I've been registered on TDH for some time now but have not had much time to post anything. Most of my spare time has been spent on trying to build a helmet, not talk about it, but I think maybe it's time I put something up about what I have done so far.
My goal is to produce an ESB Boba Fett helmet, simply because I prefer the colour scheme to the other variants (all other factors aside). I am aiming to get it as accurate as possible for putting on display.
I will state at this point, for what it's worth, that I live in Victoria, Australia, so materials that I may refer to will be those readily available here. Also, if I have glossed over anything that someone needs/wants clarified please let me know. I am trying not to prattle on too much, where its not required.
I started off by making both a Wizard of Flight and RalFal paper templates (a big thank-you to both of you gentlemen for these, both are amazing works) and chose in the end to go with the WoF base (just personal preference). I printed this on 200 gsm card and then glued this onto pasteboard using a glue-stick for added rigidity (not knowing how solid a base I would need when I put fibre-glass on it later).
For the most part this seemed to work well, except for the dome which was a bit of a mongrel to stick/glue together 'cause it was so thick.
The flat cheek sections I did by doubling up on the pasteboard to guarantee they would remain flat (which they didn't).
The upper cheek sections were a pain, until I was able to get my head around how they had to curve to fit into place (I spent a lot of time looking at photos until that clicked).
Lastly, between the dome and the brow I used 3mm foam board to fill up the gap, I think that this may be a bit much, but after having tried an extra layer of pasteboard it looked too small.
I know some people have used plastic sheet to form the basis for their construction, I would probably recommend trying the plastic if you can get it for a reasonable price, it will save you from a lot of the issues I faced further into my build. But the cardboard is cheap.
Putting it together.
Initially I secured everything in place with common household masking tape until I was sure that I had everything right, then I used hot-glue to fix things permanently. I also used rubber bands to hold the curved parts in place over the inner-skeleton until they had set. This worked really well as I was able to re-melt the glue and adjust anything I wasn't happy with. The only down side is that the masking tape really makes a mess of the paper surface when it comes off.
After that I pencilled in a few of the details of the helmet, the 'Kill Marks' and the dent, which I am not too sure I got in the right place. I couldn't find any specific info on where that should be located, i.e. x degrees from the centre-line of the helm to the left and y degrees up from the brow-line. If anyone knows for sure it would be nice to see how accurately I 'guestimated' it.
Pasteboard construction after hot-glue. Brow-line has been held in place with rubber band until fully set.
Dome section fit pretty well but I have lots of edges that are going to cause me no end of grief later on...
Details pencilled in for dent and kill-marks prior to cutting out the dent.
The next step was to begin with the fibre-glassing (FG). Preparation with a capital 'P' is the word here, I didn't : (. It ended up being an absolute flamin' mess, and gloves didn't help. All I can suggest here for anyone about to try this for the first time is that you pre-cut all your pieces of fibre-glass and plan how you will fit them into your helm. It will get very, very sticky and the smell is quite potent, make sure you have a mask and are in the open as much as possible.
Apparently there are a couple of different methods available for fibre-glassing (some less toxic than others), good luck with that, outside of specialty suppliers all I could find was the 'Diggers' kit available at most hardware stores, which while it worked okay. I can't vouch for it's long-term durability or if it will warp over time. You will find two options here for the fibre-glass material Mat or Cloth... go Mat! The cloth is supposed to be stronger, but is way messier to work with and will not bend well to fix into sharp corners or recesses. And yes, given I have seen seen both options within the forums here... Use the fibre-glass cloth on the inside of the helmet, NOT the outside!
Two layers of FG, 1st layer FG mat, 2nd layer FG cloth.
Excess material has been trimmed with a rotary tool.
You can see here where the initial layer of fibre-glass mat would not bend into the sharp corners.
Detail of dent. You can also see a 'funny' raised section on the back of the dome. It looks odd here but looks bang-on from the side for the shape of the dome. I will need to do some serious filling in on either side of this to get the rear half of the dome to look right.
So, where did I go wrong?
The brow-ridge: I used 3mm foam board here to buff out the brow from the dome. 1. its too thick, 2. it tends to melt when exposed to epoxy leaving holes that have to be filled with more epoxy, etc.
Raw cardboard vs. resin impregnated: something which I did not do, but would try if I had this to do over again. Once the fibre-glass has cured after a couple of days, I would recommend mixing up another batch of the resin and painting that over the outer surface of the helmet. Do not put any cloth on the outside, just the resin. The idea is to get it to soak into the paper (like it would the FG cloth or mat) and make it rock hard. You will know when this has happened because the cardboard will turn a greyish colour when dry. Why? Because when you are sanding your helm later on and you get down to the paper edges they will burr & tear and be a complete pain to fix! I have spent weeks trying to fix this and I still have rough bits in the surface that wont sand smooth. Grrr!
You can see in the picture below, just around the right-side eye slit where the resin has soaked in, these areas were much easier to sand smooth than the other paper areas.
I will leave that for now and post the next part of the build shortly.
If anyone out there has any suggestions or tips on dealing with the issues I have faced I would love to hear it, feedback is always good.
I am however well into the epoxy/bog/car body filler and sanding stage so will be posting that part shortly.