How to get a smooth painted surface for a Vader helmet?

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themaggot8

Active Member
Hello folks, I got a cast from a MR Ep3 Darth Vader helmet for my Vader project at a 10th of the price of the MR one (lucky me), but obviously it needs to be painted. Now the thing is, which technique or paint I should use to get a smooth finish?, because in my first attempt of painting a kit, I pretty much ****ed up the kit, and I don't want to do that now, since I spent all my money on the suit and the helmet, and I don't have money to buy even a crappy hasbro mask.

Best regards.
 

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Sym-Cha

Master Member
It's a trade so hand it over to a more experienced paint- and bodyshop ... like in the automotive industry ... I caused some cracks in the second black primer layer due to a drop in temperature overnight in the attic on my DV Armor ... had to redo it all ... wetsanding ... spraypainting ... :wacko

Chaim
 

kruleworld

Well-Known Member
you would need a hard shell resin and then polish it out to a shine, then use gel-coat as the first layer when making the mold-master. I think you'll find the materials cost more than buying a mask.
 

themaggot8

Active Member
you would need a hard shell resin and then polish it out to a shine, then use gel-coat as the first layer when making the mold-master. I think you'll find the materials cost more than buying a mask.

Well, I didn't expect it to be so hard :p.

I'll try Sym-Cha advice and take it to a car shop and see how it works.
 

Sym-Cha

Master Member
Are you going for the ROTS version or another OT? If I'm not mistaken ... the ROTS was the only version that was symmetric and did not have the two-tone color scheme ... it was just all black. So please do your research before painting, okay?

Chaim
 

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themaggot8

Active Member
Are you going for the ROTS version or another OT? If I'm not mistaken ... the ROTS was the only version that was symmetric and did not have the two-tone color scheme ... it was just all black. So please do your research before painting, okay?

Chaim

Yup, I'm going for the ROTS, since the cast is made from the MR ROTS helmet, so I'll paint it completely in black.
 

James Kenobi 1138

Master Member
RPF PREMIUM MEMBER
There is no reason you can't get a great finish painting it yourself. With paint it's all about the prep work.

Get some high grit wet/dry sandpaper from the autoparts store, like 1500 grit or higher. You're going to want to sand the helmet down in a tub of water or sink to as smooth as you can without changing the geometry or rounding or softening details. The smoother the surface the smoother the paint.

When you think the helmet is smooth as glass clean it really well with soap and water to remove dirt, dust and grease. Then wipe it down with a paint prep cleaner or something like rubbing acohol and let it air dry. Wear gloves, the less you touch it the better.

Get the same brand primer and paint to make sure they are compatable and they don't react with eachother.

Get a black lacquer paint, not an acrylic or an enamel. Watch painting videos of youtube (DIY car painting videos) and practice on something. Spray the helmet with primer, it's pretty forgiving and dries quick. When it's dry you can re-sand areas that need attention from overspray or are not smooth enough.

When the primer is dry and ready, start spraying the black lacquer. Lacquer is awesome for 2 great reasons: it dries very hard, and you can polish it to a mirror shine just like the movie helmets.

When the lacquer is dry you can wet sand areas gently if needed and re-spray areas and wet sand to blend everything together. Then get some polish made for hand rubbing lacquer paint and go to town rubbing the helmet until it's a black mirror.

youtube some painting videos, it's easier then you think.
 

hamsalad

Active Member
You gotta be careful with temperature and dust: Don't paint it at below room temperature, and ideally in a dust free environment. In other words, if you can paint it in an enclosure that you can then cover, that will keep most of the dust from falling on your wet paint.

I recommend plasti kote primer if you can get it: it won't react to much of anything, and predictability is important with paint.
 

alienbuilder

Well-Known Member
pretty good advices here especially from james kenobi! just another advice: If you want to use a spray filler to eliminate little scratches or to guarantee a perfect round surface on the top part, you should take the plasti kothe primer first, than filler and than a thin layer of black. and than sand it down like kenobi said. because of the black color you ll see every scratch or dent in it so you ll have to sand down till every black is gone. use a soft rubber log for this one, not just your hands. after that, you can paint everything with the real color. Its really important to have some better colors and everything by the same company. I had to sandblast all the color down on my free helmet some days before because of that mistake.
 

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