POS Iron Man figure makeover

sbaxter

Well-Known Member
I picked up a cheap ($10) Iron Man figure at Big Lots with the idea that I could make it better -- and the certainty that I cannot afford anything from Hot Toys.

I already posted a month or so back asking about the color of MCU Iron Man's metallic base coat, which madhatter was kind enough to answer: See MCU Iron Man color question here.

Upon closer examination, I determined this figure is more "inspired by" the MCU Iron Man armor than actually attempting to duplicate any of the on-screen designs. I presume it is based on the suit used at the end of the first Iron Man movie and in the first part of Iron Man 2, but with numerous differences. On top of that, I suspect this figure originally came with or had access to some accessories that were not included with this figure (which came from Hasbro's Canadian unit, according to its markings). There are large, deep holes on the outside forearms and in the middle of the upper back, with more shallow holes on the plates covering the back of his hands. The arms are articulated at the shoulder, and his head turns -- and that's it. The arms and head are made of a softer, rubbery material, so for the most part I didn't try to tackle the seams on those parts. On the torso and legs, some of the panel lines kind of "faded away" near the seams and then resumed on the other side. I used various files to connect those panel lines, and was able to mostly eliminate the seams just by sanding them. There were extended armor plates running from the elbows up toward the shoulders, but I wasn't confident I could successfully paint the tight gap between the back of those and the arms -- plus, they looked goofy as heck to my eyes -- so I used a razor saw to cut them to less than half their original length. The aforementioned accessory openings were filled with Aves Apoxie Sculpt.

I applied some adhesion promoter to the entire figure -- I knew that it was a must for the arms and head -- and then sprayed on Mr. Surfacer 1000 from a spray can. I followed with my chosen metallic base coat, Rust-Oleum "Champagne." I was pleased with the pale gold color and the smooth, even look -- more like a bare metal finish than a glittery metallic look. I topped that with Duplicolor "Metalcast" in red for the "candy apple" look (see Duplicolor MC200 Metalcast Red). Very much liked the results.

Then I screwed up painting some of the gold details. Tried to reapply the champagne color in those areas and either it was too cold or too damp, and I got a bubbly paint job. Sanded that down and used a close match combo of Testors gold and silver to try to fix the resulting mess, but the surface still had too many rough areas.

At this point, I became ornery.

I dropped Mr. Stark in a container of Purple Power so I could start over. I left it there a week, but it removed the paint very unevenly. A couple of days ago, I slathered it with Citrus Strip, which did a much better job in just a few minutes, but still took a couple of applications.

At this point, it looked as you see here: Iron Man stripped DSC_3063.jpg
This is just after a fresh coat of Adhesion Promoter. Interesting that the Citrus Strip removed all of the gold paint from the legs but didn't even touch the gold on the arms and head.

After a new coat of Mr. Surfacer, I applied the "Champagne" gold again. Base Coat Front DSC_3067.jpg Base Coat Back DSC_3072.jpg
I like the pale gold color for this!

Looking at these images, you can see that the Apoxie Sculpt filling job on the back could have been better. I'm out of practice and have never done a figure like this. Also, especially on the right arm, the filling job looks especially not-so-good; I think that is due to the material used for the arms and would probably happen eventually no matter what I do.
Base Coat Right DSC_3076.jpg

This is a job I'm doing for practice as well as to show my wife I can finish painting something, so I'm not going to drive myself insane trying to fix impossible problems. I might give this figure to one of my boys after it is done (especially after I do the next one) and eventually get one of the Moebius Iron Man kits for a more painstaking effort for myself.

At this point, I ran out of weekend. Late this week, I'll take a swing at reapplying the candy red. Tentatively planning on using Tamiya's Titanium Gold for the gold accents, and then a coat of semi-gloss clear. If the clear coat messes up the Titanium Gold paint (I have a test mule to determine that), I'll reverse the order there. Also planning some details in a flat aluminum and a little gunmetal, and white for the arc reactors and eyes.

It's been so long since I was able to actually work on much of anything -- about 15 years, really -- that I couldn't help but document and share even this low-ambition project. Hope you don't mind seeing it in the feed!

SSB
 
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sbaxter

Well-Known Member
As I await time at home during daylight on a pleasant day, I was considering how I'll handle the panel lines on this figure. I was thinking about using some Tamiya Gunmetal in said lines before I apply the clear red, so the lines will be darker but still red once the candy-apple coating is in place. Does that seem reasonable?

Also, other than the larger areas on the head and the thighs, most of the gold details are pretty small. If I use a Tamiya gold for those and elect to brush them on by hand, will a cotton swab and water remove any screwups I might (will) make, or would I need to use alcohol?

After this figure is done, I have a couple others I want to try. One is a "Thwip! Blast Spider-Man," seen here, which is about 13 inches tall. It comes painted in the "integrated suit" seen in No Way Home, but I think it may have been sculpted with the Iron Spider armor in mind. It includes the "instant kill mode" spider legs, and I don't think Parker ever used the legs in the integrated suit. I'm torn as to which paint job I want to use. I like them both, but I'm leaning toward the Iron Spider because I think the metallic looks so cool. It will allow for a somewhat more dramatic pose than the Iron Man figure does.

The other is a large Age of Ultron-style Hulkbuster figure. It actually includes a light for the chest-mounted arc reactor, so I'm mulling over the idea of trying to light that as well as the approximately 947 other arc reactors on the figure, but I'm not sure what I'd use to cover the exterior of the lights that so it doesn't just look like a bare LED.

SSB
 

Rogviler

Well-Known Member
I love this sort of thing. I have way too many figures and vehicles in my stash that I planned to do this with.

I don't have much advice, other than when I want to have a "delete button" in case I make a mistake I'll add a good coat of Future or similar to act as a barrier. Then you can use oil-based paint over that and any mistakes come off with paint thinner. It's also a good way to do panel lines; just wash over the lines with an oil-based wash and then you can do the cleanup afterward.
 

sbaxter

Well-Known Member
I love this sort of thing. I have way too many figures and vehicles in my stash that I planned to do this with.

I don't have much advice, other than when I want to have a "delete button" in case I make a mistake I'll add a good coat of Future or similar to act as a barrier. Then you can use oil-based paint over that and any mistakes come off with paint thinner. It's also a good way to do panel lines; just wash over the lines with an oil-based wash and then you can do the cleanup afterward.
Yeah -- I have more. I've got some of the Jakks Pacific 18-inch Star Wars figures -- Boba Fett, Darth Maul, and a Biker Scout that I know of off the top of my head. There's a large Jango Fett Hasbro figure out there as well, and one of the really large (24 inches, or 30 inches? not sure) Tobey Maguire Spider-Man figures as well -- and also a 12-inch Iron Patriot and some Star Wars Black Series figures I'll work my way toward. There's a ton of vehicle toys and whatnot in my storage sheds, alongside just as many model kits.

Iron Man, Hulkbuster, and Spider-Man seemed like a good place to start because they don't have any pesky skin tone faces to paint, and the financial investment is low. Iron Man is like building and painting a model car with arms and legs.

SSB
 

sbaxter

Well-Known Member
Heck, even if I could afford something from Hot Toys, the only thing I could do to such a thing is mess it up. This is much better.

SSB
 

sbaxter

Well-Known Member
UPDATE:

This thing is killing me!

After I added about three coats of the Metalcast Red, I waited until yesterday to apply a clear coat as a barrier so I could hand paint the gold details using Tamiya acrylics, and clean up any mistakes with IPA without marring the red. Unfortunately, that is how I discovered the clear coat I had chosen -- which worked just fine over the champagne gold I had applied earlier -- did not play well over the red. Crinkled, cracked, and crazed in several places.

:eek::mad:o_O

I seriously considered dropping the thing in a dumpster at that point. For about two minutes. But I hate admitting defeat! Also, I wasn't really pleased with the clear red this time around. Three coats was too many. One good coat, with a minimal second to cover missed or thin spots, would have been much better. After three coats, Mr. Stark was looking a very deep garnet color except in very bright lighting. So, I'll grumble a bit, take a day or two to breathe deeply, and then break out the Citrus Strip and start over. I bought an acrylic clear coat yesterday that allegedly works over the Metalcast, but I'll test on scrap first. I also had to buy a new type of pale gold paint -- a Duplicolor champagne gold paint -- because I'm nearly out of the other one I was using and I apparently had the last can on Planet Earth ("look now; look all around … there's no sign of life"). That particular color in that line appears to have been discontinued.

I'll have to make a real effort to remember to test each new paint combo on scrap plastic as I go to avoid these unpleasant surprises.

SSB
 
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sbaxter

Well-Known Member
So, upon further reflection, I decided not to start over with this figure. A day or two after my last post above, I took a closer look at the thing. The paint damage I mentioned seemed to have settled down a great deal as the clear coat dried. You can still see it, but it is much less noticeable than it appeared it would be at first. So, I decided to soldier on. It won't be perfect, but it was never going to be perfect. I could never take the figure apart, and so I cannot lock the rubbery arms in place -- which means the paint around the join between the arms and shoulders gets damaged a bit, no matter what. So I'll finish it as best I can and call it a learning experience or proof of concept or whatever or both.

I also did do a test of the new "acrylic" clear coat I bought and determined it would also damage the clear red paint I used, so I used Future applied with a brush instead. That, at least, seemed to work fine.

Over this past weekend, I painted the gold details by hand. The only parts I masked were the gold panels on the front of the legs. There are a few spots that need some additional work, and some small areas where the gold smeared and a few where errant flecks of gold got where they shouldn't. I'm experimenting with red-tinted Future -- using "super-concentrated" food coloring for tinting -- to fix those mistakes, and will add a second coat of gold in some places. Then I'll do another coat of Future, a black wash and a semi-gloss clear coat to finish the thing up (presuming all of these plans actually pan out). I'll post more photos in a few days, for those who are curious.

SSB
 
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