Jump to content

Painting stuff


Spasm
 Share

Recommended Posts

Gents

As threatened, I'm putting together some methods, types of materials used and pictures to allow you all to have a go at painting stuff.

I'll try to remember to take pictures at each stage and give advice on how to mix colours, create an aged look and my 'sneak up on it' and 'painting by numbers' cheats. There is a point in learning how to draw and paint like every grand master but if you just don't have the 40 or so years I've spent learning then here's a few ways of just getting what you want.

I don't use any expensive materials or special tools - you may need to buy some smaller brushes than you have hanging around in the shed and you will need to visit the local kiddies art shop. The lacquer is the most expensive thing I use but it is easy (from a rattle can) and gives the right finish.

I will probably miss a few points so stop me at any time to ask questions and I'll try to steer you.

This will take several weeks to complete as I'm doing other stuff as well.

For this project I'm going to be using a Mk2 Brodie that I obtained off of Ebay for about £35 or so. As you know i work on all sorts of things which are mostly relics, this, however, is in pretty good nick so the purists amongst you will be incredibly annoyed at me.

I wont, therefore, be going through the restoration of a relic (I can do this later for those of you that are interested but it's really just the same as sorting those rusty paint bubbles on your car wing but with a bit less sanding and paint matching).

So, this helmet was a painted black, probably factory owned and was worn by some ARP type employee.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

  • Replies 81
  • Created
  • Last Reply

Top Posters In This Topic

First thing to do is check for helmet and liner stamps.

This one is quite early for its fitting types. These types of helmets are usually stamped in the rim over the left ear but this one is stamped in the rear. The stamp reads 'F&L 1/1939' which shows the manufacturer as Fisher and Ludlow of Birmingham. I assume the 1/1939 is for January 1939 (the month is not normally stamped in later helmets). There is also feint remains of some paint under the rim which reads 'Cox Brothers' - probably the shop or factory. I should research this I suppose.

The liner has several; stamps in the cross pieces that join the crown to the head band. The manufacturer's stamp is 71/4 (size) VERO (Everett W Vero & Co London) and 1938.

Then take the thing apart as it's nearly impossible to paint with the liner and chinstrap in place without making a mess.

The liner is removed by unscrewing the crown nut and bolt. Sometimes pretty tight so be careful not to mess up the fixing with a rubbish screwdriver and stabbing yourself in the process. Screw the nut and bolt back into the liner or you'll be sure to lose it.

You'll need to use your screwdriver again to open up the retaining lugs to remove the chin strap. Just bend them a bit till the strap falls out. These will need to be pushed back in when you are finished and you wont want to use a hammer once your helmet is all nicely painted.

You can see that this helmet was originally an army brown colour and only the top of the helmet was painted black.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Right, helmet is in bits and we've put the bits somewhere we can find them again. Sanding now, oh goody gum drops.

Get outside as the Admin Staff WILL notice you've made a mess no matter how much you vacuum and wipe up. You will also need a dust mask as your nose will fill up with 'orrible black stuff that will give you a surprise when you blow your nose later on. (Why do we always look at what we've just blown into our hankies? I've never found anything other than bad stuff, what do we expect gold nuggets or something?)

I've found no quick way of doing this, just elbow grease. This helmet is in pretty good shape so it's relatively easy but the idea is to give the new paint something to adhere to. As with any painting you need to have a good foundation, balls this up or take short cuts and your paint isn't going to stay where you put it. The preparation for any custom work on cars, motorcycles or your braai will only be as good as the preparation. You can do the best custom airbrush job that'll end up on the floor if it hasn't a good foundation or protection (but that's later on).

Buy good quality sand paper, the cheap stuff isn't worth the money - you use twice as much, isn't constant and puts bits of sand into your project. Although we're not trying for a shiney custom bike tank here don't get carried away with 40 grade paper as it'll put scratches into the helmet and will be seen when you've finished. Some scratching is ok as we're looking for a helmet that looks used. Deep scratches obviously caused by heavy sanding around the rim doesn't look right.

So, take a deep breath and get stuck in. It's gonna be a couple of hours of annoyance.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Sand the top coat of paint off and into the primer. There's no point in taking everything back to the metal, if the primer is on well let's use that for what it was meant to do.

The top coat of paint will be hiding rust and abnormalities. Even though I can't really feel it, the sanding has shown a dent. The top coat of paint has stayed on in a small spot even thought its been sanded across.

Easy to remove small dings, use a ball hammer (the ones with the rounded end, put the helmet on your grass in garden with the dent on the ground. Bash the inside of the dent lightly until you get the feel that the metal is moving. Keep having a look until the dent is mostly gone. You may then go back to a normal hammer on the top side to even out. You'll leave a patch in the grass but hey ho, must've been those pesky hedgehogs. Bigger dents can be sorted using the same methods but take it slowly and you may need a harder surface but not concrete or the patio (hedgehogs don't break paving slabs). If you can't get it perfect then you can always leave alone as we're going for a used look or you can use some body filler and sanding.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Wasn't too bad doing the dome. Now we're getting into the rim.

All of these helmets will have developed rust around the rims. So it's important to find it along the rim edge. You'll need to fold the sandpaper and get right in there pressing quite hard. Even if the paint looks good it will be hiding rust. You can see the brown rust being lifted by the sanding.

This is where I manage to split the ends of my thumbs and fingers. Hurts just like a paper cut which is worse than having your arm cut off and lasts for days. The doctors amongst you will know that I'm lacking in something. Probably not enough sex.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Once the rim is all done then its the strip between the dome and the rim. Roll up the sandpaper into a tube and crack on. Do the little fiddly bits around the chin strap rivets just to check for rust. These are normally ok but it's worth sanding down so that you don't get a lip in the paintwork.

Then get inside the helmet. Do the rim again in the same way, expose any manufacturing stamps and get rid of the rust in the dome. There's always rust where the liner rubs so get shot. Don't be tempted to blow the dust out as you work so that you can see what you've done. You'll get an eye full of rusty paint particles.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Have a feel round that its fairly flat and for rough bits. Phew, that's the sanding done.

Now to the treatment and protection. I use a rust cure product from Hammerite called Kurust. I think it's about a fiver from the car spares shop. This stuff converts rust into a sort of black hardness but wont penetrate beyond the surface. Any deep rust will need to be removed but we're ok on this helmet.

It's a sort of milky frothy liquid once shaken up. Use an old brush and brush on. Make sure you plaster it on and into the rim edge with a stiff brush. You're supposed to pour the cure rust into another container before you use it as rust contaminates the fluid as you dip in the brush causing it to turn dark. As I get through this stuff pretty quickly I just dip the brush into the original container. Get a couple of coats on allowing it to dry between coats. It dries pretty quickly, 15 minutes or so, on a nice day but it just sort of sits there in the cold. Don't use a heat gun as you want this to absorb into any rust. The more rust present the darker it will dry.

If you've got a lot of rust it's worth giving the helmet another sanding just to make sure you don't get any more rust appearing. Keep redoing until everything is stable.

The cure rust stuff is water soluble so clean under a tap and stash for the next project. If you use the brush again with paint it'll be discoloured.

Notice how the helmet has darkened as this stuff dries.

Edited by Spasm
Link to comment
Share on other sites

Larry - hopefully you'll have a go

We're going to do this an army brown so the next stage will be mixing the colours and working up a used patina brown. At this stage I'd be more or less sorted on what theme is going on the helmet.

Usually a commission to commemorate a relative or regiment or an idea that I'm working up for myself to sell on at a later date. I would normally, therefore, have some reference material already collected - pictures of medals and regimental badges, paperwork and photos and some images that I'd like to get onto the helmet once it's the right base colour.

I don't really have any definite ideas for this one as yet. As it's army we can pick numerous WW2 battles along with the characters involved in them, that'll then lead to portraits and medals and give a sort of title to the helmet. We can do copies of documents, newspapers and signatures that can help tie the images together around the helmet.

It'll be a couple of days or so before I can get on with this so any ideas? It has to be army as I'm trying to show how to paint an army brown but the same methods can be used for Air Force or Navy and tropical or desert.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

I used a heat gun and finished off by sanding the rusty bits, is that a short cut I shouldn't take?

There may have been a unit flash under the dark green, that was under the lime green, that was under the top coat of black (if you know what I mean) as red paint appeared on one side just above the brim. Joy of joys, BMB 1939 very small and lightly stamped so will no doubt disappear again when paint goes back on.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Tony

A lot of relic helmets are so rusty that removing it would mean that there'd no helmet left. If it's small areas of rust then I'd suggest you get rid of the rust even if you're left with a hole. The hole can then be filled quite easily using the glass fibred fillers available these days. Don't get too overly concerned about the rust, remember we're trying to get as good a base as possible to create something that's going to sit on a shelf, not worn jumping around in the woods or on a motorcycle.

If woodland jumping or 'ride it like to stole it' is where you want to go then don't use an original, go buy a reproduction and paint that like you'd paint your car or helmet for road use. Without getting too much into the science (because I can't remember it), rust is basically an electrochemical process. It needs to be able to transfer electrons from iron to oxygen. To do this it needs water (and obviously oxygen and iron). So, if one, or some or all of the elements are not present then the process cannot take place.

What we're doing is to remove the oxygen (a bit, as there's some in rust) and the water (it's going on the shelf in a warm cosy house where we don't like having loads of condensation running down the walls). There will be water vapour in your house, war room, display case, cupboard etc so we cover everything up with a few coats of lacquer which will keep water away and help protect your beloved piece of art from the cleaning lady's over vigorous dusting.

Although we can never fully protect we can make things an awful lot better.

I use a heat gun a lot, as you'll see later, but I don't use it on the cure rust to try and let it penetrate. I doubt it'll make much difference as it reacts pretty quickly with the rust making a hard surface with rust underneath. Sand over and retreat until you feel it's gonna last longer than the pyramids and it'll be fine. Trust me, I'm a doctor.

Let me go have my dinner and I'll be back.............

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Black over lime green over dark green, hopefully not painted inside as well - watch those split end thumbs.

The paint we're going to be putting on isn't thick. It's meant to expose scratches and stamps to bring out that nice patina so the markings should remain. I've had some very very lightly stamped helmets and have even left a blended in patch of bare metal to leave them exposed. It'll be under the rim so I think a bit of missing paint is worth the stamps being seen.

I'll hopefully be base painting the helmet in the next day or so.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Larry - hopefully you'll have a go

Well....I do have a lid, not sure if it's enough of a relic. And I was thinking of doing a RN in tribute to Dad. Though of a picture of him, his medals and the ships he served on.....maybe his wavy navy rank insignia.

Got to many irons in the fire at the moment, however I am watching your process and will wait for the end.

:cheers:

Larry

Link to comment
Share on other sites

This is the stuff you'll need to get the base colour done. It's the most fun bit, happens pretty quickly, but probably the most difficult to get right.

There's standard colours that you can go off and buy but a plain single colour just doesn't look right. The early WW2 helmets were British Service Brown BS381 499, later war Middle Bronze Green BS381 223 and tropical/desert were Light Stone BS381 361. I think they are the correct but we don't want them for this project.

We're going to mix our own, splash about a bit and sneak up on the colour we want.

So, any old end up, we want our nicely sanded and protected helmet, an old yoghurt pot for mixing enough colour to cover the helmet several times, an old jam jar for water, an old white crockery plate for mixing colours, some kitchen roll for dabbing, wiping up etc. Some sandpaper and wet and dry, around 800 - 1200 grade, a scouring pad (not soap impregnated), a selection of brushes (your 1 inch DIY brush will do as the paint needs to go on pretty quickly), a selection of paints (more about them further down), a rattle can of lacquer (more about that further down) and a heat gun (a proper one that strips paint, a hair drier will do but takes a bit longer and is a bit less risky)

Link to comment
Share on other sites

The paints

I use these colours all the time. They will all be used for our helmet - these colours will also do all the German helmet colours - other than Air Force or Navy which will need some Windsor Blue.

The paints are fairly inexpensive Acrylic paints. They mix easily with water, wash easily in water and are used much like watercolour paints but are a lot more 'robust' when applying. Lots of people don't like them as they tend to 'wash' off the colour underneath and dry darker than when wet. Once dry they form a hard resin/plastic that is pretty durable - especially if spilt on clothes or the carpet. Or splashed up the wall when flicking your brush around while painting a helmet. If you spill any you'll need to get to it quickly as acrylic dries almost immediatley when it hits something you didn't want to paint.

So, what you are looking for is 60ml tubes of acrylic artists paint. I've never used the kiddies stuff but I expect it'll be ok but there's no point in getting the expensive top range professional artist stuff. The ones I use are from the local cheap shop and sell for about £3.50 per tube (about $5 I suppose). There's enough to keep me going for about 6 to 10 helmets.

The colours you will need are:

Titanium White

Lamp Black

Yellow Ochre

Burnt Sienna

Burnt Umber

Olive Green

Go for those exact colours, not 'brown' or 'green' or 'mars black' or any other colour. These work very well and match the colours within almost all camos of the world. Not bothered about the maker of the paint go for the exact colour names and acrylic paint. Not watercolour or oil paint or spray or airbrush or pre mixed or tablet. Just get the tubed acrylic.

If you are going to the art shop, get some middling and weenie detail brushes while you're there, you'll need them later for the detail stuff.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

The lacquer

I've used nearly every lacquer ever dreamed up. Right from the cellulose days when I had to come out of the garage to breath before I passed out, through the mixed 2k stuff (which is what you need for a helmet for use outside as well as your custom Harley and Hot Rod) to the stuff sold in the car spares shops.

This is the stuff I use for these helmets. It's sold by Games Workshop and called Purity Seal. It's intended for those little plastic Space Marines, Orcs, Chaos Marines, Eldar figures on table top battle games. It's quite expensive at around £9 ($13) a can. But it is an absolute joy to use, is very forgiving, dries very quickly (just a few minutes) and is quite durable. I would never use it anywhere near a car or a motorcycle tank, but for the finish on helmets its just great. It dries fairly matt with a touch os satin - which suits the helmets. If you want a slightly shinier finish you can buff up like any lacquer. I also use it for an intercoat (a light coating to protect the paint you've just put on while you work on the next layer).

If you can't get this then go for a matt finish rattle can lacquer from the local spares shop. You don't need a resin two part mix, go for the world friendly acrylic lacquer. But make sure you test a little squirt of it on the inside of your helmet BEFORE you gamely lay it on your artwork.

Will be back in a couple of days campers so get yourself all geared up in the mean time.

Edited by Spasm
Link to comment
Share on other sites

Black over lime green over dark green, hopefully not painted inside as well - watch those split end thumbs.

The paint we're going to be putting on isn't thick. It's meant to expose scratches and stamps to bring out that nice patina so the markings should remain. I've had some very very lightly stamped helmets and have even left a blended in patch of bare metal to leave them exposed. It'll be under the rim so I think a bit of missing paint is worth the stamps being seen.

I'll hopefully be base painting the helmet in the next day or so.

The rim was black too but inside the dome was only lime green over dark green.

Are all those colours needed for brown or is that the assortment for anything military?

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Tony

Yes, you'll need all the colours to get the brown we're looking for. We're going to be doing the 'sneak up on it' painting technique. A bit of mixing and quite a few layers of thin glazes until we get the look we want.

They will also be the ones you need if you want a WW1 apple green to a WW2 feldgrau so they'll do for almost any helmet you'd like to do. If you want to go for an Air Force, Navy of indeed French Adrian then you'll need Windsor Blue as well.

Edited by Spasm
Link to comment
Share on other sites

Getting the base colour onto the helmet

I've sanded again and put another couple of coats of cure rust on. Now we have a good base to build up on.

If you're working on a relic you would have treated the rust in the same manner. Then cover the holes with either a glass fibre (you'll need to use this if you're making up rims that have decayed away or straddling large holes) or a fibre based filler (this will straddle holes of up to a 5p piece size easily). Then use a quality body filler - don't buy the cheap stuff as it turns into concrete and is a pain to sand - to fill the rust pits and generally get the helmet level. This usually takes a couple of fillings and sandings. Don't try to get the helmet up to car body standard as the small defects actually make the helmet look a lot better when using the 'sneak up on it' painting we're going to do below.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Get your jam jar of water, a middling sized flat brush (a 1- 2 inch DIY brush out of the shed is fine) and a blob of Burnt Umber and Lamp Black onto your mixing plate.

Add water until you get a puddle and drag some of the umber and black into the puddle. Mix around until all the streaks of pure colour have mixed. Whack it on all over the helmet.

Work the colour on with your brush to get an even colour across the helmet. Don't worry that you can see through to the colours of the helmet below - that's exactly what we want.

A word or warning here. Because you are concentrating on getting the helmet right, you'll not be noticing that your flicking motion will be splattering paint over everything in the room you are working. As this is acrylic paint it will obviously stay wet on the helmet but dry instantly on your now spotty wall/curtains/pc screen/desk/ceiling/dog etc. There's no getting round this, even working outside the splatters get everywhere so make sure you've told everyone that this will happen. The last thing you want is for the other half to see these instantly she walks into the room and you trying to make up an excuse - there isn't one.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

A couple of coats and this is what we've got. Each coat has been dried using my trusty paint stripping hot gun. If you are using one of these be careful you move it around to just dry the paint or it'll start to bubble it. Sometimes I intentionally bubble the shiny lacquer I paint over the decals on German helmets to replicate an aged decal and sometimes it can help age paint/leather etc but were not doing so on this one. And these guns get metal helmets very hot, be prepared or you'll be chucking it through the window when you touch a hot bit moving it around.

This is how it ends up. The coats are very thin and watery not thick opaque colours. This is known as glazing. Don't worry if it takes more than two or three coats, you are trying to build up the colour you want slowly. We're doing the 'sneak up on it' technique not the 'make it look ###### in one coat' technique.

Edited by Spasm
Link to comment
Share on other sites

This is the base coat done. This is the colour that you want to show through on your worn looking helmet. If you are doing a German camo helmet this will be a dark green/grey or whatever colour you'd like. Old helmet base colours are very dark so keep it that way.

As we will be rubbing away some of the colours going on top of this, it needs to be protected. So an intercoat of lacquer goes on here.

Shake up your rattle can and spray on a thin coat. The Games Workshop Purity Seal goes on really easy, keep the spraying very light so that it looks wet but no where near running. You're looking to protect the colour below only. It looks really wet in the photos but it is only a very thin coat that dries very quickly.

Edited by Spasm
Link to comment
Share on other sites

There's a couple of things you need to know about using lacquer. It smells, so don't use it in the house. It's flammable, so don't use it next to the living room fire. It's not good for you, if you breathe it, it will go on your lungs just as it goes on the helmet and will lead to some horrible things happening to you, so wear a mask. This is particularly so if using a 2 pack resin based lacquer.

Also, if you use a lacquer when it's been raining it absorbs the moisture in the air and can go 'misty'. Don't worry too much about this, another coat over the dry lacquer will sort this.

Purity Seal is a satin finish, I would rather it was more matt but it does look right on a finished helmet. Gloss is ok if that's the look you want. Matt lacquer can be made gloss by using a rubbing compound and gloss lacquer can be made matt by using a scotch brite scourer. They are essentially the same thing, one flows better to give a glossy finish. Once your helmet is finished you can put on loads of coats and shine it up.

Here's how it looks once it's dry. This is the rim with the maker's stamp and date of manufacture.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

The next colour

The pictures are a bit fuzzy here but I think you can make out the quantities of paint to mix. Squeeze the three colours into your old mixing pot, Its about 5 parts of Burnt Umber and 1 part of Yellow Ochre and 1 part of Olive Green - don't get too involved in measuring this out - just squeeze the rough sizes I've shown in the pot.

I then use an old syringe to squirt in about 4 or 5 mils of water. You can see how much once the water is mixed into the paint in the pot. Although it looks pretty dark in the pot it looks quite light when it goes on the helmet. The camera has problems with seeing colours indoors, in reality it is not yellow as shown but the difference in tone is about right.

You can see how the lacquer is resisting the water being applied. Don't worry about this, keep working the colour onto the helmet until the bubbling disappears. If this is taking ages then rub the helmet with your fingers through the paint. Once its covering then get at it with the hot gun.

Edited by Spasm
Link to comment
Share on other sites

The colour darkens as it is dried with the hot gun. To see the colour correctly I've taken some more pictures outside.

Another coat of the same colour was needed to get it right. Again we're not looking for a completely flat opaque colour just the correct foundation colour for the helmet.

Edited by Spasm
Link to comment
Share on other sites

Join the conversation

You can post now and register later. If you have an account, sign in now to post with your account.

Guest
Reply to this topic...

×   Pasted as rich text.   Paste as plain text instead

  Only 75 emoji are allowed.

×   Your link has been automatically embedded.   Display as a link instead

×   Your previous content has been restored.   Clear editor

×   You cannot paste images directly. Upload or insert images from URL.

 Share


×
×
  • Create New...