Gray Fox MGS1 Build

Mach1matt

Member
Check out Evil Ted and Punished Props channels on youtube for working with foam; really helpful
I started checking out Punished Props during my lunch break. I started the Boba Fett/Mandalorian helmet video. I already see some really helpful tips. Using the vertical bandsaw to make beveled cuts = genius. I’ve got a saw like that already and didn’t even think to use it.
 

Mach1matt

Member
Morning everyone. I didn’t get a chance to add anymore coats last night, but I did have a few minutes to roughly fit it all together. I am so pleased with how it’s turning out so far! Im glad I doubled back and fixed the panel gaps. Thanks to all who stayed on my butt about it! There’s a few spots that need some attention, but one more coat of base should do it. I plan on doing that tonight and getting my decal supplies tomorrow or Saturday. Paint should be cured enough by then I hope, so Sunday I’ll hopefully apply decals and clear coat.
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Mach1matt

Member
Hey guys. Dropping a Sunday night update. Since my last post, i continued painting. However, coat number 2 had an awful showing. That nice, smooth, level first coat was followed up with this wrinkly mess:
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I used the exact same paint as the first coat, only sanding a couple small runs out and knocking down some fuzzies. This happened within a couple minutes of applying the coat. The first coat was dry by a couple days. I had never seen this mess before using spray paint. I had also painted all of the red Allen head screws for the sensors. I had to install them in the sockets before I repainted the whole helmet. I am STOKED at how well they turned out and how they look installed.
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After checking that out, I sanded everything down heavily and tried one of the smaller pieces again, this time with a different gloss white paint. Same thing. I even wiped the piece down with mineral spirits to ensure there was no oil, sweat, anything on it. Turns out, it was too heavy of a coat. The lighting in my work space isn’t that great, so I didn’t realize that was the issue at first. The next piece I did with a very light coat and had MUCH better results. So I continued to coat everything with many more small coats.
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I am very pleased with the results. I’m gonna let this “cook” overnight and try to wet sand a few spots that need leveling tomorrow. Then I’ll apply a few coats of clear either tomorrow or Tuesday. I found some water-slide decal paper locally so I may work on that tomorrow as well. I’m just glad I was able to figure out why that paint wrinkled. I’ll keep y’all posted on more updates. Thanks guys!
 

joberg

Master Member
Yes, that paint and the red details look good. I know that you're near the finish line; so, take your time painting it. Sometimes, to heavy a coat (or too soon) might give you some problems. Be patient; it'll look great at the end(y)(y)
 

Mach1matt

Member
Yes, that paint and the red details look good. I know that you're near the finish line; so, take your time painting it. Sometimes, to heavy a coat (or too soon) might give you some problems. Be patient; it'll look great at the end(y)(y)
Thanks! Yeah, lighter coats about 15 mins apart solved the issue. Trying to spray white with not a lot of light is kinda tough. I’ve got to upgrade the lighting in my shed. I can see the light at the end of the tunnel though. I still need to do some flat black for some of the inner pieces. Mainly where the servos go. I’m trying to think of a good way to attach the red lens to the frosted lexan housing without it fogging up or appearing like there’s a glob of something under it. Would some clear epoxy work?
 

Mach1matt

Member
Good evening everyone. I promised updates, however, this one isn’t great. There is a silver lining to it though. Monday night, when I came out to check on the paint job from Sunday, I went into the shed and discovered that somehow, a stack of random items I had moved earlier Sunday, had fallen onto the main shell of the helmet.

I had reorganized my shed earlier Sunday and I thought the stack was good as I had been moving around for hours earlier while painting and nothing wobbled, or fell, or showed any indication of toppling over. I don’t know what caused it to fall over but it did. It was an oversight on my part to not move the main piece of this now 6-month long project out of potential harms way.

I didn’t take pics of the damage I found, as I was absolutely in shock. I literally lost my breath when I saw how many cracks were in it. Turns out, the cracks only went bondo deep. The helmet was in no way distorted. Once I took my dremel with a grinding bit and grooved out the cracks, they stopped at the fiberglass. However there were some large chunks of bondo that had to come out. These pics are the start of the repair phase:
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Turns out this thing was completely salvageable. I sanded a good deal back so I could start applying bondo again. Two coats of bondo later it was back to shape.
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Then came the spot putty…again.
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I actually managed to get paint on this thing this evening, two days after I thought I’d be starting over again from scratch.
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Words can’t express how devastated I was Monday. It made me nauseous. So much work undone in seconds. The fact this thing survived dumbfounds me. I guess it can actually take a real life hit, so perhaps it’s truly a “helmet”. I contemplated even mentioning this huge mishap, but you guys have followed me from the start, so I figured why not? If anything, it can be a lesson to anyone building something like this to never admit defeat until you verify that it’s a lost cause. I lost sleep Monday night because of it. Turns out it really wasn’t that bad. I mean, my awesome paint job was ruined, and I lost a day and a half fixing it. I can say it’s out of harms way curing tonight.

Tomorrow I plan on applying 1 or 2 coats of clear, then making my decals. I’ll be applying those hopefully Sunday and doing final clear coats. I still need to apply the black accents and put the film on the eye lenses. After I clear it I’ll start reassembly and electronics, followed by the final step of lining the inside with EVA foam. I want the inside to look as finished as the outside. I’ll keep everyone updated. Have a great night!
 

mrwax

Sr Member
RPF PREMIUM MEMBER
I watched a tutorial on finishing guitar bodies, and the main presenter made the point that a good luthier makes mistakes just like a less experienced luthier, but their real skill is how they recover from them. You did a great job with a bad situation, and now you can appreciate it even more.
 

Mach1matt

Member
I watched a tutorial on finishing guitar bodies, and the main presenter made the point that a good luthier makes mistakes just like a less experienced luthier, but their real skill is how they recover from them. You did a great job with a bad situation, and now you can appreciate it even more.
Well said. I almost threw in the towel Monday night. I just had to gather myself and try to fix it. I’m really glad that I did. I appreciate the kind words, and I definitely appreciate it much more. This build has been a roller coaster of emotions. I just want it to build it to the absolute best of my abilities.
 

joberg

Master Member
Welcome to the club of human mistakes/mishaps ;) Sometimes the "damages" are not that bad and easily repaired...as you have shown.
I cannot tell you how many times I've made stupid mistakes ruining props/models:whistle::whistle::p
As mrwax mentioned; it's how you repair and recover from these accidents...that's the most important skill you have(y)(y)
 

Mach1matt

Member
Welcome to the club of human mistakes/mishaps ;) Sometimes the "damages" are not that bad and easily repaired...as you have shown.
I cannot tell you how many times I've made stupid mistakes ruining props/models:whistle::whistle::p
As mrwax mentioned; it's how you repair and recover from these accidents...that's the most important skill you have(y)(y)
Thanks! I got lucky this time. I’m positive I’m gonna make many more errors with this project. Just gonna do my best to limit them lol
 

Mach1matt

Member
Hey guys. Little Monday morning update. The weather Thursday-Saturday didn’t allow me to do much as far as painting goes. It was cold and rainy. Thursday, I did some level sanding on the paint from Wednesday. I also applied the film on the eye lenses.
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Being the weather was crappy and couldn’t paint, I decided to try working on the suit a bit. I am so glad I was recommended to watch Punished Props’ YouTube channel. I would have never thought to use my vertical bandsaw to cut foam. It makes 90° cuts so much easier. It’ll help me with bevel cuts too, as I can tilt the platform on it. Anyway, I started cutting out the pecs/abs sections, as I’d already made templates months ago.
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I started to go around the edges with the dremel with a fine stone bit. I may need to get less aggressive sanding drums, or just adjust my technique. I started playing around with the heat gun and shaping the pecs.
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I then took a small piece and started sanding it to the shape it’s supposed to be.
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I ran out of time after I did this. I’m super eager to continue work on the suit.
I took Friday and Saturday off from the build, as my wife is off those days and I spent time with her. Sunday, the weather was wonderful. Humidity was way down for South Georgia, so I got to painting around noon.
I didn’t take pics during the process, but all of it is painted and has a few coats of clear.
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I’ll let it cure for a few days before I mess with it. I still need to make my decals. I’ll probably do that tonight so the clear coat I spray on them will have time to dry for a few days. But that’s all the progress I have for now. Hope everyone is doing well. Have a great one!
 
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Mach1matt

Member
Great update and the painting is A+(y) I think that you've achieved a very good prop! Eager to see what you'll cook for us in terms of costume;)
Thanks! It’s not perfect by any means. I honestly wish I’d spent the money and used automotive paint. As far as the suit goes, I’m gonna give it my best shot. I’ve never worked with EVA foam, so this is all new to me. I’m having fun with it though, especially now that I’m getting straight and consistent cuts lol. It almost feels like cheating.
 

joberg

Master Member
Practice makes perfect (y) I bet you that your second helmet would be better than the first;) That's how it works.
Picasso had a great answer to this question (from a reporter): "What's your best work?" Picasso's response: "The next one!"
 

Mach1matt

Member
Practice makes perfect (y) I bet you that your second helmet would be better than the first;) That's how it works.
Picasso had a great answer to this question (from a reporter): "What's your best work?" Picasso's response: "The next one!"
Very true! If I was to remake this one, I’ve already got a punch list of things I’d do different. I would have built up the spots where all the brackets and servos mount with more fiberglass. I’m not sure what I’ll build next. I’d really like to do an Iron Man build. If anything for an awesome display piece.
 

Mach1matt

Member
Hey guys. Update time. I let everything dry for a few days, and did a “dry fit” without all the servos and such mounted. I hooked up the led to a watch battery just for kicks.
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I’m pretty pleased overall with the finish. I guess at some point, some spot putty worked it’s way down in the screw holes for the eye lenses, and started pushing out when I was installing the screws. I should be able to fix it easily.
I then went on to install all of the servos and screwed a few “sensors” I had to try it on.
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I’ll say this, once I manage to shoehorn my big head in this thing, it’s kinda alright. However, it is awful to put on, and kinda painful, especially on my ears and forehead. I have to shimmy between the servos on the sides. All the flexing has kinda stress cracked some of the spots I had to fix when it got damaged.

When I initially scaled this thing, I didn’t have the servos on hand, but knew they were roughly 1/2” wide. What I didn’t know, was how and where exactly I’d mount them. Also, the rear neck flaps don’t like to stay shut very well and there’s NO way I can make a lip that the top can rest on with more magnets. I won’t be able to fit into it. Another issue, I have to position the helmet just right for the faceplates to close all the way. The front swing arms hit my cheeks. I can scoot the helmet back some but it doesn’t look right when opened. I’m gonna try one more thing with them before I re-evaluate. Also, I didn’t lay fiberglass nearly thick enough where the brackets for them screw in. They keep stripping out.

In hindsight, the helmet needs to be about 1/2-3/4” wider. So, I’ve already dove into Blender and started modifying my 3D file for Mark 3 in the event this one ends up a shiny paperweight. I’ve revised a few things that will improve it. A revised neck opening, not so sharp corners on the top surfaces, and I changed the angle for the neck covers at the front to follow the downward angle of the rear of the faceplates instead of being nearly 90°. I will continue to work on this one and finish it. If anything, I’ll apply all the same mechanisms that make this one operate into the new one, so this one was like a prototype. I’ve proven the concept so I can’t beat myself up too much. I’m gonna start pep work on the new one tonight. Thanks for the continued support guys. I appreciate it!
 

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