Keep your nose clean

This was pretty much sent to the running Priuschat thread originally, but
here's a rework with a few more pictures.  The continued presence of the shiny
Toyota logo on the car's nose was still bugging me a little, and I happened
to run across a picture in a completely unrelated thread of a Prius with an
unadorned schnoz.  I queried the poster and it turned out to be Dan Kroushl's
car, and he said that to remove his he had basically just grabbed and pulled.

So I decided to go out and give it another go, with the idea that if I screwed
it up I was going to paint something else on the hood anyways.  I got a couple
of pieces of wedge-shaped wood to help, wrapped a small screwdriver with tape,
and very carefully went at it.  By prying up a little bit and then poking
another sharpish implement underneath, I could start breaking the adhesive web
and working the thing clear.  It didn't take long until it was off, leaving the
expected two holes and a remainder of sticky "snot" behind which I managed to
scrape off and ball up most of.

A little alcohol seemed to soften the remaining adhesive without attacking the
paint, and with that, a piece of plastic as a non-marring scraper, and a few
paper towels it began to clean off nicely.

Eventually all the sticky was gone, leaving the raised bump on the hood nice
and clean except for the two little holes just like in the back.  I took Dan's
advice and gooped a little clear RTV into each one just to seal it against
water coming in.

At this point I had a blank canvas.  I shot the picture of the front, brought
it into an image editor and then stared at it, for a long time.
Warning, serious automotive art-faggery ahead!
It wanted *something*, probably the simpler the better.  I fooled around with
dropping my logo onto it in various ways, possibly sized to help de-emphasize
the raised oval area...
but decided quickly that that was stupid and contrived-looking.  I remembered
what I'd done at the back, and a similar thought was nagging at the back of
my mind.

Perhaps it was because of a subtle reflection of different trees up the hood on
the left, or the angle of the headlight housings in relation to other visible
parts ... but finally a real "a ha" concept hit me, and I photochopped it in:

After playing with various widths of stripe, it seemed like this one was the
most appropriate.  It follows the line of the plate holder and the two small
grille webs, and runs up to just outside the windshield squirters and lands
conveniently aligned with a couple of features at the wipers and maybe even
those funny dips in the roof.  It's a little more steeply angled than the
headlights and keeps the perspective of all the things that "wedge" inward at
the front, and is possibly reminiscent of those raised-center hot-rod hoods.
And it conceptually matches what was already done on the back hatch.  As I
posted to Priuschat at the time:

   Okay, I need some aesthetic feedback here. Maybe it's that I
   keep hearing the rods going by on the highway a half-mile away
   [gas prices, schmas prices...] or that I just spotted a lot of
   sensible "line matches" when staring at the car's nose.

   Note that I haven't actually *done* this to my car yet, it's just
   a photochop artist's conception. But somehow it brings to mind
   those raised-center mustang or whatever hoods, y'know, the one
   you squeeze the massive blower underneath.

Note that this simulation wouldn't have worked if I had just slapped dead-black
on top of the picture.  I wanted it to be realistic.  I was thinking more like
how school bus hoods are painted, in something mostly matte but still with just
a little shine to it -- to also mimic the general look of the black plastic
trim.  To get the closest effect I eyedroppered some not-quite-black out of a
dark area in the grille or someplace, and constructed the stripe in a separate
layer at about 85% transparency to let just a hint of the tree reflections
come through from the original picture as the "dull shine".  I figure this is
about how flat or semi-gloss black paint would look.

For completeness I went out and found a place where I could take a shot of the
top of the car, and then synthesized up the same thing from a top view.  I
still liked the idea.  Neicy did, too:

   I like it. It picks up on the black around the windows I think.

And Rokeby pointed out an interesting throwback:

   It has a strong resemblance to the raised center section on the Gen1.
   (Does this make me an aht-fag?)

So, clearly, I had to go ahead with it.  I started researching some auto body
and car painting sites.  I would have to be pretty careful with masking and
prep to not have it coming out looking like ass, but I wasn't ready to invest
in a whole spray gun and air setup so it would likely be a rattle-can job
either way.  And clearly, it would have to wait until the organic rain of all
the spring tree-bits and pollen was over before having any hope of getting
coats of paint to dry cleanly.  So I had some time.

Meanwhile, I still had these two shiny plastic Toyota logos and no particular
use for them anymore.  There was only one obvious thing to do.

Part 3 describes how it finally got done!

First page

_H* 080521