Top Gun Moto Helmet - Part 2: VIPER

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Monster Dave

Sr Member
Hey Everyone,

Well FINALLY I can join the lower ranks of replica builders here on the forum because today I actually started work on my first replica prop!! After months and months of seeing how talented others are who make props here, I'm uber excited to share my first project with you!! While I welcome criticism - please be kind - I've NEVER done this before, and I'm no artist - but I'm going to give this my very best effort. That being said, I welcome any pointers and advice that anyone has to offer!! :thumbsup



So, about 3 years ago a buddy of mine moved out of the country and gave me his nearly new motorcycle helmet. As some of you may know, I ride myself. I had/have 2 really nice helmets already, but I figured that his would be a good back-up if I ever needed it.

As time passed, the helmet just sat looking very sad in the closet with my other gear - and being 3rd in line to be worn meant that it rarely (if ever) saw the light of day.

So recently while watching Top Gun, it occurred to me that this helmet might really make a good base from which to build a replica of Mave's helmet!! So I started doing my homework and after finding a similar replica thread here on the RPF, I broke ground on the project today!

I'm using Jorge Lorenzo's MotoGP helmet loosely as my visual inspiration since it's similar in shape to what I'm working with.

Here's my helmet before I started:





It's an Icon Alliance helmet, not a bad base to start with. As you can see, it had a matte finish that had no clear coat to deal with which helped reduce the prep time.

The vents (from front to back) are going to be interesting to work with/around when it comes to striping the helmet, but I've got some good ideas for working with them and highlighting them at the same time.

Moving along, a quick trip to Home Depot yielded the supplies that I needed to get started:



First I ripped out the guts:



I also removed the mounting hardware for the visor after I took that picture.

Then I took to scuffing up the surface and with the 3M Pro Grade Sanding Block:



Then, after it was scuffed really well, I taped up the areas that either I intend to keep black, or don't want over spray to get into:



I've never done this before, so I'm keeping my fingers crossed that I got everything taped tightly and that the lines around the taped areas are crisp after I remove the tape!!

It was then time for the first prime/base coat!! Yay! This was a big step! For the base coat, I used good old Rust-Oleum Automotive Primer. Here's the 1st coat:



I was surprised at how evenly the paint went on. I remember having a terrible time with spray paint as a kid when I'd make models!! Fortunately there were no runs in the paint.

It was a bit challenging though because I had to apply the primer outside and it was WINDY today. So I was worried about dust and crud getting stuck to the wet paint. So as soon as the wind died down, I'd run outside with my helmet on a pizza pan wrapped in brown paper bags, apply the coating, and run my helmet back inside!!

Here's the result after 3 coats:

X

^the semi-circular shape on the back side of the helmet is actually reflection from something and isn't on the paint.

And here's what I've come to call the 'bowling ball' back side of my helmet:

X

That's going to be all the progress for the first day since the wind is just crazy. But I'm really excited about this project.

A few things that I need to get:

A dark/smoke shield -

X

Side covers for the shield (which I've yet to decide if they should be ultimately painted to match the blue that the helmet will be or not) -

X

And I think rather than paying someone to airbrush the work that I'm going to purchase the decals and apply them myself so that I can be sure about the location, placement, angles, etc...:

X


If the weather's good in the morning or tomorrow evening I'll try and get the first layer of the trademark blue that Mave's helmet has!
 
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Monster Dave

Sr Member
Re: My First Build!! Top Gun Moto Helmet!!

Update:

I got up this morning and had time to apply 2 light coats of the Navy blue paint

I like how dark it looks in lower light conditions as well as how much lighter it is with a flash. I figure after 4-5 coats, it'll be nice and even and darker than it looks with the flash in daylight.

I'll let it dry all day while I'm at work and maybe do another coat tonight if it's not too late. I also want this to turn out great so I may wait until tomorrow morning to do the next coat - I don't want any runs to buff out!!
 
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Keyser

Member
Re: My First Build!! Top Gun Moto Helmet!!

For a first build, looks great to me!!!

Def look forward to seeing the final result.

Did you find the decals online or do you know someone?
 

Monster Dave

Sr Member
Re: My First Build!! Top Gun Moto Helmet!!

Hey Keyser! Thanks!

I found 2 people on Ebay who sell the decals - they are slightly different so I'm trying to decide which ones to goes with. I printed out a mock-up of the bird/eagle for the side and will need to modify the striping to work with what I've got, but I'm very pleased after seeing the mock-up (pictures to come soon) that it will fit where I envisioned it to go - more forward and lower towards than high and back.

Where I want the bird to go should create a sweeping look forward on the helmet. The vents are definitely in the way of where the two birds would meet in the back, so I'm going to have to do something about that...but I'm not sure yet. I may just stop each one where they meet the vent on each side.

Suggestions?
 

Keyser

Member
Re: My First Build!! Top Gun Moto Helmet!!

The vents are definitely in the way of where the two birds would meet in the back, so I'm going to have to do something about that...but I'm not sure yet. I may just stop each one where they meet the vent on each side.

Suggestions?
Would take some time but want about using a razor to trim/cut the decal? Trim it to fit over the vent....I hope that thought came out right. LOL
 

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Monster Dave

Sr Member
Re: My First Build!! Top Gun Moto Helmet!!

Would take some time but want about using a razor to trim/cut the decal? Trim it to fit over the vent....I hope that thought came out right. LOL
I may do that - fortunately I have a template to toy with before making cuts to the graphics.

:thumbsup
 

Monster Dave

Sr Member
Re: My First Build!! Top Gun Moto Helmet!!

Evening Update:

I got home from work with plenty of daylight left to get another heavier coat on and here's the result:





It's definitely smoothing out and looking more even now.

-color comparison:



It's a great color and is looking far more uniform now, but I'm not entirely sure about the hue...which doesn't seem to match the color of the bottle cap...

...I wish it were darker...

Can anyone give me any suggestions about how to remove little airborne crud that gets stuck to the paint?

Oh, and I ordered the graphics pack today -



100% UV resistant vinyl, so I should get a long life out of them.
 
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Monster Dave

Sr Member
Re: My First Build!! Top Gun Moto Helmet!!

Can anyone give me any tips on how to get the nice glossy look that doesn't scream that I did it myself with a spray can? I want people to see my helmet and wonder where I got it not how I made it.

I plan on doing clear coat when I'm done applying with the color and graphics, but is there any need to do sanding or anything like that to get a similar look to the pilot helmet that I'm using for reference?
 
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Darth Mawr

Sr Member
RPF PREMIUM MEMBER
Re: My First Build!! Top Gun Moto Helmet!!

Wet sanding is the best way to polish it up before clear coating. It's looking good so far, good luck on the decals.
 

Monster Dave

Sr Member
Re: My First Build!! Top Gun Moto Helmet!!

Morning Update - just over 24 hours into the project

After getting the 3rd coat on last night and letting it set over night, I awoke to a properly dark color that made me really happy!





Color comparison:




Now that's more like it! It was also suggested that to some degree, the flash from my camera was probably washing out the color to some degree too. But it really was a much lighter hue even without the washout of the flash. Either way, it's MUCH better now!!
 

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Gigatron

Sr Member
Re: My First Build!! Top Gun Moto Helmet!!

I know it's probably too late, but I think the correct color is either FS35045 or FS35044. Could be either, depending on the lighting.

But to get a high gloss finish, you should wet sand between each layer of paint. A flaw in the first layer, will carry through to the final layer. The clear coat is going to be the most difficult. In order to avoid the orange peel effect, you need to go slow, but too slow can lead to runs. Practice on something else, first.

-Fred
 

Monster Dave

Sr Member
Re: My First Build!! Top Gun Moto Helmet!!

I know it's probably too late, but I think the correct color is either FS35045 or FS35044. Could be either, depending on the lighting.

But to get a high gloss finish, you should wet sand between each layer of paint. A flaw in the first layer, will carry through to the final layer. The clear coat is going to be the most difficult. In order to avoid the orange peel effect, you need to go slow, but too slow can lead to runs. Practice on something else, first.

-Fred
Hey Fred,

Thanks for the tip - I'll do some research before applying the clear coat. The last thing I want is to ruin my work!!

As for the wet sanding, well...I'm 3 coats in now so I guess it's too late to do it with each coat!! But with that being said, I was really pleased with the prime coats and how well they took - they were very even. So when inspecting for imperfections (with my novice eye), I'm hard pressed to find any. What I am finding are little areas along seems into which I need to be sure to get a bit more color.

I know nothing about wet sanding, and I do want my helmet to have that 'pro' look to it when it's done, so I need to read up on that and maybe try between this layer and the next.

Your advice is much appreciated!!! (y)thumbsup
 

Monster Dave

Sr Member
Re: My First Build!! Top Gun Moto Helmet!!

Hey guys/gals,

I've got a question - since I'm new to painting - is the 'texture' that can be seen in following picture what's considered 'orange peel'??



Also, aside from what I found on Google - any recommendations on what grit of sand paper to use for wet sanding??
 

Monster Dave

Sr Member
Re: My First Build!! Top Gun Moto Helmet!!

I'm torn - do I need to wet sand in order to get the polished shine or should I do that after I put on the graphics and clear coat my helmet?

I've got two 3m sanding sponges that are Exta Fine and Fine. I used the 'fine' one when I first was scuffing it up - I wouldn't want to use that for fine tuning my helmet. Problem is, these don't say what grit they are...

I really don't want to mess up at this point, but I do want that glassy gloss look when I'm done...

What should I do??
 

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Superkrates

Active Member
RPF PREMIUM MEMBER
Re: My First Build!! Top Gun Moto Helmet!!

sand now. Use at least a 400 grit, but bustermedic is correct to use an 800 grit for final sanding (same grit we used to polish glass, back in the day). Wet sanding works better by keeping the grit washed off the surface of both the helmet and the paper, but it is messy and not recommended if the liner of the helmet cannot be removed.
 

Monster Dave

Sr Member
Re: My First Build!! Top Gun Moto Helmet!!

I removed all the guts (save the internal stryo structure), but the liner was the first thing to get taken out.

I'll give my helmet one more night to totally dry, then I'll see about sanding it. Any tips??

Once it's sanded, does it get another coat of paint or is that when it gets buffed??
 

Mara Jade's Father

Master Member
Re: My First Build!! Top Gun Moto Helmet!!

Probably too late but what i would have recommended is to wet sand between each coat with wet sand paper increasing grit as you go. Such as 320, 600, 1000, 1500. Higher grit if you want but I've done well with ending on 1500 but 2000 if you can. You want to use the highest grit on you last paint coat. Then buff in some fine rubbing compound to bring back the shine. Clean thoroughly and apply clear coat.
 

Jay1138

Active Member
Re: My First Build!! Top Gun Moto Helmet!!

Good luck on your project man! It's coming along great so far.
 

Superkrates

Active Member
RPF PREMIUM MEMBER
Re: My First Build!! Top Gun Moto Helmet!!

...increasing grit as you go. Such as 320, 600, 1000, 1500. Higher grit if you want but I've done well with ending on 1500 but 2000 if you can. ... Then buff in some fine rubbing compound to bring back the shine. Clean thoroughly and apply clear coat.
Um, wow, that's gonna take some time and will look better than the movie helmet - I bet they didn't do all that to create the prop for the film. :)

The most important thing is to make it smooth. 'How smooth' is a matter of preference, as the clear coat will flow out minor imperfections if applied correctly. The above mentioned steps are excellent for finishing after the clear has been applied in multiple coats and cured.

A note on clear coat, don't go 'cheap' (krylon) - you'll regret it. A good automotive grade clear (House of Kolor) is best and has excellent UV protection. Tamiya and Testors spray gloss would work in this application, too. You want it to look wet when sprayed, but take extreme care to not spray heavy or too quickly between coats.
 

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