SO YOU WANT TO WORK WITH FIBERGLASS (II)


You've made it this far, and I'm so proud.


It's STILL dangerous, icky stuff, but not nearly as bad as the fiberglass was. Still, the warning remains. You absolutely must wear a dust mask and work in a well-ventilated area. Follow all safety procedures given in the instructions of the kits you will use.

Still with me? Okay, let's continue where we left off.


MATERIALS: BUY THE BIG CAN.


This isn't nearly as messy as the fiberglass, but it still smells and needs to be done outside.


*Body Filler (Name brand "Bondo". If you want a very smooth look, buy the great big can, because it doesn't go as far as you think. ;_;)
*Rubber Applicators (Probably found right next to the Bondo, these spatula-like tools are great for smoothing and clean up instantly once the Bondo dries. Well worth the $3.)
*Sandpaper (More, and more, and more sandpaper. Bondo gunks them up very quickly, so get a lot of very coarse paper.)
*Drop Cloth (It's very important to cover the area where you'll be sanding, because this makes a HUGE mess of dust.)
*A bucket or paint tray (to mix the Bondo in)
*Gloves


PREP WORK: IT HARDENS FAST!


Bondo's time limit is pretty quick, so be ready to go before you start mixing. Have your prop/armor/whatever clean and dry. If it was fiberglassed, sand it smooth before applying Bondo.

You don't have to use it only on fiberglass, however. The result will be far less sturdy, but if you use a thick layer of the body filler, it should be sufficient for a nice porcelain-like surface.

Also keep in mind that while the fiberglass is fairly light, Bondo is dense and heavy. It's thick; a filler, and it lives up to its name.


MIXING THE BODY FILLER: AM I BLEEDING?


Bondo uses the same proportions as fiberglass, percentage to percentage. Check the package to be sure, however. You want a nice pink color for most work; like I said, it dries FAST and you don't want too much hardener in there. Conversely, if you're using the Bondo to attach something (ie a spike to your armor) extra hardener can help.

Mix the Bondo for 45 seconds or so. Don't keep going, you've got to start applying it right away once the color is fairly uniform. Spread it in a thin coat over the surface, paying careful attention to filling in divets or cracks. You can get it smooth, but don't spend too much time trying because IT WILL DRY! There's nothing worse than mixing a big tub of Bondo and letting it sit too long.

At some point, you'll dive in with the plastic spreader and suddenly, your Bondo is no longer creamy. It looks congealed, lumpy and is too thick to spread. It's a very sudden change, and you can't keep working once you hit it. If you try to spread it on your armor at this point, it will flake right off. Give up, it's over.


DRYING AND CLEAN UP: SUPER NICE!


Bondo only takes about 25 minutes to dry completely, so set your piece aside and go have some coffee. When you come back, your spatulas will be dry; snap them back and forth a bit, and the dried Bondo will come right off. Cool, huh?

It's hard to remember how miserable you were during the fiberglass stage, huh...


SANDING, TOUCH-UPS: MAKOTO LIKES THE RIDE


Now, the anal-retentive perfectionist part. Start sanding with a very coarse paper. Keep sanding. Sand some more. Grab a wet towel and wipe off the huge amounts of dust you're accumulating. Dry it, then sand again. Then again, if you're not insane like we are, once is probably enough. XD

The Bondo corporation also makes a putty you can use for some final spot-checking if you find a hole or something but it's not worth mixing up a new batch of Body Filler for. It comes in a large tube and is easy to apply, using the same spatulas or what-have-you.

Once you've gotten it to the stage you want, it's ready for priming and paint. That wasn't so bad, now was it? ^_^



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