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 HELMET WIP, was (Resin helmet advice - fiberglass reinforcement?)

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First off, glass the inside to reinforce a resin cast helmet, yea or nay?
Strength versus weight tradeoff is my concern. If I only do two layers of fiberglass it shouldn't be too much heavier.
And if yes, is that better to do before or after painting? Probably before to prevent accidentally ruining a nice paint job...but I don't have that much experience with fiberglass yet.
I'm absolutely itching to get my helmet done but I want to do this thing right.
Meanwhile I will continue cleaning and smoothing to prepare the outside surface for the painting.


« Last Edit: Sep 07, 2021, 02:02 PM by Second Son » Logged


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Re: Resin helmet advice - fiberglass reinforcement?
« Reply #1 on: Sep 05, 2021, 06:01 PM »
I don't have any experience with resin cast helmets but if you're worried about the structural integrity of the helmet it wouldn't hurt to put a few layers of fiberglass on the inside.

Also, fiberglass cloth itself weighs almost nothing. It's the resin that's heavy, so if you brush it on (as opposed to pouring it on) and use just enough to saturate the resin, it's not going to significantly add to the overall weight.

I would also recommend doing the glassing before painting because fiberglass is messy and you will end up with splotches of resin and little fiberglass threads in places you weren't expecting. And don't forget to wear gloves!

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First WIP
Re: Resin helmet advice - fiberglass reinforcement?
« Reply #2 on: Sep 05, 2021, 06:59 PM »
I would also recommend doing the glassing before painting because fiberglass is messy and you will end up with splotches of resin and little fiberglass threads in places you weren't expecting. And don't forget to wear gloves!

I thought it would be the better plan, thank you for reinforcing and enabling good decisions.
Gloves and respirator for sure - I like my skin and my sense of smell. Plus, you know, not passing out from fumes.
Also long sleeves because I have just enough experience with fiberglass to know it can be hella itchy and the aforementioned resin-y globs won't differentiate glass strands from arm hair.
I guess it's time to go scuff the inside of that bucket to give better tooth for the resin and glass. 

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Re: Resin helmet advice - fiberglass reinforcement?
« Reply #3 on: Sep 05, 2021, 08:43 PM »
One other thing you should be aware of is fiberglass resin is an exothermic reaction and heats up accordingly with its thickness. It's not a huge concern but depending on the type of resin the helmet is made of it may deform if you're not careful with your application. Main thing is don't get distracted and leave a big pool of it sitting in the dome while it's curing.

Re: Resin helmet advice - fiberglass reinforcement?
« Reply #4 on: Sep 07, 2021, 02:02 PM »
Going to edit the thread to re-brand it as my helmet WIP, no point in adding more topics than needed.
Rhue was right. Resin getting all over the place.  Acetone cleanup and we're pretty good.  There will be sanding to do before the priming and the painting anyway. 

Been doing the glass and resin thing. I have only done one layer, we'll see how it feels.  While the resin has been curing between passes, I have kept the visor area braced to help mitigate heat warping potential. I have also been doing very limited amounts of resin at a time.


Sides, majority of the area covered

Got a hold of some woven-edge fiberglass tape that my FIL had leftover from building boats. It seems to be perfect for doing the bottom edge, covering raw edges at cheeks, and for reinforcing at the brow band and keyslots. Some sanding & cleanup and maybe a thin covering coat of resin to catch any remaining fiber edges, and then I'll probably glass in screw posts to mount a brace at the bottom of the visor slot.

I'm going back and forth on directly adhered padding and a hardhat suspension system(no ratchet), and would appreciate advice. My concern is allowing space for upgrades.
I plan to start small with electronics - just some fans to start with.
I got a double-rangefinder Blank Mando from LoneWolf (apparently, I am the first ever to order that configuration?) and I like the idea of making the left ear modular - switching between RF and sensors/antennas as the mood strikes. The RF cover cap is designed to pop off and on with magnets so you can remove the RF anyway, may as well take advantage of a good design to make it do some additional cool stuff.
I am going to cut openings in the sides beneath my earcaps-  the lower portion is a well done thin wall cast, so there is a natural pocket there to allow for installation of external audio pickups.
I figure I'll eventually mount a mic in as well. I can just wear a headset until I integrate it into the bucket.
My long term goal is to install a servo for the right side rangefinder with a wireless remote, and maybe some pointless-but-cool LEDs in the antennas for my other ear cap.

I've done a little progress on the bucket - I finished applying glass to the inside which may only serve to relieve my anxiety about dropping the thing.
I added a brace at the lower visor to keep the shape better while I work and for wearing.  My chin slides past it so I'm not worried - if padding or fans/equipment alters the on/off I'll just re-work the brace to have more of a U shape to follow the helmet profile better.

I started planning ahead for some electronics by opening up the ear-cap area to permit placing external audio pickups. I plan to make a system similar to one shown by the Manadalore in this Warmaster's Workshop video
 So I cut out rectangular slots (measure twice!), sanded and filed down the edges - paid special attention to  the fiberglass layer - and located the best point for openings in the earcap pieces, drilled, and countersunk the openings. One ended a bit off center but I did ok for working from the back side of the caps.

I want to put in a plug for LoneWolf's earcap setup for their Blank Mando - they are pretty great. The pieces as designed register to the helmet body really well and make alignment and assembly straightforward.  As I stated before, the thin-wall casting makes using the hollow spot to hold the external mics feasible, and will allow for a low-profile install inside the helmet.

After fiddling with openings for a bit I superglued the everloving heck out of the earcaps and clamped them in place to cure. One thing I did before the glue-pocalypse is drill some 1/16th" (1.5mm) pilot holes into the main helmet body in case I decide to supplement the glue with some screws to double down on the attachment.

Early this morning I masked off and hit the inside lower rim with some primer and flat black.

And at lunch time I flipped it over and ran a light dusting of white primer so I can see trouble spots. Still have some sanding scratches to smooth out and I need to work on the seams between ear caps and helmet with some spot glazing. 

I did intentionally score a line over the right eye region - I will be re visiting that spot to add some physical damage to complement the paint weathering I have planned for that spot.

I confess that I am feeling some excitement building up about this helmet.

I have gotten the base prep/priming layers to a point where I feel comfortable beginning the first stage of actual painting.

Dusting coat in white primer to highlight trouble spots - everything looked pretty decent. Waited a full day to cure before proceeding.

I wet-sanded at 320 grit until the only white I could see was in light scratches, let it dry out overnight,then I laid down some red primer for contrast.

 Waited another full day+ to dry out completely and allow for a full cure. I wet-sanded at 800 until it felt pretty glassy, but didn't go through the coat except a bit at the edges. Scratches from white coat didn't really show through, so good there.  Let it dry for another day to make absolutely sure.
Today I put on two light coats of flat black primer between work calls - WFH is awesome for my ability to slip in little bits of progress.

I'm pleased with how the right eye physical damage is looking with just the flat black - I think it will look pretty awesome with the full layering and paint wear effects.
There are some small spots that look a little peel-y but I think I can make them work. I'll let it all cure the rest of the day and wet sand it at 800 again while my family sleeps tonight.  I plan to put down a good base of flat black paint. Then I'll get into crazy high grit wet-sanding, a beauty layer of gloss black, and metallic silver. 
And then I can cover up most of the beautiful metal layer with a chipped-up crazy weathered paint job to tell the story of repeated beatdowns that failed to stop my Mando.

It is extremely difficult to resist speed-painting this thing, but the cooling temperatures require patience. If I rush I would spend more time fixing things than I will by moving steady and slow at each stage.

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I didn't know you had a helmet WIP, but man... the work on this is no less than stellar!  :o


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I didn't know you had a helmet WIP, but man... the work on this is no less than stellar!  :o

Thanks vod. I'm trying to do a good job taking advantage of the design features and highlighting the proportions of the base helmet.
It was pretty darn nice to begin with - like 90% sure I could have just taken care of the top seam, glued on the ear caps and gone straight to painting and gotten a good  result. 
But I'm me and I love process and tend to over-engineer so here we are.


First coat of metallic -

Second coat is currently drying but I noticed some fuzzies had snuck into  the paint? somehow? so I'll let it cure out then evaluate solutions.
I've got at least a third coat to put on, so if I have to wet-sand the silver a bit to clean it up and put two coats on instead, I won't die mad about it.

I salvaged the fuzzies - wet sanded at 1500 with a light touch, laid down a third metallic silver layer, and then put on two light coats of Rustoleum's 'bright shiny' metallic silver - not quite mirror paint but a step below in terms of shiny.
Here it is with a spare chest plate for comparison - if you're looking for it you can tell the difference for sure, but under a couple layers of scuffed and chipped paint from a few feet away, I think it will be convincing enough.

I finished painting for the day with a single light clear coat. I actually started a second but I thought I maybe saw a bit of reaction in the surface so I shut it down.
Next up is letting it cure for a few more hours. I've pushed how many layers I can lay down without orange-peeling even though today was basically perfect for painting.
Tonight after my people are asleep I have to kick my own butt into wet-sanding it at 2000 or 3000.
I've been doing ear caps too, playing a bit of catchup with them as far as finishing

And I'm still trying to finalize my paint scheme - I am feeling the blues but I'm not sure which version for the final layer, and might take one version and over lay it on another with weathering/masking to highlight the 'repaint'. Front runner options:

 One earcap will get Danger Stripes to play off my gauntlets and the other I'm thinking a coordinated-to-my-colors version of Fett's rangefinder cap with the inverted U shape and highlight patch.  Like some other elements I've put in, I want to add a nod to the Cool Mysterious Space Dude that started it all.

 (This version, not sure if special edition, ESB, ROTJ etc because there are like dozens of variants.)

To help out in the decision making I took my blues and a few rando colors from my now over-sized stock of rattle cans and made some chips to see what layers well.

Glad to be catching up on your work, this is looking fantastic so far! I think you'll be okay on sheen, as well. After some layers of paint and weathering, you won't be able to tell a different between the armor and the bucket. Nice work!

So, I went for it - I'm currently 90% done with basic paint layering. Still have to do the dome, then it's into subtle scratches, sanding/scuffing, and the like.
Comparison to the OG bucket - I haven't unmasked the earcaps since doing them because it's a pain. Process pics below.

And now, some process pics spanning a few days' time.
It's been a while since I did paint weathering on a painted substrate, so I got my eye in starting with the ear cap covers and the ear cap bodies.
Pulled in some of the old school flavor but modified to suit.

And of course, Danger Stripes

After dialing in my liquid laydown I proceeded to the main event.

Little bit too Jango for this kit, good thing I'm adding more colors. Visor area is Wildflower Blue over Midnight blue, keyslot is a single layer of midnight.

For the cheeks and swooshes I wanted to try inverting the top and bottom layers of color, which was a bit of a test of my masking ability, but I think I held the line pretty well.

The colors are Midnight Blue and Winter Grey(which is actually a very pale blue). For these my process was: I did fluid masking on the cheek plates and fully masked the swooshes, put down midnight blue (this is when I put on the midnight for the keyslot and visor area as well), peeled the swoosh and extended the liquid masking across both, (masked visor!) put down winter grey, masked the cheeks and extended liquid mask into the swooshes, and put down midnight.
The rest of the helmet areas have been masked/unmasked a few times because I really didn't plan my sequencing thoroughly - It hasn't been an issue and the minor bits of additional paint wear are free weathering as far as I'm concerned.

The last bit I was able to do before the weather got too wet was the back of the head - a layer of Solstice Blue (so pale it's almost but not quite a very cool, desaturated grey) and a layer of my primary armor plate color, Ink Blue

I peeled that and immediately got to work prepping the dome for the last step but the weather said "nah".

Dome color plan is a base layer of black, and a top layer in Deep Blue, which has a very saturated, very blue tone. It's close to ink blue, but has more blue oomph, if that makes sense.

I think I'll get the primary painting done this weekend and mount a (at least temporary) visor, and install some padding for the comfort. That will get it wearable so I can start planning out fans and other tech & accessories. And get some full(ish) kit pics.

 Oh hey vode I did some more work

Magnetic ear caps

Testing pads for fit. I haven't decided what color (if any) to put in my 'turn signals'.

Space Wizard Slap! (Check my Armor WIP for the reference.)

Ok that's it for now. Looks like I've got a visor to install, and a bunch of hours of subtle scrapes and scratches to make so I can catch them with dark colored paint washes.

and another little update, installing a long term temporary visor (I had a spare dark face shield from last H'ween) and some padding. Paint masking mock visor becomes visor template.

Experimenting with a chin strap; we'll see how well it works with my glasses. I might have to modify it. Because the visor is "long term temporary" I've put it in with hot glue. I am strongly considering an upgrade to a totally sweet mirrored visor which is very in vogue.

Almost-direct daylight shot. I'll need to paint that cross bar but I think it obscures my face without being too dark to see indoors. Thoughts? Balaclava? I've been making myself a linen cap to wick sweat, keep my hair from finding fan blades, and help keep the bucket from sliding around on me when I turn my head.  I can add a flap to cover up below my eyes if needed.


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