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 First Buy'ce Kit - WIP

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First Buy'ce Kit - WIP
« on: Oct 22, 2020, 12:54 PM »
Hello all - I've been posting this all "live" in the Firaxan Clan subforum, but I wanted to duplicate it here for a wider range of feedback.  Of course now the helmet is nearly done, and I really wish I'd thought to do this earlier, but still...

Finally got the resources to start working on my first build.  Apologies in advance for the clutter/background - tiny apartment in the city that I share with my wife and stepson, so space is at a premium!

I chose a helmet from April Storm's Props for my first helmet - she seemed to offer one of the best "out of the box" bases, and I'm a sucker for the interior detail.  I opted for one that was already sanded and undercoated with fans installed because as I noted before, my interior AND exterior workspaces are incredibly limited.  Unfortunately this means for this kit, alot of the parts will be bought as opposed to built.

The helmet itself is really solid, and I'm really happy with it out of the box!  There are a few touch-ups and some trimming that needs to be done, and the two triangles over the visor aren't quite centered.  I haven't decided yet if those bother me enough to fill in or not, but I adjusted my initial paint scheme idea way from having a stripe down the center of the dome to avoid drawing attention to it.

I'm going for a Blue/Green color scheme - I asked my wife's opinion of it, and she chose those two based on their meanings in Mandalorian Culture as she felt they applied to me based on my civilian and military professions/personality/etc: Blue for reliability, Green for duty.  Please note that I'm partially color-blind, and my wife had to assist with the mock-up, so it may not be fully representative of how the colors will look in the end.  In the end it should be a decently deep blue and correspondingly deep Hunter Green.

For the chest I did the mock-up with the revised version of the sigil for my custom Clan, Clan Par'jila, that I am Alor of in my Star Wars: The Old Republic MMO guild.  Based on the Old Republic-era Mandalorian sigil with added horns, and the tusks replaced with the silhouette of my personal karambit knife (an actual knife I carried overseas...LONG story there and I have alot of attachement to it).  However, I've also considered adjusting the chest piece design and simply using the standard Mandalorian sigil we all know and love, with the same paint scheme.

So now, the pictures:



Picked up a few spray paints for the overall schemes.  With with Rustoleum because I've had luck with them on previous projects, and I wanted to stick to a single brand if at all possible.  Going with a metallic Dark Steel for the new undercoat, Ink Blue, and Hunter Green.

The Helmet, out of the box and pre-touchup (again, please excuse the state of my kitchen table...):

Front:


Side:


Rear:


Rear Detail - here you can see some of the stuff I intend to trim and touch up:


And Interior shots:



First I'm looking to either remove or mask the fans and cord - they're installed with a series of small screws, and honestly it's purely going to be a matter of which proves less irritating to me.  I may mask the fans and cord, spray the interior black and mount the velcro attachments for my pads (using a spare set of ACH pads I had) and then hand-painting the fan coverings as one of my final steps. 

First weekend was applying the undercoat for the metal:


After a few hours of trimming and filing, as well as filling a few gaps, I was able to get a base metallic coat down.

I'm actually pretty impressed with this in general - had I known how well the metallic would work on this bucket I might've opted to leave more exposed.

But, bit late in the planning process now, so filing that away for a future build!

Originally I intended to use a much darker green (Hunter Green rather than a more "Acid Green"), and bought my paints accordingly, but the more I think about it the more I think the acid green will look better and pop a bit more, so I'll be picking up a few more paints over the next few days.  I also originally intended for the green portions of the helmet to all be one shade, but after reviewing Jango's helmet a bit more and mulling it over, I may opt for a darker green on the underside of the "cheeks" to give some extra contrast.  Worst case...if I don't like it, I'll re-do it!





For this one, the metallic really seems to have highlighted the trimmed portion in the photo.  In person, it looks a bit rougher but nowhere near this bad - I expect that this will be mitigated by the darker paint as well as better photos towards the end.

Worst case, I'm thinking about applying a bit of glue in certain areas and using the metallic paint to simulate hasty "field repairs" - as if small portions had been soddered under less-than-ideal conditions.  TBD, waiting to see how the end result looks once the base coats are down.



This past weekend:

Weather cooperated, wife was away on orders, and my own army weekend became a virtual one, so...lots of progress!

Spent a little while last night prepping and masking - I'll likely always go overboard with masking tape with a "better safe than sorry" approach.


I've been pretty anxious to rest out the salt etching technique.  Took me a while to get the right mix - still have perfected it but it was useable - using epsom salts I had in the apartment.




Then I was able to spray it down.  Closest paint shade I could find to my original idea was a "Spring Green" - it's a gloss spray, but I have a matte sealer to offset that at the end.




And once the tape and salt came off:




This is originally where I intended to stop for the day, but a found that the spring green dried really quickly, and I decided to tempt the fates and go for the next step: The earcaps and upper cheek.  I opted to go with a Hunter Green here, a much darker shade.  Wasn't sure how I'd like it but figured I could always redo it.

In the end however, I was pretty pleased with the results (I'll spare you all the various tape/salt pics I have and go right for the end result!):







More progress over the weekend, but work caught up with me and I wasn't able to get these uploaded/posted.

Added the blue and a bit more salt etching.  I may have gotten a bit carried away with the salt, but I fell in love with the technique and all I have to work on at the moment is the helmet.  But, I decided to roll with it and I'll weather the remaining armor accordingly (once I have it).  I went lighter on the back of the helmet, to try and give the impression that this Mando faces his problems head-on, whatever they may be (Sandstorm, in this case?)

I did some weathering with a red/brown wash in areas I imagined would have a lot of hand contact (I put it on for about ten minutes with some chalk on my hands, and made note of everywhere I touched it to adjust it, move it so I could see, etc...)

Put the wash in some of the chipped areas but not all so that some look newer than others, and a few grimy streaks here and there to break up the monotony of the blue.




Once the that was all done, I added the matte finish that dulled the greens and brought everything down to a more desireable level of glossy-ness.

I wasn't really satisfied with it in the end, it just seemed like it was missing something...I went back and forth a few times between adding Jaig Eyes or kill stripes on the dome, the sea of blue was a bit "meh" to my eyes.  I opted to go with kill stripes on the right side, similar to the Boba Fett placement.  Jaig Eyes are still tempting, but they might be overdoing it.  I'm not sure if it's because I think they'd actually look good, or if it's because I just want to keep painting the dang thing.





The visor that came with the helmet has bubbles and some other cosmetic issues, so I'll replace it before I submit this for approval, but that's months away yet so I put it in for the photos and the like for now.

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