Wednesday, March 30, 2011

Zat Painting Tutorial

The latest piece to finalising my stargate costume was to paint my zat. I found a very helpful guide online for how to go about painting the sucker. In the end I think it worked out rather well for me and I am very pleased with the final turn-out (at the bottom). But in the effort of share and share alike - here is my experience detailed out for those stargate fans interested in painting their very own zat. 
Make sure that you allow yourself enough time to do all the painting. It does take some time to dry between steps, and the last thing you want is a rush job. You will also need to get all your tools in hand.


1 x resin zat - I picked mine up on ebay. It wasn't cheap but it was a good job.
Workspace with lots of newspaper or old painting sheets to cover
Dust mask for sanding
1 x spray can of black primer (bought from Supercheap auto - cheap black paint)
1 x spray can metallic paint of your choice (again from Supercheap auto)
1 x can of Matt sealer (from eckersleys art shop)
Acrylic paints - purple peal, teal and black
Paint brushes - 1 very tiny, 1 angle brush
Sandpaper - fine and very fine
Metal files / rasp

Step 1 - remove casting excess

My zat cast came with an excess amount of resin from the pour process. To remove this, I got stuck into it with a rasp to get rid of the bulk, and then tamed down to a softer metal file, before finishing off with some sandpaper. You will also need to sand down the excess on the tail. 

Step 2 - smoothing
I then got stuck into my zat with my fine sandpaper to smooth off the seam lines. It didn't take long and was well worth it in the end. If you need to fill holes in you resin weapon, you will need to do so and then sand back for a smooth finish. 

Step 3 - washing
Wash the zat. Warm water in the sink and a small amount of soap suds. I then dried her off and left her to completely air dry overnight. I used a soft scrubbing brush to help make sure that all the fine sanding was out of the grooves. 

Step 4 - prep the work area
Make sure that you more then adequately cover your work area, or this will happen. Over-spray. Not nice and a pain in the butt to get off whatever you sprayed on. After the newspaper failed me, I dug out an old painting sheet and worked on it instead. 

Step 5 - priming
Keep it in light layers. I had to go pretty heavy with my primer or undercoat as my resin model was cast white instead of black as some others on the market are. It wasn't really a problem, but just made me realise how important this really is. Because if you don't get a good covering of your primer, your colour layer will not go on as easily. If you do go in light layers, you will only have to wait for a couple of minutes between layers of paint. (Just don't do it on a wet day like me). Make sure that you cover every single part of the zat and don't forget the tail part. Once done, I left it overnight to dry completely.

Step 6 - painting

Again, light layers. It is very easy to go too heavy, but you really do not want any dribbling or spray marks from getting too close or putting on too much paint. I was amazed at how much colour goes on in only a couple of light layers. Again, make sure the you get every single nook and cranny with colour. Again, I left it overnight to dry completely. 

Step 7 - detail paints
This is where you will need a comfy chair to sit down and get stuck into it all, as it really does take a while to get done. I used my small angle brush with my pretty purple paint. I ended up with three light layers of paint - which was just perfect to cover. Once that is dry, I added the black paint on the bend. And finally, the veins. This is where the teal paint and the tiny brush come in. I have read of some people using toothpicks to put the paint in, but thankfully as a makeup artist I am quite used to painting fine lines. It didn't take me too long, but I did find that I could not use the paint straight - it was too thick. So I just mixed it with a tiny amount of water. 

Step 8 - sealing
Back onto the painting sheet and a couple of light layers of the sealer. The idea with sealing is to stop any paint rubbing off on costumes or hands. 

Step 9 - attaching the head piece.
Superglue. I was really lucky with the head piece of my zat in that the join was where both of the zat pieces were poured. Meaning that the bubbles and slight pour marks left over around the area would be covered. The only thing that I stuffed up was the amount of glue that I used. My superglue ended up oozing down the side of my zat and when I pulled it off, there went my paint. I wasn't really impressed, but managed to touch it up with a paintbrush and a smidge of my spraypaint on the can lid. Like you would for a car touch-up. 

I'm rather pleased with how it has come out in the end though. And very excited to pull it out for photos this weekend.

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