Painting & Weathering


Active Hunter
Hi Everyone,

We've pulled a couple of fiberglass helmets from our molds & was wondering if you can give me some painting & weathering tips.
Do you normally paint the helmet first with aluminum/silver paint before painting the green color? If so, would it be possible to just scratch the green paint for weathering or will the silver paint be scratched too?

Naturally, there's the more common method of painting it green first then scratching it with silver paint - however, it seems opposite.

Any help is appreciated, thanks!

Yes you can paint the helmet silver first then let it dry completly then scratch the green off while it is still tacky. Thats what I did for some of my damage on my helmet. Webchief has a website that give's some really good detailed advice on painting a helmet. Might want to ask him.
A Better way would be to paint the silver/ chrome on 1st...well actually sand a bit 1st then chrome it....let dry use liquid masker or masking tape to tape of the larger battle damage area's then go ahead with the greens and reds and so forth...then after its all dry take of the masking tape and presto...battle damage....of course you will have to go in there with a knife and paint to make it more realistic but you get the idea
Unfortunately the images that were on my site are all fragged.

I primed the helmet, painted the whole thing silver/chrome, then used masking tape to create areas I wanted to stay silver and then painted the greens, kept painting in layers and moving the tape. I also did a lot of actual scraping, pealing and scuffing to create realistic damage. It cape out fantastic.
I was wondering, is it possible to paint a helmet (at least just the green of the ROTJ) with acryllics and a brush? Since I have never heard of a dead on spray paint color, I was wanting to mix my own (without an airbrush) If I were to paint on the green topically with a brush, would a primer be needed? Or will this idea even work? (If anyone knows an exact color in spray paints, feel free to speak up;))
Yeh you probable could, Im not sure about the colors....But you might run into problems with brush strokes on the helmet, just becareful with that....Some where around here theirs a thread with exact colors and such.....Not sure where it is though..... Goodluck - Tim Allen
Blastech- Yeah, you might not be satisfied with handpainting really large areas. I tried it & it looked fair, but I really wasn't happy w/it. As far as mixing paints & airbrushing gos, its not nearly as difficult as you may think. I swore I would never use an airbrush, but finally broke down & got one. I wouldn't go back to handpainting or spray cans now! You can pick up really cheap testors airbrushes for 40 bucks at walmart that work pretty good. Then you can mix any color your mind will come up with & no brush strokes! Hope that gives ya something to think about, & good luck.
If I were to go out and get a Testors airbrush at Wally World, where do you buy the paints for it? I've actually thought about getting one before.
Wally world usually carries an assortment of paints in the model/toy section, although they are usually gloss enamil for car models, (not drab/dull fett colors.) You'll probably have to go to a hobby store such as Hobbylobby or Michaels to find good fett colors to start with. Then you have to decide if you'll use acrylics or enamils. Its been my experience that there are many more colors availabe in enamil, although it probably depends on your area.
I use an airbrush frequently for T-shirts etc.... They are a great tool. You aren't doing any lettering so you don't have to worry about consistent line structure, or making skin tones with transparent paint here so its not that difficult.

As far as being able to paint with them if you just think of it as an expensive spray can it is very easy to use. For custom mixing of colors this is by far the way to go. Now if you are talking fiberglass here you can get some nice colors for auto detailing and murals for hoods at most craft stores great for metal and fiberglass. They also take very well to clear coats, also available in the same line of paints. Stay away from the t-shirt paints and you should be fine.
So . . . if I may ask . . what do we need to know when it comes to mixing paints? I was in a Michaels a few weeks ago looking at buying an airbrush and some paints and . . I just don't have a clue how to go about it . . how to know how much of what colours etc to mix together to get the shades I want.

Any pointers for a newbie with airbrushes like me?
Hmmm....This may get a bit long.
Although I don't have a helmet to paint(yet) I have used airbrushes for some time in my other hobby; toy soldiers and scale buildings for dioramas. As stated, an airbrush is really like a neato spraycan with ALOT more control.
The choices vary as far as system and style. There are;
1) Gravity feed- wherein the paint is located in a small feeder cup on top of the brush and... well I won't explain gravity.
2) Siphon feed- paint flows up a tube, or siphon, reaching into the paint receptacle located at the bottom of the airbrush. Think of those lawn fertilizer things that you attach to your hose and the stuff gets pulled out the bottle by the suction of the water passing over the orifice.

1)Single action- Paint volume dispensed by the airbrush is controlled by turning the knurled knob on the nozzle.
2)Double action- Usually features a button or lever, sometimes even doubling as the airflow button, which can be "rocked" to control the amount of paint released.

I won't go into the few "hybrids" out there, as they are for the more advanced painter who would know all this anyway.

There are various companies that put out fantastic airbrushes; Badger, Iwata, and Paasche are three of the best, and most costly. But, as the saying goes; "You get what you pay for". Airbrushes can be had from as little as $20 to several hundred dollars US. Personally, I do nearly ALL my work with a cheapo that I got at Harbor Freight Tools on sale for $4.99 or close to it. It's all you need for painting single color, large areas.

The main thing to remember about airbrushes is that they need to be kept clean while in use, and put away even cleaner. It's a good idea if your airbrush doesn't have a filter at the end of the siphon to go ahead and install one to prevent clogging from paint globs that may develop. Also, a moisture trap in the airline is effective at keeping moisture out of the airbrush for when using enamels.

Paints are varied. Colors are best experimented with on a personal level. Enamels may provide a better "cracked/weathered" look when fully cured. They are a bit more involved with the cleaning and thinning process.
Acrylics are water-based and clean and thin very easily. Sometimes cheaper than enamels. Both types work great in airbrushes.

Finally, you need a propellant source. Testor's makes a brush/spraycan product that I have heard of good and not so good results on. I have no experience with these. Usually, the chosen air source is a compressor. Newer ones feature very quiet operation. These can also run the gamut from less than $100 to several hundred dollars US. Some, made for airbrushing and hobbyists, are very affordable. Make sure that one used for airbrushing has a regulator for adjusting airflow.

Ugh. If I've missed anything, I'm sure I'll hear about it. Anyway, this'll get you started on what to look for as far as features. Shop around. I always feel like Miguel's is a bit more expensive than they should be unless you have one of their frequent coupons.

Hope this helps. :)
MMM thats a lot of help. I've owned an air brush now for about 5 years but have not taken it out. Paasche I believe was the brand. Got it at Michaels with one of those coupons (50%) on top of the sales price(they screwed up). Now for the stupid questions: can you use testors paint in it or is it better to use airbrush paints? If airbrush paints do you have a preference with your use? Can you use it indoors or are you limited like spray cans? And last do you take precautions with a mask? Thanks for any help.
Those are great questions, aboB. You've got a good tool there, one of the better ones. Good choice.

As far as Testor's paints, any type of enamel model paint is great for these things. Thinning may have to be done sometimes, and this with a solution suited to the basing of the paint(ie; water for water based). It's better to use Testor's own thinner for their paints as they are formulated for each other. Clean-up afterwards of the brush is very important. Take it all apart and follow the manufacturer's advice.

As with any type of petroleum based, chemical-laden product, it's a good idea if you don't have a booth arrangement to spray outside out of the wind. Many airbrushers/hobbyists have smaller spraybooths in their "hobby room" with fans that pull all the bad stuff to the outside. I would certainly advise anyone to use a mask and any appropriate safety equipage when using these paints, as the nature of the airbrush creates particulates that are easily inhaled or aspirated. I'm a bad boy, and rarely use a mask. "Do as I say, not as I do." :)

I mainly use acrylics, which I have MANY tubes of that I get at WallyWorld for about 44 cents US. It's water-based and makes for easy clean-up. I use these for painting toy soldiers and their buildings. I will most likely go with enamels for my Fett project.
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