Saturday 27 August 2022

Helmet Painting Project (Oh, and a Harley)

For those who I haven't already told, a couple months ago, I bought a bike. And not just any bike, but my lifelong dream of a bike!

Yes, this is gonna be another of my long winded stories with lots of words to read. If you want to just look at the pretty pictures, you can find them here. Also, click on any of the pics in this post for larger versions.

I've wanted a Sportster since I was 5 years old and our next door neighbour, a Sailor called Bill Hall, took me on my very first (of many!) ride on his bike. It was awesome! It was better than climbing trees and jumping down from way up high, better than going as high as I could on the swings (and jumping out from way up high), better than anything I could imagine! 

He took me on lots of rides around the neighbourhood. Sometimes we jumped the small ditch that ran in front of our houses (much to the horror of his wife and my mom - and cheering from my dad. LOL) Which was the BEST. 

Anyway, from there began a lifetime of seeking out bikes, bikers, and biker culture, getting rides every chance I got, and sorta-kinda finally learning to ride in my 20s. Unfortunately, the bike went with the husband when I got rid of him (I missed the bike!), and then life, single parenting, and trying to stay afloat kept putting off my plans to buy my own bike. 

Then, in 2010, just when I was finally going to find an old CX 550 or something cheap, I broke my back. I was afraid the dream was dead in the water for good. Well, turns out I was finally able to heal enough that riding is not out of the question after all! Walking more than 50 feet or so at a time or standing for more than a few minutes is still a no go, but by the gods, I can ride! 

And then, I discovered why people buy that Harley or sports car or whatever in middle age. It's not midlife crisis! No. It's because we CAN. The kids are grown, out of the house and no longer affecting your insurance rates, or requiring every cent you might manage to save with the next emergency kid thing, and we have actually managed to amass good enough credit to finance the big kid toys!


So, anyway, Her name is Holly (As in the Red Dwarf ship computer). She's a 2022 Sportster Iron 883.
The pic at the top and these below are factory stock in the showroom.

She has several mods underway. Slightly lower & narrower seat w/passenger seat, passenger back rest, luggage rack, and foot pegs moved forward and down, handlebar riser and mini apes.

Here's a pic with the new seat and moved pegs/shifter/brake. Still waiting on some parts for the rest. 

Gonna do custom paint on her too. Steampunk theme with super dark, deep purple base, varying shades of purple gears, cogs, etc, metallic gold circuitry, high gloss finish.

And THAT brings me to the actual title of the post. The helmet! I plan on basically handing the paint guy my helmet and saying, "Make it match. Artistic license granted. Have fun!" I have NEVER been disappointed by giving an artist license to take my vision and run with it, and, as an artist, I have never heard anything less than some version of, "It's exactly like I envisioned, but better!", So it's a good idea. 

My helmet - I had to buy a new one cause it turns out my old one is like 30 years old. Somehow that happens when time passes. Go figure - is a Bell Scout Air. If you haven't worn one of these, HOLY WOW! It's basically the same size and shape of my old helmet, but ridiculously lighter, airier (hence the name?) and more comfortable. Yay for modern technology. 

Here are the two of them side by side, for comparison. 

So, I already knew that I wanted my helmet to match my bike, and that I was getting a custom paint job on the bike, and I knew the colour scheme, so I started with laying down my base coats.


 NOTE: If you want to paint a helmet, make SURE you check to be sure the paint you're using is safe for the surface and will not degrade it, and tape ALL non outer shell surfaces WELL! Also remember to mask off any DOT certification stickers, or you may run afoul of helmet laws.

 Krylon Fusion All-In-One Spray Paint is safe for most helmets and no primer needed.

Once I settled on the steampunk theme, I quickly got a clear vision for what I wanted. Gears, circuitry, and some areas that look like something is malfunctioning/eroding. So I got some stencils and stickers to use for stencils (cause there were almost no actual stencils for what I wanted), and got to work. I forgot to get pics of the kind of cross hatch pattern I sprayed on for the colours of the gears and cogs and such. Oops.

 Here it is all stickered/stencilled up and the first layer of paint over them.

  And the result of that...

 I had masked off the DOT sticker, of course, but with it just being flat black there, it stuck out a little too starkly, so I masked it again and hit it with one of the gear colours.

 Next, it was time to add some circuitry to the mix. I had kind of an idea what I wanted, but was not clear on how to go about it, exactly, so I did an image search of circuit board art and looked at pictures until my brain melted.    

I messed around a little with a couple ideas whilst priming the paint marker, and then just went to town, freehand other than some strips of masking tape to help with straight lines.

Once I got all the circuits drawn on, and did some lowlighting/highlighting and contrast detail on different areas, I brought it back out to hit it with a few layers of clear coat and paint the visor.

Even after the first coat, the designs really popped, and the subsequent coats gave it the depth I was looking to create.

Once the paint was fully dry, it was time to bring it in, peel off all the tape, clean the sticky residue from said tape, and attach the horns and visor, and, voila!

Oh, and put the stickers on. :D The top three are gifts from my sponsor. I have several from him that will be going on the bike and gear as well.

I can't wait til I'm able to post pics of my new bike, all ready to go! 

Well, I CAN wait, cause I don't really have a choice, LOL. It will still be a couple months, which is just as well, cause I missed the permit course I was supposed to be doing this weekend due to a dead van battery at the last minute. Like DEAD dead, not taking a charge. So guess what I'm doing instead this weekend? Yup. Replacing the battery. And the terminals and cables, as long as I'm at it, just for GP. They are pretty old and corroded beyond cleaning, really. 

That's what I get for doing everything all legal like and actually getting an endorsement and stuff this time 'round with riding. More time in recovery and getting older tend to cause all kinds of being responsible and stuff.