November 1, 2015

The RockeTrooper custom vinyl

Sharing an equal love for Disney's The Rocketeer and Star Wars... it was inevitable that the two would meet someday in a mashup of some sort. A friend had shown me a tiny custom-made mashup helmet for sale, and while immensely cool, it lacked the side intakes that make the Rocketeer so unique. Once Disney released the Design A Vinyl Stormtrooper DIY kit, I knew what I had to do.

The first step was the signature fin. A thin strip of basswood proved to be solid enough while still allowing for easy cutting. The template was created by shooting a profile photo and importing that into Abobe Illustrator.

The next step was the intakes. I glued down some foil tubes to give the Sculpey something to adhere to. I used the smoother (and softer) white Sculpey. If I had to do it again, I think I'd stick with the classic (flesh-colored) version. It's stiffer and would probably hold the detail better. Lesson learned.

Once the intakes were done they were "fired" with a heat gun. The fin was then attached with Gorilla Glue. That set for a few days.

With the fin and intakes assembled and dry, I added some more Sculpey for the "weld lines." These came out a bit more coarse than I wanted but again, I blame the softer Sculpey. 

After that, all that was left was paint. A base coat of Bright Gold and then a wash of Burn Umber to get into all the nooks and crannies. I then went to my favorite trick for metallic finishes - Rub n Buff. A rough coat of Spanish Copper to give it a dirty look and then a coat of Antique Gold. Then some buffing and voila! The RockeTrooper.

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