Eli Jinn's 3D Printed & Spray Painted ESB Helmet

Eli Jinn

So I'm starting my second Boba Fett helmet. This is gonna be another Empire helmet, since I hate the Jedi costume in its entirety (sorry if I offended you, but I'm also not changing my mind). What I have so far is my 3D printed base helmet, all the bits and bobs that go on the helmet (with the exception of the clear part of the rangefinder and the lens for the polaroid thingy), everything I need to smooth out the print lines, and all the paints I need except silver.

The bucket itself is printed from a model made by a guy on TDH called stryker181 who based his model off of RafalFett's model. Everything else beside the helmet is RafalFett. I only went with the stryker181 model for the bucket since his is higher poly, which means less sanding down the geometry lines.
There's still print lines obviously, but you can see in this next picture the difference in geometry lines on the back panels between the stryker181 model in black and my old helmet. The old one was a model I got off of Etsy, and I tried my hardest to sand down the geometry lines, but they're still visible:

It's very very faint, but I can tell and that's all that really matters. Also note the size difference between the two helmets. The biggest problem I have with the stryker181 model is how big it is (my fault for not checking the size before I printed it) and how thick the walls are. I've heard that stryker181 made his models thicker due to the plastic he was printing with, but I don't have that problem. The thickness of the walls, specifically near the visor section, is something I'm personally really particular about, but this helmet is just a little too thick for my liking. I'll probably at some point make my own model based off RafalFett's for my own uses. Anyways, on to making this bucket into Boba.
I'll be using the tried and true Bondo method for smoothing out all those unsightly print lines. That means smearing Bondo Glazing and Spot Putty all over the helmet and the other pieces, working it into all the cracks and crevices, and then sanding it down. You then repeat until the desired smoothness is achieved, and hit it with a good coat of filler primer... and then sand that too. I did this with all the armor pieces from my last costume, but this time I don't have any time constraints, so I'll take a bit more time to really get this one smooth.
After that I can start painting. I don’t yet have my silver can or some humbrol maskol, which I've heard is a good option for masking fluid. The last masking fluid I used was a bottle of Winsor & Newton that I "borrowed" from my sister (she's off at college so I'm sure she wouldn't have minded), but I guess that stuff separates when it gets old or something, because it was REALLY thin like water. I thought that was just how it's supposed to be until I saw some videos of people using it, and it was way thicker there. Anyways, I picked up my spray paints, and this time I only screwed up on 2 colors! It's fine, I can send them back, but here's what $70+ worth of spray paint looks like:

They're all Rust-Oleum 2X Ultra Cover, which is the brand you'll find at most hardware stores. My local Walmart even had a good selection of colors.

From left to right it is...
● Claret Wine
● Colonial Red
● Rustic Orange
● Harvest Peach
● Khaki
● Fossil
● Oregano
● Moss Green
● Evening Navy
● Slate
● Dark Walnut

I'll probably end up playing around with the color selection, mists of other colors and whatnot, but that's the list as it stands now.

And here's the colors compared to my old helmet:
Old color - Moss Green
New color - also Moss Green

Old color - Colonial Red
New color - also Colonial Red

Old color - some camouflage brown along with a black wash
New color - Dark Walnut

Old color - Deep Teal (along with I think a greenish wash over the top)
New color - Evening Navy

Old color - Moss Green
New color- Oregano

Old color - Nutmeg
New color - Khaki

And now comparing my new spray paint colors with the mixed acrylic paint I used on my last helmet...

I think I got this one nearly perfect last time with just acrylics

The old one was clearly darker, but I'm not sure which one I'll like better until it's on the helmet

Claret Wine
I swear this is comparing to the dark maroon, but this new color really does look like the mandibles. I'll probably have to mist this with some Dark Walnut.

Harvest Peach
Again, past me did a really good job on this one

Rustic Orange
Past me might have put a little too much red in the back. We'll see.

And one more picture with the new helmet and all the spray cans around it :)


I also forgot to mention, two of these colors are matte, one is gloss, and all the rest are satin. I'm still trying to decide whether I should go with a satin clear coat or a matte clear coat. Someone really needs to invent a finish between matte and satin already. Just for reference, I used a satin clear coat on my old kit, and you can see from the pictures that it's fairly shiny. I don’t know if I like that or not.
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Good luck with this! Excited to see it progress. All of my helmets are done with ArchiveX acrylics which I believe are matte finishes. I definitely prefer that look to satin and gloss. I've always assumed the original enamels used were matte, but not 100% sure.
Whew! Finally got around to working on this thing again. I should be working on my midterms and semester 1 finals, but... uh... ok maybe I should be working on those. Anyway, I gave the bucket a nice sanding until most if not all of that shiny PLA is gone.

This step may seem a bit unnecessary, since I'm going to cover this all up with bondo and sand that down, so why would I put myself through extra sanding? In reality, this step is great for getting any large blemishes, removing stringing, and gives time to go in with a dremel to fix any areas of extremely large imperfections, specifically the undersides of the print where the supports attached. So, once finals are done, or I get a break some other way, I'll sand the other pieces and slather some of that delicious red toothpaste on there. (Don't eat Bondo)
A pre-sand is also just good for a more solid mechanical adhesion.

Harbor Freight's sandable primer is usually my go to for print lines, that stuff lays on so thicc it's essentially a sprayable bondo. Only one that doesn't gum up sandpaper when you lay it on thick either.
Finals are done, which means I can get back to Fett'ing! I shouldn't ever say that again. Anyways, I took about 2 hours yesterday and 3 hours tonight to sand and bondo all the pieces except the rangefinder stalk and topper, along with a few touch up areas on the helmet. Those 5 hours were quite miserable, might I add. It's about 20°F up here in northern Illinois, so pretty much perfect trooping weather :lol:. My garage doesn't have any sort of heating, as I imagine most garages don't, but I kind of didn't want to expose my family to potentially harmful vapors or plastic dust, so I endured the cold. The stalk had to have some heavy open-heart surgery (hacking at it with a dremel on full blast) in order to get the hole all the way through. RafalFett's rangefinder stalk model comes with a hole in it already, but tell that to Cura, which made a wall on either end of the tunnel to close it off for some reason... thankfully it was hollow on the inside, so all I had to do was drill out those ends. Here's some janky phone photos on my janky hack-job helmet stand.








It's a wonder that thing holds the weight of the helmet. It's literally made from a few barely together 3d printed pieces, a piece of cardstock, some masking tape, and hot glue. Anyway, I have a slight problem. My ears (wait, not my ears... the helmets ears) printed with a kind of "reverse elephant's foot" if that makes any sense. This means that when placed on the helmet, there's an extremely obvious chasm in place of a crisp seam. I have two options...
1 - Keep the ears separate to help with painting, but have to deal with the big seams.
2 - Glue the ears on before painting and use bondo to fix the seams, but I might have difficulty painting.
I decided to glue the ears on my first helmet, but I didn't have time to seal up the seams, so they're pretty obvious there, although I don't recall having much difficulty painting them the first time around. So, anyone who's tried both ways, do you have any suggestions?
Could likely just dab a line of bondo over the edges that have the lifting that creates the seam and then square them up with a flat sanding block. Keeps the ears seperate and as long as the helmet's ear surface is also flat should mate up perfect.

I've done that tons of times to get sharper corners on things. Typically not the best for durability, but the inside corners of the ears are a pretty low impact area.
I didn’t forget about this thread! Happy New Year everyone, since the last time I updated before Christmas, I sanded down that bondo and added a layer of filler primer to the helmet. It's looking really nice (a lot better than my last one for sure) but there's still some work to be done before I call this ready for paint. There's still some visible layer lines and a few rough areas in general that need to be dealt with. I also went ahead and carved in physical damage, as I wasn't happy with how the existing stuff looked. I also tried my hand at carving my own dent! I can say whole-heartedly that I am glad I did. As soon as I started, I was convinced I had ruined it, but I kept pushing through, and in the end, I'm pretty happy with the results. It could use a bit more carving and a bit more sanding, looking at it after the primer, but overall I'm pleased. I never got a good photo of the dent beforehand, so here's a cropped image of the entire helmet:

Then the carved dent before primer:

And after primer:

And here's the whole helmet with primer on my janky hack-job helmet stand:








I've opted to make this my "painting stand" that I don't care about getting dirty, I did find a better stand to use for displaying. Also, the ears are just taped on for now like before, I just thought the invisible tape look suited the smooth primer a little better. A little more "professional" if you will. Next thing to do is some more sanding with some higher grits, maybe a little more bondo in some more selective areas, then a final layer of primer before I can get on with painting!
Also, I totally cracked the helmet on the corner of the eye here:

It shouldn't be too big of a deal to fix. Too bad it wasn't on the top side of the eye there, or else I could've had a good reason to turn this into a Special Edition helmet! This is eventually going to be the helmet to my ESB suit 2.0, so I'll keep It fully Empire for now.
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Here is the link, if you are interested.

Here is the link, if you are interested.

Sounds great! That looks simple enough. I will give that a go.
1) The helmet looks great all cleaned up.
2) The area of that crack are very common for damage.
While I continue work on the helmet, I took a little break to paint the borden connector and rangefinder stalk.

The borden is nothing special, just vallejo silver acrylic, but I'm really happy with the rangefinder stalk


This is also vallejo silver with some brown acrylic paint dry brushed and dabbled on top, which I think makes it look more like metal than the silver paint. I didn't do weathering on my last stalk, and I don't know why I didn't, since it was a really simple way to take this part to the next level.
Alright, It's been a while! Maybe it's just because I've got that teenager energy and a day feels like a week to me. Anyways, I've gotten a lot done with the helmet, and learned a few good lessons along the way. First off, I sanded the gray filler primer and applied some bondo in some selective areas. I continued to carve away at the dent, and it’s now much more distinct and smooth. Here's the dent before on the left and after on the right:

I also went ahead and used ShortFuse's method for fixing the crack near the eye, and it was going so well... Then I learned a lesson that I really should have thought of first...

The crack reopened because I wasn't finished with "working" on the helmet. Obviously the rigorous shaking and shifting and flexing that happens when I'm sanding would put stress on the crack. I fixed it all over again, and after the final layer of primer, I can still see it starting to open up again, so yeah, leave crack repair for last after you're done throwing the helmet around.
Finally, after some more sanding and whatnot, I added a final coat of white "normal" primer and the helmet is now ready for paint!








This primer was a little more nerve-wracking to apply than it should have been. I'm quite a jock when it comes to spray paint, so it's hard to remind myself to spray thin, even coats from far away to minimize drips. Even then, I still could have done better priming the ears, but at least the helmet came out great. The rangefinder stalk looks more orange than silver, but I like my Fett armor quite dirty and worn. I also made a huge embarrassing mistake by wiping down the helmet with an old cotton towel before putting on the primer. The fibers in the towel got stuck on the helmet and showed up clear as day from under the primer. I got most of them off, but that was a dumb mistake.
Anyways, the next step is to sand the primer so I can begin sanding the sand and sanding sanding sanding sanding sanding sanding sanding sanding sanding sanding sand-...
Sorry, it appears I'm still in shock. I'm beyond sandpaper now. I'll never have to waste hours in the sanding dungeon again. Until I get the rest of my armor printed... oh no...
I also repainted the rangefinder stalk. I wasn't happy with how over the top the weathering was on the old paintjob, and this time I tried my hardest not to stray too far from the stencils. Obviously it would be ridiculous to use the stencils as intended for this piece, what with all the hundreds of teeny tiny dots. This one is much more accurate.




On a side note, are the rust stains actual rust stains or are they painted on? Also, do they change between Empire Strikes Back and the Special Edition seen in exhibitions?
That helmet looks sharp.

The stalk's damage was painted on and I think the stalk got more weathering between shooting ESB and SE. I know painters add more damage to their SE helmets compared to their ESB counterparts.
Now what the heck is going on here?

Your eyes do not deceive you, I put on a THIRD LAYER OF PRIMER! I'm kidding, this is just the gray damage that you see around the whole helmet. I didn't start with silver because I'm going to brush on the silver after I've painted and clear coated and weathered the whole helmet. The reason why is because silver paint, as you all know, is very delicate and, when covered with clear coat and/or weathering, will lose ever ounce of shine it once had. I was also inspired by the Slave-1... I mean... "Boba Fett's Firespray Starship" scene to do this.

Notice how, even in such low lighting, the silver pops out so well? I wanted that, to an even higher level. So I'm using Vallejo's Model Color Silver, which was the shiniest stuff I could get my hands on, and painting it over all that so it never has the chance to dull out.
It's also kind of funny to think that in-universe, Boba Fett's helmet at some point looked like this. Along with yellow and gray armor... yeah, I think green was a much better overall color scheme.
All my painting supplies have come in, so I can get to work. I guess I'll start on... the back plates? Because everyone else does that?
Big Updates!

First, the gray damage and concrete color is done



This was my first time using Humbrol Maskol and Tamiya tape, and both of them were wonderful to work with, except when I spilled a bunch of the masking fluid ON MY CARPET. Thankfully we caught it before it dried up and ruined the carpet, but yeah, masking fluid is now banished from my room. Banished pronounced ba-ni-shed like Shakespeare.
For the stencils, I initially used the method outlined by superjedi in this thread right here. Since then, I've modified it to a particular method I feel is quite efficient, and would be inconvenient to list out right here, so I will probably post a tutorial in this thread later down the line.
By the time I'm writing this, I have also masked the concrete damage and sprayed the "dark green" (I don't know about y'all, but I always saw it as a navy blue rather than green) and I will post pictures tommorow.
Speaking of paint and concrete, for that color I had selected Rustoleum Fossil, but I thought it was too light, so I misted it with Rustoleum Oregano and that produced a much better color. Now, you can't really mist with a spray can like you do with an airbrush, I mean, there's nothing stopping you, and I did it myself, it's just going to be a little sporadic and speckled. I personally like that, but to each their own.
Finally, I took Grimstuff's advice to bondo the corners of the ears
This worked out quite nicely, although I don't know at the moment how they look on the helmet since it's all taped and papered up and I'd rather not have to redo all of that.
Then, I painted the ears with their respective base colors; gray for the right ear pieces and red for the left.

I remember looking at the stencils a long time ago and seeing that the left ear has a red base and being super confused. Again, the silver will be topically painted on later.
Next steps will be to begin topically painting the silver onto the backplates and start stenciling the ears.
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Here's the dark green on the backplates



It's in my spray shelter because the countertop I usually take pictures on was occupied. Here's one in better lighting

I am super happy with how this turned out! My last backplates don't look half as good as these, and they aren't even finished! A little extra time and a little more experience goes a long way.
For the dark green, I used Evening Navy, misted with Moss Green, and then misted with Slate. I probably could have done the patchy color variation with spray paint, but I decided to instead do it with some washes of water-based acrylic paint.
Next thing to work on is the keyslot area and headband.

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