Metallic surface on plastic props

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Nicoolai

New Member
Hi guys,
I'm currently working on an ANH lightsaber.
I have very little experience with prop making but have followed a lot of you guys and others.

Now, I would like to achieve a metallic surface on my lightsaber, that looks like the real deal. Generally speaking, I'm trying to get it as close to the screen version as I possibly can.
So, a shiny metal surface like this:
Luke-ANH-018_small.jpg

I've seen some pretty decent results from people airbrushing various metal paints, but I don't have an airbrush.
Is it possible to achieve this with rattle cans? I've seen quite a few metallic paints but I have no idea how they look like in real life and they are kind of hard to get where I am.
Or will I need to actually cold-cast it instead, with metal powder in the mould?

Currently, I am planning to just 3D print->sand->prime->paint but if I need to make a mould to cold cast, I will definitely do that.

Any of you guys have some experience you can share on this topic?
 

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andrew25rs

Well-Known Member
Hi guys,
I'm currently working on an ANH lightsaber.
I have very little experience with prop making but have followed a lot of you guys and others.

Now, I would like to achieve a metallic surface on my lightsaber, that looks like the real deal. Generally speaking, I'm trying to get it as close to the screen version as I possibly can.
So, a shiny metal surface like this:
View attachment 744913

I've seen some pretty decent results from people airbrushing various metal paints, but I don't have an airbrush.
Is it possible to achieve this with rattle cans? I've seen quite a few metallic paints but I have no idea how they look like in real life and they are kind of hard to get where I am.
Or will I need to actually cold-cast it instead, with metal powder in the mould?

Currently, I am planning to just 3D print->sand->prime->paint but if I need to make a mould to cold cast, I will definitely do that.

Any of you guys have some experience you can share on this topic?
If your willing to go as far as making a mold and cold cast then you should really just consider picking up a airbrush. You can actually get one on amazon for a very reasonable price. Plus a airbrush will really come in handy down the line for other projects. In my experience Alclad paint is unmatched as far as recreating a metallic look.
If your really trying to keep a budget then maybe Silver "rub n buff" is something you could consider.
Good luck
 

Lear60man

Master Member
RPF PREMIUM MEMBER
Oh snap! I have an original lightsaber replica from......a long time ago. The bottom part was painted silver when I go it. My gut says it needs to be re plated to get an authentic finish.
 

Nicoolai

New Member
If your willing to go as far as making a mold and cold cast then you should really just consider picking up a airbrush. You can actually get one on amazon for a very reasonable price. Plus a airbrush will really come in handy down the line for other projects. In my experience Alclad paint is unmatched as far as recreating a metallic look.
If your really trying to keep a budget then maybe Silver "rub n buff" is something you could consider.
Good luck
I'm not terribly concerned with cost actually. I want it as good looking as possible, that is the most important thing.

I'm a bit worried about the skill requirements regarding airbrushing. Maybe I should just jump in. You're probably right in it being handy in the future.
 

Ember

Member
I've had a lot of luck with Tamiya's range of spray paints, I've used the regular and dark gunmetal, and they give a nice metallic luster to props. I've never tried anything lighter than those, but the paints are designed to be used on plastic models of aircraft and other vehicles to give an authentic look.

These sprays are all the lightest and most silvery. A google image search gives a good display of the effect they give plastic models.
TS-30
TS-17
AS-12
 

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matty matt

Sr Member
It will be hard to get the correct satin nickel finish for a Graflex with paint. Cold cast is a good option if possible. I've also had success with silver Rub n' Buff. Much more authentic looking than paint.
 

Flyscriber

Well-Known Member
RPF PREMIUM MEMBER
have a search for hydrochrome system, or specrachrome products. these give a true chrome metal finish which can be dulled to look just like ally or stainless if you fancy. Its tricky to apply but can be done, and its quite expensive. I have just completed repair job on a first edition 1:1 chrome terminator from sideshow using hydrochrome, and it looked perfect. Good luck.
here's a youtube link to the paint/silvering system. Its based in the UK, but Im presuming there are many versions in the US.
 
Last edited by a moderator:

dropshipbob

Sr Member
You could also look into having it plated. On a tip from this board, I called up a guy who had a plating company and asked about getting a Terminator endo skull plated. The price was reasonable....but you have to have that thing clean with absolutely NO blemishes. The smallest speck of dirt will stick out like a sore thumb once it's plated.
 

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