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 Post subject: Painting Vader...
PostPosted: Sun Mar 11, 2012 9:33 pm 
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Joined: Tue Jan 18, 2011 9:09 pm
Posts: 122
Hi there

I'm looking for some advice on getting a good finish on a vader faceplate. I've spraypainted a rubies with rattle cans and done a couple of sets of armour but I'm really finding it difficult to get good results - I'm not looking to get it perfect as it seems like a slightly wonky paint job is one of the best ways to get a film prop effect. However there is a fine line between the 'rushed job for a movie' look and the 'I've just cocked up this paint job' look. So any advice is welcome!

I know the theory - warm weather, building up light coats etc. I can sand down the coats and polish up to a nice shine, but where I seem to fall down every time is in getting nice sharp lines between the black and the gun metal. I've tried cheap and expensive masking tape. Light and heavy coats, and every time paint seems to bleed under the tape and make a mess, and the tape pulls up some of the first colour when I take it off!

I am also not sure how long to leave before removing the tape. I have seen people say that if you leave it too long the paint can crack but I dobn't know how 'long' long means. I have tried removing the tape after 20 mins and after 24 hours with equally bad results.

So now I am just about to paint up another couple of masks and I'm trying to think my way through how I should do this. I was thinking about painting the edge of the masking tape with the colour it is masking to seal it - but then that's going to spoil the finish a bit. I'm also thinking I should try cutting the paint along the masking tape line before I remove the tape. But to be honest I don't know whether either of those things is going to help.

So to all of you who end up with those perfect lines - how on earth is it done?!

Nick


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 Post subject: Re: Painting Vader...
PostPosted: Mon Mar 12, 2012 11:44 am 
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Joined: Wed May 30, 2007 7:22 pm
Posts: 312
Hi.
A few questions
Is it ESB ROTJ or ANH?
Have you tried paint promoter/then undercoat/paint/clearcoat?
Where are you based in the world?

I will try to help if I can.

Painting the rubies is the hardest part.

I'll post some pics when I can of mine.



Cheers


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 Post subject: Re: Painting Vader...
PostPosted: Mon Mar 12, 2012 2:38 pm 
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Joined: Wed May 30, 2007 7:22 pm
Posts: 312
Image

Image

Image

Image

hope that helps


cheers


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 Post subject: Re: Painting Vader...
PostPosted: Mon Mar 12, 2012 6:42 pm 
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Joined: Wed Apr 18, 2007 6:21 am
Posts: 716
Location: Colorado Springs, Colorado
Hi Nick,

Like you say, painting certainly a trickier subject than you'd think it would be. Lately spray paint has started to behave in ways that I've never experienced before. I've been spraying with rattle cans for 30 years now and, to my mind, the move away from CFFs in the propellent has changed everything and forced me to learn some new lessons.

For achieving a crisp demarcation line the best trick I know is one I learned years ago for house painting. Once you have everything masked off, before you apply the gunmetal color, give the helmet a light coat of black. Let it dry the obligatory 20 minutes so that it is just dry to the touch then start in on your gunmetal. That way the black color seals off the masking tape so that it's harder for the gunmetal to leak underneath. Also make sure that you've burnished the painting edge of your masking tape. You only need for that leading edge of the tape to have a solid seal against overspray so I make sure that I run a fingernail over about the leading 1/8" of the tape.

Obviously I'd also try and stay within brand and type of paint with your colors (enamel with enamel and lacquer with lacquer). These days that's no guarantee that things wont blow up on you but it's a step closer to hopefully not having to strip everything down.

That's all I've got hope it helps!

Dave


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 Post subject: Re: Painting Vader...
PostPosted: Mon Mar 12, 2012 8:28 pm 
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Joined: Tue Jan 18, 2011 9:09 pm
Posts: 122
Thanks guys. I was thinking about doing exactly that but was worried about losing detail with too much paint. Is the key then just to do very light layers of paint? And when you say burnish you mean just running a nail over the tape edge before spraying? Would you cut the paint down the edge of the masking tape?


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 Post subject: Re: Painting Vader...
PostPosted: Mon Mar 12, 2012 9:53 pm 
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Joined: Wed Apr 18, 2007 6:21 am
Posts: 716
Location: Colorado Springs, Colorado
For my Vader helmets I've used off the shelf rattle cans from Automotive stores and had fine results. If you go light you can always add more. I've used mainly lacquers (which I guess are technically not truly lacquers even though that's what they say on the can) and am always amazed at how much surface detail shows through once the solvent evaporates -- even with upwards of 9 coats for example on my DP Deluxe. My main gripe with the lacquers is that they REEK for months afterward.

On my SL and TM I've only used three coats tops: give it one complete spray coating, wait 20 min, coat it again spraying perpendicular across the last spray pattern, wait 20 min then give it a "wet coat". Then I set it under a box for a week to keep the dust off and let the paint cure. When I painted my DP Deluxe I basically followed that procedure three times.

To burnish the tape just run your thumbnail along the edge a few times with gentle pressure and you'll be fine. The tape will look slightly darker where it's burnished so you know you've got good contact.

I used the knife trick on the eyelids of my DP Vader helmet and hated the results. In fact I had to sand it down slightly and repaint because of it. Not saying it wont work for you or if other people have had success with the method that's good. Unfortunately, for me it was crap and the idea of trying to cut cleanly and accurately along the rest of those compound curves gives me the willies.

To remove the tape I just waited 20 minutes or so after my final coat and started peeling in off. The only thing I do when I remove the tape is peel it back against itself at a 45 degree angle.

Dave


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 Post subject: Re: Painting Vader...
PostPosted: Tue Mar 13, 2012 9:44 am 
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Joined: Tue Jan 18, 2011 9:09 pm
Posts: 122
Thanks - this is really useful and exactly what I was looking for. So I'll do three coats of black, one week to dry, mask, another coat of black and then a couple of gunmetal. Hopefully that'll work for me!

Cheers

Nick


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 Post subject: Re: Painting Vader...
PostPosted: Tue Mar 13, 2012 11:58 am 
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Joined: Tue Jan 18, 2011 9:09 pm
Posts: 122
PS - do you use clearcoat at all? Or just buff the gunmetal. Seems to not be much consensus over whether the originals had it or not and I suspect that using a clearcoat will make it harder for me to get a good finish...

Then again I am quite keen to get that ROTJ wet look...


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 Post subject: Re: Painting Vader...
PostPosted: Tue Mar 13, 2012 4:14 pm 
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Joined: Wed Apr 18, 2007 6:21 am
Posts: 716
Location: Colorado Springs, Colorado
I've never clear-coated any of my helmets to date. Like you say there isn't a solid consensus on the subject. From what I can recall the only screen used helmet I've seen that appears to have a clear-coat is the ESB Stunt helmet--Mike "Vadermonkey" would be the one to confirm that since he's actually handled it.

I've had excellent results using a 3 step Novus plastic polish set to bring things to a high gloss. Since your black coat is going to be pretty thin that should do fine.


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 Post subject: Re: Painting Vader...
PostPosted: Tue Mar 13, 2012 11:20 pm 
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Joined: Tue Jan 18, 2011 9:09 pm
Posts: 122
Thanks again. Maybe I'll post updates of how I get on to help others with this too. Watch this space!


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