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Home --> Mods --> TIE Pilot Helmet Repaint
TIE Pilot Helmet Repaint

I purchased a $45 TIE Fighter Pilot Helmet from Sean Dudley; it was the recently released version that looks like the Don Post helmet.

TIE Pilot Helmet Mod.

The first action I took was to remove the small bubble set of lenses that come standard on the helmet. The view is much too limited. I purchased a great set of bubbled lenses like what came with my Stormtrooper armor, again from Sean :)

TIE Pilot Helmet Mod.

 

Take a very sharp pocket knife or hobby knife, be extremely careful please and trim away the excess plastic that the small lenses were glued to, if you remove this amount of area, the Stormtrooper lenses will fit like a glove into the eye socket. I also took the knife and carved out the two fake screens where your breather hoses will be inserted.

I have a small inexpensive Dremel tool, which I took and smoothed out the edges after removing the excess plastic from the eye holes and the breather tube holes.

TIE Pilot Helmet Mod.

 

I purchased mine at Wal-Mart; it came in handy while constructing my TK armor as well.

I next took a drill and drilled a single hole into the recessed area in the TIE helmet grin. I next used a three-sided hand file with very fine grit to it to work each hole into a square within the grin, just file until you reach the boundary edge of each recessed area.

TIE Pilot Helmet Mod.

 

With these simple steps completed, I next started the sanding process. I bought a single item called Sandblaster sanding sponge made by 3M from Lowe's, I got the 320 Fine grit designed for in between coats. It is extremely easy to use and doesn't wear out as quickly as the paper.

TIE Pilot Helmet Mod.

 

I completely sanded the entire helmet. The sandpaper grit on the sponge is so fine; it won't damage your helmet and also makes it very easy to work into the various dips and shapes of the TIE helmet.

TIE Pilot Helmet Mod.

 

Using the fine grit will leave the surface of the helmet ready to grab hold of the primer that will come next.

I used a cheap spray gun handle which made the spray painting process less strenuous on the hand, in other words, my hand never got really tired while painting and the bonus was no paint on the tip end of your finger. I applied an entire can of primer on the helmet; it took about half a day to complete and was approximately five coats deep.

TIE Pilot Helmet Mod.

 

TIE Pilot Helmet Mod.

 

TIE Pilot Helmet Mod.

 

TIE Pilot Helmet Mod.

 

After letting this dry for a complete day, I once again lightly sanded the primer itself. I then washed the helmet under the faucet outside to completely remove the dust. Dry it off. At this point was when I drilled the 1/4 hole in each ear for the metal earpieces that are applied later in the process.

At this point the helmet is ready for the first coat of glossy black paint, I bought all of my paint from Lowe's, it was Valspar American Traditions Ultra Enamel. It was just a personal choice after looking at about every can they had on their shelves. It worked flawlessly on my helmet and is designed for hobby use, so it won't damage plastic. After the first can, the helmet had a slightly rough look to the surface, but remember, as you let it dry and the more coats you put on, that roughness will disappear. I used three entire cans of the glossy black paint and was amazed at how the surface starting taking on the look of the fancy ABS plastic as opposed to the dull plastic that it started out as from the box.

TIE Pilot Helmet Mod.

 

TIE Pilot Helmet Mod.

 

This is after the first can. You can notice some slight roughness to the surface.

As mentioned before I applied three full cans of the glossy black paint, you may decide to do more or less. The roughness completely disappeared after three cans.

After letting the helmet dry for two days (I just didn't have the time to work with it) I took a small bottle of gloss silver model car paint purchased at Wal-Mart and painted the teeth that were left in the grin and the speaker communication piece that is in between the breather tubes.

TIE Pilot Helmet Mod.

 

A small bottle of silver model car paint and a pointed paintbrush were less than $3 at Wal-Mart.

I next took the can of glossy clear acrylic protective finish and used about 1/2 the can coating the entire helmet thus protecting the valuable work you have already completed. Plus, it will add an amazingly good-looking sheen to the surface of your helmet.

TIE Pilot Helmet Mod.

 

TIE Pilot Helmet Mod.

 

TIE Pilot Helmet Mod.

 

TIE Pilot Helmet Mod.

TIE Pilot Helmet Mod.

 

TIE Pilot Helmet Mod.

 

TIE Pilot Helmet Mod.

 

After the clear coat had cured for a day, I added the metal ears pieces through the previously drilled holes.

TIE Pilot Helmet Mod.

 

These are available at Lowe's and are very cheap. Make sure to get the 1/4 size of each item.

TIE Pilot Helmet Mod.

 

At this point I cut the screen patch I found at Lowe's and hot glued it over the grin on the inside of the helmet. I also hot glued the bubbles lenses into the eye holes.

TIE Pilot Helmet Mod.

 

I will apply the Silver Imperial Cog transfers that I purchased on the web from Greg Parker at www.exedge.net Greg gives 501st members a discount on the merchandise and the transfers are of the highest quality I have seen. The one pictured below is still in between the protective paper that covers them because I had not yet let the clear coat dry long enough to apply them at the stage of this tutorial.

TIE Pilot Helmet Mod.

 

I found that after installing the fans to keep you cool. You will have plenty of space left for the head gear that you decide to install to make it fit your head just right.

TIE Pilot Helmet Mod.

 

There is still adequate room for installing most any kind of unique head system that you can come up with. I actually purchased an adult sized boxing head protector and cut it up into several components that compared with the proper places to my head and glued them into place with a version of Goop glue that is a hobby version that will work with leather and plastics.

TIE Pilot Helmet Mod.

 

TIE Pilot Helmet Mod.

 

Of course you can come up with a never ending line of ways to insert the type of headrest support that you like, I just found this type to fit my head shape perfectly, was easy to trim and glue into place. It allows for the speaker mike to fit over my ear and it actually makes the mike sit right in front of my mouth and stay there. The leather or durahyde editions of the boxer gear are soft and comfortable. I wear glasses and I still have enough room to wear them under the helmet.

 

TIE Pilot Helmet Mod.

Helmet complete with fans and car door edge. The car door edge was purchased at Auto Zone, it's called TrimBrite. It has a small line of adhesive in it and you can take a hair dryer, heat it and it immediately becomes very flexible and easy to work with. It's a snap to apply it to all the funny edges that the TIE fighter helmet has and when it cools, which is pretty quickly, it's stuck on good. The trim really gives the helmet a professional look I think. The trickiest part of the entire job was applying the Imperial Cog transfers that go great on a flat surface to a rounded surface, I didn't pull off a perfect job, but it's passable.

TIE Pilot Helmet Mod.

Helmet's ready to rock! The trim really made the deal.

 

TIE Pilot Helmet Mod.

Glossed with clear coat now.

I'm going to construct four spare pieces of styrene in a way that I can rivet through the armor under the arms and through the elastic and the rivets won't pull back through the elastic. I will then be able to simply slide the armor on like a shirt, hook up the hoses to the breather box, put on the helmet and be ready to troop.

 

TIE Pilot Helmet Mod.

Found the styrene tubing at a hobby shop in town.

TIE Pilot Helmet Mod.

I raised the fans from the surface of the helmet about a 1/2" using spare styrene square tube pieces that I had also used to construct a border for the life support buttons and the line of white trim that runs across the breather box. They move enough air to keep you cool and fog-free. This helmet turned out to be a beauty.

Hope this little tutorial helps you construct a killer looking TIE Fighter Pilot Helmet.

George Lyda
TI/TK1733

 
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