1. superjedi's Avatar
    Member Since
    Jul 2003
    Dec 27, 2011, 4:06 PM - X-Wing Pilot helmet conversion #1

    Hi all,
    Well here's something you won't see everyday from ol' Superjedi: a non-Fett thread!

    About 2 1/2 years ago during our last move, my Red 9 X-Wing helmet was damaged
    beyond repair. I was moving a shelf and actually stepped on it. The horror. . . the horror!
    At that time, it was the third X-Wing helmet in my collection. I already had a Luke ANH
    version from Richie's Armor, and a Red Leader helmet built up from a Wilco kit.

    I wanted to replace that Red 9 ever since, but my hobby dollars have been redirected
    toward numerous other projects. Recently, my wife got me the eFX Luke X-Wing helmet
    for an early Christmas present, and I just love it! It's really excellent looking and I have
    it on display with my other Rebel helmets.

    Since my Richie's helmet was painted as Luke's, that left me with a "spare" Luke helmet.
    So I decided to do a repaint and make it into another Red 9. If you're not sure which
    pilot Red 9 was, it was this guy:

    I just always liked the look of that dark red helmet with the tiger stripes on it.

    Here are some pics of the Richie's Luke helmet before I started messing with it.

    It's a very nice helmet, and is actually the very first full-size prop replica I ever owned! This was
    also purchased by my wife as a b-day present nearly a decade ago. So I always tease her that she's the
    reason for my crazy prop hobby!!

    I began the conversion by removing the visor, which is attached with a pair of tiny machine screws and nuts.
    I also removed the black trim around the bottom. It's some kind of self-adhesive door trim, so it came
    off very easily. The next thing I did was peel off all the vinyl decals using a very high-tech device: my
    fingernail! I was able to peel them all off fairly quickly, and in the pics below, you can see how they were
    applied before any of the airbrushed weathering.

    My original Red 9 was painted using Floquil Zinc Chromate Primer. I ordered some last week and it arrived
    earlier today, much sooner than I anticipated. If you're looking for Floquil or Polly Scale and don't have a
    local source, I highly recommend I've ordered from them many times, and they pack their
    items well and they arrive fast.

    The next stage will involve sanding the helmet to get it paint ready. I'm not going to sand it completely
    down to white styrene. Even I'm not that crazy. I'm just going to sand it to the point where I can't
    feel any ridges or spots where the original paint scheme was masked off.
    More to come!
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  3. Lucksy31's Avatar
    Member Since
    Apr 2007
    Dec 27, 2011, 6:32 PM - Re: X-Wing Pilot helmet conversion #2

    YES!!! I was praying you were gonna do this!! Now I can follow yours and feel confident
  4. superjedi's Avatar
    Member Since
    Jul 2003
    Dec 27, 2011, 6:45 PM - Re: X-Wing Pilot helmet conversion #3

    Yes, follow me and watch me step on those landmines!!

    I have the advantage of having done this helmet once before. It really is one of my favorite
    X-Wing pilot designs for some reason. I'd love to do a Biggs helmet at some point, but I'm
    afraid all the masking would give me a nervous breakdown.
  5. Lucksy31's Avatar
    Member Since
    Apr 2007
    Dec 28, 2011, 8:13 AM - Re: X-Wing Pilot helmet conversion #4

    What are you sanding with? A specific type or grit?
  6. superjedi's Avatar
    Member Since
    Jul 2003
    Dec 28, 2011, 4:29 PM - Re: X-Wing Pilot helmet conversion #5

    Haven't started on the sanding yet, but I plan on using plain old 220 grit sandpaper.
    The paint work on this helmet was really well done. There aren't that many raised
    areas between the colors. The most I can feel is along the red stripe that runs
    down the center of the mohawk. Everything else feels pretty smooth actually.
  7. superjedi's Avatar
    Member Since
    Jul 2003
    Dec 31, 2011, 2:31 PM - Re: X-Wing Pilot helmet conversion #6

    UPDATE: DEC 31st, 2011:

    Happy New Year's Eve! What better way to usher in the new year than with an X-Wing helmet update!
    That's what I always say. Actually, I've never said that before and probably never will again.

    I got the helmet sanded down finally. I just went over it enough to "break" the lines between the
    various colors. Most of the sanding was done on the red stripe running down the top of the mohawk,
    the yellow stripes on either side of the mohawk, and around where the decals were. Here she is.

    I wiped everything off with a damp cloth to make sure all the sanding dust was gone, and tomorrow
    I'll begin the paint job. I'm going to go over the whole helmet with some Rustoleum white primer. Just
    a light coat over the entire helmet, and 2 to 3 coats over the portions that will remain white. After
    that's dry, I'll mask the white areas and spray on the Floquil ZC Primer as my color coat.
    More to come in 2012!
  8. superjedi's Avatar
    Member Since
    Jul 2003
    Jan 1, 2012, 3:41 PM - Re: X-Wing Pilot helmet conversion #7

    UPDATE Jan 1st, 2012:

    Happy 2012! Have a nice relaxing weekend, so I'm able to get some hobby time.

    After sanding down the helmet, I did the first stage of the repaint by spraying the whole helmet with white.
    I just used some Rustoleum white primer. With two coats, it gave a nice even flat white surface. I did an
    additional coat down the top surface of the mohawk, just to be sure that red stripe would be covered.
    With the Red 9 helmet, part of that stripe will be repainted, but I wanted to start with a fresh surface.
    Here are 2 pics.

    Hopefully tomorrow will be warm enough to paint out in my garage. Otherwise, I'll have to wait a few days
    to do the dark rusty red color.
    More to come.
  9. superjedi's Avatar
    Member Since
    Jul 2003
    Jan 2, 2012, 1:39 PM - Re: X-Wing Pilot helmet conversion #8

    UPDATE Jan 2nd, 2012:

    Well, it was a little cooler today, but quite warm enough to paint.
    The overall base colors are now complete. As I mentioned in a previous post, I used
    Floquil Zinc Chromate Primer in a spray can to do the rusty looking color. The areas to
    remain white were masked off with some trusty blue painters tape, and I laid down
    two coats of the ZC Primer. Here's the "clean" helmet.

    The ZC Primer is a nice rich color, and it changes depending on the lighting. Here's the opposite side.

    It's not readily apparent in the shots above, but I made the white upside down U-shaped areas just below the
    ram horns slightly assymetrical, just like in screen caps of the helmet.

    Next, I'll do some basic chipping-type weathering while I await a set of decals from Lucksy31. Thanks, Scott!

    There's not too much more actual paint work involved with this helmet. There's a red stripe with some
    yellow dashes that runs part of the way down the mohawk, but I have to get the decals in place to ensure
    I get it positioned correctly.
  10. superjedi's Avatar
    Member Since
    Jul 2003
    Jan 7, 2012, 1:25 PM - Re: X-Wing Pilot helmet conversion #9

    UPDATE Jan 7th, 2012:

    Base painting and decals are done. I got a decal set from Lucksy31 yesterday and got them all applied.
    I needed to have the decals in place on the mohawk to make sure I was placing the red stripe correctly.
    Here are a few pics.

    Scott makes fantastic decals! The set is very comprehensive and he makes different combinations for
    several of the Red Squadron X-Wing pilots. Of course, he also makes some Fett decals too.
    The decals seen above and below are the 3 tiger stripes on each side of the mohawk, 2 "sliced onion"
    symbols at the front and back of the mohawk, 4 gray/black V symbols for the white areas of the ram
    horns, and 2 "speedballs" for the other white areas.

    His decal set also includes the 2 cat eyes that sit low on the sides of the helmet, but I didn't realize
    they were included, so I painted those on using some gray, flat black, and pale yellow.
    I also made the small black squares from some leftover black vinyl lettering.

    Below is the red/yellow mohawk stripe. From the screencaps, it was hard to judge the width of this
    stripe. Even though I made it fairly narrow, it may even be narrower on the screen used helmet.
    I masked off everything but the stripe (including the squares that are yellow) and used some Tamiya
    Mica Red in a spray can. Once that was dry, I remasked everything but the yellow squares and
    used some Polly Scale Reefer Yellow with a dense make up sponge to get even coverage with
    no brushstrokes.

    Here's a shot of the opposite side. It's really sunny today, and even with my shade drawn, I was
    getting some glare.

    At this stage, I've done some very basic scraping-type weathering. The next step will be a black
    acrylic wash, and possibly some strategic airbrush weathering. Not sure if the airbrushing will be necessary,
    I'll wait and see how the wash looks.

    Almost done with this one!
  11. superjedi's Avatar
    Member Since
    Jul 2003
    Jan 8, 2012, 12:15 PM - Re: X-Wing Pilot helmet conversion #10

    UPDATE Jan 8, 2012: COMPLETE!

    OK, everybody, it's done!

    As I mentioned above, I did a black acrylic wash to grunge up the helmet and tone down those stark white
    areas. After the wash, I added a bit more gray/black weathering with some pastels and some final scratches
    in the white areas. The screen caps aren't totally clear, so I tried to match the positions as best I could.
    Here's the finished helmet.

    The whole helmet got a coat of Krylon matte clear to seal the pastels and equalize the sheen between the
    different types of paint and the decals.

    Moving around the other side, you can see some of the additional scratches in the white areas.

    Finally, here are some closer shots of the mohawk cap and the white areas.

    Once the Krylon clear was dry, it was only a matter of 15 minutes or so to place the bottom trim back on
    and reattach the visor. This helmet used 2 tiny machine screws with washers and nuts to attach the visor.
    I was more worried about dropping them than I was about any part of the paint job!

    So that's it! This helmet is now on display along with my eFX Luke ANH, and my Wilco Red Leader version.
    Thanks for following along, and a BIG thanks to Scott for making such excellent decals!
  12. Feb 5, 2012, 1:51 AM - Re: X-Wing Pilot helmet conversion #11

    Okay--I'm very impressed! Your little project just lit the fire under my butt to finally do an X-wing pilot helmet.
  13. superjedi's Avatar
    Member Since
    Jul 2003
    Feb 5, 2012, 6:11 AM - Re: X-Wing Pilot helmet conversion #12

    Great! I've always loved this helmet design. I recently ordered another one and will be doing a Gold Leader paint job.
  14. Muad Dib's Avatar
    Member Since
    Jun 2003
    Feb 5, 2012, 11:06 AM - Re: X-Wing Pilot helmet conversion #13

    Just as an aside, Gold Leader also shared his helmet with Griz Frizz: The "...SHE GONNA BLOW!" pilot in ROTJ.
  15. Lucksy31's Avatar
    Member Since
    Apr 2007
    Feb 5, 2012, 7:50 PM - Re: X-Wing Pilot helmet conversion #14

    I hope there another tutorial with Gold leader as well...
  16. NegativeEleven's Avatar
    Member Since
    Dec 2010
    Feb 6, 2012, 2:29 AM - Re: X-Wing Pilot helmet conversion #15

    I have to help a friend with an X-wing pilot costume over the next 3 months. What is "Richie's?" Do you mean "Rubies?" It looks like their $100 helmet is the cheapest place to start.
  17. Muad Dib's Avatar
    Member Since
    Jun 2003
    Feb 6, 2012, 5:37 AM - Re: X-Wing Pilot helmet conversion #16

    Richie's Armor. They used to make kits but I'm not sure anymore.
    Seek out Mark Bradley, he has a helmet kit on ebay right now for less than that.
  18. Lucksy31's Avatar
    Member Since
    Apr 2007
    Feb 6, 2012, 8:02 AM - Re: X-Wing Pilot helmet conversion #17

    Richies is an armour maker as well, and they do X-wing helmets too. I have (2) from Richies, and (1) from Bradley. I would highly recommend the RICHIES over Bradleys. The bradleys helmet must have been cast from an x-small size. With NO padding at all, it doesn't fit on my head. The Richies was most likely a large and looks more "movie" sized.
  19. superjedi's Avatar
    Member Since
    Jul 2003
    Feb 6, 2012, 4:22 PM - Re: X-Wing Pilot helmet conversion #18

    I own 2 Richie's Armor X-Wing helmets, and they're great. I've never seen a Bradley helmet in person, so I can't speak
    to its accuracy or size. But as Scott said, I've heard it's significantly smaller.

    Scott, there will be a Gold Leader progress thread for sure! Did you get my PM over on the RPF about payment for the decals?
  20. High Speed Low Drag Fett 4 Real's Avatar
    Member Since
    Jan 2010
    Feb 6, 2012, 5:55 PM - Re: X-Wing Pilot helmet conversion #19

    makes me want to do one as well
  21. May 19, 2012, 2:26 PM - Re: X-Wing Pilot helmet conversion #20

    Turned out pretty good!

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