Brand: AirTek Design
Price: £375 Base Price
We all want a custom paint job, but rarely have enough spare cash to drop on something that will have zero effect on our performance.
We took the plunge so we could bring you this review and help you make an informed decision on which painter to go for! Obviously there are lots of painters out there and we hope to review more of them in the future.
Before we go on, I would like to give you an idea of where this service sits cost wise.
Using the below design as an example, you would be hard pressed to have somebody attempt this for less than £150-200. Even guys who paint as a hobby would want this kind of cash as the man hours required to produce something like this are so great.
And for this price, the chances are the experience will be low and thus the final product will not be up to standard.
So, for £375 you would expect a good quality paint job.
There are painters out there which may be technically more adept, and maybe take longer on the attention to detail side of things. These painters however will be charging £800+ for this paint job, many over £1000.
AirTek Designs sit somewhere in the lower/middle area of the cost scale at £375 for this particular job.
Knowing what you want from the painter is 90% of the battle here.
If you try and verbally describe a design in your head to the painter, chances are, they will not build the same image in their head.
I would highly recommend you find some examples of work you like. This is by far the best way of getting the message across. If you are handy with the old crayons, draw ideas of what you want.
Anything more advanced than stick men and I'm useless so I decided I would use examples which already existed. I chose a Roman Grosjean design which if all else failed, and the painter produced it, would still look fantastic.
Here is the image I provided.
I also left this with Carl to give him a good idea of the blue colour I wanted. This is a bodyshell I had painted by a guy over in the US. Side note, if you run out of cash to go karting, give RC Racing a try, its just as competitive but on a physically smaller scale! Check out rctech.net for all the info you would ever need.
Now that I had a visual aid, I could go through the helmet design, detailing which colours I would like, and the location on the helmet I would like them.
AirTek offer a computer designed mock-up service, for £35. If you go for this service, it allows you to see what the helmet will look like once it's finished. This means you can highlight any areas which you would like altering before the painting commences. This can really help if there is something large which cannot be changed once the painting has started.
Some examples of the computer design service
At the time, I decided I would not need a mock-up. This was mainly because I'm a bit of a tight arse and secondly because Carl really seemed to understand what I was after.
That said, if I was to have another paint job, I would 100% have a mock-up designed. It's a no brainer really, especially if you have something very specific in mind.
A mock-up would have stopped any apprehensiveness I had over the next two weeks!
Once Carl had produced the base design, he sent images to make sure I was happy before he went any further.
There was a few areas I was not totally happy with and Carl re-painted these with no hassle. Don't be afraid to ask if something can be changed as it may be an easy fix. If you don't do this, you will spend years with a helmet you are not happy with.
Obviously if the design is totally wrong and way off what you were expecting, then a re-paint is a major set back, and could cost you a lot of money. This is where the computer mock-up is worth it's weight in gold.
Luckily though, the design was coming along nicely once the small alterations had been made. Carl sent photos to confirm before he added the final touches and the clear coat.
I was starting to think that the overall look of the helmet seemed rather dark. This is because a large area of the helmet is taken up by the visor, which is removed for the painting process. Keep this in mind when you see images of the helmet half way through.
It was then a case of waiting to see what the finished product looked like. I decided not to see any pictures of the finished product and to view in in the flesh.
The first impression I got when I first saw the helmet in the flesh was "WOW".
The overall look of the helmet is brilliant and just what I was after. Images really do struggle to do the helmet justice as light movement plays such a large part in the overall look.
Below are Images of all aspects of the helmet, (7 images below)
When you get up close and personal with the helmet, there are a few imperfections, but nothing you would not expect. I will not go into these as they are so minor and don't effect the look of the helmet in the slightest.
You should bear this in mind when getting any kind of custom paintwork carried out. I would bet even helmets in the F1 paddock have small imperfections, it's just the nature of the beast.
The clear coat is lovely, there is no orange peel and it has a really nice flat high gloss shine. There are some areas which possibly need a little polishing but again, I'm being very picky here!
The union flag on the top of the helmet is gorgeous. I didn't want a blocky bold flag on the top, but more of a subtle faded flag. This is exactly what I got and possibly my favourite part of the paint job.
The names on the back and the small name on the top of the helmet came out really well. These didn't actually cost extra and were deemed to be simple enough to be included in the base price.
If you really want a custom paint job but don't wish to drop the best part of £1000 on one then AirTek is a very strong contender.
Their work is excellent so you should not feel like you are settling for a lesser service.
I honestly think the helmet is all the proof you need of that. And it looks better in person!
I should mention at this point that AirTek did not know we would be reviewing their service so what I experienced is how all the customers are treated. There was no special treatment.
The process only took two and a half weeks from me dropping off the helmet to completion.
I never felt like Carl was rushing any decisions and had plenty of time to chat when I went to visit. He often has helmets which are at various stages of completion that you can look at to use for ideas.
All round I am extremely happy with this service, and these types of service are possibly the hardest to gain customer satisfaction. I would not hesitate in using AirTek in the future.
If you plan properly and make certain Carl knows what you want, you will not be disappointed in the finished product. (Get a mock-up!)
The paint job cost £375 + £25 for the spoiler to be painted.
AirTek can supply helmets and accessories (Spoilers etc) from various brands for very competitive prices. I suggest you give them a call and see what they can do.
Visit their website for more details: http://www.airtekdesign.com/
- Competitive Price
- Excellent Quality
- Flexible with design during painting
- Great Customer Service
- Images provided on progress are not great. Better Camera/More light required
Kart Review Score: 9.25