# Anyone tried this "New Mirror Chrome" paint?

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#### Marc_G

##### Well-Known Member
Ok guys, I bit the bullet and bought a bottle of the Stuart Semple Mirror. We shall see how it does. Gets here in 3-5 days supposedly.

#### Marc_G

##### Well-Known Member
Now I have to put together a test rocket to try out the paint once I get it. I will of course do test swatches and post results first, but maybe I will create a rocket named "Through the Looking Glass" for the purpose.

#### Marc_G

##### Well-Known Member
The Mirror has arrived.

Sometimes I like to hold things like this and pretend I'm a giant.

Quick test comparing it to Wicked and Auto Air aluminum paints is in progress. Stand by.

It appears to be an ultra fine pigment otherwise similar to aluminum paints. Organic Base. Will need smooth surface for decent application.

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#### Wally Ferrer

##### SRE
TRF Supporter
I got a can of Spaz Stix (Had something in mind for it, but don't remember what...). Still haven't tried it.

Any experience, opinions or tips for this stuff?
yes- make sure your gloss black coat is as smooth as possible, and apply the Spaz Stik very sparingly- too much and it will dull/dust over... From right to left, my first, second and third attempts using it. I got better at not overdoing it by the third one, it is far more chrome than just a silver.

#### Marc_G

##### Well-Known Member
OK, at least initially I'm appreciative of Mirror. Here are my Asteroid Hunter engine bells recently painted in Auto Air black (about 5 hours ago, seem completely dry).

Now here we go after I painted with Mirror, using a mixture of Q-tips and fine detail brushes.

Another angle, close up:

Meanwhile the test swatches on unprimed foam core kinda look crappy in photos but in real life you can easily tell Mirror is shiny and the aluminum paint is grainy:

The fact it looks crappy on the swatch is due to unprimed paper, not black.

#### Antares JS

##### Well-Known Member
I gotta get me some of that.

#### Marc_G

OK, next rocket will be Through the Looking Glass, which in my mind should be a small rocket with a long taper pointy nose cone, a tail cone, and simple swept back fins. Maybe a logo with the Cheshire cat smile. The thing is, the bottle is pretty tiny and I'll have to be thrifty with the paint. This is good stuff but at about $45 per bottle it's ridiculous. And I've never airburshed with anything other than acrylics, so it will be a learning experiment. #### neil_w ##### Yum yum rockety goodness TRF Supporter That Asteroid Hunter nozzle sure looks good. OK, next rocket will be Through the Looking Glass, which in my mind should be a small rocket with a long taper pointy nose cone, a tail cone, and simple swept back fins. Maybe a logo with the Cheshire cat smile. The thing is, the bottle is pretty tiny and I'll have to be thrifty with the paint. This is good stuff but at about$45 per bottle it's ridiculous. And I've never airburshed with anything other than acrylics, so it will be a learning experiment.
In the demo video on Youtube, Stuart only uses a nearly-dry brush for application, and he seemed to be using pretty small quantities. Do you know if it supposedly works well in an airbrush?

It will also be interesting to see how it reacts to a clearcoat (e.g. Future).

#### Marc_G

##### Well-Known Member

Tankage and piping in Mirror.

#### ksaves2

One caution of metallic paints. I recommend one does not, I repeat does not paint an ebay or nosecone that contains an Rf tracker antenna either RDF or GPS. I found on the 70cm Ham band (400Mhz and I'm licensed for it) the Rf is attenuated drastically on the Big Red Bee 400Mhz band. Maybe the same on the 900Mhz band too. Paint the nosecone tracker bay or main tube tracker ebays with plain, non-metallic paint. Rest of the rocket can be whatever you want as long as the antenna of the tracker doesn't pass through a metallic painted body tube. The metal fines in the paint can act as a shield against the Rf getting out. I found that out on two successive flights of different metallic painted rockets with trackers in them flown on the same day. Got no positions from one and one position at altitude from the larger rocket I got a visual recovery on. The other one, I got the remains 13 months later. At least I got the motor casing back!

Kurt KC9LDH

#### Marc_G

##### Well-Known Member
Good point @ksaves2 . Nothing like chaff baked into the surroundings of an ebay to throw off the signal.

Fortunately I fly all low power and don't own a tracker. Or maybe unfortunately. Hard to tell...

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#### ksaves2

Good point @ksaves2 . Nothing like chaff be asked into the surroundings of an ebay to throw off the signal.

Fortunately I fly all low power and don't own a tracker. Or maybe unfortunately. Hard to tell...
Thanks but I will continue to caution these were my first two GPS tracker flights many years ago that failed miserably due to the fact I didn't do an adequate range test on the 70cm band.
Because of it, I will only paint a rocket with plain, non-metallic paints if the tracker has to reside in the middle ebay with the deployment electronics or if the nosecone is large enough, make a nosecone bay and use a non-metallic paint on it.
Don't make the mistake I made. Also, when sticking a tracker in the same bay as the deployment electronics, make sure they play well with the Rf tracker. On two occasions I had anomalous flights when the Rf trackers whacked the deployment electronics due to Rf interference. Had a total shutdown and core sample on one flight and an apogee deployment on powered ascent that led to a full length zipper of the 4" cardboard tube. The deployment altimeter in question was a kit that is out of production called a P6K. I have a couple and only use them in rockets without trackers now.
The apogee harness broke on that last one and the upper bay came down to the softest landing it will ever have under a 96" chute. I was surprised it didn't zipper the upper bay as it was tumbling but the upper part of the rocket was intact after recovery. The main charge blew nominally but I didn't see it until the bay came down under the full main chute. We were all watching the remains of the shattered sustainer tumbling in ballistic. Only after it hit, we shifted attention to the main bay which was easily seen coming in under a full main 96" chute with the broken apogee harness trailing behind it.
I built a new sustainer and it finally had a nominal flight after I used different deployment electronics.

Remember, non-metallic paints on bays where a buried Rf tracker antenna has to pass through and test deployment electronics with bare ematches on the channels with the tracker(s) running.

Besides a range check, that is what I do now. Fire up everything with bare, contained ematches outside and let it sit for 30 to 45 minutes in a simulated ready-to-launch mode in the backyard.
If the altimeter(s) stay in standby ready-to-launch mode and don't pop ematches, I'm good to go. The other failure mode is the altimeter(s) just go silent and don't function at all. No standby "ready to go" beeping as if the thing(s) have been turned off. I highly recommend this exercise to anyone using an Rf tracker of any kind with electronic deployment. It's good insurance against premature deployments or core samples.

I'll qualify that if using an integrated altimeter/Rf tracker that is on the same P.C. board, the maker has already tested the setup to make sure things play well together i.e. Eggtimer TRS. Outside of a range check with the receiving system, I don't go through the above testing regimen outside of putting LED's on the outputs and do a manual firing test with the computer program on a laptop to make sure the output channels work.

Kurt Savegnago

#### Marc_G

##### Well-Known Member
OK, nearly had an epic fail today.

Earlier today I painted a strip of foamcore with some Wicked Black as a base for a coat of Mirror. Nothing fancy, just used a foam brush to paint the black paint onto the black paper of the foamcore strip.

After dinner I got a nice flat artist brush and the Mirror paint and started spreading some onto the black-painted surface. My brush was too wide to dip into the tiny bottle of Mirror, so I was preparing to pour just a drop out onto the foamcore. Well, I'm a klutz and I spilled a lot more than a drop out, onto the foamcore, the table, and spatters on the floor and my socks. Splatters came within an inch or two of my asteroid hunter!!

Deciding I could clean things later I quickly spread the precious fluid over the foamcore, but there was a puddle of it left over, on the table surface. Thinking quickly I grabbed the first BT50 elongated plastic nosecone I could find, straight out of the bulk cone bag, and began applying the Mirror. I didn't want to waste it, and I was planning to try it out on a cone anyway (after cleaning, lightly sanding, and priming the plastic cone). No time for that, just dipped brush in puddle and started covering the cone. I wound up over-working the material: I've found it will settle on its own if you just paint a super thin coat and don't overwork it. But I "scratched" the settling surface by overworking it. I set it aside vertically to dry, then cleaned up my mess.

This included using lacquer thinner on the brush to clean it, but after I was nearly done the brush snapped where the plastic handle met the metal band holding the bristles. Oh, yeah. Cheap brush, lacquer thinner, bad combo. Into the trash.

Anyway, here is a picture of the foamcore:

You can see the black paper to the left, a moderately shiny area that is simply the foamcore paper coated in Mirror, then a shinier area to the right where the Wicked Black undercoat sealed the paper surface before Mirror application. I will cut that shiny area into two halves, and for each half, I will coat half of it in a clearcoat, leaving the other half of the half untouched. The two clears will include Future (or whatever it's called now) and Krylon UV stable gloss clear. Since metalic silvery paints often self destruct visually when clear coated, this is an important test. I can do the Future tomorrow night but will have to wait for a paintable day to spray the Krylon outside.

Meanwhile check out the nose cone. The stuff settled a bit, despite my overworking it:

It definitely dries more mirrory (mirrorry?) than it looks when it is wet.

This piece will become part of "Through the Looking Glass" but I may buff the Mirror down and recoat, probably with an airbrush if I find it works in that application. I lost smoothness from overworking the material in my haste.

#### tomsteve

##### Well-Known Member
38 bucks for half a fluid ounce?
If you have a big rocket that could get expensive.
And I thought Spaz Stix was expensive.
Sheesh.
i thought that new vantablack, which i thought would be wicked on a rocket, was pricey but that stuff-wow!

#### Blast it Tom!

##### Well-Known Dweeb
TRF Supporter
i thought that new vantablack, which i thought would be wicked on a rocket, was pricey but that stuff-wow!
View attachment 455641
Is that the new stuff from MIT that is the "blackest black ever made?" (And if that's Lenin, as it appears to be, getting vantablacked could hardly happen to a more fitting candidate!)

#### Marc_G

##### Well-Known Member
Hold it... Does putting these dark pigments on busts of white dudes count as blackface? (Run away, run away!)

#### neil_w

##### Yum yum rockety goodness
TRF Supporter
I have to say, if folks are looking for shiny chrome, that nose cone certainly seems to fit the description. Looks great.

I'm a little confused about the foam core test. In the picture at least, the chrome without the black underneath looks good, the chrome *with* the black underneath looks smeary and not overly shiny. Maybe the picture is just not capturing it (sure is capturing that nose cone, though).

#### Marc_G

##### Well-Known Member
I have to say, if folks are looking for shiny chrome, that nose cone certainly seems to fit the description. Looks great.

I'm a little confused about the foam core test. In the picture at least, the chrome without the black underneath looks good, the chrome *with* the black underneath looks smeary and not overly shiny. Maybe the picture is just not capturing it (sure is capturing that nose cone, though).
Picture angle doesn't capture the reality. The black sealed paper looks better actually.
Purpose of the test will be to see how disruptive clear coating will be. Secondary test is "will masking tape disrupt the chromed surface."

May have data to report tomorrow.

#### Marc_G

##### Well-Known Member
Pictures later but the results are in:

Even brief taping with Tamiya yellow tap resulted in the Mirror paint lifting (off of acrylic base coat) when the tape was carefully removed. Maybe Mirror sticks better to something like a solvent based spray primer, but beware taping this stuff.

Future seemed to have no effect on Mirror (other than adding a bit of gloss). I coated a sample last night and allowed it to cure overnight.

Krylon UV Resistant Clear Gloss caused the Mirror to go from shiny to plain silver looking, instantly upon application (in 50's F weather). It's drying now but I expect solvent based topcoats are out of bounds with Mirror.

I've got a work thing for a couple hours but am off the rest of the day after that, so will post pictures then.

I expect to put decals on Asteroid Hunter today, then when it's all dry I will put a coat of Future on the whole thing, including the Mirrored bits.

#### Marc_G

##### Well-Known Member
OK, here's a picture:

It's hard to capture the shininess in a still picture. The tap scarring is clearly evident on the Future strip; there was a much narrower tap area on the Krylon strip, just around where it says "tape" at the bottom. Here's another angle:

Here's a link to a brief video where you can see it from various angles:

If you listen closely in the background, you will here a Thelema ceremony in the background; Season 1 Episode 9 of Strange Angel. Pretty freaky show mixing early rocketry, drama, and occult philosophy.

#### tomsteve

##### Well-Known Member
Is that the new stuff from MIT that is the "blackest black ever made?" (And if that's Lenin, as it appears to be, getting vantablacked could hardly happen to a more fitting candidate!)
yup.

#### KenECoyote

##### Well-Known Member
TRF Supporter
Thanks for the testing and reports Marc_G! Years ago I was on a big hunt for the best non-airbrushed chrome and it was a very disappointing adventure. Even the best chrome (SpazStix) was horrible to handle and dulled with any clearcoat. I just recently tried VHT chrome and that was a mess imo (looks okay at a few feet tho...pic attached). I may strip down the Bullpup and try this stuff.

#### Marc_G

##### Well-Known Member
My plan is to build a small rocket and give it the Mirror treatment. But I'm having trouble finding the tail cone I want for it. Will make a post in LPR section.

#### KenECoyote

##### Well-Known Member
TRF Supporter
I got a can of Spaz Stix (Had something in mind for it, but don't remember what...). Still haven't tried it.

Any experience, opinions or tips for this stuff?
SpazStix was the best of all the chrome sprays I tried years back (over a dozen), but it takes forever to "dry", fingerprints mark it right up (really a pain when rso handles to inspect) and I couldn't find any suitable clearcoat including Future. Here's a rocket with SS.

She's a beauty!

#### KenECoyote

##### Well-Known Member
TRF Supporter
Here's a pic of it shortly after painting with SpazStix (excuse the cheesy prop! LOL)

#### Marc_G

##### Well-Known Member
I got confirmation from the Mirror folks that it sprays fine in an airbrush. They don't recommend thinning it at all (of course not, at \$40 per half fluid ounce).

#### Blast it Tom!

##### Well-Known Dweeb
TRF Supporter
I must admit that's more expensive than Alclad II, but if it's anything like that, a little goes a long way.