What would be the best way to mirror chrome this toy?

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Deerzordchromer

New Member
I don't know if this is allowed on here but I found this forum due to molotow liquid chrome.
Bandai HK made 12 special edition chrome variants of some of their toys, here is a photo of the 11 of them in my cabinet:
VvMSOa6.jpg

I'm missing one, a deer.
Here's a photo of the toy:
Silver deer.jpg

The toy is VERY hard to find for some reason, I could have had it in 2015 but I did buy it for some reason.
I'd like to attempt to make a custom one.
I'll be using the painted toy as a base:
Deer.jpg


I'm not sure how I'd do it. What would be the best way to make it look as close to my other toys as possible?
As far as I know, they're coated with mirror chrome.
 

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lmgill

Sr Member
The other toys are likely Vacuum Metalized. This is a process that can not be doe by a hobbyist (without a $100,000 worth of equipment)
While there are some paints available, I do not believe there are any that will match the level of reflectance you see on the other toys.
The only paint we have used that comes close (But not fully) is around $400/pint, and specially formulated for specialty film work. It also requires very specific prep and application.
However, vacuum metalizing is not an expensive process, compared to $400 paint. The companies we have used generally can include small parts in with another job they run. I'd estimate it costing $200 to $300 at most, possibly a lot less.
I suggest you do a google search for Vacuum metalizing and see if there is a company who does this close to your location and call them for a quote. The part is small enough, that you could send it just about anywhere, so it may be worth calling many companies, till you find one willing to do this as a "coffee money job". (Just a token amount of money)
 

Deerzordchromer

New Member
The other toys are likely Vacuum Metalized. This is a process that can not be doe by a hobbyist (without a $100,000 worth of equipment)
While there are some paints available, I do not believe there are any that will match the level of reflectance you see on the other toys.
The only paint we have used that comes close (But not fully) is around $400/pint, and specially formulated for specialty film work. It also requires very specific prep and application.
However, vacuum metalizing is not an expensive process, compared to $400 paint. The companies we have used generally can include small parts in with another job they run. I'd estimate it costing $200 to $300 at most, possibly a lot less.
I suggest you do a google search for Vacuum metalizing and see if there is a company who does this close to your location and call them for a quote. The part is small enough, that you could send it just about anywhere, so it may be worth calling many companies, till you find one willing to do this as a "coffee money job". (Just a token amount of money)
Ah, okay, thank you for the information. is Vacuum metalizing the same as chrome plating?
 

dr_slurpee

Sr Member
RPF PREMIUM MEMBER
There are options for a spray on chrome. It’s a really thin layer of silver essentially then clear coated to protect it. It looks exactly like chrome. The place near me is I think is $100 (Canadian) per square foot. I forget the name for it but if you look for spray chrome you may find one near you. Or I suppose I could give you the contact info for the place near me.
 

dr_slurpee

Sr Member
RPF PREMIUM MEMBER
IMG_4123.jpg

These were spray chromed, they aren’t a great example because I didn’t do any prep work to make sure they were smooth first, but looks like normal chrome and is durable.
 

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Duncanator

Sr Member
Ah, okay, thank you for the information. is Vacuum metalizing the same as chrome plating?
Vacuum metalizing is not the same as chrome plating.

Chrome plating uses electricity to plate with copper, then nickel and then chrome.

Vacuum metalizing atomizes aluminum in a vacuum, and then the aluminum condenses onto your part. They can apply clear coats over that to make it look gold or other metallic colors.
 

lmgill

Sr Member
There are options for a spray on chrome. It’s a really thin layer of silver essentially then clear coated to protect it. It looks exactly like chrome. The place near me is I think is $100 (Canadian) per square foot. I forget the name for it but if you look for spray chrome you may find one near you. Or I suppose I could give you the contact info for the place near me.
This sounds like you are describing Silver Nitrate coating. Frankly, I was unaware that anyone still does this. Like you stated, this will result in a "Chrome" finish, but it is also considerably thicker than vacuum metalizing and if Deerzordchromer is looking to perfectly match the other figures, then silver nitrate, being thicker, will give a subtlety different surface look. It is also a warmer color. Again subtle, but if an exact match is desired, then vacuum metalizing is the way to go.

Chrome plating and vacuum metalizing are very different, Duncanator is correct.
Now, with conductive primers, you can electro-plate plastic. But electro-plating is very thick compared to either Vacuum metalizing or silver nitrate, and is Not the way to go on this figure.
 

Deerzordchromer

New Member
This sounds like you are describing Silver Nitrate coating. Frankly, I was unaware that anyone still does this. Like you stated, this will result in a "Chrome" finish, but it is also considerably thicker than vacuum metalizing and if Deerzordchromer is looking to perfectly match the other figures, then silver nitrate, being thicker, will give a subtlety different surface look. It is also a warmer color. Again subtle, but if an exact match is desired, then vacuum metalizing is the way to go.
Yes, I'd like to match the look of the other toys. Would I need to remove the paint somehow before I send the toy off?
 
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Rusty85

Sr Member
This sounds like you are describing Silver Nitrate coating. Frankly, I was unaware that anyone still does this. Like you stated, this will result in a "Chrome" finish, but it is also considerably thicker than vacuum metalizing and if Deerzordchromer is looking to perfectly match the other figures, then silver nitrate, being thicker, will give a subtlety different surface look. It is also a warmer color. Again subtle, but if an exact match is desired, then vacuum metalizing is the way to go.

Chrome plating and vacuum metalizing are very different, Duncanator is correct.
Now, with conductive primers, you can electro-plate plastic. But electro-plating is very thick compared to either Vacuum metalizing or silver nitrate, and is Not the way to go on this figure.

I actually was just watching a video on using the conductive primer to electroplate at home. There’s a great video on YouTube using brush plating for a Phasma helmet. It appears to be so simple, and the dip plating also looks like an easy setup. Is it harder than it appears to give the part a good finish? The ones I saw used Copper and then Nickel.
 

lmgill

Sr Member
Yes, you can electo-plate at home, I'm doing it now on a big armour project. It is fussy. Cleanliness is essential and slight variations in voltage can make the difference between great and not so great.
 

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Rusty85

Sr Member
Yes, you can electo-plate at home, I'm doing it now on a big armour project. It is fussy. Cleanliness is essential and slight variations in voltage can make the difference between great and not so great.

Will the voltage that comes with that Nickel Caswell plating kit work okay doing the dip method? Was thinking about trying both ways.
 

Karstein

New Member
I’ve electro-plated at home. The most difficulty I had was the first step - applying a consistent conductive paint for the first layer of copper to adhere to. I had the best results from making my own graphite acrylic paint but it was a lot of trial and error.
 

dr_slurpee

Sr Member
RPF PREMIUM MEMBER
This sounds like you are describing Silver Nitrate coating. Frankly, I was unaware that anyone still does this. Like you stated, this will result in a "Chrome" finish, but it is also considerably thicker than vacuum metalizing and if Deerzordchromer is looking to perfectly match the other figures, then silver nitrate, being thicker, will give a subtlety different surface look. It is also a warmer color. Again subtle, but if an exact match is desired, then vacuum metalizing is the way to go.

Chrome plating and vacuum metalizing are very different, Duncanator is correct.
Now, with conductive primers, you can electro-plate plastic. But electro-plating is very thick compared to either Vacuum metalizing or silver nitrate, and is Not the way to go on this figure.

My experience with it is limited of course, but I did not find it thick, those 3D printed parts are less than 3/4” long and you could still see flaws in the prints and such. I forget how many microns thick they said it was. I’d think that by the time you put conductive paint on it you’d add an equal thickness or more to the items. I can take pics of them beside a vac metallized part to compare colour
 

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Rusty85

Sr Member
I’ve electro-plated at home. The most difficulty I had was the first step - applying a consistent conductive paint for the first layer of copper to adhere to. I had the best results from making my own graphite acrylic paint but it was a lot of trial and error.

I say that aerosol from MG that was used in some YouTube videos. Seems like the best way to get a smooth coating on the part. Anyone tried it?
 

feide

Well-Known Member
Check this vid out. It shows a vintage star wars figure getting plated. You would probably be able to do the same.

**Edit sorry not star wars figure but a he man figure. I usually look at this site for Star Wars stuff.

 

lmgill

Sr Member
My experience with it is limited of course, but I did not find it thick, those 3D printed parts are less than 3/4” long and you could still see flaws in the prints and such. I forget how many microns thick they said it was. I’d think that by the time you put conductive paint on it you’d add an equal thickness or more to the items. I can take pics of them beside a vac metallized part to compare colour
You are correct, silver nitrate is not that thick, but vacuum metalizing is significantly thinner.
 

Retroneon

Active Member
You opened an account specifically to ask a question. I hope this is the direct answer you seek:


Gold Star Chroming is a small business that focuses on applying chrome-like finishes onto sentai tokusatsu toys.


I have no experience using their services. But the pictures look as good as a factory finish; with probably better attention. The factory will metallize a whole piece in one color. This business gives you the choice to apply tints at sections.

It's curious that they can apply on colored plastic; while typical toys tend to use a light, almost translucent plastic, which is slightly brittle. So your deer zord might be slightly more durable than the ones that already come vacuum metallized.

Keep in mind that knurled pins are designed to be fitted in once. If dismantling is required, the pivot points can become stressed. It looks like you have pins at the neck and jaw. So if the pins have to be reinstalled, they may scratch and reveal some green underneath again.


It would be nice to have a dedicated topic for everyone's experiences with metal finish services.
There appear to be three tiers of choices:
• Pigmented paint.
• Vacuum metallization.
• Metal plating.
 

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