Maintaining your Copper Gauntlet Rocket


MachineCraft

Active Hunter
Maintaining your Copper Gauntlet Rocket - A (Not So) Short Story

So you got your hands on one of the new Gauntlet Rockets floating around. Sweet! Lots of ground has been covered on these parts in recent months and gauntlets all over the world are looking better because of it. In addition to dimensional changes, lots of research has also been put in to find the accurate materials, which is confirmed to be a special Copper alloy.


Depending on which costume you’re building you may need have a plan in place to either weather or maintain the finish of your new Rocket’s Copper ‘Cone’. This thread will be dedicated to just that. If you have a method that has worked well for you, feel free to share it. These are just my tips/observations having worked with Copper and Brass in more recent years.



A couple quick notes:
  • We (MachineCraft) are commercially vacuum sealing our rockets once we receive them. This will prevent the copper from oxidizing between the time we receive them and they are received by customers no matter when you order one.
  • Regardless of which costume you are building, we would recommend picking up some Renaissance Wax (found on Amazon). This is a Micro-Crystalline Wax Polish and will help ‘lock in’ the color of your copper and prevent future oxidation. We would suggest having this on hand before starting the process if at all possible.
  • If you need to start the oxidation process over, you can purchase some Gray 3M Scotch-Brite from Amazon or your local hardware store. These abrasive scouring pads will act as a sanding medium and will take the copper back down to the color of it’s raw form, which is a very light almost-pink color. The Gray Scotch-Brite pads are what we have used on these with great success and seem to best match the finish of the screen used parts. [Getting this medium down into all the holes of the cone is tricky and may take some creativity to accomplish. There may be some sort of Dremel tool that would make scouring the holes easier without damaging them.]
  • NOTE: While we’re specifically calling out copper, brass is in the copper alloy family and thus these steps will work on brass as well.


ROTJ and SE Costumes:

If you’re building an ROTJ or SE costume, congratulations! You have the easiest option. Just put the copper piece on your counter and you will have the perfect shade of copper after a couple years! What do you mean you want done sooner than that? Ok, ok – Let’s expedite this process:

  1. Remove the rocket from packaging.
  2. Unscrew the tip from the cone, and unscrew the cone from the body. Place tip and body in a safe place.
  3. Rinse the copper cone in warm water. Once rinsed off, scrub the cone with Palmolive dish soap being sure to get soap on all surfaces. Other dish soap will not work – it needs to be Palmolive brand.
  4. Rinse all of the soap off of cone.
  5. Dry off cone completely. Be sure to get every bit of moisture off of the piece, including in the ‘laser’ holes. Any moisture or water left on the part will make the part turn green wherever that moisture is trapped.
  6. Once dry, leave the part out on the counter or in a safe place that it is exposed to air but will not get any water or moisture contact. Handle the piece with cotton gloves or cloth as any oils you leave behind will slow down oxidation in that area. You can see evidence of this in the SE images, the widest part of the cone is lighter than the rest of the cone from being tightened onto the body by hand. (You can likely recreate this by picking up the cone with your bare hands and screwing it onto the body by hand a couple of times before leaving out to dry.)
  7. Repeat steps 3 through 6 once every couple weeks until part reaches your desired color.
  8. Once your target color is achieved, buff the part using Renaissance Wax on a soft cloth. DO NOT glob the Renaissance Wax onto the cone as it will fill the holes of the cone and is difficult to get out. Just like mentioned before, you may need some creativity to buff the holes. We used a very light amount and pushed a cloth into the holes using a small Phillips screwdriver. Once in the holes you can spin the part to get the wax spread around. Ensure wax has touched every part of the piece you don’t want to change colors. This compound is extremely transparent so it might look like nothing is there, but if you look closely you might notice a very slight satin sheen where you’ve buffed.
  9. Reapply Renaissance Wax once every year or so. If you keep the rocket in a small sealed container you can forgo this, but to be safe we would recommend reapplying. Because the oxidation process takes a while you might not notice just how much the part changes from month to month, but it will until it reaches a very dark brown color.

NOTE: We would recommend taking a picture of the part in a well lit area so that you can compare the part to the picture. This way you will always have a baseline for just how much the color has changed. In fact, it is probably worth taking pictures throughout this entire process so that you can see how dramatic the change is from the time you first pulled the piece out of the packaging.



ESB Costume:

Because the part was freshly machined during the Empire Strikes Back production, prepping the rocket for ESB costume is a much quicker process than ROTJ and SE. With that being said, it is extremely important that the copper is maintained if you want it to continue to look like the rocket does in ESB. Here’s what we’d suggest:
  1. Make sure you have Renaissance Wax IN HAND. This product is readily available on Amazon.
  2. If applicable, remove the Gauntlet Rocket from vacuum sealed packaging without touching the cone with your bare hands. If you’re happy with the color, skip steps 2-5.
  3. Unscrew the tip from the cone and unscrew the cone from the body. Place tip and body in a safe place. For the most even finish on the copper, only handle copper with cotton gloves. Oils from your fingers can prevent oxidation anywhere they make contact with the part.
  4. Leave the part out on the counter or in a safe place that it is exposed to air but will not get any water or moisture contact.
  5. Monitor color daily.
  6. Once your target color is achieved, buff the part using Renaissance Wax on a soft cloth. DO NOT glob the Renaissance Wax onto the cone as it will fill the holes of the cone and is difficult to get out. Just like mentioned before, you may need some creativity to buff the holes. We used a very light amount and pushed a cloth into the holes using a toothpick with the point cut off. Once in the holes you can spin the part to get the wax spread around. Ensure Wax has touched every part of the piece you don’t want to change colors. This compound is extremely transparent so it might look like nothing is there, but if you look closely you might notice a very slight satin sheen where you’ve buffed.
  7. Reapply Renaissance Wax once or twice every year. Because the oxidation process takes a while you might not notice just how much the part changes from month to month. This step is especially important for the ESB costume as even slight oxidation is going to be much more noticeable.


Hopefully this helps someone. As with anything, please handle these materials at your own risk and do your research. These are just the things that worked for me. I am in no way a materials expert and I am sure the community will have more than one way to tackle this


Happy hunting!,

DK
 
Last edited:
Top