Of course it’s sensible to wear a helmet when biking. So that means that I am wearing one. But I couldn’t stay out of at least modding the one I got a little bit. Because who wants a normal bike helmet? Well, okay, if it fits you, that’s fine. I had an idea of what I wanted instead. And when the joker has an Idea, take cover.
Which doesn’t mean it would be easy. I, being a very casual “too lazy to take the bus”-biker would probably just have grabbed a paintbrush and some water-based acrylics (bike helmets are generally made out of foamy plastics that don’t like solvents in the least). But nooo. That would have been too easy. A bit of research showed concerns over uneven paint layers compromising the helmet, and Mirar wasn’t happy with that. So off to the internet it was, to order a beginners’ level airbrush. Which I had wanted to try out for ages anyway, so there we go.
First, I masked off all the exposed (=non pre-painted) parts of the helmet and the parts I didn’t want to paint with masking tape. This took longer than expected. And lots of swearing. But I got it done eventually, and I could go on to testing my airbrush (important!) and then, finally, painting.
Airbrushing is fun! I started by trying it out on a yoghurt bucket, which was a Good Thing, because you do not want to get your first spattery experiments onto the Thing You Really Care About Painting Nicely. (From experience with other media.) But with a bit of tweaking, even the cheapish airbrush managed to get a nice and even flow. And as opposed to spray cans, they aren’t basically firehoses, so once you get them tuned in you can work nice and detailed and put thin layers of paint exactly where you want it (well, almost… if you get the hang of it… and have a good nozzle… but you get my drift).
One thing I definitely learned was this: When working with bright colours, a light base colour definitely would have helped. Next time I’ll do a foundation of white before I start with the red. That would have saved me some layers of paint, definitely. I’m not saying it would be cheaper (I took care to order a paint specifically recommended for painting on this kind of material) but as you can see on the photo, the masking tape is already a LOT redder than the helmet seems to be! So, next time, foundation.
Eventually I did manage to get the red to a level I liked though. After thorough drying overnight I dared to make a scratch test in a non-sensitive area (looked fine, though I might go over with a finish later on) and remove the masking tape.
Looking good! Now the joker can go out and ride in style, without danger of being mistaken for a normal person. 😀 (Also, the helmet has a blinkenlight built in. How cool is that?!)
All in all, not a bad yield for a first-time mini project.