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helmet painting tips?

 
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ZacMuleer ()
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PostPosted: Mon Nov 07, 2011 6:49 pm    Post subject: helmet painting tips? Reply with quote

Hey, pilots!

I was wondering if I could get some direction from the masters. I'll be getting my helmet soon, and with that comes the daunting task of painting the perfect intricate designs. But my experience with painting is limited to small pieces, and resin E11s. But on those, little droplets or paint errors can be easily covered.

I was wondering if y'all have any tips or tutorials on how to paint the helmet? What steps need to be taken? (washing, sanding, priming, etc) and what are the best tools for the job? And if you have any tips or tricks you can pass along, it would be much appreciated by all trainees!

Thanks, pilots!

Dan
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BobaFuss (Doug Cottrell)
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PostPosted: Tue Nov 08, 2011 3:59 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Definitely start off with a good primer for plastics and then begin the process of laying down the layers of paint. I used sprays for mine, but painted the smaller details in acrylic with an artist paintbrush. The devil is in the details. Be sure to add blast marks, chips, and other misc weathering and it will look more authentic. If you are going to do a face character, be sure to get all the reference pics you can get to duplicate the design. Then when you're done, finish it with a coat of clear varnish. I got a lot of painting tips on The Dented Helmet. They are just as valid for a pilot helmet as a Fett costume.
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ZacMuleer ()
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PostPosted: Tue Nov 08, 2011 2:10 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Thanks, Doug! I'll be sure to check out the forums at TDH.

I'm on the FISD forums, but with most of stormtrooper armor being made in ABS, less and less folks worry about painting their stuff - since it comes shiny white anyway. And obviously, when it is painted, there's not exactly the intricate designing techniques that are used on helmets.

Is there any type of paint that decals work better on? Or should I tape of that area and spray around it? (Seems difficult as the taping might bring up the decal...)

So I appreciate the tips. I'll look over there.
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WedgeAntilles (James Norman)
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PostPosted: Tue Nov 08, 2011 4:59 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

not really but I guess it depends on what you're using for decals.

I used printable water slide decals for the little details like comets & v's. You've gotta be careful with them but they work wonders.
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Mac Bragg ()
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PostPosted: Tue Nov 08, 2011 7:23 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

To amplify what Doug said -

Wash everything first just to make sure there are no oils or other stuff to prevent your first coat of paint from getting a good bond. If you wish, you can even glove up.

Use light coats! My first coat of primer is applied light enough to still see the base plastic through it. This keeps you from getting drips and runs, and will help prevent crackling aka "Orange Peeling" by putting too much on at one time. Don't rush it, it takes a lot more time to strip and redo than to take it easy with more light coats.

Use a "tack cloth" or soft cotton rag between coats to remove any light inperfections. A Scotchbright pad or very fine (800 of finer) wet dry sandpaper to smooth out any dust or dirt particles.

Generally, start with the lightest color and progrss to darker. Black over white works well, but white over black generally comes out gray Very Happy

Apply a clear coat over your base design before adding any "effects". If you are going to use water based decals, put on a gloss coat for the best results. Decals over a flat finish do not stick as well, and the edges can lift up slightly producing a "silver" edge. Once on, you can then use another clear coat (gloss or matte) to seal them on.

If you are using mixed types of paint, you may want to test them first. Generally, you can apply water-based arcylic over enamel. In fact, this works well in the scale model world for "dirt and grime". You can wash it off if you decide quickly that you are not happly with the result.
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Mastershane (Shane Gordon)
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PostPosted: Tue Nov 08, 2011 8:59 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

When my brother and I did our helmets, we did the major part of the colors with an airbrush, then used clear decals for the small details. It took a bit longer to mix colors, thin paint for use in an airbrush and masking off the areas to be painted, but the end results were awesome.
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Jedi Master Tic-Ja Faila (Jakob Lau Smith Tice)
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PostPosted: Wed Nov 09, 2011 5:05 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

If you are planning on weathering it, then that is a perfect time to "cover up" some of the slight mistakes . . . at least that's what I did when I weathered mine Razz
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darthhair (Jeff Rodriquez)
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PostPosted: Wed Nov 09, 2011 5:32 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I use vinyl decals and spray paint. 1/8" masking tape for detail masking and regular masking tape and paper for the rest. I wash the resin but other than that I sand the abs with 400 grit sand paper before I primer and between coats. Keep in mind that the color of your primer changes the color of your paint. Especially if you use krylon. If I want a section of the helmet to remain white, I dont paint it. The abs looks better than white paint.

I use ace premium spray paints. I can remask and coat within a half an hour on a nice day.

http://s243.photobucket.com/albums/ff64/darthhair/xwing%20pilot%20stuff/#!cpZZ1QQtppZZ24

http://www.hobbylinc.com/htm/gpm/gpmgpmr1000.htm
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ZacMuleer ()
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PostPosted: Mon Mar 05, 2012 5:59 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Revisiting this with more specific questions, now that the weather is heating up for me to get this finished....

Is there a specific clear coat y'all recommend for coating over vinyl decals? I heard some say laquer? Or something like the standard Krylon Acrylic Clear Coat spray paint will do?

And should I sand up the base color paint? (fine grit, 800+) Or would the decals stick better to a glossy paint?
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TrooperPX (David Ramsay)
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PostPosted: Mon Mar 05, 2012 10:51 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

One tip for decals... they will apply better on gloss. The smooth surface of gloss will allow it to sit with minimal air-catch. A matte or semi-gloss surface has a rough enough texture (doesn't look like it but it does) to catch air, not sit smooth and may look "frosty" when it dries. I will do all of my painting, then spray on light coats of gloss to make a protective "candy shell", apply my decals, then go back in later and dust it with a matte coat to give it a realistic finish.



-David
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Mac Bragg ()
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PostPosted: Wed Mar 07, 2012 6:27 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Arcylics are generally safe bets for final coats, closely followed by enamels.

Always test on some scrap material first!

There are few things more horrifying in modeling than watching your final coat dissolve the decals and last two camoflauge colors. One of them is watching it also soften and dissolve the plastic Embarassed

Decals over gloss, otherwise as TrooperPX pointed out eventually the edges of the decals will lift up slightly and go "silver".
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darthhair (Jeff Rodriquez)
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PostPosted: Mon Mar 26, 2012 2:52 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

I "seal" my decals with superglue. I buy the kind in the little bottles and run a bead over any decals with fine points like the V's and bird tips. I also do that on pin striping. Once the helmet is weathered you wont see any of that. I also use the krylon clear.
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Zazarus (David Scheffner)
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PostPosted: Mon Mar 26, 2012 11:57 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

I think the only issue with decals on paint is if you ever want to remove the decals. My wife does automotive vinyl cut outs for some of the Mando Mercs and warns them that when removing decals it might take the paint off with it, depending on the paint you use.
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