Friday, February 22, 2013

Hoka Hey! Airbrushing my Nolan N90 helmet...

Camera App: PureShot

Apps used for post processing:
Photo Toaster - for the vignetting
Pilxr Express + - for the film frame
MergeImagePro - for the collage.
A+Signature - for the copyright watermark

February the 10th I finally finished the paint job on my motorbike helmet, which I did with my new Badger Renegade Krome airbrush, and my self-build airbrush compressor. You can see a video of it on my YouTube channel:

I painted my helmet silver Aluminium first. Then I applied a liquid mask on several places on edges and everywhere else where I wanted to have paint realistically chipped off. The liquid mask that I used is called "Maskol". It's from Humbrol, a brand famous among modelers for it's great enamel paints. Maskol rubberizes in contact with air and after the paint job is done you can either rub or pull it off. That's what I did.

The red hand painted "A" stands for Anarchy. Now, before you judge me wrong, please read this first:

"Hoky Hey" is the battle cry of the Sioux Indians and nowadays the name of a Harley race in the USA. It translates as "today is a good day to die".

Number 27... because my beloved wife Fanny was born on a 27th.

Two stars the left side of my chin part for our two daughters.

"Fanny" on the left side, because it's my wife's name, signed by herself.

"FXDF" because it's the tech code of my Harley Davidson Fat Bob.

Nolan is great! The helmet was easily disassembled and re-assembled. And working with the Badger Renegade Krome airbrush is big fun!



  1. Hey man, great paint job!
    I have a Nolan N90 too, and I was looking to paint it. Do you have any tips that are specific to the N90 (removing vents, etc.) or just things you discovered when doing this? What type of paint did you use? The finish looks like a matte, did you clearcoat over it with a clear matte? If so, how many coats? I know you just did it, but does it seem like it will be durable?

  2. Hi Brandon,
    I'm glad you like my paint job - thanks man!
    The N90 is very easy to disassemble. You can remove almost all the parts, except but for the chin straps which are riveted to the helmet. Also I left the parts that hold the nuts for the screws of the chin part in place. They are inserted with pressure and I did not want to risk breaking something. So I carefully masked off these parts using a liquid mask called "Maskol". It's made by Humbrol, a British brand known among model builders for its great Enamel paints. Maskol rubberizes when it's getting in contact with air. You can paint it on with a brush and dilute it with water. After it dried it becomes a rubber film that sticks in place. I also did my chipped off paint effect with Maskol. First I painted the whole helmet silver aluminium, then I brushed Maskol on all the places where I wanted scratches or paint chipped off. After completing the camo paint job I rubbed off the Maskol mask.
    The paint that I used is automotive paint, water based. You cannot use solvent based paint on helmets cause it will penetrate the molecular structure of the plastic, thus changing it's mechanical resistance. Or in other words: solvents will harden the shell so it will risk to break like an egg shell on impact in case of an accident. So you only can use water based paint on helmets made of other materials than carbon.
    I don't exactly know what the brand of the paint is but I think it's Williams Automotive paint. I bought it at a local store that sells all sorts of tools, paints and car parts because they mix the paint in small quantities of 60ml which is great for small parts.
    The key information for you is to buy automotive paint that is water based. You can also use Createx Wicked Colors or other. Here's a good video that explains the differences of paint: - The tips provided by that guy Tony D. are highly recommended. From one of his videos I learned how to airbrush a bullet hole :).
    The paint that I used were matte paints. After finishing the job I applied Sikkens matte varnish. Sikkens is one of the top brands that make automotive paints. The silver aluminium I used for underpainting the helmet was Sikkens paint. It's also water based indeed.
    As for the helmet itself I recommend you to sort your parts and put screws and parts in small plastic bags, labeling them with information about the place where it belongs to. The rubber seals are attached with two sided sticky tape that is super thin. I didn't find such thin tape in stores so I decided to replace the joints. I asked at the store where I bought the helmet. Th sales chick phoned Nolan in Italy to ask for replacement joints where they told her that such joints are only being replaced on warranty but since the warranty had expired they didn't want to replace them. But they gave her an address in Germany where she can order joints from. In the end I paid nothing and I received even two sets of joints. That was great service.
    Because the helmet was disassembled anyway I took profit of that occasion to replace the inner sun shield. It's very easy to replace even when the helmet is fully assembled.
    In the meantime I did a few rides with it and everything is fine. The paint that I used is flexible. It doesn't break off. I used Createx Wicked White to paint the stencil markings.
    If you got more questions please feel free to email me at quaffit(@) Remove the brackets when typing my address. I added them because of the spam bots that collect email addresses from the internet. You may also add me as your Facebook friend if you like:
    Safe Rides to you!
    Gaston ;)