dv8r’s Boba Fett ROTJ Work in Progress -- The Helmet

dv8r

Hunter
I was fortunate to get one of FettPride’s Premium helmets in cold cast aluminum made by animefan, and as with some of the other high quality parts I had a bit of trouble building up the courage to start cutting into it. My first job was to remove the molded-in MQ-1 circuit board, as I had one from a real calculator to use; slow and steady with a grinding tip on my Dremel tool. Cutting out the visor slot was harrowing, and took me about 2 hours using the Dremel and a cut-off wheel. After grinding and shaping the visor area to match the contour of the T-Visor (again with the grinding tip), I hollowed some cavities around the opening to hold the Chicago screws and metal tabs I planned to use to secure the visor. I also did the same for six spots around inside the top of the dome where I planned to mount a web cushion (as seen here: http://www.thedentedhelmet.com/gall...1357-boba-fett-return-of-the-jedi-helmet.html), some spots for posts to hold the servo motor, extended the ear slot channel through the helmet to move the RF stalk, and drilled out the whole for the Borden connector.

helmet mount points 1.jpg

- - - Updated - - -

I made the Borden connector from the (apparently not?) original part (check here http://www.thedentedhelmet.com/f20/dv8r-s-boba-fett-rotj-work-progress-55966/ for a complete parts list) by cutting it off (trusty cut-off wheel, again slow and steady), and flipping it around to use the cut off end. I slightly enlarged one of the small holes with a drill bit and filled the other with a very thin coat of JB Weld on the hole’s wall to better match the discussions of the original part, and used the sharp grinding tip to slightly counter-sink all three holes before mounting it in the helmet with more JB Weld. I also made some metal tabs out of a leftover lamp mounting plate that had some already threaded holes in it to use for securing the bottom of the T-Visor (similar to that seen here: http://www.thedentedhelmet.com/gall...1356-boba-fett-return-of-the-jedi-helmet.html). Then after roughing up the back surface with a metal file and some sandpaper, I sunk the screws and tabs in a bed of JB Weld in the cavities I’d made, and covered them with a bit more JB Weld to secure them in place.

helmet mount points 2.jpg

I used Vaseline to hold little bits of duct tape to the ends of the screws and spotted the T-Visor onto the sticky side to determine where to drill through the visor for the two end screws. The others overlap slightly and secure the visor with the aid of some of the rubber washers listed above.
I made some modifications to the helmet around the right ear piece (as you probably noticed from the pictures) for adding the servo motor to move the rangefinder arm, continuing the wire cut out of the ear piece through the helmet to accommodate a post I mounted into the rangefinder arm. I think in hindsight I should have just removed the ear piece mounting post (securing it with rare earth magnets as I have seen in other threads) and then used that hole to mount the arm on my servo motor, but I was honestly concerned about breaking the ear piece while removing the post. I’m guessing the screen-accurate Boba moved the rangefinder down by hand and avoided these problems altogether, so here’s a place where I’m deviating (wink, wink, dv8r... get it?) from accuracy for awesomeness. After a bit of work aligning the servo, the rangefinder drops and rises as it should and the wireless activator fits easily in my palm under the glove. I thought since the rangefinder topper was molded in black, I could just use it as it was, but later realized there was silver weathering showing on the edges in the reference photos, so I backed up and used the 2 coats of Humbrol #11 silver sealed with Krylon Colormaster Clear Gloss spray over the whole thing, then masked the edges and sprayed some of the flat black acrylic (leftover from the boot weathering) to cover the silver, then sealed that with Rust-olium Master’s Touch 2x Ultra Cover matte clear. More deviation (lots of that here in the helmet) in the form of jc27’s self-contained RF light board, which installed easily after a bit of shaving on the perspex lens (I think I may have ordered the wrong version). Based on a picture of someone’s ESB rangefinder I’d seen, I added a Photoshopped picture of Luke fighting on the sand skiff to the underside of the lens, which is secured to the RF topper by two rare earth magnets (to be able to replace the battery on the light board).

rangefinder.jpg
 
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dv8r

Hunter
I added the wiring and power for the servo motor, running a switch near the left ear to the circuit board, and powering it from a 9v battery mounted in a bracket I made from a spare copper strip, which is secured with JB Weld at the top of the helmet. I decided to mount two fans in the top of the helmet, powered from the same 9v battery, and eventually ran two wires to switches (to control the fans individually) down to the back of the helmet on either side of the keyholes. These were 12v computer case fans which I then modified using spare blower fan casings. Although they’re rated for 12v, they run acceptably off the 9v battery, and they’re very quiet. Almost as an afterthought, I decided to add a wireless microphone as I really didn’t want a wired setup running from the helmet (I have a wired mic in my Vader helmet, and it’s a bit of a pain to get hooked up when donning the costume). I found a relatively inexpensive wireless lavalier microphone and paired it with a voice amplifier worn in one of the side pouches. I wanted to run the microphone on the same 9v battery already present, but found I got heavy interference when either the servo or fan motors were in use, so I added a second homemade bracket and 9v battery at the top of the helmet to power the microphone. I had shortened up the wiring on the servo and microphone, and secured them along with the fans and the switch wires with combinations of hot glue and Zap-a-Gap.

helmet wiring.jpg helmet mesh.jpg
 

dv8r

Hunter
The helmet then gathered a bit of dust while I went on to work on other parts, but I returned after seeing write-ups of FettPride’s new FPH2 ROTJ helmet, and I decided to try to replicate the physical damage on my helmet. I did use the pictures in Rubio95’s review, and RafalFett’s painting stencils, but went back to the gallery photos to guide my final results, achieved through a combination of grinding tips and my Swiss Army knife blades.

helmet damage front.jpg helmet damage right.jpg helmet damage back.jpg helmet damage left.jpg

If I were to do this again, I think I would wait until just before painting so I could apply mask at the same time, as I had a bit of trouble later matching the damaged areas to the areas indicated on the painting stencils. Again, the helmet then gathered dust while I finished just about everything else.
 

dv8r

Hunter
Once the painting finally did start, I used RafalFett’s awesome painting stencils (http://www.thedentedhelmet.com/f23/boba-fett-rotj-helmet-stencils-42184) to mask the various layers and Jayvee’s incomparable thread (http://www.thedentedhelmet.com/f23/update-2013-wip-jayvees-lil-chunk-rotj-love-paint-up-45306) for colors and techniques. I first finished the ear pieces, priming with the Rust-olium Master’s Touch 2x Ultra Cover flat grey, airbrushing with 2 coats of Humbrol #11 silver, and sealing that with Krylon Colormaster Clear Gloss spray. After masking the edges, I weathered them with a light airbrush spray of Humbrol #33 black and finished by buffing that back with 0000 steel wool to match the reference photos. Then I printed the stencils one section at a time onto the “carbon” transfer paper, after determining the proper scaling for my helmet by a bit of trial-and-error (my setting was 98% with a bit of drift due to the curved surfaces), and transferred them onto the helmet to cover with the masking fluid. While making the transfers for the last of the stencils, I ran out of the Porelon brand listed, and since it had a random black pattern printed into the upper (nontransfer) side of the paper, which made finding the stencil part to transfer hard to identify, I didn’t reorder that brand. To get around that problem with the Porelon, I printed the stencils twice, once onto the transfer paper and once onto plain white paper, then transferred the stencil pattern onto the helmet (scribbling over the stencil pattern with a sharp pencil) and used the marks transferred as positioning landmarks while relying on the white paper print to verify the pattern when applying the mask. Since I ended up needing more, I decided to continue with the Trace-It brand recommended by Raizo, and with a little help to get it through my inkjet printer, that has worked out much better. In my biggest deviation from the wisdom found here I masked the “bright silver” stencil first (now I have the Eagles “You can go your own way” stuck in my head :) ) as I seriously can’t tell a big enough difference between the Humbrol #11 silver and the aluminum in the cold cast to justify the extra priming and painting. Here are a couple of shots showing the first masking:

helmet first mask front.jpg helmet first mask back.jpg

With that done I puffed out a super light layer of the Rust-olium Master’s Touch 2x Ultra Cover flat grey primer, and smoothed that out with light sanding using the 2000 grit auto paper. Then ran into some further trouble trying to meld Jayvee’s paint colors and steps with the colors listed in RafalFett’s stencils, specifically how the misting of Humbrol #53 Gunmetal and #67 Tank Grey equated to the “Base Metal” and “SP Lark Dark Grey” in the stencils. After much study of Jayvee’s pictures, the references in the gallery, and the stencils, I used the Gunmetal for the Base Metal stage and the Tank Grey for the SP Lark Dark Grey step. After two light coats of the #53 Gunmetal and another smoothing with the 2000 grit paper, I masked the Base Metal stencils. Here are a couple of samples of the second mask:

helmet second mask top.jpg helmet second mask back.jpg

After a light coat of the darker #67 Tank Grey (as with all Humbrols, still diluting 1:1 with thinner) the paint seemed to have a lot of texture, so I buffed lightly with the 2000 grit paper, but I thought a lot of the paint rubbed off getting the surface smooth again. I only had the one tin of #67 Tank Grey, so I used up the remaining putting down another coat concentrated onto the areas where the stencils showed it masked off. This coat came out much smoother than the first, and so after a very light buffing with the 2000 grit paper, I masked off the SP Lark Dark Grey stencils, starting with the back panels.

helmet third mask back.jpg

As you can see, I masked the back panels using the Tamiya tape and then I proceeded to spray them with 2-3 coats of Jayvee’s Chameleon Green (Floquil Southern Green and Floquil CNW Green mix 1:1 ratio, no thinner needed for the Floquils). Then I masked the SP Lark Dark Grey stencils on the trim front and back and sprayed both with 2 coats of Floquil Caboose Red, along with a couple of light shots of that to the keyslot area (which I then had to rub back quite a bit with 0000 steel wool). Here is the front before spraying:

helmet third mask front.jpg
 
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dv8r

Hunter
After the trim, I worked on the upper cheeks, masking more SP Lark Dark Grey stencils (as there was none on the lowers). Next I sprayed the upper cheeks with 2 coats of straight Tamiya Sea Blue (I really love how that color turned out!) and lightly misted with the Model Master Schwarzgrun RLM 70 (also needed no thinning). To combine my remaining paint steps, I masked off the SP Lark Dark Grey stencils on the dome sections and mixed up Jayvee’s main green for the lower cheeks and dome from Humbrol #31 Slate Grey and Humbrol #78 Cockpit Green in his 2½:1 ratio along with a bit of thinner for the final spraying of 2-3 coats. Here’s the helmet with the final colors laid down:

helmet last paint front.jpg helmet last paint right.jpg helmet last paint back.jpg helmet last paint left.jpg

Using the Tamiya tape, I masked the kill stripes with help from superjedi’s masterful tutorial (http://www.thedentedhelmet.com/f32/boba-fett-esb-killstripe-tutorial-49888), and further mapping using RafalFett’s stencils, then added a bit of liquid mask in spots where the dome green shows through, and sprayed 2 light coats of Humbrol #82 Orange Lining and Model Masters International Orange (mixed 2:1, with a bit of thinner). Then finally I started the long process of picking and rubbing off all the liquid mask, and added some scratches, topical paint, and strategic charcoal dust and colored pencil shading to match the weathering in the references as best as I could. Here is the helmet after the first pass (or fifth, or tenth maybe) at removing the mask, the first time with everything assembled. I know I have a bunch more mask to remove, especially on the back panels, but I wanted to finally get this posted. Let me know what you think!

helmet dress front.jpg helmet dress right.jpg helmet dress back.jpg helmet dress left.jpg
 

dv8r

Hunter
I'd so love to send you my helmet for interior work, just do it like you do!

Thanks, it was a lot of little jobs that fortunately came together at the end. It almost went sideways a couple of times, with wires working loose from their boards and epoxy dripping across the interior, but it was a huge amount of fun (except for the frustrating screaming parts ;)).
 

dv8r

Hunter
dv8r, I see you used caboose, but the red looks a bit bright to me...like not "burgundy" enough. Is it the lighting?

Hey L3, I thought so too, especially compared to (I think I've seen them referred to as the Hielman shots in ) the ROTJ Helmet gallery -- it looks to have more Wisconsin Central Maroon (which I did use on my gauntlets), but I think it's more to do with the lighting. Also, if you look at (for instance) this shot from the MoM exhibits: http://www.thedentedhelmet.com/gallery/showfull.php?photo=6419 the trim is a brighter red, whereas in some it seems the same shade as the gauntlets. All my helmet shots are outdoors, in the shade on mostly sunny days. See this super-interesting thread on ROTJ (and others) colors: http://www.thedentedhelmet.com/f23/painting-grant-mccune-helmet-gmh-39116. I plan to darken it down a bit more with charcoal dusting before applying the final seal, but I'm waiting on that until all the rubbing to get the remaining mask off is finished.
 
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Jayvee

Active Hunter
dv8r, I see you used caboose, but the red looks a bit bright to me...like not "burgundy" enough. Is it the lighting?

Just a word of caution lads - if you can still find caboose, there is actually Caboose and Caboose RED. They are considerably different colours, With the Caboose Red being significantly brighter. Not saying that's the go here, as it may just be bright lighting, but just giving a heads up.

Having said that, dv8r - I think your paint up is looking fantastic! While I don't get nearly enough time for Fett-related fun anymore, popping in here and seeing how many great artists there are on the boards these days is sensational. Keep up the great work bud! (y)
 

dv8r

Hunter
Just a word of caution lads - if you can still find caboose, there is actually Caboose and Caboose RED. They are considerably different colours, With the Caboose Red being significantly brighter. Not saying that's the go here, as it may just be bright lighting, but just giving a heads up.

Having said that, dv8r - I think your paint up is looking fantastic! While I don't get nearly enough time for Fett-related fun anymore, popping in here and seeing how many great artists there are on the boards these days is sensational. Keep up the great work bud! (y)

Hey Jayvee, thanks so much for your interest! That is high praise coming from you. Regarding the paint, you called it perfectly, I just checked the bottle and... Caboose Red. D'oh! Oh well. as I said, I plan to tone it down with some charcoal dusting, and it seems in my brief tests to more closely approach the tint of the gallery photos, but I may rub in some purple or violet depending on how it looks once all the mask is off. Thanks again for your help here, and for starting me out with your excellent paint up thread.
 

dv8r

Hunter
Amazing work! Are you using a voice changer or just an amp?

Thanks ZenixNet, but no, just the amplifier. I'm hoping that will be enough with the echos from inside the helmet, if I can remember to pitch my voice Fett-like (and the lines, of course).
 
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