Painting Oz's Rocketeer Helmet Kit. Small write up, lots of pics.

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Mr Mold Maker

Master Member
Hey Folks!

Picked up one of Oz's fantastic Rocketeer helmet kits and got a little bit of painting done on it. I had intended to take step by step photos as usual... And then I didn't.. Also as usual. I will do my best to explain what I did, materials, techniques, etc.


For starters, the kit arrived damn near flawless. You really can't get a better quality pull. I gave it a quick once over, knocking down any bumps or warts with 100 grit sandpaper, and then wet sanded with 220, and then 340 (or something like that.) It looks super heavily sanded but I promise it isn't.. It's just the Onyx (or whatever black resin used) really shows the scratches more than a white cast would. I wasn't going for a super smooth surface, just something even.

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My next step was cleaning the helmet with soap and water, then a degreaser, and then soap and water once more. I drilled a few pilot holes into the helmet and corresponding holes on the fin. I superglued the fin in place, and then screwed the fin in using some small screws and a screw driver. I was worried a drill would perhaps crack the resin.




Next step we will cover painting. :)
 

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Mr Mold Maker

Master Member
Now onto the painting!

I started as I normally do with a quick mist of Bulldog Adhesion Promoter. Likely not required at all on this piece but I have it, and I use it on just about everything.. I then applied some primer. Krylon's Covermaster Ultraflat Grey Primer out of an aerosol can. I would typically spray a primer on with an HVLP gun.. But I didn't feel like setting up the booth in this particular case, nor cleaning the gun.
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(Cellphone shot after first coat of primer)

I gave the first light coat a good hour or two to dry, and then applied a second, slightly heavier coat. This was given about 2 hours to dry in my blazing hot Florida garage shop, and then it was wet sanded once more at 340. (or whatever the usual 300 grit wet sanding paper is.) Again, not going for a mirror smooth surface, just making sure there aren't any blemishes.

I then base coated it using (Tamiya's?) Flat Black paint out of my airbrush. I followed that up with a high gloss clear coat.

The metal look was acheived using a product called Polished Brass from Alclad. It's a pretty good metal paint. It doesn't turn out very "polished" (polishing it doesn't help, unsurprisingly) but it is a good base for what I wanted. This was lightly misted on in circular motions using my airbrush. Think wax on, wax off but for paint. A good thing to keep in mind is being light handed. If you go too heavy with it, it really loses it's metal effect.

I took the same Alclad Polished brass, but this time I added some brown pigment to slightly change the tone. I used this darker brass color to do some very preliminary weathering. This was done by lightly airbrushing the darker tones where I wanted, and very quickly removing them with a damp rag. You have to be quick, this stuff dries FAST! I then mixed up another batch of Alclad but this time with an almost black tone. This was again applied randomly and removed with a damp rag. The time to get to this step paint wise, excluding drying times was about two hours give or take.
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(Pictured after Alclad Polished Brass base coat, and preliminary weathering.)
 

Mr Mold Maker

Master Member
This is where the piece really comes to life in my opinion.. And a step I see skipped too often. Detailing.
This piece took me at least 8-10 hours of paint work alone and I really hope that time and effort shows!


This step was basically just sitting down with the helmet on a turn table, and a few cheap paint brushes. Spin the helmet around and see what it needs. Give it some interest. Weathering.. Especially on brass.. Is a long process with many tones and layers involved. I used a rusty brown, a dark ochre, a blue, a green, a black, a yellow, a gold.. Just applying thin washes of tones and making natural patterns. I'd always recommend reference when doing any type of weathering. I personally referenced a lot of brass statutes and pieces, as well as one or two screen used rocketeer helmets.


Well. Without further ado here is the (semi) finished helmet!

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LTsmash1200

Sr Member
RPF PREMIUM MEMBER
Looks great! I just got one of Oz's helmets a couple of months ago (I let him finish mine because I didn't trust myself to, haha), and it's one of my favorite pieces. It just makes me smile every time I look at it. Such a beautiful design. Some day I'll have to get a pack to go with it somehow.
 

Mr Mold Maker

Master Member
If anyone happens to be interested in purchasing this helmet, I'll have it up in the JY on Monday. :)

Loved this kit so much I want to get it and paint it a second time. :lol
 

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Mr Mold Maker

Master Member
Thanks everyone for the positive reception! This one is sold but I'd be happy to finish any Rocketeer kits needing paint. I can do this style, and of course I can do the less detailed style we typically see. Brass, or copper. How it looks in the film, or how they looked at recent auctions. I'd be happy to tackle all styles.

Feel free to PM me for details. Thanks again folks, and last time I'll bump this thread so enjoy while its here. :)
 

Mr Mold Maker

Master Member
Thanks for the tips. I have the kit as well and am planning to start painting this weekend.

Wow, this is quite an old thread! I’m glad it was helpful to you.

I think I would do a whole lot different knowing what I know today. I would be switching to a 2K clear for the gloss base, Alumaluster and a candy for the brass possibly instead of the brass metalizer, and oil paints for the weathering. Something that happened with this piece overtime was the brass darkened quite a bit, I assume from oxidizing. This wouldn’t happen with a candy system.
 

Billy Pilgrim

Member
RPF PREMIUM MEMBER
Terrific paint job! I worked on the hero prop helmets and rocket packs for the production and I'd say your paint work is spot on.
I painted the screen-used helmets and it was actually pretty simple. My basic technique after spraying the helmets with grey automotive lacquer primer was to add a base coat of both Krylon Gold and Brass. I then applied Olive Gold and Olive Bronze Rub'n Buff with my fingertip over the painted surface, and used a Q-Tip to reach the recessed areas like the weld-beads. I also used a rag dampened with mineral spirits to blot the surface occasionally to achieve some variation. It took many layers to get the look and luster I was after.
Best of all, the process was easily repairable if some damage occurred during filming. As you mentioned, over time the finish on the helmets did darken. I still have the fin piece that I did the original paint test on and it's changed over the years.
Your helmet looks like the real deal. Great Job!
 

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Mr Mold Maker

Master Member
Terrific paint job! I worked on the hero prop helmets and rocket packs for the production and I'd say your paint work is spot on.
I painted the screen-used helmets and it was actually pretty simple. My basic technique after spraying the helmets with grey automotive lacquer primer was to add a base coat of both Krylon Gold and Brass. I then applied Olive Gold and Olive Bronze Rub'n Buff with my fingertip over the painted surface, and used a Q-Tip to reach the recessed areas like the weld-beads. I also used a rag dampened with mineral spirits to blot the surface occasionally to achieve some variation. It took many layers to get the look and luster I was after.
Best of all, the process was easily repairable if some damage occurred during filming. As you mentioned, over time the finish on the helmets did darken. I still have the fin piece that I did the original paint test on and it's changed over the years.
Your helmet looks like the real deal. Great Job!

That is super cool! Thank you so much for the kind words and invaluable info!!
 

drcraig13

Sr Member
Yea I know I bought the kit a while ago and then had a kid :). So my workshop is kinda back logged. But I appreciate the insight on how you would do it now vs then and of course hearing from someone who actually painted the movie props is also cool as I am still a novice to all of this. Keep up the great work.
 

drcraig13

Sr Member
Sorry to bother you guys. But I messed up the lens that came with my kit. Is there anyway to remove super glue from them or do I just need to figure out how to make new ones?
 

Mr Mold Maker

Master Member
Sorry to bother you guys. But I messed up the lens that came with my kit. Is there anyway to remove super glue from them or do I just need to figure out how to make new ones?

It’s hard to say without knowing the plastic used. Acetone can likely remove the glue but if they’re acrylic lenses for example? The problem you’ll run into is they’ll haze. At that point, they’re pretty much gone.

I would recommend getting in touch with Oz, (or whoever made your kit,) and seeing if you can buy a set of replacement lenses. Use E6000, hot glue, or double sided mounting tape to install them. Avoid the super glue.

Best of luck.
 

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