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How to paint or recolor a piece?

FireFox31FireFox31 NH, USAMember Posts: 12
edited October 25 in Building and Techniques
I want to build the Unikitty Unikingdom Palace which was shown at the Lego House "Lego Movie 2" behind the scenes event. It uses some Bright Pink (104) parts which were never made in that color, such as the arches for the eyes (at least I can't find them on Bricklink). Is it possible for me to buy the part in white and paint it pink? How can that be done? My initial idea is to sand it, paint it, then apply clear coat.
Looking very closely at the pictures of the Palace, I can see the recolored pieces have a rough texture.  Surely the designers at Lego recolored them somehow.
Thanks for any suggestions.

Comments

  • CCCCCC UKMember Posts: 17,955
    You can paint LEGO just as you can paint any plastic. Sand it, paint it.

    Matching colours is quite though, although you can look up the RGB components here: http://www.bartneck.de/2016/09/09/the-curious-case-of-lego-colors/ . Again some care is needed as there are arguments over these.

    However, the parts will always look different to the genuine LEGO ones as the finish will be different.

    You can also try dying parts with RIT dye, but to get a specific shade it is incredibly difficult unless it is black.

    FireFox31
  • CCCCCC UKMember Posts: 17,955

    These exist in the right colour. The arch will not be quite the right shape but you could use a pair of them with a 1x1 or 1x2 plate separating them, then a similar pair flipped upside down with a bit of SNOT work for the lower arch.
    Or this arch (again with a flipped one and some extra 1x1 to space them apart.

    Again, it is not going to give a perfect circle, but it is not too bad.

    Or scale down slightly and go for this small one plus an inverted one.

  • CCCCCC UKMember Posts: 17,955
    And if they are not any good, you could use cheese slopes and some SNOT work to get a reasonably circular hole.
  • FireFox31FireFox31 NH, USAMember Posts: 12
    Thanks for the painting info.  I realized that the Lego designers may have 3D printed the parts they needed in the colors they wanted.  Can anyone recommend a source for Lego part data files for printing?  Also, please recommend a source for plastic spool which matches Lego colors (specifically Bright Pink 104).
    Yes, I could use alternative pieces and techniques to approximate the design, but if I'm going to do it, I might as well do it 100% accurately.
  • CCCCCC UKMember Posts: 17,955
    I don't think there are 3D print files for the more specialist bricks. I know there are some for common bricks like 2x4s where there is no trademark issue. As for exact colours for the filament, I doubt you will find them. Plus the plastic will be different, probably PLA vs LEGO's ABS, so will feel a bit softer.

  • CyberdragonCyberdragon Maryland, U.S.AMember Posts: 385
    You can 3D print ABS, you just have to have a really good machine and be extra careful.

    https://www.simplify3d.com/support/materials-guide/abs/
  • klintonklinton CanadaMember Posts: 651
    This just seems like a whole lot of cost and effort for a Unikitty castle. There's a smaller build of the same structure included in #41455 that would take up far less shelf space while giving you the much the same general display presence. 
    CCC
  • benbacardibenbacardi EnglandMember Posts: 398
    FireFox31 said:
    Yes, I could use alternative pieces and techniques to approximate the design, but if I'm going to do it, I might as well do it 100% accurately.
    That's the thing, though—you can't do it 100% accurately, as you don't have access to the parts they did or the process they used to make those parts. So whatever you do is an approximation.
  • CCCCCC UKMember Posts: 17,955
    edited October 25
    klinton said:
    This just seems like a whole lot of cost and effort for a Unikitty castle. There's a smaller build of the same structure included in #41455 that would take up far less shelf space while giving you the much the same general display presence. 
    I knew I had seen a smaller version somewhere! And it is also worth noting that the eyes there are not circular.
  • FireFox31FireFox31 NH, USAMember Posts: 12
    I'll experiment with painting some parts to see the results. I'll also look for matching 3D print plastic and evaluate that option. I really want that full sized palace. Who knows, maybe I'll send out the parts list and building instructions for others to make it!
  • SirBenSirBen In the Hall of the Mountain KingMember Posts: 554
    I don't have any additional thoughts on the pink arches, but I am curious, how are you planning to acquire the light blue spruce tree for the horn?
  • TheOriginalSimonBTheOriginalSimonB Felixstowe Member Posts: 1,334
    I can’t find the right thread, but there was talk somewhere about dissolving parts in acetone then using that to paint other pieces. So you could try that with some other pinks bits then paint a white version of  the appropriate part.
    Switchfoot55LittleLori
  • Switchfoot55Switchfoot55 The Northwest, USAMember Posts: 1,619
  • FireFox31FireFox31 NH, USAMember Posts: 12
    The blue tree would be repainted the same as the arch pieces.  Sanding down every crevice would be tough, so I will evaluate sand blasting.  The tree is what made me consider 3D printing.  That may be a tricky piece to print though.  I may need to build the horn using other parts.  Using a tree was a hack, so I wouldn't mind replacing that.
  • ecmo47ecmo47 North CarolinaMember Posts: 2,088
    edited October 26
    I spray painted these 6x6 dishes for these tankers. To match color, I took a blue base plate to Lowes and they match the color and sold me a pint of blue latex paint. I first tried to hand paint the pieces but that look sloppy so I broke out the old hobby spray paint set and used that. You can only tell on very close inspection.


    CCCBumblepantsmadforLEGOLittleLorigmonkey76Switchfoot55KungFuKenny
  • CCCCCC UKMember Posts: 17,955
    I can’t find the right thread, but there was talk somewhere about dissolving parts in acetone then using that to paint other pieces. So you could try that with some other pinks bits then paint a white version of  the appropriate part.
    That works well for minifigure parts but not bricks. It adds a later which doesn't matter too much for minifigure parts, but bricks will not stick together.

    FireFox31 said:
    The blue tree would be repainted the same as the arch pieces.  Sanding down every crevice would be tough, so I will evaluate sand blasting.  The tree is what made me consider 3D printing.  That may be a tricky piece to print though.  I may need to build the horn using other parts.  Using a tree was a hack, so I wouldn't mind replacing that.
    You said you were going for accuracy. Surely replacing it isn't accurate.
    klinton
  • BrainsluggedBrainslugged England (the grim North)Member Posts: 902
    This is a timely thread as I experimented with melting parts in acetone just a week or so ago.

    I have some of the Kessel Mine workers from Solo, but think they look totally incomplete without a helmet. It's doubly annoying as the Cloud Car Pilot helmet is a perfect match but the wrong colour.

    So I acquired some Cloud Car helmets and used an eraser to remove the red print on them. I also bought some 100% acetone. The idea was to melt some light yellow and some dark tan Lego and 'paint' the helmets with them. I melted a light yellow piece and tried painting a white brick with the resultant mixture. The result was far from what I'd been envisaging/hoping for. It wouldn't apply smoothly and when I tried rubbing the paint to see how well it stuck, it had actually made the underlying brick soft.

    I'm sure it's possible to get a better result with a bit more experimenting with amounts of acetone etc, but I felt I was so far from getting anything satisfactory that I'm now more than happy to accept the Kessel Mine Workers with plain white helmets as that will look a lot better than some janky Frankenstein paint job.

    Pic below is of the chopped up brick in acetone; the resulting light yellow paste; the original Kessel Worker; how he should look; and how he now looks with a plain white helmet.


    FizyxBumblepantsstlux
  • CCCCCC UKMember Posts: 17,955
    You have way too much acetone. You probably less than 1/10th of what you have there. Your gunk is mainly acetone with a bit of dissolved plastic in it. This is why it is damaging parts when painted on.

    What you should do is put the bricks in a bowl / beaker, then add a small amount of acetone. Don't cover the bricks. Just enough to cover the bottom of the bowl. Leave it a few hours. You will notice the ones in the acetone start collapsing into solution. As they do, the upper ones will start to drop into the acetone and start to dissolve. Again, leave them for a few hours. Maybe give it a stir. Leave again. Only when they stop dissolving should you put any more acetone in, and then tiny amounts. A few drops, then leave again. You want as little acetone in there as possible.


    FizyxSwitchfoot55
  • BrainsluggedBrainslugged England (the grim North)Member Posts: 902
    @CCC - Thanks for the advice. Maybe I'll try again. Although I'm sure it had all mostly evaporated after a couple of hours anyway. 
  • CCCCCC UKMember Posts: 17,955
    There will still be loads of residual acetone in the polymer. You need to minimise that to start with. It is really quite difficult to paint with as it is thick and sticky. It is fine for painting small areas (such as a elf ears) but I cannot think it would be possible to paint even a surface of a 2x4 brick evenly.
  • KungFuKennyKungFuKenny Deep in the Heart of TexasMember Posts: 507

    I'm sure it's possible to get a better result with a bit more experimenting with amounts of acetone etc, but I felt I was so far from getting anything satisfactory that I'm now more than happy to accept the Kessel Mine Workers with plain white helmets as that will look a lot better than some janky Frankenstein paint job.
    @Brainslugged

    Well now I just want to see pics of "Janky Frankenstein" - sounds like a new Halloween CMF :-)

    560HeliportBrainsluggedDeMontes
  • masterX244masterX244 GermanyMember Posts: 479
    This is a timely thread as I experimented with melting parts in acetone just a week or so ago.
    --SNIP--


    Maybe read over at the public forums of the 501st legion (mostly over at the stormtrooper part at whitearmor.net) They have to deal with dissolved ABS, too for armor patching. Keyword: ABS paste
    KungFuKennyBrainslugged
  • FireFox31FireFox31 NH, USAMember Posts: 12
    Looking closer at the Unikitty Palace uses green 58846 "Round Corner 10 x 10 with Slope" though it was never made in green. Unlike the noticably unofficial pink parts, this green corner is an exact match for the color and texture of an official part. I can't paint a part that large, so I'll have to skip it. It really makes me wonder how many unreleased parts and colors are available to the Lego staff.
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