes then buries them in laquer to create a sparle caster.
its a long thread, I hope the link i posted goes to the relevant pages.

Last edited by gavin eisler; 09/20/18 1:17 pm.

71 Devimead, John Hill, John Holmes A65 750
56 Norbsa 68 Longstroke A65
Cagiva Raptor 650
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Re: 850 FireFlake Blue
Rohan #749906 09/20/18 10:00 pm
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Thanks Gavin, thats an idea I was toying with - so its quite possible then.

Some of the flakes from the local craft shop come in a little 'saltshaker' type container,
some of the flake types are so big I had contemplated you could (almost ?) superglue them on individually. !!
But the color is not always so resistant to lacquer thinners, one variety I tried it washed off ...

Re: 850 FireFlake Blue
Rohan #749929 09/21/18 1:36 am
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Well, possibly on topic.

There was a guy with a Fastback in the small country town I grew up in. Silver(ish) if recall correctly, but when I looked closely, it was painted with what was not really a flake, but what appeared to be small round discs with a hole in the middle embedded in the paint. I recall being shocked at the size of these at the time (they seemed like they were about a 1/4" across, but were possibly a bit smaller) and I was thinking they would never go through a gun. On reflection I'm thinking that must have quite a conclusion for the dumb 10-year-old I was at the time. IIRC correctly, the 'discs' varied in colour. But this was close to 50 years ago.

Anyway, I thought at the time this must have been a custom paint job, but have wondered about this for a long time. This wouldn't be factory would it?

Ray


BSA 1969 A65F
BSA 1966 A65H
Triumph 1968 T120
Kawasaki A1R
& too many projects!
Re: 850 FireFlake Blue
Rohan #749934 09/21/18 2:37 am
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From what I have seen, the flakes are listed as just square and colored.

Folks that know say that the colored flakes were in the gelcoat, and that would apply to all fastbacks.
But I've not examined personally every fibreglass fastback piece of bodywork, so who knows.
The painted ones came in with steel tanks and sidecovers for the 850 models (Roadsters only), although there may have been some overlap with some 750's.

I'm waiting to see a bike with diamond chips in the paint, to give it that sparkle, I'm sure it would be possible these days... ?

btw, the HD hard candy metalflake paints appear to have hexagonal flakes.
In sizes big enough that you can actually see this... ?
They use a black background, unlike Nortons who used the same-colors-as-the-flakes background color coat.

Re: 850 FireFlake Blue
Rohan #752487 10/12/18 9:13 pm
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Not quite blue, but close - Fireflake Roman Purple 850. *
The pic is a bit dark, but never mind.
Close to me too, but I don't need another bike/project.

* close inspection reveals non-standard pinstriping, so its a repaint....

[Linked Image]


??
[Linked Image]

[Linked Image]

Re: 850 FireFlake Blue
Rohan #755285 11/07/18 1:56 am
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This pair of fireflake blue fibreglass sidecovers were on fleabay.
Note the patch of cleaner blue where the decals (stickers) were.
Pinstriping remains would suggest they were for an 850. *
A paler blue than some redones ones are....

*(750 sidecovers weren't pinstriped)

[Linked Image]

Re: 850 FireFlake Blue
Rohan #760679 12/28/18 3:30 am
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A tale of Fireflake Blue - without the fireflake !!

Someone on another forum is lamenting that they obtained a bike with a strange color.
"it was matched to a color inside the sidecover."

[Linked Image]

Apparently without realising that the colored flakes are only on the outside, not inside the covers.

[Linked Image]


With the fireflake, it should have come out as...
(lets see if this link works)

[Linked Image]

Re: 850 FireFlake Blue
Rohan #762812 01/17/19 10:19 pm
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What is said to be an original barnfind FireFlake Blue bike over on fleabay.
Definitely a paler shade of blue on rijjinal painted bikes.

[Linked Image]

I'd anticipate some braking difficulties like that...

Re: 850 FireFlake Blue
Rohan #763007 01/20/19 2:04 am
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I agree the blue fire flake sure looks hot. Flake is PITA to work, and the larger the flake the greater the pain. I thought about some flake when recently painting my Norty but age & diminishing abilities leave me assured I've made the proper choice in avoiding it's use.


1483
Re: 850 FireFlake Blue
Rohan #763159 01/22/19 3:27 am
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Some of the bigger flake varieties come in little saltshaker type containers.
Spray or brush on the clearcoat or gelcoat, shake on flakes, and then bury it in more clearcoat or gelcoat.
WARNING - doing this can lead to stray flakes EVERYWHERE, do it over a bin or container, and watch for escapees....

Not a very good definition in the pic, but you get the idea....

[Linked Image]

Re: 850 FireFlake Blue
Rohan #763475 01/25/19 2:02 am
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Another fleabay sample of a NOS 750S sidecover in Fireflake Blue.

[Linked Image]

The view inside seems identical to the view above .
We have a match....

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