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Shikarnov September 27 2013 10:18 PM

OT - Personal Request / Contest
Hi All,

For those of you who frequent TNZ, you probably know that my first child, Arthur, was born this past May. Since then, he developed a problem with his neck that caused him to favor his left side when laying. As a result -- in spite of my wife's and my best efforts -- he's developed a flat spot on the left side of his head, and a bulge on the right. The condition is known as plagiocephaly, and it's correctable with an orthodic device called a DOC Band (see below):

The device comes with a flat white color and can be decorated with acrylic paint, stickers, and/or decals. You can see some examples on Google Images.

Which brings me to the reason I'm here. I'm usually a pretty creative guy, but where my son is concerned, my focus on his well-being is short circuiting my creativity. And my wife doesn't have an imaginative bone in her whole body. But neither of us want our son to be walking around with a sterile-looking medical device on his head.

So, would any of you be interested in a little contest to design a Trek-themed head band for my son? It'll need to consist of a background color that I can buy at any art store and paint or airbrush on, and then art that I can print to some kind of transparency and place on the painted device.

The only limit is that I can't attach anything. So if you're thinking a Borg band would be cool (and I agree, it would), I can't attach a laser to the side of Arthur's head without modifying the DOC Band.

Unfortunately I have nothing to offer other than gratitude -- which I would publicize in as wide a circle as I can -- and whatever bragging rights you'd be able to derive from winning the contest. And, of course, pictures.

Things to know:
  • Arthur's head is 120mm wide by 135mm deep.
  • We won't know which side gets the bump (if you look at the pics on Google Images, you'll understand my meaning) until Wednesday when he gets fitted.
  • Arthur's favorite Trek score is "The Enterprise" by Jerry Goldsmith (he's not allowed to watch TV yet, but he really responds to that piece of music).

And here's the little guy who will wear your art for the next couple months:

Thanks for your attention!


Albertese September 28 2013 05:01 AM

Re: OT - Personal Request / Contest
Dah! My heart goes out to you! As a father of a little boy myself, I assure you that you have all my sympathies! I'm so dang busy right now with too much real life myself, that I probably won't be able to figure anything out for you, but I will let my brain mull it over in the background and if any great ideas occur to me, I'll be sure to at least make a suggestion.

In the meantime, there's some great talent bouncing around on this board and I bet someone will come through.

Best of luck to you and I hope your boy heals up with the greatest alacrity!


lennier1 September 28 2013 07:29 PM

Re: OT - Personal Request / Contest
With the way the band looks I would've gone for something styled after a racing helmet. ;)
After all, it's supposed to help his health and we all know that little kids often seem to have a sheer endless supply of energy.

Shikarnov October 1 2013 07:09 PM

Re: OT - Personal Request / Contest
Thank you, Alex, for your kind words and your thoughts. They're most appreciated.

I like the idea, lennier1, of a racing helmet... I'm not really a fan of Voyager, but Tom Paris' race in the Delta Flyer comes to mind. As does TNG's Red Squad. Hmm...

Shikarnov October 5 2013 04:53 AM

Re: OT - Personal Request / Contest
Well, an update. Arthur's got his headband.

I decided on a general design... All grey, with some kind of patch/insignia on the larger right half. On the left I'm thinking some text in an Airborne font -- maybe his name, like a personnel ID, or "USS ENTERPRISE," like standard landing party gear. Horizontal stripes around the sides, with a yellow arrow like on the secondary hull of the Enterprise.

I admit this looked a lot snazzier in my mind than it does in layout...

Any suggestions on how to spruce it up a bit?

Also -- does anybody have experience with real airbrushes? I'm under strict orders from the orthodist not to apply heat to the device, but for paint to properly adhere without heat, I'll need more than the one-hour per day he's allowed to be out of the headband...


Albertese October 5 2013 09:20 AM

Re: OT - Personal Request / Contest
I like it!

Hmm... one hour painting intervals are tricky. I wonder if you can find some kind of quick drying, low-fume spray paint that might work?

Here's the first thing I would try... and, obviously, I would experiment on materials in the garage before trying any of this on the actual brace.... Maybe find some kind of light grey paint that dries inside an hour, do this incrementally:

Day 1: spray on the base gray color.

Day 2: having made custom decals for the stripes, boomerangs, and delta shield earlier, apply them to the brace. Should be good to go after an hour of drying in a warm room.

Day 3: use dry transfer lettering to mark the words. Or cut the letters from a sheet of black decal film. I wouldn't recommend printing them on clear film as a quick drying spray will likely be a flat finish and you'll get a bunch of silvering if you use clear film anywhere. (edit... If future acrylic floor finish dries quick enough, you could coat it with a layer of this and then use clear decals on the glossy surface, then go to step 4 below.)

Day 4: hit the whole thing in some kinda clear finish. I wonder if Future dries inside an hour... I bet it might. Especially if you do a few thin coats; one per day.

Again, test all this on some kinda similar plastic as the brace is made of before you have at the actual medical device.

BTW, What is that thing made of anyway?


P.S. Your son is adorable. I dare say he may well even be cuter than my boy was at that age... and that's saying a lot!

chardman October 5 2013 03:46 PM

Re: OT - Personal Request / Contest
Not Trek, but you could trim it out in retro reflective tape to make it look like the helmets in TRON.

Shikarnov October 5 2013 05:04 PM

Re: OT - Personal Request / Contest
Thanks for the detailed reply. I never even thought of spray paint, but it's a great idea.

I don't know what the band is made out if - and the orthodist isn't saying except that it's a special resin that's been developed for maximum biocompatibility blah blah medical jargon. There is a PDF with some tips that specifically mention acrylics and watercolors.

As for lettering, I was thinking of using stencils to paint them on. Seems too intricate for decals or cutting...

But the stripe and arrowhead (and maybe a ship on the back) will definitely be decals. Do you know any companies that print good, thick, decals? I've googled a few but am not sold on any yet.

Shikarnov October 5 2013 05:08 PM

Re: OT - Personal Request / Contest
A Tron helmet looks cool but seems a bit more intricate than I'm capable of. It would be pretty sweet - especially if we could find some glow-in-the-dark decals.

Albertese October 5 2013 07:15 PM

Re: OT - Personal Request / Contest

Shikarnov wrote: (Post 8731582)

Interesting reading. I would be extra careful with spraypaints if that's the road you go down. Airbrushing an acrilyc just might be the better option, after having read this document.


As for lettering, I was thinking of using stencils to paint them on. Seems too intricate for decals or cutting...
Stencils certainly could work. But I would give one more push for dry transfer lettering. Most any model railroad supply store will have these and there is a military font which looks pretty passable for the Star Fleet lettering. The advantage to these is that the edges will all be quite crisp, where I'm afraid that stenciling might end up being too fiddly. It's certainly worth experimenting.


But the stripe and arrowhead (and maybe a ship on the back) will definitely be decals. Do you know any companies that print good, thick, decals? I've googled a few but am not sold on any yet.

There are a number of guys who do aftermarket decals for Trek kits. Most all of them are willing to talk custom work, but I don't dare guess what they'll ask for it. The only two I've personally any experience with are PNT and JT Graphics. Both make very nice decals. I'm not sure how strongly I can recommend them, though... I've had customer service issues with PNT in years past and the JT Graphics stuff I've only ever got through a third party, so, I'm not sure what he's like to deal with personally. You can Google them. Seems like JT Graphic's site is undergoing some revamping, but I bet you can still contact him through it.

If I were in your shoes, I'd print my own. The pros use ALPS printers, which are very nice, but just get some Testors decal paper and run them through your inkjet printer. One quick lacquer spray seals them against water. If you can make that sample image in post #5, you should have no problem whipping up some fair quality decals yourself.

Again... It's worth experimentation.

Good luck with this! I can't wait to see what you come up with!


lennier1 March 31 2014 10:35 PM

Re: OT - Personal Request / Contest
Your little whirlwind has most likely outgrown two or three helmets by now.

In case you still need ideas for new ones, check out this artist's gallery:

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