Buffing The Plastic

Professional costume makers have the equipment to vacuum form ABS plastic which comes naturally glossy. No buffing is required with ABS plastic to make it shine. Polystyrene plastic, on the other hand, has a natural matte finish to it's surface. We need to buff a gloss finish to polystyrenes surface by using a special buffing compound and a buffing wheel. Some people like to put a wax finish over this buff, I myself opt to just go with the Buffing Method only.

We use a specially made buffing wheel and a bench grinder to buff the plastic to a high shine. The special buffing wheel is made from fibers that resist heat and therefore keeps from melting the plastic while it lays down the buffing compound at high speeds. This buffing compound and wheel can be bought online at Caswell Plating.
Here's a comparision of matte faceplate and a buffed faceplate. The shine does make a big difference. A complete stormtrooper suit will take about 5 hours to buff. We recommend buffing the suit prior to cutting the plastic off it's flashing, basically do the buffing right after the vacuumforming process is completed.

NEXT: The Helmet Detailing