Saber Weathering tips: Aging aluminum & more on the ROTJ Reveal

Discussion in 'Star Wars Costumes and Props' started by Rylo, Nov 3, 2011.

  1. Rylo

    Rylo Master Member RPF PREMIUM MEMBER

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    Hey, guys. Just sharing a quick tip!

    Here's a fast and efficient way to put a nice weathered finish on aluminum.

    While there's more exotic methods out there, if you really want to pull the sheen off of aluminum and give it a good scarring while you're at it, I've found that regular old oven cleaner will do the job just fine. I suggest spraying the stuff on and rinsing it off every 60 seconds or so until you get dialed in on the desired finish.

    NOTE: You may also want to Google, Cupric Nitrate and Ammonium Chloride for putting a nice green chemical patina on brass. While the chemicals are cheap, it can be very nasty stuff. Safety first!

    The science company also has a some nice recipes. http://www.sciencecompany.com/patinas/patinaformulas.htm

    Anyway, here's a couple shots of how I weathered down my reveal. I bagged the piston potion of the saber after 1 treatment since I wanted it to look slightly less abused and I plan to do some dry brush work in there. I shot the rear aluminum portion w/ oven cleaner twice and let set for roughly 90 seconds. I really like the random pattern and dull scarring I got. The finish is very similar to the known Elstree reveal.

    Rear w/ oven cleaner sitting up:

    [​IMG]

    After a good rinsing:

    [​IMG]

    More later:
     
  2. Clutch

    Clutch Master Member

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    You could also give them a going over with a Scotch-brite pad.
     
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  3. Rylo

    Rylo Master Member RPF PREMIUM MEMBER

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    That, too! Or, roll them down the driveway, or take a grinding wheel to them, or...

    Man, I've done everything to these things that can be done! :lol

    For this one, I just wanted a nice chemical bath. Oven cleaner put a nice burnt finish on the brass, too. I'm just about to patina the emitter reveal, too:

    [​IMG]

     
    Jannix Quinn likes this.
  4. Rylo

    Rylo Master Member RPF PREMIUM MEMBER

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    I need to break up the patina on the emitter reveal a little bit, but other than that, this one is all done. The green is much more pale in person; my flash just exagerated the tone a bit.

    This one has seen a little action:

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]
     
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  5. The Dude

    The Dude Sr Member

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    Very cool, Ry. That oven cleaner method really distresses the saber well.
     
  6. Jannix Quinn

    Jannix Quinn Sr Member

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    I personally think you should give one of those sabres to me.
     
  7. Rylo

    Rylo Master Member RPF PREMIUM MEMBER

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    Thanks, man. The more you layer it there the worse it gets, too! Doing up another this weekend. Hope I don't burn a hole through the sum *****! :lol

     
  8. Robert412

    Robert412 Well-Known Member

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    When "relic-ing" guitars, as it is known in the guitar world, a god way to get random ding patterns is to hit the finish with car keys. Not hard, just hard enough... And keys are so irregular, that it gives a nice random pecking.

    Also, you can put several small metal pieces in a metal lightweight metal container, wrap and secure that in fabric, and put it in the dryer with a load of towels. Gives a really nice age.

    Also, if you have any painted parts that you want to crack the finish on... Paint with nitrocellulose, let dry, and hit it with canned air turned upside down... Rub that down with coffee, shoe polish, oil, dirt... Whatever... It fills in the cracks... Beautiful!

    r
     
  9. Nexus6

    Nexus6 Sr Member RPF PREMIUM MEMBER

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    That's good info, but I don't think I have it in me to weather mine (at least not yet).

    Can you post another photo of it, this time in the battle-ready [collapsed] configuration?
     
  10. Apollo

    Apollo Legendary Member RPF PREMIUM MEMBER

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    :( Oh how I weep for those Sabers! :(

    While we are at it let's put a mustache and some mud on the Mona Lisa! :lol
     
  11. Clutch

    Clutch Master Member

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    I did that with my blaster. Just threw it in a garbage bag with a bunch of wrenches and screwdrivers. Shake n bake. :lol
     
  12. clancampbell

    clancampbell Sr Member

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    Weathered props are just the pinnacle for me....i just don't like uber clean stuff......

    These sabers look stunning, just stunnig!

    Rich
     
  13. Rylo

    Rylo Master Member RPF PREMIUM MEMBER

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    It's so hard to mess with a clean one! If I only had one prestine one, I couldn't bring myself to mess with it, either.

    Hell, it stngs to ding one of these up anyway after wearing gloves the entire build to keep everything perfect!

    That said, I love the 'as new' look, too.

    [​IMG]

     
  14. Rylo

    Rylo Master Member RPF PREMIUM MEMBER

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    LOL. If it makes you feel any better, I only weathered what few leftovers already had an imperfection here and there. Probably things nobody would notice but me. It still stung, but you're right. I could never harm the babies! :love

    Think of it like a Spartan propmaker would. The pefect ones lived, I tossed the less than perfect ones off the cliff. Interestingly enough, some people prefer the beat look. I like the clean better, but the weathered has it's charm.

     
  15. Nexus6

    Nexus6 Sr Member RPF PREMIUM MEMBER

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    Now how about a "collapsed" pic of the weathered one?
     
  16. Rylo

    Rylo Master Member RPF PREMIUM MEMBER

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    I don't think I took one, but will check.

     
  17. dse2187

    dse2187 Member RPF PREMIUM MEMBER

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    Great post... thanks for the tips Rylo.

    I still want to get my hands on one of those ROTJ Reveal Sabers...

    Must... Resist...


    ;)
     
  18. JBReplicas

    JBReplicas Sr Member RPF PREMIUM MEMBER

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    Zeebo black grate polish works great too, it was used on the Cybermen from the new Dr Who series, it dulls the alu finish and the black gets in all the little nooks and gives a really nice weathered effect
     
  19. Rylo

    Rylo Master Member RPF PREMIUM MEMBER

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    I've also had some good results soaking aluminum with brass in dish detergent.

    The brass and detergent cause nice, subtle pitting in the aluminum after a couple days.

    I used the lid from the control box to kick off the reaction.

    NOTE: It doesn't take long! Anything more than 48 hours and you'll be looking at some hard pitting.
     
  20. Darth Lars

    Darth Lars Master Member RPF PREMIUM MEMBER

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    But why?
     
  21. Rylo

    Rylo Master Member RPF PREMIUM MEMBER

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    Just a chemical kick between the brass and detergent when soaked with aluminum.

    Ya learn a few tricks here and there over the years. I stumbled over this one by accident once when soaking machine lube off a few parts. :thumbsup

    Try it out, it's a cool process!

     
    Last edited: Nov 27, 2011
  22. Sym-Cha

    Sym-Cha Master Member

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    Hi Rylo,

    In great admiration of this lightsaber I took the liberty of color correcting your previous pictures
    to show your excellent workmanship in weathering :

    [​IMG]

    The green is now much more pale indeed :

    [​IMG]
    (Pictures Courtesy Side FX a.k.a. Rylo)

    -Chaim
     
  23. Rylo

    Rylo Master Member RPF PREMIUM MEMBER

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    Nice work with the pics! I really should get a better camera.

    -Rylo
     
  24. Sym-Cha

    Sym-Cha Master Member

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    Hi Rylo,

    You're very welcome, and as you can see the pictures your camera makes are just great all you need to do is use the correct whitebalance in your camera menu or open your pictures, yes even jpg can be opened in Adobe Camera Raw which is what I did, and use the greybalance tool, third from the left in top row of tools, and choose something in the picture that should reflect 18% grey ... that's all there is to it :)

    [​IMG]

    -Chaim
     
    Last edited: Nov 27, 2011

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