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Discussion Starter #1
Off topic question for you all. I recently got a star wars helmet of an Imperial TIE Fighter Pilot, full scale size, and was wondering if anyone knew what they are cast from and how to repair them.

It appears to be a sort of cast vinyl, but it has a tear near the bottom rim, up to near one of the the earpieces. The rim is a bit curled under due the crack, and I am hoping to fix it, or find someone who can repair it for me. I have worked on models, and vinyl kits, hell, I've even made a full sized stormtrooper helmet from a kit, but this molded vinyl stuff is new to me. I thought about a hair dryer to soften and reform, but am unsure of that as well.

I think it's a 20th Century Fox approved mask, and it has Lucas trademarks inside as well. Any help or ideas greatly appreciated.

Sincerely,
Scorp. :wave:
 

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Hey Scorpi,
A picture would help, if you can. I had an Annikin helmet but it was styrene. Don Post Studios if I remember. Clamping it and hitting it with a hair dryer might do the job. CA (crazy glue) should fix the tear unless it's polyethylene, which I doubt. Then Bondo, prime and paint.
Bruce
 

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DON'T USE BONDO!!! The styrene monomer in it can destroy the plastic! It gets very hot, and this is something you don't want if you're using it on some type of surface that you're unfamiliar with. The best thing to use is a popcicle stick epoxied to the inside to reinforce it. Unfortunately there's not much else you can do to fix it. It this is polyethylene you don't want to use superglue type adhesive! This won't stick. If it's ABS, the Oatie brand cement will work. I don't think that it would be made form HDPE (high density polyethylene). That would be too expensive to produce in a mass market product even if made in China! Superglue won't work, and neither will epoxy - it's too slick, somewhat like trying to superglue glass! If this is something that you won off evilbay, then it might be (depending on starting price) a recast, or a reproduction made in China by a licensed vendor. There's no telling what it's made from. Some plastics will reject most glues - they'll peel off like resin from silicone. Your best bet is to try it inside somewhere that no one will ever see. A part that unscrews, or covers something inside will be your best choice as long as what you're using as an adhesive won't melt plastics. I hope this will help.

~ Chris​
 

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Discussion Starter #5
Thanks for the heads up Dyo. Yea, I definately don't want it melting to a goo-pile in my hands!

I checked a stormtrooper site I visit, and some of them reccomend the old superglue with an old t-shirt strips method for building up and reinforcing the area. I'll need to test superglue on a small area inside first, to see how it reacts to the adhesive. I know this is a Don Post cast helmet, and it seems like a semi-rigid vinyl casting. It's kinda hit or miss on repairing these things, and I'm biding my time to be sure I find a method that won't melt, or simply destroy the thing. If I can this weekend, I'll try to snap a few pics to post of the beastie on here to show what I'm working on.

Again, thanks for the help. Very MUCH appreciated!

Sincerely,
Scorp. :wave:
 

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Well, you know the old saying: "It's better to be safe than sorry!" I think you'd be better off using epoxy. I don't know if superglue would be too brittle to hold even though I don't think it would melt the plastic. It could be polyethylene. Either way you'll need to reinforce this with something. A styrene tube cut in half, then glued inside would work to help with this. Most adhesives stick to it without melting, and it would keep it from damaging it further than leaving it alone. I know that C.A. glue solidifies fabric, but it becomes brittle after a while, and with no flex whatsoever! This means that it can't take much rough handling. A picture would help to see what problems you're having with this.

~ Chris​
 

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Discussion Starter #8
Unsure JGG.

I know the vinyl or substance it's made of is fairly rigid. I mean it keeps shape and does crack, like a plastic would, but it has some "give" to it as well. I mean a hair dryer makes it pliable while warm, and then it stiffens back up upon cooling.

I think I may have found someone to help with repair at one of the local Star Wars "Garrisons" here in PA. The member said he can look at it for me and see what he can do. He's constructed trooper armor and should know the possible fixes. He said something about the "super glue and old t-shirt strips" fixing method, but he wants to see it to be sure of what can be used.

So, at least I am on the road to getting it "straightend" out. ( pun intended ) :wave:

I'll be sure to post pics after I get it back and get it re-painted and detailed to my liking. Looking forward to adding it to my helmet collection. Got a spot picked out between my autographed Vader helmet and my Stormtrooper helmet. :thumbsup:

Thanks for all the help and ideas gang. MUCH appreciated.

Sincerely,
Scorp.

"Fat lady. You're OBSESSED with fat lady! Just fly us outta here!" - ID4
 

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Discussion Starter #9
Well, you know the old saying: "It's better to be safe than sorry!" I think you'd be better off using epoxy. I don't know if superglue would be too brittle to hold even though I don't think it would melt the plastic. It could be polyethylene. Either way you'll need to reinforce this with something. A styrene tube cut in half, then glued inside would work to help with this. Most adhesives stick to it without melting, and it would keep it from damaging it further than leaving it alone. I know that C.A. glue solidifies fabric, but it becomes brittle after a while, and with no flex whatsoever! This means that it can't take much rough handling. A picture would help to see what problems you're having with this.

~ Chris​
Dyo,
I thought about the styrene tube method as well, and I have given that consideration as well. It seems like a good plan to me, and I plan to mention it when this fellow looks at it for me and gives me help repairing the thing. I deeply appreciate your feedback and plan on pursuing the best options possible.

Thanks again, and I'll keep posting progress as it comes.

Sincerely,
Scorp.
 

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It sounds to me like polyPROPYLene - not polyETHYLene! Polypropylene gets soft when heated, and can be vacuum formed easily. It's also cheap in its' manufacture. This is what a lot of plastic items are made from. The problem is that it doesn't hold paint, so it's moulded in colour with stickers added to it (when needed). Many childrens' toys are made from it. Either way, it's best to be safe AND careful with your helmet so that it doesn't get ruined trying to fix it. I know what it's like to have something that got damaged and having to leave it that way because I don't want to chance it fixing it only to have it ruined when the glue dried. :cry: Please DO keep us posted as to what happens.

~ Chris​
 

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Off topic question for you all. I recently got a star wars helmet of an Imperial TIE Fighter Pilot, full scale size, and was wondering if anyone knew what they are cast from and how to repair them.

It appears to be a sort of cast vinyl, but it has a tear near the bottom rim, up to near one of the the earpieces. The rim is a bit curled under due the crack, and I am hoping to fix it, or find someone who can repair it for me. I have worked on models, and vinyl kits, hell, I've even made a full sized stormtrooper helmet from a kit, but this molded vinyl stuff is new to me. I thought about a hair dryer to soften and reform, but am unsure of that as well.

I think it's a 20th Century Fox approved mask, and it has Lucas trademarks inside as well. Any help or ideas greatly appreciated.

Sincerely,
Scorp. :wave:
this is going 2 sound stupid..
but try VINYL-PLASTER-REPAIR....
it's plaster repair used in...bathrooms drywall repair...
local Lowes, ect...
water soluble UNTIL it dries...
has some flexibility, sandable/paintable....

w/ u say other modeler dudes??? :wave:

Bubba 123 (slot car guy/and sci-fi modeler) :wave:
 
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