Originally posted by Slave1:
Here are some tips in the actual painting and weathering of armor . . ..
If you don't have the benefit of an airbrush and are painting from off-the shelf cans, do not just use one color on an area. If I'm using paint out of the can on props, I tend to mist with two, three or more similar colors whenever I'm doing something that's supposed to look weathered. Someone mentioned a Claret color being a good color for ROTJ gauntlets. I have used that color with good results, again, always misting on different colors. Too much of something will either make your gauntlets looking too red or too brown or too purple. Keep those ref pics handy while painting; don't rely on your memory.
If you have an airbrush and feel comfortable using it, you can get a lot more specific in your color choice because you can custom mix. I like using spray paint for certain areas and airbrushing on others. Be brave enough to try new techniques though.
For weathering, try this . . . artist chalk pastels. I take these and rub them on sandpaper to make a find powder, then rub that into the paint finish for a dusty look. Can also be used to simulate dirt. Clear coat it and it's protected. You'd be surprised how effective this looks. Misting black paint or light gray paint from a distance is fine too, though I see a lot of people go overboard with the black on Fett, and he ends up looking burnt instead of beaten.
On the silver areas of damage (chipping and scratches), try those felt tip metallic paint pens you can get at Craft 2000 and Michaels. You'll have a lot more control than you will with a paint brush. Drybrushing is a good technique for streaking on a lighter color and making it look as though that area has been bumped and scuffed.
Again, I'll stress that if you just use one color on any one piece, it will come out looking flat. If you look at the chest plates, for instance, on the original they are slightly darker on the outside edges. Then a medium color and then another color still on the very top. A lot of depth.
I found a good color for knee and shoulder armor . . . Caterpillar yellow. Again, use other colors as well. For the ROTJ version, you would definitely want to get some orange in there as well.
Once more (I feel like I'm teaching) the Claret and the Caterpillar should not be used on their own or they will just look wrong. And apart from those colors I try not to advise on color choice. I have had a lot of folks that have seen the replica I have on my website asking me questions about color, but I've always felt that if I get too specific and someone takes my advice, their replica will only be a relica of my replica. I prefer to encourage people to look at the source material and base their choices on that as much as possible.
I do encourage you to use as many techniques as possible to get that very random look to the damage that has occured. Spend some time and you'll see the payoff.
But if all that sounds like too much work, I've heard dragging your costume behind your car on a rope at fifty miles an hour produces the exact same results.