Aussie newbie basic prop making questions

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Nerfenstein

Active Member
Hi guys,

I've been a member here for some time, but I'm finally starting to make some things from scratch. I've used the search function to death trying to find specific answers to no avail, so please forgive me if these questions are tucked away in other threads. I've got what I imagine are brain-numbingly stupid questions for most of the users here whose talents are awesome, please bear with me!

Right I'm in Australia and it seems many of the things used are US based, making it hard for a total newbie like me to trace things that might be of use, any Aussie prop makers kind enough to help me I'd sure appreciate it.. here goes...

Sintra .. mentioned EVERYWHERE, I assume is the white plastic seen on many props, what is it called in Australia and where do you get it? I've asked in hobby stores and hardware stores, only to be met with blank looks and guffaws. I did find one hobby store that had white plastic sheets but they were $20 for one A4 sheet... does that sound right? It was for model train diorama building apparently and wasn't called Sintra.

The weird deep / dark red stuff people seem to spread over base props and sand for a nice smooth finish.. someone told me it's called Ren? No idea... help? Essentially I am working with mdf atm and want something I can put over it and sand until it is PERFECTLY smooth for painting and something less noxious / messy than Bog (US - Bondo) would be ideal.

Any other Aussie based hints and tips for a beginner would be great.
Thank you so much for your time.

Angela
Beginner but trying!
 

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KwameDude

New Member
Sintra isnt really sold in most stores. And what you saw at your hobby store I am pretty sure thats Styrene, which works great on props, and can be fairly cheap online. I Think the red stuff you are refereeing to is either Primer or bondo spot putty.

Hope that helps.
 

jonnald

New Member
Just have a look at super cheap auto or auto-barn. Any automotive shop that sells bog will definitely have similiar spot putty products.

I'm too curious however, where we can get sintra. I've done some research and it seems like you can only buy it in rediculous bulk orders from sign companies.
I'd love to know a place that sells it online and ships internationally, and DOESNT require me to buy a few hundred square metres of the stuff.
 

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NormanF

Master Member
RPF PREMIUM MEMBER
If it helps, Bondo is a brand name, although it is kind of a generic term which big companies hate. Technically it is body filler.
3M Body Filler L/Weight, 500g

I see a lot of recommendations to go to home improvement stores and buy "For Sale" signs since they are usually made out of sintra, but I would not be able to tell if it was sintra or not since I have never handled the stuff. And that is in the U.S., no telling what they are made of where you are.

I did a quick search and "sintra" is a brand name for pvc sheets. Another brand is "Komacel". Again, no idea if they sell it down under.
 

CynderBloc

Active Member
I'm from the UK, and had some similar problems when I started reading about other people's builds. They tend to name brands rather than what the product actually is, so here is a glossary and the brands I use

Bondo - Two-part polyester body filler. One part is white, one part is red, which is what gives it the pinkish look. It's mainly used for car body work, so check automotive suppliers (I'm using HDV50 as the online store where I get the rest of my stuff stocks it)

Sintra/Plasticard/Perspex - Plastic sheet. Sintra is PVC if I'm not mistaken, Plasticard is styrene and Perspex is acrylic

Smooth-cast - Liquid Casting Resin/Plastic (I use Polytek Easyflo)

Rebound - Silicone rubber for making moulds (I use Polycraft products)

Hope that helps, if you're lucky like me you'll find a supplier that will stock body fillers, casting resin, silicone, fibreglass and everything else you could ever need

EDIT: Oh by the way, I would guess that the white sheet you saw in the model store was Plasticard. $20 for an A4 sheet is ridiculously expensive. I think the last pack I bought was 10 1.5mm A4 sheets for about £10. Try eBay, there are usually a lot of modelling shops that sell on it
 
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Weaselhammer

Sr Member
You can get Sintra or identical product of a different brand name at sign shops. Pretty much anyplace that makes signs and graphics should have it in stock. They may even have scraps or mis-printed signs that you could get at a discount. I agree with Kwamedude that what you saw in the hobby store was styrene, which can also be very useful in scratchbuilds. The "for sale" signs in stores are typically made from Something like styrene, but is not like sintra.
 

Skyler101

Sr Member
I did a heap of searching for Sintra in Oz, and the only source I found called it Foam-X! The price was way to of my league at the time, so I just got some samples and left it at that. They wanted something like $60 for a 2 meter sheet.

That was back in 2006... May have changed now, but I have never seen it in printing stores, and i always ask. Would defeat the purpose if using sintra if its not easily available.

Hope that helps...

-Skyler101
 
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Rinzler

Well-Known Member
Hard to find anything in Oz, I'm an hour south in Northern NSW and struggling to find materials, I am tonight drawing up a rough plan for a vac-former bed but the only thing stopping building is finding somewhere to find thermo-formable cheap plastic sheets everything is so over priced, if you find somewhere on GC that's selling cheap PETG or Perspex please post it. :) Oh and my step-dad is a hot rod restorer and swears by spray putty to fill those pesky holes in bondo/bog builds and then wet-sand it mirror smooth.
 

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Womble

Member
(Nerfenstein is downplaying her abilities a little; she's not a total newbie. She's been producing some very neat nerf paint jobs for quite some time! Her work is well worth checking out!)


BONDO

Anyway... Nerfenstein, as already mentioned, you should head to SuperCheapAuto. They sell a product that is pretty much identical to Bondo. It's SCA Light Body Filler, and it comes in a tub (with a tube of hardener) for about $10. That tub will go a looong way.

You will also find that blade/spot putty is very handy. It's basically a one-part Bondo in a tube. (It air dries, and very quickly.) SCA sell 3M's blade putty, and I highly recommend using it. It's much quicker and easier to use than Bondo, for quick edge filling and small details.

You can also buy Builder's Bog from Bunnings.

(With body filler and spot putty, you should be able to get your piece to a finish where it will sand perfectly smooth. Start with 80 grit or whatever, then work your way up to wet sanding, at which point the Bondo will be super-smooth. Keep in mind that our Australian grits are an ISO standard, unlike the American sandpaper grits. At 80grit or so they're identical, but the higher you go, the more the difference. A 1000 grit ISO paper is MUCH more refined than that used in the US.)


PAINTS

Another good value at SCA is the Export range of (enamel) spray paints. They have them for the cheapest price I've seen anywhere in Australia. Recently, I think they had them on sale for $2.50 a can, which is a total bargain. But more normally, you should be able to pick them for $3 a can.

(The grey Export primer in particular is very good for the price. It's no Tamiya, but then it's a fraction of the price. You can also buy Export from Cheap-As-Chips, Browse-n-Save or any of those other crap-dollar stores.)

Unfortunately, it's VERY hard to find Krylon Fusion paints for plastic here in Australia. At least not cheaply. Bunnings are selling the White Knight brand, which include a grey primer for about $4. Not bad, but doesn't seem to go far.


PLASTICS

It's really hard to find cheap Styrene sheeting in Oz. The cheapest place I've seen for Evergreen Styrene sheets is HobbyMania.

However, if you just want some ultra-cheap thin styrene/plastic to build stuff up or mod some guns, just head to your supermarket and buy packs of disposable plastic picnic plates. There's a certain type stocked by Coles, Woollies, etc. that bonds really well (particularly with stuff like Tamiya Thin liquid Cement.) I've been remodelling water pistols in to ray guns with the help of these plastic plates, for a tiny fraction of the cost of Evergreen styrene sheets.


FOAM

You can get sheets of impact foam (think Mass Effect armour) very cheaply from Kmart, Bunnings, etc. This is the stuff that people put on floors. It carves up very nicely, and can be moulded. Good for "rubber" or soft parts of weapons and armour.

You can also buy expanding foam from Bunnings, though it's a bit pricey.


BTW, you can find some useful hobby/craft items at Spotlight. Stuff like Rub 'n Buff, and even some Krylon Gloss, as well as some decent metallic acrylic paints. However, Spotlight's prices are crazy-stupid.



Hope this helps.
 
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Rinzler

Well-Known Member
Oh for good EVA foam pricey but good Clarks Rubber is a good place to check I got heaps of good stuff from there, my local store closed but I think there is one at Southport which should be close to you Nerf :)

Why everything in Australia is so expensive baffles me when I see what overseas people are paying :(
 

Womble

Member
I think it's just the size of the market, and the distances involved.

21 million people vs 300 million, means the US has a huge economy of scale advantage.

Also, it's more expensive to ship certain items here in Oz. Stuff like spray paints and certain solvents and glues have to be transported specially, at higher cost, for safety reasons.

Oh well, the upside is that it forces us to be cleverer with our money, and to scrounge and recycle. I quite like the challenge of adapting existing materials to the hobby, for cheap.
 

Vitriol

Member
Hopefully this helps. As a US import living in Australia Bondo is known as 3m body filler as someone mentioned and is widely available at Super Cheap Auto.
I also used Selley's "Kneadit" for small work.

Polyester resin can be found at bunnings hardware.

As for plastic try "cut to size plastic" I found them on google. There's at least in QLD.

Alternatively if you need anything major for screen accurate works there is a place near me in a Sydney suburb or Newtown called "Barnes" or Barnes of Newtown. They should be able to help you. Their website can be found here Barnes Products Pty Ltd

Hope this helps.
 

Rinzler

Well-Known Member
Yeah I know about shipping costs, Performix (aka Plastidip) is soooo cost prohibitive to ship from Melbourne to me :(
 

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Nerfenstein

Active Member
Wow, just wanted to say thanks so much for all the help guys, really appreciate it. I got a few things today and they seem to be working quite well on my Halo Magnum build, so I guess I'll see how that goes :)

Womble ... your reply made me LOL, I have been making props from scratch for about 2 weeks, I've made 3 things so far haha BEGINNER ;p This stuff is a lot harder than just painting something, I mean you need to make it first! Thanks for all your tips matey, appreciate it, I got the blade putty and a few other things. I'll maybe pop back with an update once I finish this new Magnum :)

Thanks everyone!!
xxxx
 

avianoguitarist

Active Member
Subtract is just a brand name for expandable PVC. Any PVC plastic will NOT work--it has to be expandable. This means that it is pliable after slightly heating.
Styrene is too thin. It will work for some things, but it depends on what you intend to use it for.

If you could be more specific on what you're trying to build, the rest of us can recommend suitable materials.
 

jedimaster

Sr Member
Ok , here in Perth I can get large sheets of styrene /ABS for about $70. 3 sheets woulddo a complete stormtrooper armor and bucket and still have change. When you start to get onto larger projects the stuff gets cheaper. If you need silicon for molds then Ultrasil by Barnes is the go. For smaller or one off jobs use pinksil also by barnes. Their resins are pretty good also. As mentioned before super cheap auto for your bog/ putty needs and urathane expanding foam can also be sourced from Barnes . Anything else send me a pm and I'll try help you out.

Simon.
 

Laser Brain

Sr Member
Wow. The prices that Barnes charges for Silicone!?! 22kg of Silicone for $990.00?!?! WTF?!?! That is almost 3x UK prices!!..and our stuff is imported too. Wow.

Does anyone have an idea who supplies your film industry?
 

Rinzler

Well-Known Member
If anyone can recommend a place on Gold Coast that sells Plastidip (Performix) please let me know so I can buy some on one of my visits north (can be up to $30 extra on shipping as it's classed hazardous material :S).
Also Nefr if you do find any cheap materials suppliers please let me know I am always looking for suppliers, if my vac former turns out well I may even be able to do pulls for you :)
 

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