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Walt's new vs. Jim's Original Rebels TK Bucket + How To Finish the Raw Cast


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Side by side of the new build from Walt (your left, unfinished) vs. Jim's original.  Definitely more room in the new version, so I'm looking forward to getting it finished and using it in place of the one I submitted my pics with.  Taller, wider, and deeper than the original, and should scale with the armor a bit better for me.  Tubes are a bit more exaggerated to look more like the show.

Edited by eqdizzle
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Just need a comparison with the Grand Zilo Creations helmet now, which personally I think is way too small, I must admit going back and re-watching Rebels episode the helmet is massive compared to the armor. 


When you have time love to see a fully kitted with helmet photo ;) 

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On to finishing this bad boy.  I am posting the steps I'm taking for the benefit of anyone who is not familiar with finishing a resin-cast helmet.  If you've done any, then much of this may feel a little too basic.  If you're new to resin cast buckets, hopefully this will help you finish yours, should you decide to do one.  They're fun once you get the hang of it!


Tools needed:


  • Soap and water
  • Easy-Off Oven Cleaner (optional)
  • Pencil
  • Dremel with sanding drum attachments
  • Deadman switch foot pedal (optional, but highly recommended)
  • Dremel extension handle (optional, but highly recommended)
  • Pencil
  • Sandpaper (100ish, 200ish, 300ish)
  • 0000 Steel Wool
  • Fine drywall sanding sponge
  • Needle files
  • Drill with small diameter drill bits
  • Bondo and/or Bondo Finish putty (spreaders optional)
  • Painters Tape (I like Frog Tape for the detail areas, cheaper for bulk coverage.  Stay away from 3M Super Blue, as it leaves a residue from the glue)
  • Spray Paints (I like Rustoleum 2x Gray Primer, Rustoleum 2x Gloss White, Rustoleum Satin Granite, Rustoleum 2x Semi-Gloss Black, Rustoleum Gloss Sealant)
  • Thin natural brush (for detail painting.  The thinner the better)
  • Nitrile Gloves (for when using chemicals)
  • Eye, ear, hand, respiratory protection (Don't skip here!!)


The first thing you do is WASH the bucket with soap and water..!  SkyGunBro recommends using Easy-Off Oven Cleaner (and not the generics!!) to get all the mold-release off the outside of the bucket.  This will get on you and keep paints from sticking if you're not good at getting it all off.  If using Oven Cleaner, spray it all over the bucket in a well-ventilated area, preferably outside.  Let it sit for 10-15 minutes and wipe off with paper towels.  Wear gloves and respiratory/eye protection!  Wash and rinse with dish soap.  Keep that stuff off your good clothes!!

Edited by eqdizzle
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Step two (did you skip step 1?? :) ): Mark your cuts with a pencil!!




The eyes were cut out of this one, but it's the same process.  Use a pencil to determine where you will be removing the flashing from the underside of the helmet.  This is a great way to give yourself a reference as you sand it down.  The Dremmel will kick up a lot of resin "snow" that will obscure where you're cutting otherwise.


Step 3:  Use your Dremmel sanding wheel to work down the edges to the pencil line (eye, ear, respiratory protection, very messy process!!):




This takes a bit of skill, so get a feel for how the drum will work into the flashing and gradually work it to the edge once you get the feel.  Check your angles so you don't end up with the inside portion hanging over the outside rim.  Dump your resin "snow" into a trash bin and rinse your bucket again!


Step 4:  Surface sanding (respiratory protection):




It's a resin cast, so it will have a seam line and minor imperfections from bubbles and the like.  That's ok!  We're going to sand and fill to get these as clean looking as possible.  This will be a multiple pass effort, as we'll find more things that pop up after the primer goes down.


Start with your seam line.  Using the coarser sandpaper (100ish), gently rub on and around the seam until you can't feel it with a fingernail.  If you can feel it with your nail, it will be visible when you paint it.  There's nothing worse than a great paint job with a big seam all the way across.  It just draws the eye directly to it and screams "I rushed this!"  Work all the way around checking every so often with your nail .  If you have a divot or crease, we'll deal with that in the next step.  Also hit the inner rim that you just hit with your Dremmel to smooth this area out.


Step 5:  Filling scratches and divots (Nitrile gloves. respiratory protection):




I'm using Bondo Finish Putty in this instance.  I gob it in there using a plastic spreader (also by Bondo) or just my gloved finger, pressing it into any divot or crease.  Don't get this stuff on you!!  Fill it liberally, and let it dry at least a few hours.  You'll end up sanding off almost all of this..!!

Edited by eqdizzle
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22 minutes ago, gmrhodes13 said:

Just need a comparison with the Grand Zilo Creations helmet now, which personally I think is way too small, I must admit going back and re-watching Rebels episode the helmet is massive compared to the armor. 


When you have time love to see a fully kitted with helmet photo ;) 


My Zillo is with a Garrison-mate now (the Kanan working on his), so I don't have a good side by side of that.  The Zillo was wider than Jim's, but a lot shorter.  Walt's new one is definitely sized more appropriately (IMHO) to what the show has.  It may not be as exaggerated as what you see on the show, but I feel will most certainly give a better overall look to the armor.


I'll be working on this as time permits and trying to document each step to help others along as well.

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Thanks for the reply, I agree the Zilo is very squashed, Walt's does look a lot better in proportions. Can't wait to see it all together :D

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Step 6:  Sand and wash




Using a high-grit sandpaper (300-ish), work the filler spots down until smooth.  Wash and check for any spots you missed until you're satisfied!


Step 7:  Cut out the teeth (eye protection)




Using a drill with smaller-than-the-gap drill bits, carefully drill a pilot hole between each tooth.  Feel free to use a pencil to mark the area being cut out if that works for you.




Then come in with your needle files.  I use a flat one for most of the work, and a triangular one for the corners.






Turn the bucket to see where the flashing remains and continue until you're satisfied.  Take your time with this, going slowly so you don't put gouges in the tooth.  I find it helpful to angle the file away from the outside rim so I'm filing everything at a downward angle.




Look at that smile!  Mom would be proud!!  :D


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Step 7: Clean the eye sockets (eye, respiratory protection)




Using my Dremmel with a small sanding drum, I removed the flashing from the inside of the eye socket.  Towards the corners, I used one of the tiny polishing/sharpening conical stones to get me up there a bit further.  At the corners, used the needle files to get all the way up in there.  Final part of the cleanup involved hand sanding.  Pro Tip:  sand this opening from the *inside*, angled upward.   This will prevent you from marking the outside surface inadvertently.  Wash and rinse and we're almost ready for priming!!


Step 8:  Prime Time! (respiratory protection)




I used the Rustoleum 2x Gray Primer rattle can here.  I typically do buckets in two steps:  bottom first with top second.  I flip the bucket upside down into a box that's slightly smaller OD than the bucket itself, as I want most of it to be exposed.  2-3 light coats, hitting all the underside areas (rim, eyes, teeth, ears, etc etc).  Let this dry for a few hours.  Flip, wipe the surface to remove any fuzzies, and spray the top.  Let this cure for some hours, preferably overnight.






Any imperfections will come right up to the surface.  We'll be sanding off a lot of this first layer of primer, so this is in reality more of an exploratory spraying rather than a bottom coat for your paint job.  It's a little more important to take your time with getting the base right before spraying the later levels because of the gloss finish and the relative lack of weathering.  Taking a bit more time now will make a big difference in your finished product!!



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Sanding and working down the areas that will receive the finish putty.  I used a high-grit (fine) sandpaper to work the primer down on the opportunity areas.  I followed up with a good rubdown of 0000 steel wool (LOVE this stuff!!).  It's perfect for buffing the whole surface down and getting rid of some of the paint boogers leftover.  Additionally, you're adding tiny abrasions on the surface to help the next layers of paint stick all that much better.  We'll be using this again after the 2nd application of primer.


Step 8:  2nd Application of Finish Putty (or Bondo), respiratory and glove protection




Dab or spread your finish putty or Bondo in the divots and pin holes.  Be liberal with this, as you'll be sanding down again before your second application of primer.  Try to have the primer sanded off the affected surface as much as possible, as the putty contains thinners that will interact with the primer.  Let dry and get ready to hit with a sanding sponge, rather than the paper used prior.

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Step 9:  Sand, clean, wash, and gloss paint (respiratory protection)




After you've repeated the sanding and washing steps, let the bucket dry.  If you want, use some rubbing alcohol to remove any residues/oils left on the surface.  Paint the bottom first, making sure to hit the underneath surfaces.  Let this sit overnight as the paint will be tacky much longer than flat paints.  The next day, flip and hit the top surfaces with several thin coats about fifteen minutes apart.  Try to have all your painting done within an hour or so, and be aware of ambient temps and humidity.


Then don't touch it.  Seriously, don't touch it for at least 24 hours.  Let all gloss paints cure a *minimum* of 72-96 hours before trying to repaint or add any of the other details.  Glossy paints include additives that make the paints cure more slowly to fill better and achieve the glossy look.  Time and patience are the keys here for a successful paint job..!

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Step 10:  Masking and painting gray sections (LOTS of tape, respiratory protection)


If you're using decals, feel free to skip this step.  Personally, I think paint looks 1.8 x 10 ^23 times better and you can actually use the decals as reference to tape off your temple and rear traps.




For spacing on the rear traps, I used a super thin piece of tape to mark my middle.  A good idea is to put it where you think it should go, then step back and view from a distance.  You'll see where you need to adjust.  Alternatively, you can measure from ear to ear with a sewing tape measure.  Mark your center and work out from each side to place your traps.  The distance I used between the two traps is 11cm.  If you want, use this measurement, but make sure it looks right to your eyes before painting.










Your first layer of paint should be gloss white.  Yes, you read that correctly.  Always begin with an initial coat of the base color to limit bleed of the top color. 


I followed that up about 15 minutes later with a light coat of Rustoleum Satin Granite (2X Works on Plastic).  2 more progressively thicker coats about 15 minutes apart each. 


Let it rest for about an hour, depending on temperature and humidity.  After carefully removing the tape, look for any areas of bleed.  Gently rub these out with a high-grit sandpaper (300-ish).  This is easier to do before the paint is fully cured.


If the paint isn't perfect, that's OK!  We'll be touch that up later..!

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Step 11:  Masking for black detail areas (lots of tape and respiratory protection)




I wanted to show this a bit more in detail than on the gray areas, mainly because I didn't show it earlier...!  Use your best tape around the areas, and cheaper tapes further out..!




Mask the eyes from the inside also to keep the spray from going in the interior of the bucket.  I like to use a box to hold this in a face up position.  The black areas have a lot of underneath areas that the face-up position gives you best access to.  Paint with gloss white first, then overlay with Rustoleum Semi-gloss black.




After some hours, pull the tape and gently rub any bleeds with a fine sandpaper.  This needs to cure a bit and we'll do the touch up paints.

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Step 12:  Touch ups and black details (detail brush, respiratory protection)








I like to touch up the gray first, touch up and apply black details second, and do final touchups with white third.  For the detail lines, apply tape *just* outside the gray trap areas.  Use your thin detail brush to bias towards the tape line...to keep all the mess on the tape.  Peel your tape, and you should be left with a nice, thin line.  If  you have an oops, we can always touch up again with gray to clean that up.




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For the tears, I like to use a pencil to mark my stripes first.  Begin in the middle, with a line parallel to the right and left sides.  Then add two lines on each side as close to equidistant as possible, for a total of 5 lines.  If you have the decal, you can also use this as a guide to where each line should go.


Complete touch ups with gray (if necessary), and gloss white to clean up any bleeds or oops spots.


Step 13:  Edge lighting the teeth (thin detail brush, respiratory protection)








Use your detail brush in a "Dry Brush" method.  At the edge of each tooth, run a line of a lighter color gray just at the edges.  When you dip the brush into the paint, wipe most of it off on a paper towel, and massage it into the edge surface.  If you're a little too thick, use a piece of paper towel to wipe it out while still wet.



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Step 14:  Prep the Aerators (respiratory protection)








Prime and paint with the black semi-gloss.  Flat black is also acceptable here.  After this has dried, I used Testor's Flat Aluminum and hand-brushed the center area.  These don't need to be perfect, as they will be weathered and the hand-brushing helps to mimic that look.  DON'T ATTACH THESE TO THE BUCKET YET!!!  :D

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Step 15:  Gloss Topcoat (respiratory protection)




I taped the black areas off so they would not get the gloss clear coat.  From what I can tell, the brow strip and vocoder look more matte than shiny.  Bottom side first, followed by the upper.


Step 16: Adding the aerators (gloves)




I ended up coating the aerators with a Matte finish spray.  Sanding the bottom, and a little bit of the center of the tube opening, add 1 drop of CA glue per side in the center.  You'll have to work pretty quickly, but drop each aerator in the opening and twist to spread the CA glue.  I like to do this with the bucket in my lap and the tube openings pointed straight up.  The grab should be pretty strong in about 30 seconds, so be quick about making sure the pieces are centered correctly.






Let it rest and check on what else is going on in the forums!!

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Step 16:  Adding mesh behind the teeth (hot glue gun)






Cut out a piece of screen material (found at the local hardware store).  I used the type for heavy-duty pet protection, as it is a coated nylon and has a rubbery feel to it.  I will typically cut out a wide rectangle, and then cut areas to better match the frown shape.  Using hot glue, I put a vertical stripe directly in the middle of the center tooth, making sure to keep the glue away from the edge of the tooth.  At this point, I push the mesh into the glue, holding tight at the top and bottom until it sets.  I continue to glue one side, then the other, starting at the top of the frown area, and finishing the bottom, being sure to wrap it to the curves of the helmet as much as possible.  Ideally your mesh should be in line with the teeth, with the square openings parallel to the teeth, rather than at an angle.


Step 17:  Adding the lenses (pencil, paper, tape, sharp scissors, hot glue gun)




There are a ton of different tutorials out there for adding lenses.  If you like any of those, awesome.  This method is easy and does the trick.  It is, however, a more permanent method of attachment but I haven't found the need to remove lenses from any other bucket as of yet. 


  • Using a pencil, create a rubbing on paper to get each lens opening
  • cut this out, and tape it to your welding screen
  • cut 1/4"-1/2" around the outside of your rubbing line
  • test fit
  • glue it in place with hot glue, making sure to keep the glue away from the opening edges as much as possible
  • use lots of pressure while the glue hardens, 2 minutes or so



We're getting really close!!

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Step 18:  Padding (needed) and fans (optional, but recommended)




ACH/MICH pads attached using adhesive velcro.  These can be removed and washed if they get too stinky.    This bucket is a tad front-heavy just based on the physics of it, so I added some thinner pads at the cheekbone area.  The whole bucket sits very securely without being constricting.  Since this is a resin bucket and therefore has a lot more heft than an ABS counterpart, I would not recommend star foam with a chin strap.  Play with positioning on the military-style pads until you're satisfied with the results.  You can also see where I added an elastic pocket to hold my SLIM battery for my fan kit.  2" non-roll elastic glued using E6000 and sized to give a *tiny* bit of tug when you insert the battery.  Too much, and it will eventually snap off the bucket.  Too little, and the battery will come out.


Full disclosure:  Yes I build and sell kits.  Contact me via PM for more info.




Fans placed in the aerator cups pointing upwards.  With the pads on the cheeks, there really wasn't a way to have one blow across the eyes like I normally would.  This seems to do the trick in tests, however...!  I'll test at a troop soon and report back if I'd make any changes.  Wires are managed by placing the fuzzy side of adhesive Velcro over them.  This will prevent accidental snags and yanks that could ruin your wiring before or during a troop!


Tube stripes are in the mail as of a day or two ago, so this will be ready to rock very shortly..!



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Step 19:  Tube Stripes




Pretty basic!  Cut your two halves out, and trim parallel to the ends to get to fit better into the space. 


Measure out your placement.  I put these at 3.5cm from the cheek crease.  Dry fit, then place and press..!!






You now have yourself a COMPLETED REBELS STORMTROOPER HELMET!!  The only thing left is to troop the heck out of it!

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