Hi all. I've been petrified to do my tube stripes, but I worry no more..
I used a paintbrush clamped in place of the pencil on this General Tools contractor's compass I got at my local hardware store's tool section. (same as this one here on Amazon..)
I used some hobby masking tape in 0.25 inch size (similar to this stuff here: 6mm would work..) to stretch across the cheeks. I figured that was good enough for the "as wide as a #2 pencil away from the top edge" description people use when using templates. I would have done templates, but that was my fallback plan. I used layers of masking tape, edge to edge, to approximate the size of the tube stripe decals that were on the helmet when I got it. It was three pieces edge to edge, and then a little gap between those and the bottom line.. Again, all by eyeball. I peeled up the middle two stripes to leave me two parallel strips of masking tape. I made sure to smooth the masking tape to cut down on any bleeds, but it still happened when I wasn't careful.
I used a stripe of masking tape over the center of the old vinyl stripes and put a dot of sharpie marker in the center of each. That would be my guide for how to space the stripes when I did them on the opposite cheek. I peeled that centerline up, then placed it in the middle of my parallel masking tape pieces. I dipped the brush in the paint so it was thick but not dripping. I usually lightly wiped it on the front and back of the bottle before using it on the helmet. Then, starting from the back edge of where I wanted my last stripe (closest to the ear), I traced my arcs. Starting the paint on the masking tape allowed it to give me a sense of how much pressure I was using for the swing of my arc. I laid down two sets of tube stripes--my first one on the left which was mediocre because I used a thinner brush. I then did the ones on the right using the left stripes as a guide.. And, go figure, I laid down two less stripes.. So, I nuked the first set before they were fully dry [rubbing alcohol and a paper towel] and the next day I made my masking tape dots again using the existing 14 stripes I painted the day before.. I set them up and repainted that left side. I think it turned out well! The toughest part was doing the front two stripes, because I had to place the compass point on the nose of the helmet.. So, after that changed the curvature of the front two stripes, I had to sort of freehand those and curve them by removing material with little plastic thingies like these--little "plastic sanding twigs" similar to these on Amazon. I'm positive toothpicks would have worked just fine too. I cleaned up in between stripes as carefully as possible a Q-tip soaked in rubbing alcohol. It helped fix when I freehanded over the top of my stripes and got the paint a little past my edges.. Whoops!
I peeled up the masking tape which didn't always leave nice edges (depending on the angle I was pulling it off.. No one angle seemed to afford me a better edge.. Maybe pulling it straight back along the line was decent.. Anyway, I'll let the pictures speak for themselves. Please forgive my wrecked ears (it was cut too deeply back, and I trimmed material and attempted to fit it back in. I used superglue and baking soda to build a foundation on the back, and then tried to fix the front nicely. I'm so glad that I can weather around that and hide my mediocre repair work. Ahahah.), and they do need to have a final cleaning once the paint is dry.. But, I'm happy with them so far! And, the thread is nothing without pictures..
SandtrooperTubeStripeDetail2 by JollyRajR, on Flickr
SandtrooperTubeStripeDetail1 by JollyRajR, on Flickr
I don't have a good side shot for the left tube stripes, but they resemble the right ones decently enough. You can see that despite looking like they flatten out towards the back on the front-on shots, the tube stripes are all curved.. I did touch these up, so the edges aren't so ragged.. This was a "I'm done painting now" shot..
SandtrooperTubeStripeDetail3 by JollyRajR, on Flickr
My intent is to eventually go for SWAT (someone with a white pauldron, because I'm no captain... I have Pack 4, which I think I can turn into a filter pack.. then I could go for the Cantina Sergeant.. I have an MP40 pouch with tool container, and a pair of MP40 pouches for the belt already, so that seems a natural choice..).. And, if I don't get that fancy, I will at least get to police officer status.. I just have some weathering and strapping to redo since I've basically overhauled my entire suit to fit better.. No more armor bites in the forearms.. And, if I can get the armor bites gone from the back of the calves? That would be awesome. But, in the meantime, I have to get this AM1.0 helmet to snuff.. And, I think the cheek stripes are good so far.. Let's just hope Cantina Sergeant has around 14 tube stripes because that's how many I've got right now..
TD-92688, Southern California Garrison, Orange County Squad
(and also TB, ID, TA, DZ...)