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Old 02-07-2012, 10:20 AM
Pencilking Pencilking is offline
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Join Date: Jun 2011
Posts: 4
Airbrushed Ski Helmet


As usual, the difficult part is to come up with a design, in my case I had the idea to do a bit of a mixture of Valentino Rossi and the great Marco Simoncelli who we lost tragically in October 2010.

First of all I stripped the helmet down completely - apart from the chin straps, which are riveted in place - so I wrapped them in masking tape and fixed them up out of harm’s way inside the helmet. It was a white helmet to start with, but it still needed sanding down. I used 600 grit wet and dry (400 would be OK). I always use it wet with a little bit of soap or washing up detergent..............it just makes the whole job easier and it stops the paper from loading up. Whilst I’m doing this I keep rinsing the paper and helmet in clean water so things don’t clog up too much. Oh, and don’t forget, take it easy on those edges, or you’ll sand the thing away. When it’s all scuffed up and smooth, let it dry completely.

The next stage is to prime the whole thing with white. Recently I’ve used an acrylic “high build” primer straight from an aerosol tin. These are readily available in car accessory shops and the like and seem to do a good job. You can of course use any kind of primer and put it through your spray gun............your choice. Once I had a couple of coats on and it was completely dry (leave overnight) I started the sanding process again with 600 grit. This time I tend to use it dry...............and very carefully................we need a perfect “eggshell” smooth finish. Good preparation is everything. I have tried to cut corners but it ALWAYS ends in disaster.

The next thing to do is paint the design. This is of course is up to you where you start, what colours you use and how complex or simple you want it to be. All I can tell you is what I use and how I go about it.

I used mainly an Iwata HP B plus airbrush with a 0.2 mm nozzle. Createx auto air acrylic paints in the main with some colours by Liquitex and Aero Color Schmincke. A pearlescent additive from Com Art was also used to add a bit of sparkle to the colours (not as radical as metallic). Masking is done using Art Tool Ultramask (which is nice “n” stretchy), Ordinary Frisk, and masking tapes from 3M or Tessa of various sizes ( don’t use cheap stuff cos’ it will leave deposits of glue behind ). Scalpel blades by Swann Morton. Other things to remember; because you are going to be handling this awkward object quite a bit, keep your hands clean and dry at all times, and each time you add some colour, set the paint with the heat from a hairdryer.

For this helmet I started at the back with the “Rossi” design. This involved using a compass to get the circles in the right places and get it all sketched out in pencil. A lot of patience and a bit of skill and I just build up the picture bit by bit. Mask EVERYTHING not being sprayed. Trust me, that little bit of red that you are applying will ALWAYS find its way on to the white bit you’ve just finished! After this section I worked on the red bands and the black with gold “animal print” effect on the sides as a tribute to Marco.

When all the colour is applied, you have to Clear Coat it. If you have any doubts about this (and it’s not easy) take it to a professional paint sprayer and get them to do it. There is NO way to cut corners at this stage!

My knowledge of clear coating is very limited, but it is sufficient for me to get by and make a helmet look good. Here is what I do............

For this helmet I use a 2 pack lacquer. This is mixed 2 parts lacquer to 1 part hardener and then about 10% of 2 pack thinner. A 2 pack system will give the most resilient results.

But please note that different types of Clear Coat and methods of application are available.

For the first coat I only mix about 50 ml in total........plenty for a helmet this size. I use an Iwata LPH 50 spray gun – ideal for this sort of job, but it would take you a week to spray a car with it! I use this in a garage area at room temperature with reasonably good ventilation. I ALWAYS wear a full face respirator and goggles with protective clothing. This stuff is dangerous...............I wouldn’t want a lung full of this! The trick is to apply enough to make it look wet without it running. When I’ve finished this first pass, I leave it on a support to start to dry. The “flash” time for what I use is about 20 minutes, so after this time I will repeat the process. The flash time is the time when the top skin of the lacquer is beginning to dry, but it is still wet underneath. This means that subsequent coats stick together. For this helmet I did about 3 passes and left it to“cure” overnight somewhere warm.

The following day, I gave the glossy helmet a quick rub over with 1200 grit wet n dry with water and soap to stop it loading up just to flatten out any little blemishes. Keep away from those edges again!! When it was all dry I gave it 2 or 3 more coats of lacquer and allowed it to dry. After a week or so, you could sand it lightly again with 1200 grit and then polish with Rubbing Compound, T Cut, and then wax. But because it is “just” a ski helmet, I just gave it a rub with T Cut and then spent a couple of hours applying wax to it. After all that, I reassembled it and took it for a slide down a hill.

I hope this gives you some idea on how to do it. This is not the only way, different people use different paints and lacquers. But it DOES require a fair bit of equipment and PLENTY of time and patience to get good results. You will NOT get a good result using tins of aerosol paint from the DIY store.
Hope you like it. For more pictures please follow the link.

STEVE WHYMAN (www.stevewhyman.com)

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Old 02-08-2012, 07:51 AM
jumpforjoy61's Avatar
jumpforjoy61 jumpforjoy61 is offline
Join Date: Feb 2007
Posts: 1,745
Hails from England
Re: Airbrushed Ski Helmet

thats a nice peice of work ,the finish looks great and of an overall good quality ,theres nothing i could fault it on other than personal taste but having said that if i did ski i wouldnt object to wearing it ;-)

looks a well exacuted piece mate and i look forward to seeing more of your work
oh and welcom to the forum even though its a little slow at the moment it doese pick up every now and again LOL

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Old 02-09-2012, 07:36 AM
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slaterza slaterza is offline
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Beijing, China
Join Date: Oct 2003
Posts: 6,863
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Re: Airbrushed Ski Helmet

Nice work and good explanation as well thanks for sharing.
Sam L YouTube Channel

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Old 03-24-2012, 02:30 PM
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Karen70 Karen70 is offline
Costa Blanca, Spain
Join Date: Jan 2012
Posts: 1,376
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Re: Airbrushed Ski Helmet

I love the design and this is brilliant. I have been viewing your website for a while now and am in complete awe of your work, as my hubby and I are hugh motorbike fans. Athough you might want to change on your website the October 2010 to 2011 when he passed away.
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Old 03-24-2012, 04:00 PM
Pencilking Pencilking is offline
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Join Date: Jun 2011
Posts: 4
Re: Airbrushed Ski Helmet

Karen, thank you for your kind comments and also for pointing out this oversight, it has hopefully now been corrected. Thanks for also checking out the website and we are glad you like what you see. The ski helmet has attracted comments on the slopes. Lots of stuff coming up in the next few weeks so keep watching.

Thanks again & we hope you continue to enjoy the work.

Steve & Jackie
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Old 03-27-2012, 04:59 AM
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nzuriel nzuriel is offline
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Digital Universe
Join Date: Mar 2012
Posts: 302
Re: Airbrushed Ski Helmet

I like the design. Good job!
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