Sentry02's Iron Man Mk III Build --Image Heavy--

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Active Member
Hey folks,

I have another "side" project that has taken over as my "main" project at this point. Sometime ago, I worked with Masked Rider to get a set of his Iron Man Mk III armor. I went a slightly different route and asked for it to be unpainted. The biggest reason for this was in case I had to make any adjustments for fitting, or replace or rework anything. Not to mention, if you're familiar with other threads I have posted in, I LOVE to paint and weather stuff. I started off with the helmet and was pretty poor at documenting the paint process. I didn't need to prep it at all because Leslee was kind enough to prep and primer the armor for me before shipping it out. All I needed to worry about was what paints I would use and such.

Paint Selection

I spent easily 3 weeks gathering different gold paints and different red paints, different metallics, and different primers. I wound up with way too much paint for sure. My primary references were some promo shots for the Mk III. I REALLY like the darker red armor, so this is what I was looking to match. The gold paint had to be somewhat close and it had to be able to take well to steel wool (more on that later). Reference shot of what I am looking for is below.

I tried everything from satin paints to gloss paints and I know that most people like the gloss look, but I prefer satin because I intend to weather it and satin takes better to the process that I use in my experience. I settled on the following paints for better or for worse. Are they perfect matches? No, but they are close enough for what I am looking for.

1. Rustoleum Dark Gray Auto Primer - I use this for just about everything I work on. I like the coverage. I decided to prime all parts with this primer as the primer used was light gray.

2. Rustoleum Dark Steel - I was looking for something that I could use as an undercoat that would provide a decent metallic color for the multi-layered damage. Most of the colors I found were either really bright silvers or colors I wasn't too interested in. There is a slight gloss look to this paint, which made it perfect for me. I have used this with some of the helmets I did for my House Party Protocol project.

3. Rustoleum Painter's Touch 2X Satin Claret Wine - I messed around with this paint a lot and I found that 3 coats of it provided the deep color I was looking for. 3 coats means that I need to be extra thick with the latex masking fluid or it will be quite difficult to remove. Although it isn't a perfect match, it looks pretty decent once it is fully weathered. The weathering process I use darkens the paint a bit more so I couldn't go with a paint too dark to begin with.

4. Krylon Dual, Gold Metallic - I looked at more gold paints than I know what to do with. Again, I needed something that wasn't too shiny and something that takes well to steel wool for weathering. Believe it or not, not all paints look right when you use steel wool. This paint is not as dark as I think it should be but it wound up being quite close to what I was looking for. Amusingly enough, the gold is only found at an auto parts store around here and the stores only carry one at a time. I am forever running around to collect cans. It's maddening.


The first thing I did was work on the helmet. I am generally pretty good at taking progress photos, but I was concentrating so much on making sure that the paints worked that I was really bad at documenting it this time. I only got some really late weathering photos done, so I apologize for that. My other armor parts have a lot more documentation.

For most of the damage, I am using the battle of Gulmira as reference shots. For the helmet, I used several screen grabs I pulled. I realize that my weathering is not a perfect match for the movie, but I used it as a guideline:

I started off with dark gray primer on all parts and once that dried, I put down a base coat of the dark steel. A lot of times when I weather, I will go all the way to the primer. With this armor build, I am only interested in going to the dark steel layers. After the dark steel, I put down my first coat of latex masking fluid. From there, I then added the claret wine for the bulk of the helmet and the gold on the faceplate and upper chin areas. I went back and added matte black for the teeth and inner outline of the helmet.

For the weathering, I went back and removed the latex layers to expose the dark steel and then used sand paper to further weather the damage and high points. I used very fine grade steel wool to wipe the faceplate in the same direction to provide a brushed metallic look. I then used a black wash on the helmet and topical bronze paint with a wash cloth on the face plate for some additional weathering a greased look. It is important to be VERY careful with the bronze paint and only apply enough to add accent to the armor or it will look really bad. In the following images, you can see the bronze mostly between the eyes on the faceplate and on the chin. Last but not least, I airbrushed the helmet to add some depth. The airbrushing is a bit darker in person. My poor phone camera washes everything out.

After all of the weathering, the helmet in its current state looks like this:

Chest and Back Armor

I will say, first of all, that I LOVE what Masked Rider did with the chest and back plates in that he added hooked clamps to the inside to connect the chest and back together. It makes wearing and painting quite easy. In fact, it fits me so well you'd think he made it for me specifically. :) As I went over the chest and back plates, I decided that there were several modifications that I wanted to make in order to bring me a bit more inline with what I saw in my screen grabs. The modifications included:

1. Drill out existing bolts and replace with 3D printed bolts. I picked up a set of bolts from Bigturc and they are fantastic. I had to be careful with how I drilled out the old ones to be sure that the new ones would fit the armor properly. So far, everything looks like it will be ok.

2. Add the flap control tabs on the back of the armor. I found several different ways of doing these, but opted to go for what you see in the movie. Once I marked their location, they were pretty easily crafted from some spare ABS I had sitting around.

3. I considered cutting out the flaps and installing hinges so that the flaps could open and close. In the end though, I decided against destabilizing the entire back armor for now and I wasn't sure exactly how I wanted the undercarriage to look. I can always do it later if I want. I did, however, reinforce the lower back armor with some resin and fiber tape due to a crack along one of the detail lines.

4. There is a rear collar armor piece that is not included in the rig that I purchased, so I will be looking to build this out of ABS and slot it into the armor provided that there is enough room for it when I have it worn.

5. I modified the collar armor to include aluminum rods in the center and curved along the sides based on what screen grabs I had been able to pull. I had to rebuild part of the base due to a mishap with my Dremel but it is not noticeable. I also added the shoulder tabs that I saw in my screen grabs, although I am not happy with them right now. I will likely look to improve on them before the end of the build.

6. I have decided to go with a 3D printed ARC reactor off of Shapeways and I need to modify the chest to accommodate a slightly larger ARC than the opening allows. In addition, I drilled holes for the anchor bolts and I will be sinking aluminum rods down into them as you see in the movie. This is in progress and I have quite a bit more work to do along these lines.

7. I will also be looking to fit arm collars at the chest/upper arm join to see if I can get it to work functionally. I am not sure about this modification yet.

First things first... I started with the back armor and drilled out the old bolts that were part of the armor. I back-filled any substantial spaces with 2 part and then went through and used Bondo spot putty to smooth everything out. Bigturc's 3D bolts look fantastic in the armor. I am very pleased with them.

The flap controls are comprised of two different levels. The lower level fits the contour of the armor and the upper level is flat and straight. By doing it this way, it fits the armor by looking at it straight on and from the side. I have drilled angled holes on the spine segments because I intend on wiring down lights on them. I know I know....not in the movie. I just figured it would be something cool for me to add a bit of custom to it. In the event I decide against it, the angled holes are not visible and can be easily hidden.

I then moved onto the chest armor and began adding the aluminum rods to the collar area. The area on the right is what I had to rebuild but you'd never know it now that it has been painted.

I used the vise on my work bench to manually bend some rods to fit the collar contour.

After the rods were in place, I marked the areas on the chest armor that needed to either be drilled out or cut out. I have some areas around the ARC housing that I will need to cut (the 3&9 comment), but that will be done once I get the ARC reactor ready for installation. The bolts were drilled out and sunk in. The trick with the chest bolts is that they are exposed up top, so I had to sink them in such a way that they were level, but also flush with the armor on the exposed side. I got really lucky and did it right the first time.

After this, I sanded everything down and made sure that the ARC area was ready for work once I get the 3D print in and I drilled two holes in the ARC grooves at the top in prep for the aluminum rods that will come at a later time.

Last but not least, I added tabs for the shoulder joins, but again I am not happy with them. They will do for now though. You'll notice they were done after the painting had begun. That is because I did not see them in a capture until well after I had started with the painting.

At this point, I was ready for the primer on the chest and back armor. I put two coats of dark gray primer on the chest and back and then let it dry over night. I learned long ago not to apply too much paint at a time and not when it was even slightly wet. The dreaded cracking is awful to recover from.

After the primer dried, I put on two coats of the Dark Steel paint. Once that dried, I was ready for my first layer of latex masking fluid. I worked to match the areas of damage from the screen grabs, but I decided against drilling and holes for shrapnel or otherwise.

To save on time and photo space, I will skip ahead to after I had put on several layers of latex as well as the red and gold paints. The gold paint in the back is a bit of an enigma to me. I noted that there seemed to be painting in the vertical seams between the top and bottom gold areas, but I could never tell if it was always there or there because the movable flaps never sit down flush against the back armor in the movie (they don't). I opted for the latter and decided against the vertical seams, but I can always add it later if I want to.

The chest armor had a ton of manual detail paint work to do. I taped off the black areas, but all wiring harnesses and silver was done by hand. The bolts were taped off and painted separately as I didn't want to see brush strokes on them.

Once all of the manual chest painting was completed, I was ready to remove the latex masking fluid and it looked more like this:

From there, I sanded the masked off areas in and then also sanded and high points. I added a very small amount of topical bronze and silver for some other areas of wear and grime, and then completed an acrylic black wash of the chest and back armor. I noted an error in paints on the chest where I put gold on the wing tabs instead of dark silver. I have not changed it yet but it has been noted for later.

I then added the remaining weathering with my airbrush and this is how is currently sits. You can see the chest and helmet in these next few images:

I am currently working on the right arm and shin. I will have another update soon so stay tuned!

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