Forza Motorsport 2: McLaren F1 GT Vodafone custom paint job

Just in time for the anticipated public reveal of Forza Motorsport 3 at E3 2009, I’ve remembered a couple of Forza 2 liveries that I never posted before. Sadly, I can’t remember anything about their creation. This one is clearly inspired by the McLaren Formula One team and their Vodafone sponsorship.

Forza Motorsport 2: Ferrari F430 Italian Flag custom paint job

Just in time for the anticipated public reveal of Forza Motorsport 3 at E3 2009, I’ve remembered a couple of Forza 2 liveries that I never posted before. Sadly, I can’t remember anything about their creation but I can see that this one was pretty straightforward combining the Italian national colours with the Ferrari logo.

Porsche 959 Martini Forza Motorsport 2 custom paint job

Even though I thought I’d posted all my custom Forza Motorsport 2 liveries, when I returned to it briefly I discovered that there were a handful left I hadn’t posted. Unfortunately, because it was a good while ago now, I don’t remember anything about making them including sources or techniques. So, I’ll just post the pictures.

Actually, now that I look at it I seem to remember that the Porsche logo isn’t available in white so it had to be traced using primitives over the existing Porsche logo. I did this at a large size for accuracy and then could use the group scaling feature to make it the size required. Forza’s wonderful ability to colour a whole group of vinyl’s was then available to make the Porsche logo any colour I required. I also used the same technique for the Martini text which is used in both white and black. I really miss those features (accurate group scaling and group re-colouring) in Ferrari Challenge Trofeo Pirelli.

Toyota VeilSide Supra: Studio Ghibli Forza Motorsport 2 custom paint job

Now I actually finished Forza Motorsport 2 some time ago (970 gamerscore, yay!) but hadn’t got around to posting this paint job which is the one I’m most proud of.

This is a reproduction of the Studio Ghibli title card, a DVD capture of which you can see below. Studio Ghibli is the home of Hayao Miyazaki, an entirely remarkable filmmaker who thoroughly deserves to be mentioned in the same breath as the likes of Hitchcock, Disney and Spielberg.

Studio Ghibli title card

I started by reproducing the text part. This was fairly straight-forward though quite time consuming as, obviously, the Japanese Kanji script had to be recreated from primitives. Once that was complete it was saved as a new vinyl group.

Next was time to attempt the line drawing of the Totoro (taken from Miyazaki’s entirely wonderful My Neighbour Totoro). There are two tricks to producing complex line-art vinyls in Forza Motorsport 2.

The first is to complete the artwork on the roof (a large flat roof like the Mini) then save it as a vinyl group and place it on the car you require. The second is parentheses. The lines that make up this drawing are, in fact, scores of parentheses of different sizes. And yes, it takes patience and determination.

I even discovered a new detail in the Ghibli title card. One of the ears is a baby Totoro. I’d never noticed that before.

To say I was delighted with how this paint job turned out is an understatement. It is far better than I considered myself capable of as it looks recognisably like the image I was going for. It’s not quite perfect but, if you wait for perfection, you’ll never finish anything.

So, my tribute to Hayao Miyazaki and Studio Ghibli is complete and with that my Forza Motorsport 2 adventures are complete. Roll on Forza Motorsport 3.

Saab 9-3: Lazy Saab and Sweden Saab Forza Motorsport 2 custom paint job

I bought the Saab for a specific championship and not wanting to drive around in a plain old car, I decided to quickly slap the manufacturer’s decal all over it. I came up with the following design:

However, I enjoyed driving the car so much that I decided to spend some time on a more thoughtful and complex design.

The colour scheme is, perhaps obviously (but I’ll say it anyway), inspired by the Swedish national flag.

The one thing I did want was large Saab text across the rear quarter of the car. To accomplish this I had to reproduce the Saab text by hand. I applied the Saab manufacturer decal to the roof of the car and made it as large as I could while still being able to see all the Saab text. I then placed black letters and vinyl shapes until I had covered all the Saab text. This gave me a completely accurate Saab text which could be coloured and placed independently of the Saab shield. I placed the big Saab down in a shadow colour, then again in white and offset it slightly.

The sponsor logos were from the upgrade parts I had applied to the car at this point.

Lotus Exige: 1960’s Lotus Formula One Forza Motorsport 2 custom paint job

This was modelled after the paint scheme of early Lotus F1 cars.

A 1962 Lotus F1 car

A nice little detail I am pleased with is the addition of an antique Ford logo on the front of the car as Lotus were powered by engines built by Cosworth and paid for by Ford.

Unfortunately, I really didn’t like the car to drive but happily watched it being taken around by my main hired driver Andy Garcia. Good boy!

2006 Dodge Charger SRT8: Dukes of Hazzard Forza Motorsport 2 custom paint job

I quite like the stupid, chunky, Desperate Dan-styling of this car and happily applied my General Lee stylings from the 1969 Dodge Charger made famous by The Dukes of Hazzard television series.

As soon as I got it out on the track, though, in a B-class championship it was instantly clear (by my driving straight into the end walls at both ends of New York Circuit despite generously-judged braking distances) that this handled like one of those boxes you get on top of elephants. Remarkably, the kerb weight of the Charger SRT is about the same as the average Indian elephant!

I’d even gone to the effort of making a note of the manufacturers of the upgrade parts I installed and used only those manufacturers decals.

I quickly got Andy Garcia to do my driving for me and polish off the Stars and Stripes B-Class championship I had bought the car for. I thought I hadn’t seen him on the silver screen for a while. Go Andy!

Jaguar E-type: Austin Powers’ Shaguar Forza Motorsport 2 custom paint job

Started as a bit of a lazy paint job this one as I had constructed a decent Union Flag for the Top Gear Britcar and it just needed stamping on an E-type to make an Austin Power’s Shaguar. While that was virtually all I had to do, there was, naturally, a little more work involved.

The E-type model in Forza is one of those models seriously distorts images over parts of its surfaces. This caused the images to not line up on the sides, front or rear with the top of the car. The front and rear were manually replaced with entirely new vinyls while the ones on the side required resizing and moving to get them to line up better.

I also added a Shaguar number plate to the rear.

TVR Speed 12: Top Gear Forza Motorsport 2 custom paint job

After the nightmare of trying to manhandle the TVR Tuscan S around, well, anything I wasn’t looking forward to driving around in my favourite car from Gran Turismo 2: TVR’s mental concept car, the Speed 12. Imagine my delight, then, as I found the car to be much more predictable than the Tuscan S and super-fast.

To reward it, I plastered my Top Gear logo all over it which I had designed but never really used properly. Since the car had a lovely metallic maroon colour that I wanted to keep, I had to pick a best match for the inside of the gear in the logo but it looks fine, especially in motion. To round things off I added a custom BBC logo (not quite right, I know), a Union flag and my custom manufacturer logos for Peniston Oils and Larsens Biscuits.

Renault Clio: SRT (Sim Racing Tonight) Forza Motorsport 2 custom paint job

Sim Racing Tonight is an internet sim racing show hosted by, in a remarkable break from the attractive lady bumps required by most gaming presentations, two middle-aged plus Americans named Darren Gangi and Shaun Cole. It’s nice to see proper grown-up men show that they still love videogames and their love for their subject more than outweighs presentation deficiencies.

Sim-racing could be defined as treating multiplayer PC driving games as seriously as real driving with the preparation and practice that entails. Games such as rFactor and Live For Speed are the current-gen kings. Sim site SimHQ reviewed Forza Motorsport 2 in June 2007 and rated it as the first true driving sim on any console ever. So perhaps I can avoid the usual disdain and vitriol that sim-racers usually have for their console racing brethren and offer my own small tribute to the Sim Racing Tonight duo in the form of this custom painted Renault Clio.

Nissan Fairlady Z Version S (1994): dangeruss-inspired Forza Motorsport 2 custom paint job

This paint job was inspired by this design at Russ Schwenkler also did the cover design for Forza Motorsport 2 (and PGR4) which features a Nissan 350Z on the US version and an Aston Martin DB9 Coupe on the UK version.

Ferrari F355 Challenge: Scuderia Ferrari truck livery Forza Motorsport 2 custom paint job

Inspiration for this paint scheme came from the Iveco trucks that were used in 2001 by the Formula One Ferrari racing team Scuderia Ferrari.

It is a two-tone silver and red scheme with the Scuderia Ferrari logo emblazoned on the side. The badge seen here is a heavily masked version of the manufacturer’s decal supplied. The Italian flag colours have been replaced at the top with a shallow chevron design. The shield shape was created by placing a red hollow shield vinyl over the Ferrari manufacturer’s decal. Nice and simple.

The other design note is the monochrome sponsor logos for FIAT, AMD and Olympus seen either side of the rear wheel-arch. My original idea was simply to pick white monochrome decals from the four pages available in Forza. Except on this Ferrari there is less than a single page of manufacturer decals available. Very peculiar. So I set about creating some of the simpler sponsor logos manually. Thanks to Forza’s handy Change Colour for a group of vinyl’s option, I was able to create the AMD and Olympus logos in their normal colouring and then change the whole thing to white when stamping in the final location. As a bonus, I now have these three logos available to stamp onto any car.

The design above is my second iteration. This is my first.

I decided that there was too much silver on this version and so adjusted it as above. The monochrome sponsor logos were stacked vertically just behind the rear wheel-arch. I had also simply pasted the Scuderia Ferrari logo in the same orientation on the other side of the car meaning that the Ferrari badge was toward the rear of the car. When I did it, I thought it didn’t look right but wasn’t quite sure why. When I tweaked the design with the second iteration I realised what was wrong and fixed it and so the Ferrari badge is toward the front of the car on both sides.

Dodge Charger 1969 R/T-SE: Dukes of Hazzard Forza Motorsport 2 custom paint job

This car is one I’ve had to buy from the auction house as I started my Forza Motorsport 2 game in Europe and cannot purchase this directly. I’ve been getting them for about 5,000-10,000 credits, painting them with this Dukes of Hazzard paint job and selling them on for between 45,000 and 95,000 credits.

This paint job turned out really well. It is a good facsimile of the original (though I haven’t done the double flag on the boot). The numbers on the side seem to be the only ones I’ve seen in the auction house done correctly. I’ve also seen confederate flags with an extra four stars and the words “General Lee” written as white with black outlines. Overall, this is one of the more accurate Dukes of Hazzard paint jobs available.

Volkswagen Golf R32: Golf ball dimples Forza Motorsport 2 custom paint job

How to paint a Golf? Dimples. Like a golf ball, see.

The interesting thing about this paint job is that it nearly uses all 1,000 available layers on the left side, right side and roof / bonnet. I also learned that the front and rear of the car do not have 1,000 available layers and so I couldn’t simply paste the design from the roof on to either of those two areas. Okay, maybe not that interesting.

Now the car looked fine in the paint shop but Forza’s greatly reduced in-game rendering abilities really hit this paint job hard. Instead of smoothly graduated dimples, the car simply became covered in light grey spots. The paint job still looks good but it doesn’t look as intended, like the dimples on a golf ball.

Despite the significantly different look during gameplay (significantly different to me, at least), I am very happy with this paint job. It was a simple idea and produced a car that looks like no other.

Volkswagen Beetle: Ladybird (Ladybug) Forza Motorsport 2 custom paint job

Forza Motorsport 2 - Ladybird small spots

This Forza Motorsport 2 custom paint job has been selling really well on the Auction House (I’ve sold about ten in the last six or so hours of game time). I modelled it after a ladybird and added a little smile to the front.

Forza Motorsport 2 - Ladybird side Forza Motorsport 2 - Ladybird rear Forza Motorsport 2 - Ladybird front Forza Motorsport 2 - Ladybird top side

My first version had big spots that were the same as the ladybird I was using as a reference. Oddly, the version with the big spots does not seem to sell but the version with the little spots goes fine.

Forza Motorsport 2 - Ladybird big spots
Big spots.

BMW M3: Top Gear Britcar 24hr Forza Motorsport 2 custom paint job

Top Gear just finished it’s 2007 Autumn season and was on top form throughout. In episode nine, the boys went racing for real in the Britcar 24hr race using a BMW 330 that was running on lentil-petril they had planted in a show the previous year.

This is my version of their car (with my own racing number). The most obvious immediate difference is that the BMW 3-series in Forza are all two-door whereas the Top Gear one was four-door. This made a difference for the company logos on the side but mine are appropriately spaced along the beemer’s long doors. Sadly, Forza doesn’t allow you to open the doors.


Lancia Stratos: Alitalia / Fenomenon Forza Motorsport 2 custom paint job

If there’s a Stratos in the game, you can’t go wrong adorning it with the iconic Alitalia green and red. What is it about the Lancia rally cars that made them such icons, not only as rally cars but also as advertising space? We have the Alitalia Stratos and the Martini Delta Integrale, both utterly iconic. Anyway, I digress.

Classic Stratos in the studio and in action from the Lancia Stratos album at rallye-stars

To change things up slightly, this paint job is based more on the Alitalia paint job on the Fenomenon Stratos concept car shown at the 2005 Geneva Motor Show. It was also displayed in snot green. No idea why. Anyway, here’s what it looks like from a page on

Fenomenon Stratos Concept Car aka NewStratos

This was also the first time I noticed a feature new to Forza Motorsport 2 that was to instantly become a firm favourite: Create a new vinyl group. This, brilliantly, takes the group of vinyl’s you have highlighted (it cannot contain a manufacturer decal) and saves it so it can be stamped in any place on any vehicle. This means that transferring text from one side of the car to the other is now child’s play. But you can transfer, not just to the other side of the same car, but to any car you paint! Wonderful. I remember painstakingly recreating a Star Wars logo on both sides of a car I did in Forza Motorsport. I was highly satisfied when finished but it was a lot of work. Now, I could just highlight from one side and paste it on the other and save it for use on other cars too.

I used this wonderful, wonderful new feature for the Alitalia logo. The logo was pretty simple as one of the Forza font’s was similar enough to pass for the “litalia” section. The stylised leading “A” was created using primitives. The whole lot was grouped and saved and then stamped with glee and reckless abandon across the rest of the car.

Alitalia vinyl group

Not only that, I used the same group for the monochrome Alitalia logo on the bonnet and simply used the Change colour option to switch all the vinyls in the group to white. What an absolute joy.

Monochrome Alitalia

Here’s the finished article:

Racing with number 35

Originally, I added some simple patterns to the rear of the car but later changed it to be pointier mirroring the “A” in Alitalia.

Not-so-pointy rear flashes

Pointy rear flashes

I also saved a clean version to my design catalogue which looks much more like the Fenomenon original.


As an aside, you can race in the Fenomenon Stratos in the brilliant Colin McRae: Dirt which you should go out and buy today for your PlayStation 3.

Lotus Carlton: Lotus JPS inspired Forza Motorsport 2 custom paint job

Having won an old Lotus Carlton I decided to pay homage to the classic John Player Special black and gold Lotus’ of the late 1970’s Formula One circus.

Despite some time being spent on it, one thing that didn’t work out was a JPS logo. None of the Forza fonts were close to the original and while constructing a J and P from primitives posed no problems, I simply couldn’t get an S that worked.

One of the really cool things with the JPS Lotus was that all the sponsor logos were in black and gold regardless of their original colours. I recreated the Texaco logo as it was nice and simple and was also used on the original cars. Perhaps Forza Motorsport 3 will allow us to tint manufacturer logo’s so that this effect can be easily achieved in the future.

After getting tired of painting, I went racing with Version 1 (below) and instantly decided that I didn’t like the pattern over the front wheel-arch. I’d also forgotten to do anything with the rear of the car which is something I always seem to do.

Version 1

I altered the wheel arch pattern to cover just the front door and placed the Lotus Motorsport logo inside. The colouring of the logo was entirely appropriate to the JPS colour scheme and made that part of the car look a bit more interesting. I also painted the front and rear bumper with a wrap-around pattern and added a black and gold ring to the Vauxhall badge in the same way that the Formula One cars had a little round JPS badge on their noses.

Version 2

I had a good time with this car as it is a nice unusual entry into a racing game and I used it to whup A-class Ferrari’s and Porsche’s.

A1GP 2006 Team Germany Forza Motorsport 2 custom paint job

Inspired by the 2006 paint job on the Team Germany entry in A1GP.

However, I did run across a couple of problems.

One existed in Forza Motorsport and sees areas on cars that cannot be painted. This produces the odd effect you can see on the rear wing which only part of can be painted. This leaves most of the wing white whereas I wanted to paint part of it yellow. It also means, bizarrely, that the rear number plate cannot be painted.

The other is a bit peculiar. In-game, your paint job is almost always rendered at a far lower resolution than you see in the paint shop. Fair enough, if less than impressive. On this car I’ve got a couple of masking pieces which are white pieces matching the white base paint colour of the car. In-game, however, these white masking pieces have a grey border which is somewhat disappointing. On this car you get a grey line across the bonnet and a grey outline on each side of the car.

Man, this turned out to be a depressing post. On the plus side, this was a nice car to drive and the paint job turned out well despite the limitations. Enjoy the car!

Peugeot 207: "Optimus Slimm" Transformers 2007 movie Optimus Prime-inspired Forza Motorsport 2 custom paint job

And so my car painting days resume. This time I have the distinct pleasure of Forza Motorsport 2 and a brand new garage and HD wonderfulness.

For my career I decide to start in Europe (I dislike the laughable handling of most American cars and the Gran Turismo series usually forces you to start with Japanese cars) and pick myself the smart-looking Peugeot 207 which used to be built in my home town until just last year.

Now, however, the real decision comes: how will I paint this car?

After a bit of deliberation I hit upon the new flame paint job given Optimus Prime in Michael Bay’s 2007 Transformers movie (one of only two easily identifiable robot characters, the other being Bumblebee).

The base colour of the car is, in fact, the lightest metallic silver. This was so I could leave holes for chrome highlights as I needed. Therefore part of the front bumper, the rear wing, the rear bumper and an element above the registration plate are now chrome looking. The chrome down the side could not be created by leaving a hole and so is faked using a light silver (but not metallic) vinyl over the top of the principle vinyl patterns.

The remainder of the paint job is pretty straight-forward and simply uses gradients and flame vinyls. The rear wheel and rear exhaust benefit from some of the new flame vinyls from the greatly expanded range now available.

The final touch was to add the registration plates front and back. In the UK, the front registration plate is white and the rear is gold yellow. This is where I was able to use the splendid new grouping features to very simply copy the plates and the “SLIMM 01” registration number from the front to the rear and then change the colour of the plate.