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 Post subject: Dan Laws White HDPE Reassembled and Repainted
PostPosted: Mon May 30, 2016 1:28 am 
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Joined: Mon Mar 10, 2014 5:26 pm
Posts: 644
Location: Dallas, TX, USA
When I joined the prop den I was working on my first stormtrooper TK kit, a Dan Laws White HDPE I'd bought from ebay.  I completed it, the final version of which I posted here:

http://thepropden.aokforums.com/5-vt3523.html?start=60

Well that was actually the first final version.  I've since used and abused it as a test bed of sorts, stripping the paint, testing various adhesion promoters and paint brands, using it to test different techniques for easy ear trimming, and reassembling faceplate to cap&back more times than I care to admit.

I wasnt happy with the wide ears or the assembly of the first version but have settled into the following assembly after months of eyeing and fiddling with it.  It's been a few years since it's been in a truly finished form so I figured I'd start this thread to document it and as motivation to complete it.

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 Post subject: Re: Dan Laws White HDPE Reassembled and Repainted
PostPosted: Mon May 30, 2016 3:54 am 
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Joined: Tue Mar 15, 2016 4:33 pm
Posts: 143
Lid looks great man. Those damned ears can be a royal pain in the ass, and the few I've assembled I was totally dissatisfied with. then you re-watch the movie and invariably end up seeing ears trimmed in the exact same manner.
Digging the crooked brow on yours too man. Will look great once you get it painted up.


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 Post subject: Re: Dan Laws White HDPE Reassembled and Repainted
PostPosted: Sun Aug 07, 2016 9:37 am 
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Joined: Thu Aug 31, 2006 8:58 am
Posts: 10831
Location: Denmark
Yeah, not often you see the curved brow. Looking good. It's a nice and clean helmet, and it'll be fun to watch the work progress.


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 Post subject: Re: Dan Laws White HDPE Reassembled and Repainted
PostPosted: Sun Aug 07, 2016 11:20 am 
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Joined: Sun Apr 17, 2011 3:38 pm
Posts: 885
Location: Dracula's Castle
Very cool helmet, cannot wait to see it finished :thumbsup


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 Post subject: Re: Dan Laws White HDPE Reassembled and Repainted
PostPosted: Sun Aug 21, 2016 4:16 am 
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Joined: Mon Mar 10, 2014 5:26 pm
Posts: 644
Location: Dallas, TX, USA
Thanks guys.  Taking my time finishing this again.  I'm dreading painting those tube stripes!  I have some templates but can bleed through a bit requiring cleanup, but must be careful not to cleanup the white paint beneath along with it.  I will practice on some scrap HDPE.  Maybe try using the tube stripe template for spacing and centerlines and really really hand paint the stripes.

Yeah those ears can be tricky.  In my first attempts I ended up with ears that were wide at the bottom and didn't leave much thickness at the top.  At first I thought it was because the untrimmed DL ears flare out more, but in fact they are fine.

The problem was because of how I assembled the helmet. I had unintentionally induced a inward tilt from bottom to top along the faceplate where the ears attached in front.  You can see this in the first version the tilt and how it looks pinched at the top of the ear.

I corrected this by relaxing the connection of the front and back halves of the helmet and adding foam at the middle to maintain the separation and vertical look before trimming the ears.

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 Post subject: Re: Dan Laws White HDPE Reassembled and Repainted
PostPosted: Sun Aug 21, 2016 4:48 am 
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Joined: Mon Mar 10, 2014 5:26 pm
Posts: 644
Location: Dallas, TX, USA
Here are some examples of how the shape of the helmet can change according to the forces across it. It will firm up after the two halves are attached.



Face wider or narrower, tubes higher or wider, and even create the crater-like dent in the lower front of the left tube as seen in the RS helmet. There's sort of an inflection point of curvature there like a dent that can be popped in and out.

(This beige HDPE helmet is another DL helmet kit i bought from Dan, from the same mold as the white HDPE helmet I'm working on. The blue ink is my doing. Covered my hands with some scap cellophane that had blue ink text while stripping my less-than-perfect first paint job on this one).

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 Post subject: Re: Dan Laws White HDPE Reassembled and Repainted
PostPosted: Wed Oct 25, 2017 9:42 pm 
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Joined: Mon Mar 10, 2014 5:26 pm
Posts: 644
Location: Dallas, TX, USA
Been over a year and I'm finally gonna get it in gear to start finishing this helmet. One of the reasons for my procrastination is the well known psychological condition called 'HDPE paint anxiety," the symptoms of which
are shown below.

The wrinkles in the paint happen a few minutes after applying a second coat of Krylon Dual Superbond. From my testing it happens whether I wait 10 minutes, 1 hour, or 1 week after the first coat, with or without adhesive promoter applied before the first coat. The best results I've gotten are with adhesive promoter followed by coats of Rust-Oleum Gloss Protective Enamel, so I'm going back to using that.

The messed up paint job is from a second helmet (beige HDPE). The white HDPE helmet paint is still in good shape, just a few cracks which I KINDA fixed by carefully spreading some white all purpose glue parallel to the seams of the crack.

The lower left picture is just to show the seam in the cap&back which is also found in original helmets, so it's appropriate to leave that intact. It's not a flaw. It may have been part of the original mold or something done to hold it in place during the pull to better define the curve transition and the undercut at the back. Pulling hot HDPE is a lot like pulling melted candle wax.

It's a hobby with lots of opportunity to learn, especially through trial and error, but that's OK!

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 Post subject: Re: Dan Laws White HDPE Reassembled and Repainted
PostPosted: Fri Oct 27, 2017 4:24 pm 
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Joined: Wed Nov 18, 2009 5:56 pm
Posts: 1271
Location: Germany
Really interesting to read. :salut
Your improvements are great.
Gives the helmet a complete different style, which looks way better than the common Laws helmet's i have seen till yet.
:thumbsup


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