Sunday, April 11, 2010

Painting Bender

Painting Bender was surprisingly quick. The hot weather here helped the paint dry really fast, and in some cases was too quick (brush marks drying before the paint could settle)

First step was applying primer , light sand, second coat of primer. Each coat needed time to dry, and I hung the parts between 2 ladders for them to dry without contacting anything. The photo below shows the parts hanging in the shade in front of my shed. The ladders have permanent hooks mounted in the roof rafters, and the ladders are chained in place for security. A pedestal fan was rigged on the bench (under the covers to stop paint dripping on everything) to move the air under the verandah away from the kitchen window so the paint smell didn't go in the house.
After the 2 coats of primer (with light sanding), the finish coats were added. Bender essentially is painted with only four colours...

a light grey ("fog hat grey" he calls it in Episode 15, Series 4 - The Farnsworth Parabox) for the body, head, feet, and hands,

a medium grey for all "moving" parts (extensomatic arms, legs, and the tapered shaft of his antenna),

an off-white colour for his eyes and teeth,

and black for detail lines.

In the photo below the finish coats have been applied, the arms are darker than the head, chest door, and hands hanging near them.

Even though the fingers move, Bender is always shown with his finger the same colour as his hands, so I've done the same when painting him.

The colours I used are:

Off white - 200% "Hog Bristle"

Light Grey - Taubmans Shaded Grey

Medium Grey - Taubmans Oyster Bar

and low gloss Black

Once the finish coats were dry, I masked the segment lines on the arms and legs, and painted them black.
Other things painted black, the interior of the body, and both heads, the eye-plates, the interior of the eye shrouds. I also painted the bolts, nuts and wingnuts used for attaching the arms and legs black so they would not be obvious inside the body.

I also masked up the lines on the teeth panels, first the six vertical lines and let them dry. I made 5 teeth panels since I plan on making some with different expressions. In the show (Futurama) Bender's facial expressions are always conveyed by means of his eyelids, pupil level, and the horizontal lines on his teeth. The vertical lines remain unchanged despite his expression.

I masked the square pupils on Bender's eyes (pupils are 14mm x 14mm) centrally on the eyes, and assured their orientation by masking the eyes on the eye-plates with the horizontal masking tape going across both eyes so they were level.

I masked 2 of the teeth plates for simple horizontal lines, masked them up and painted them as shown above. NB - The teeth plates are resting on another "mini-project" - a storage container for the car cover. The red lifting handle for the lid is one cut off the NuSwift extinguishers used in making Bender.
Not all painting was done with masking... I simply used careful brush work to bring the medium grey of the shaft to the light grey of the dome and ball of Bender's antenna at the intersection of the parts. I used similar brush work to paint the feet light grey, and the legs medium grey. The transition between the two colours at the feet were later covered when I masked and painted the segment lines on the legs.

Last article on this project yet to come... Assembling the finished Bender!!!

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