(Topic ID: 217054)

Restoring a Bride of Pinbot Helmet


By uncivil_engineer

1 year ago



Topic Stats

  • 18 posts
  • 13 Pinsiders participating
  • Latest reply 1 year ago by Bcrowe
  • Topic is favorited by 7 Pinsiders

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#1 1 year ago

I just finished this for a friend of mine, and I was kinda pleased with the results. So I thought I would share it with the group.

So what we started with was a very pitted and flaky Bride of Pinbot helmet assembly. Here is the before shot. As you can tell, the finish has come off it in several places. My goal is to put a new silver-chrome finish on it.

Here is the starting point

So first off I will talk a little bit about the paint system I will be using. It is call Alclad, and was developed for use on scale models. I have used it many times over the years, and the stuff is great. Here is a P-51c I did years ago that is now the gate guardian to my work bench.

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This Alclad comes in many shades of silver that can be used for the paneling effects on model aircraft. For this job I chose the Chrome color.
Alclad is a very hot laquer, and can only be applied with an airbrush. I have a Paasche dual action airbrush that I use in scale modeling, and sometimes to touch up playfields. The paint comes in small 1 oz bottles, and cost about $9 per bottle. It can be purchased as better hobby shops, and on Amazon.

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So I started off removing the old finish. It came off very easily with 800 grit wet-dry sand paper. You want to get the surface as smooth as possible before putting on the base coat.

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All Alclad finishes require a base coat. For Chrome, the suggested base coat is an oil based enamel gloss black. Alclad sells a quality gloss black that you can usually pick up a the hobby shop when you get paint.

Spraying gloss enamel is tricky. If you spray with too much pressure, or are too far away from the model when you spray, it will flash before it gets to the subject, and look dull. To get a good coat, you have to put it on thick and wet. One way to get around this problem is to sand and polish the base coat before you put on the chrome top coat.

So here is the helmet after the first base coat.
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To be continued.....

#2 1 year ago

As you can see, the base coat did not go on glossy like I had hoped, but there is still a way to fix this. Wait for the paint to cure for a couple of days, and then polish it out to a shine. For this project, I started with a 2500 grit, and then went to polishing cloths of 4000 grit, 6000 grit and finally 12000 grit. Use lot of water when you sand to keep the sand paper from gumming up.

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After a good polishing, you cant quite see yourself in it, but it looks a lot better.

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Not it is time to apply the top coat. The color is supsended in the paint, so shake it up well before starting. The directions state it should be sprayed at 15 to 12 psi. This worked out well for me.

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The laquer is IMO easier to spray than oil based enamel. It is much thinner, and as long as you spray it a little on the heavy side, it won't flash until it gets to the subject. it also lays down very well. The bad part is the stuff goes on very thin, and you don't really want to use this stuff anywhere it will get rubbed against. Also because it is very thin, every surface imperfection will show. This is why it is so important that your base coat be sanded and polished.

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the end result does not look as shiny as the original, but I kinda dig the almost steel look it has. It certainly looks better than what I started with.

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--The Uncivil Engineer

#3 1 year ago

Nice work!

#4 1 year ago

Nice write up, I think it actually looks better than the original, it looks solid.

#5 1 year ago

Come up pretty nice I've used Alclad myself in modelling and i like the results it gives. One thing i might add is that you can remove chrome from plastic by placing the part in a bath of caustic soda (mild solution, about 60gm per liter of water) which works very well. You still need to sand back lightly with a fine grit as there is always a slight yellowing left behind. I had my helmet hydro coated with a design and used the method i just mentioned to prepare the part for the process.

#6 1 year ago
Quoted from uncivil_engineer:

As you can see, the base coat did not go on glossy like I had hoped, but there is still a way to fix this. Wait for the paint to cure for a couple of days, and then polish it out to a shine. For this project, I started with a 2500 grit, and then went to polishing cloths of 4000 grit, 6000 grit and finally 12000 grit. Use lot of water when you sand to keep the sand paper from gumming up.

After a good polishing, you cant quite see yourself in it, but it looks a lot better.

Not it is time to apply the top coat. The color is supsended in the paint, so shake it up well before starting. The directions state it should be sprayed at 15 to 12 psi. This worked out well for me.

The laquer is IMO easier to spray than oil based enamel. It is much thinner, and as long as you spray it a little on the heavy side, it won't flash until it gets to the subject. it also lays down very well. The bad part is the stuff goes on very thin, and you don't really want to use this stuff anywhere it will get rubbed against. Also because it is very thin, every surface imperfection will show. This is why it is so important that your base coat be sanded and polished.

the end result does not look as shiny as the original, but I kinda dig the almost steel look it has. It certainly looks better than what I started with.

--The Uncivil Engineer

Vacuum metalizing would have been more expensive and would not have looked that much better than what you came up with. Nice work.

#7 1 year ago

Well thanks for the compliments. Given that this part is pretty much unobtainum these days, I figured someone might be able to use this information to restore their old helmet.

#8 1 year ago

Another option that I found is Chrome-Tech USA. He has done a few of these for me. Beautiful work, only $70 plus ship.

#9 1 year ago

It turned out great. 100% improvement over the original. Cant wait to see it on the game in person.

#10 1 year ago

Awesome work,love the results. Will have to give it a try myself. Thanks so much for posting.

#11 1 year ago

Any experience with the easy chrome paint? Saw it for the first time and it looked real good.

https://alsacorp.com/easy-chrome/

#12 1 year ago

Well I finished reinstalling it this evening, and it looks pretty good.5FB2CD02-2A5B-4223-933C-77ED60A0C632 (resized).jpeg

#13 1 year ago

Wow that looks great, nice work!

#14 1 year ago
Quoted from uncivil_engineer:

Well I finished reinstalling it this evening, and it looks pretty good.

Are those guide plastics by her mouth next to get bleached out? Now they're very distracting.

1 week later
#15 1 year ago
Quoted from vireland:

Are those guide plastics by her mouth next to get bleached out? Now they're very distracting.

This process would help in that case: https://pinside.com/pinball/forum/topic/say-goodbye-to-old-yellowed-plastics/page/4#post-2586833

#16 1 year ago

Thanks for sharing the use of Black under Chrome.....I find it makes a big difference!

Did you mask the Williams Logo, or were repros available?

#17 1 year ago
Quoted from OLDPINGUY:

Thanks for sharing the use of Black under Chrome.....I find it makes a big difference!
Did you mask the Williams Logo, or were repros available?

Repos are available from marco.

#18 1 year ago

Thanks for posting your procedure. I have an extra bop helmet that I have been planning to restore and this is valuable information. Great job.

Bop helmets are very difficult to find these days - I feel obligated to attempt to fix my extra.

Looks like you really cleaned up that playfield too based on the first and last pics you posted - nice work.

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