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Hot Paint Job

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Cubert: Hey, Leela, help me apply these flame decals I got in my cereal. They'll make the ship go faster.
Leela: And what's your scientific basis for thinking that?
Cubert: I'm 12.

The common motif of adding artificial flames to things so they'll seem more badass. This is common in Real Life, especially pertaining to muscle cars (the idea being that the car is so fast, it literally burns as it goes), but there probably isn't a single thing on the planet that hasn't had fire painted on it at some point or another in an attempt to increase its cool factor. In fiction, the possibilities are broader, as detailed below. "Go faster stripes" are a similar phenomenon.

Not to be confused with the Incendiary Exponent, when something is actually on fire. Red Ones Go Faster may be considered a related trope, as the color red is closely associated with fire, and both tropes are about speed equating to heat.

See also Tron Lines, a Power Glows counterpart.


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    Anime & Manga 

    Films — Animated 
  • Ramone from Cars. McQueen himself gets one at the start of Cars 2 before departing for the World Grand Prix.

    Films — Live-Action 
  • In the film Deal of the Century, a car's "flame job" is a point of pride for the owner. In an argument with Ray Kasternak (Gregory Hines), the latter takes a flamethrower out of the trunk of his car and gives the former's car a literal flame job, torching it.
  • Subverted in Gran Torino where Thao Vang Lor gets the titular car on the condition that he doesn't "paint any idiotic flames on it like some white trash hillbilly..."
  • It's Greased Lightnin'!
  • Played for Laughs in The In-Laws. Sheldon hid his Mercedes in a body detail shop to escape some assassins, and it came out with flames painted on it. Sheldon was not amused.
  • The first five films of the Transformers Film Series directed by Michael Bay, Optimus Prime has red flames painted on his blue chassis, letting him keep the iconic red-chest-windows look.
  • Garth's car in Wayne's World (the "Mirth Mobile") has flames painted behind the front wheels. Subverted, because itís a 1976 AMC Pacer.

  • Harry Wayne, one of Eddie Valiant's poker buddies in Who Censored Roger Rabbit?, is a mechanic who decorated his Chevy with two "flaming belches" he bought from a Toon dragon.
  • Katniss of The Hunger Games. This is intentional from the get-go, as her design team gives her a fire theme and coins the catchphrase "Girl on Fire". The flame motif continues through the trilogy. Fandom loves playing this up.
  • An entire village of herons and egrets ends up with flame decal feathers in one of the Spellsinger novels after Jon Tom accidentally blows their feathers off and then tries to restore them by mixing lyrics about feathers into songs about custom-painting cars. Fortunately, the birds think that their new looks are pretty cool.
  • Artemis Fowl's father considers getting such a paint job for his artificial leg. Just one more aspect of his personality Artemis was entirely unaware of, having always known his father as a stern and forbidding arch-criminal, but apparently the real man his mother fell in love with.
  • Mickey Hallerís investigator Cisco rides a classic 1960ís Harley-Davidson panhead with flames painted on the gas tank. In The Crossing (2015), he gets forced into a crash, and has flames painted on his cane while heís recovering from knee surgery.

    Live Action TV 

  • Count how many rock musicians (especially drummers) decorate their instruments with this. This is even a part of the decoration options for drummers in Rock Band.
  • Jeremy Popoff, lead guitarist of the band Lit famously had a pair of flame-decal shoes that sported white flames on a black background. He wore them in most of Lit's music videos, as well as during live performances. He even wore them when he married his long-time girlfriend in them, while his groomsmen wore color swapped versions of the same shoe (so instead they had black flames on a white background). As a result they became his Iconic items.

  • The red semi tractor in Truck Stop sports yellow and orange flames.

    Tabletop Games 
  • In d20 Modern sourcebook Urban Arcana, one of the vehicular magic items is a flame paint job, which looks good and has the ability to incinerate everything close enough to the vehicle when activated.
  • Warhammer 40,000's Orks are fond of this when it comes to painting their ramshackle vehicles, so much so that the Bad Moons' clan color scheme is black flames on a yellow background, while the speed-obsessed Evil Sunz prefer yellow flames on red (of course).
  • BattleTech
    • Clan Hell's Horses prefer painting their mechs and tanks (they being one of the few Clans who actually use a substantial number of conventional combat vehicles) in dark colors with flame highlights.
    • An Ace Custom Caesar known as "Archangel" has flames painted along its legs in contrast to the eggshell-white primary coat and gold trim. This is specifically to evoke the 'Mech striding above the flames of Hell, as the 'Mech belongs to a unit called Avanti's Angels.

    Theme Parks 

  • Tahu and Ackar of BIONICLE both wield swords shaped like flames (or just swords with flame designs in the case of Tahu's Nuva upgrade), and Ackar also sports a flame-design helmet.
  • Transformers: The Generation 2 Laser Optimus Prime toy featured smoldering details on the front and a giant portrait of Prime wielding a flamethrower on the sides.

    Video Games 
  • Bowser's monster truck in Mario Kart: Double Dash!!, the "Koopa King", has some flames painted on the back. Add six tires with studded rims for the full-throttle badass effect. The "Flame Flyer", a heavyweight kart in Mario Kart Wii, is an even better example.
  • The leopard jeans from No More Heroes are dark blue and have flames embroidered on the side. Their item description says this:
    Everyone knows adding flames to something makes it cooler.
  • Grim Fandango: any transportation upgraded by Glottis, including the Bone Wagon and the SS Lola.
  • Many Pirate and Yaki fighters in the X-Universe games sport a paint job of red flames (ref. the Pirate Falcon Vanguard).
  • Sora's Kingdom Hearts II outfit gets one of these on the sleeves and pantlegs when he's in Wisdom Form.
  • Jin Kazama from Tekken is quite fond of this, his regular outfit always being a pair of black pants with either red and gold flames or white and gold flames embroidered on the right leg, the only exception being Tekken 4, in wich he sports a hoodie with gold flame decals on it.
  • In Fallout 4, finding the right issue of Hot Rodder magazine in the post-apocalyptic Commonwealth will allow you to give your suits of Powered Armor a black-flames-on-red paint job, which provides a bonus to your Agility when worn. Alternate color schemes include white scallops on pink or a shark mouth.
  • F-Zero: Samurai Goroh, with his appropriately-named Fire Stingray. Bonus points for the vehicle being pink as well
  • A recurring paint job in MechWarrior is the flame-decal "Hot Rod" style, commonly seen on Always Chaotic Evil bandits and a number of player 'Mechs. The version used in 5 and Online defaults to black with red-orange flames, but not always.
  • Flame vinyls have been a standard customization item in Need for Speed.
  • In Grand Theft Auto: San Andreas, most of the available paintjobs on the lowrider mod shop have a flames theme.
  • Many of the paint liveries in Wreckfest are some manner of flame pattern.

    Web Animation 
  • Mystery Skulls Animated: Lewis's prankster little sister Cayenne has flames on her black cowboy boots to go with her horned hairband for a devilish theme.

  • Dresden Codak: In this strip, Kim fixes three cyborgs which need attention; she augments one's gyrostabiliser, restores another's eyes to full enhanced function — and paints cool flames on the third's wheels so it can go faster.

    Web Original 
  • Neopets: You can paint your pets "Fire" with a paintbrush, which gives this effect. Petpets can also be painted this.

    Western Animation 
  • In Futurama, Cubert claims that adding flame decals to the Planet Express ship will make it go faster. His reasoning?
    Cubert: I'm twelve.
  • My Life as a Teenage Robot: In "The Great Unwashed", the makeover Jenny gets for a party includes red and orange flames painted on her feet and pigtails.
  • A recurring element of Alex's Unlimited Wardrobe in Totally Spies! is a black shirt with a fire motif in the middle.
  • Foster's Home for Imaginary Friends: In "Mac Daddy", Bloo wants to paint Mac's soapbox car in hot-rod flames, but Cheese wants bunnies instead. After much arguing, they compromise and paint flaming bunnies on the car.
    Bloo: I don't even know you anymore.
    Mac: Shut up. At least the bunnies are on fire.
  • In an episode of The Venture Brothers, Hank and Dean get H.E.L.P.eR a flame job.
  • Hot Rod/Rodimus Prime from Transformers: Generation One.
  • In the Mega Man (Ruby-Spears) cartoon, Fire Man has, appropriately enough, a flame pattern on his blasters.
  • In an episode of Voltron Force, the Black Lion is given a Hot Paint Job complete with spinning rims (despite not having wheels), a kicking sound system and a pair of fuzzy dice. Its pilot is not amused at first, but he seems to grow to like it.
  • The titular mech in Megas XLR has yellow flames on its arms and legs.

    Real Life 
  • In Real Life, some people who are particularly obsessed with their cars add decals on them, and they almost always involve flames or some other flame-like design. But it could possibly be subverted; there are some cars that are so "uncool" that adding flames just makes it look corny. Kind of like multiplying one negative number.


Video Example(s):

Alternative Title(s): Everythings Hotter With Flames, Everything Is Hotter With Flames


Lightning McQueen

Thanks to Ramone, Lightning ditches the gloomy primer and is done up in his traditional red flash bolt look, with the new addition of a small flame job and more traditional race car elements.

How well does it match the trope?

5 (3 votes)

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