Try multiple coats with sanding in varying grits from 1000 - 1500 - 2000 before the final coat....you won't be dissapointed. You could use spray enamels to get this effect. Auto paint is a sure bet,but expensive way to go.
All the vader helmets had a grey/ black paint scheme on the mask, the dome was painted all black and had a satin finish in anh, but was high gloss in the other movies.
pm if you want a photo of mine, rotj scheme
I just finished my ESB Vader last month, but,...I continue to find the finish on my helmet most disturbing....the dome is made of molded pvc resin, and I've had a devil of a time trying to put a clearcoat shine on it without crackling the paint or making horrid orange peel. Finally I gave up on using clearcoat and used a high-gloss paint called "Universal" by Rust-o-Leum instead. It is made for all finishes, and gives a really great shine.
But, one problem...the paint did not appear to fully dry. I painted it a week ago, being careful to shake it thoroughly first and to not overcoat it, but still a week later, the finish remains just a bit ticky-tacky in places. So I just wet-sanded it, and am going to let it cure a couple of days in a warm dry spot, then try to clearcoat it.
I got a can of clear lacquer by Rust O Leum, because I heard some have recommended it for plastic/pvc and ABS helmets. Any input here, before I spray that first bit onto the sanded mask and helmet????...because if I start spraying, and see that paint finish start to crackle when I do, or form orange peel, I am about ready to throw this mask and helmet right off the patio and out into the street. GAH!
S.O.S....! Gotta be Vader in two weeks at ComicCon, and want to have a shiny helmet, not a sticky one.
(P.S.....I know I know, rattle cans are the ghetto way to paint, but, I'm a very broke Vader at the moment, so that's my only option)
Liane, I would sand the thing down to the material finish, sand it well with fine grit sandpaper, then follow the distance directions on the can of paint. Remember some paints don't mix well, and you will get the orange peel look every time. Distance and intermittant spraying is the key in your situation.
It's ironic that you replied to this thread 8)... I posted it a couple of weeks ago, but have since talked with you on the phone about the issue of the "Neverending Orange Peel" ...
I did what you suggested, and it took a while but finally I got the bucket to an acceptable shine, with only a tiny area of crackling...I'm about to sand that spot with 1000 grit and then polish it with Mirror Glaze.
Painting this helmet sure has been a pain in the posterior. If I ever start talking about wanting to buy another PVC/poly helmet and mask again, would somebody just hit me with a brick until I pass out........LOL!
Okay, so I've learned that there are all types of ways to apply different paints, and each one may be affected by base material and previous coats. Anybody know a SW character with a spotty, wrinkled, flakey and pockmarked gear for me to begin with?
Good information for a new fellow like myself. Thanks for the tolerance!