my first bucket (WoF cardboard) PIC INTENSIVE


Jr Hunter
FNG Ghostwalker reporting in, do you copy?

After finding Honus's instructable via a Star wars Steampunk Google trawl i decided to try my hand at it. his instructable led me here to the Dent, and about 8-10 hours of lurking in various build threads led me to Antman's excellent Tutorial and after even more snooping about to Mr.Sinclair's unbelievable Templates. Can we PLEASE stickie WoF's Template thread...? thank you.

Hope Antman is doing okay and that we get to see the end of this build sometime.

Equipped with plenty of time (i'm stay-at-home Dad till spring semester), tools, a few years of plastic modelling and Airbrushing under my belt I have embarked on building my Custom Mando bucket. At this moment the basic Bucket is drying for tomorrows dome build, i'm not wasting time eh?
(will edit in pics later)

as promised:

My Cheerleading Squad

All important Bondo and 3 shelves of SW Novels

Mandoade (aka Nuclear Waste) and my Daughter

basic Bucket is formed

I had a hell of a time getting the dome base inside the bucket as i stupidly glued it into a tube shape first... live and learn

inside shot

full mask glued onto the basic form

inside shot after i cut most of the dome base out

cutting the mask panels of the basic form



now the back part of the template included this vertical seam cover, i wasn't sure whether to cut it or glue it.. so i kept it.
the back seam is now REALLY strong...

cutting the cheek panels

and fixing some serious delamination of the mandibles and ear bases due to a bad glue job on my part.

glued in the formed upper cheek panels


for some reason the left one glued in perfectly on the first go, the right one took me 4 or 5 tries to get half glued in. had to come back and glue the other half a few minutes later after the initial glue had set. I used super glue for the tacking into place then covered the whole seam in sandable wood glue.

my eager helper,

shortly before "fetching" me the drying, formed rear dome section and tearing 2 triangles off in the process.

the formed dome sections drying

as with the cheek panels i found Mr.Antman's advice to form with fingertips like clay to be an excellent analogy.
after moistening both sides with my trusty sponge they shaped readily into the appropriate shapes.
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Jr Hunter
i made this in the wrong area, can i bother an admin to please move me to the mando armor section?
thank you.

While i am using the Boba Fett Helmet Templates i am going for a custom Mando buy'ce...

and more progress:

finished glueing the upper cheek pads




lower cheek pads in place




attached dome guide and sharpied visor in out of boredom... watching glue dry is fascinating stuff
also re-re-laminating the left ear area as well as flattening it.


and finally closing the dome, working from the front in both directions to the back



more later after i've slept off all the fumes...
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Jr Hunter
done with the cardboard build, 4 days at a relaxed pace.
will start bondo/ glassing after this hurricane/tornado passes and we stop drowning in rain.
on to next bucket at 110% and time to rig a paint booth.




I had to re-trim most of the triangles so they'd fit snugly,
not sure if that is normal or a result of templates printed wrong or a mess up of my own.
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Jr Hunter
bucket #2 is taking shape much faster, only about a day and a half.
since bucket #1 seemed REALLY snug i figured i'd make one 110% and see how it comes out.
without further ado...

efficient template layout

and initial size comparison between #2 on left and #1 on right





currently working on cutting and shaping the dome pieces.
next up earpieces for both, though we'll be going RF-less.
the weather seems to have cleared up nicely so i'm anticipating sealing/bondo/glassing over the weekend.

edit: i keep forgetting about the keyhole vents... better get on those before the earpieces.
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Active Hunter
Great work on that man, the second one is already looking fantastic! I'm about to start my first cardboard build, and your pics are definitely helpful.
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Jr Hunter
I have to report that cutting the Mask after forming but before gluing makes the gluing stage really REALLY tricky!
(i only own one clamp and a mess of clothes pins.)
the first bucket was much easier in that regard.
there i only added glue to the areas of the mask, then married the inside and mask together, cutting the mask out after the glue had set.
some glue leaked into areas to be cut away but if you are sparing with the glue there shouldn't be any big disasters (like the back not coming off after cutting).

on a separate note, i discovered the hard way that one should cut cardboard on the side to be presented. after bending and cutting (in this order!)
the first keyhole slot (pics forthcoming), i had to cut out the keyholes from what turned out to be the backside.
it would have been MUCH easier to simply cut it out from the inside of the bend, not to mention a better looking end product.

110% vent:


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Jr Hunter
while the glue is drying a quick update:
-both rear vents are cut, cut out, shaped and glued.
-dome is closed on bucket #2

pictures are taken, will upload sometime later today.

lesson learned today: when making your basic bucket out of the dome base form and the inner surface(s)
ensure the seam is in the front (what will become the visor area). if you look through Antman's threads you will notice that
his first bucket has the seam in the back (like both of mine) but his second one has the seam in the visor area. Reasoning behind this is
rather simple once you come to think of it... the mask will cover and reinforce the seam in the front above the visor and the rest of the seam
will be cut away anyway, leaving a perfect seamless rear end.

my apologies for the somewhat blurry and flashed pictures, best i could get.

100% vent:



closing the dome (110% bucket):


the clothes pins are used to keep the dome part pressed against the rim and previous dome part during drying.

I seem to be screwing something up every time, this time i had to massively trim a triangle to maintain shape and bend.


nothing that can't be fixed by adding a scrap piece of cardboard though...


both Buckets drying off a double layer of minwax:
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Jr Hunter
moar progress incoming:
my fingers hurt after cutting all that cardboard, so I'm taking a break before building the 110% right ear.

this weekends lesson learned: splurge on a GOOD exacto knife/ razor pen... i bought the cheapo Revell razor knife and broke it about 6 times. turns out that the inner part that holds the blade and screws into the pen handle is made from ****** plastic that snaps quite easily and wont stay glued together.
Also ... wear gloves when carving with a knife, carve away from the body not towards it (remembered that the split second the knife sliced open my thumb.)
wearing gloves and safety glasses is a good idea when using a power tool (even a dremel)... one of my sanding things came off and bounced of my eyebrow... guess who went looking for his goggles?

without further ado, the pictures..
left ear piece, done straight ala Antman



I forgot to take pics while drying and during the MTE stage as i was building the others.

here are both 110% and 100% left ears, the 100% has an amazing layer effect due to different color cardboard used in the layers.
those layers actually helped me sand to a uniform angle all around.
all 3 ears are made 100% from scrap cardboard accumulated during the bucket construction.





the 110% left ear, and both 100% ears including cap


close ups of left ears


that's it for now i was planning on bondo and glassing over the weekend but that fell through.
I'm trying to work up the nerve right now to go out and make a mess of it on the balcony.

I could use some advice on whether to glass the inside first or bondo the dome/cheeks first?
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Jr Hunter
decided to Glass first and bondo later.
after a bit of trial and error i ended with the following results:









I have slowed down quite a bit again, having to teach myself how to work with fiberglass.
next round of buckets ought to be much faster as i shan't have to figure things out again.

As it stands these Buckets are darn sturdy but yet give a little.
Let there be Bondo and free Beer tomorrow...
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Jr Hunter
Half way done Bondo and shaping the Dome on the 110% bucket.
that one is the harder one since the triangles didn't fit well at all.
I'm doing most of the sanding by hand with a foam sander, works okay.
Haven't taken any pictures since i was too busy scraping the bondo on and shaping it.
Will take pics of it in later stages and probably will do a step by step on the 1:1 bucket.


Jr Hunter
okay, so I've had some to time to work on the buckets.
I'd show pics but the camera is MIA, not sure who hid it where...

Progress sofar:

I have spent 4 or 5 days applying Bondo, sanding Bondo, applying Bondo, sanding Bondo ad nauseum...
All sanded by Hand using Sandpaper Sponges, only used the dremel to get the corners and edges sanded nice and sharp.
On the down side my arms and hands are sore on the upside I've managed to lose roughly 5-6lbs due to hand-sanding for hours.
Both Domes are done, smooth and relatively bump-less. Let me at this time impress upon anyone wishing to scratchbuild a bucket to be PRECISE cardboard work.
The better you can make the cardboard triangles match up into a smooth, round dome shape the EASIER and BETTER the later Bondo work is and comes out.

My 110% bucket was horribly fitted together in 2 places and took my 5 layers of Bondo to make all the minor and 1 of the major Bumps disappear.
We are talking nearly 10 hours of careful sanding, shaping and drying time... all because i was too scared of ripping the dome off and redoing a better one.
One Major bump never came out, I have sanded it down so far that I'm showing 3-4 mm of fiberglass and resin, the cardboard in that area is totally gone.
The face/cheek area is totally bondo'd and sanded smooth, good grief that area is a PAIN IN THE SHEBS to sand.
Keep your head up and keep at it and it will get done.
The easiest part should have been the back of the bucket... HAH! would have been if i hadn't outsmarted myself during the fiberglassing the inside stage.
Back then I had some excess resin coated fiberglass cloth hanging out of the bottom of the bucket. Being "smart" I folded it over the lip and smoothed it onto the outside.
Not only did it not have darts, it also didn't stick well to the bare sealed cardboard, leaving a mess of cloth and resin to sand down and cover up.
Four thin coats of bondo and a few hours of sanding later I got it nice and smooth, curving nicely.

The 1:1 bucket was soooo much easier, due to much better craftsmanship during the cardboard stage.
Two coats of bondo dang near did it for the dome, the third coat ended up getting almost totally scraped back off.
On the backside same scenario, two coats with the third being almost superfluous.
It helped immeasurably that there was no mess of Fiberglass to clean/cover up.
The Cheeks took two layers each to get smooth, again a PAIN IN THE SHEBS to sand.
I eventually broke the area into 3 separate areas, each getting a different stroke/direction.
By slowly bringing the 3 areas closer together I managed to avoid seams, leaving little feathering needed.

I found that keeping a small bowl of water handy helped me out considerably during the Bondo stages of the Cheeks.
After applying the Bondo with the regular rubber things, I wet my finger and smoothed it into the required shape.
Keep your finger WET and the Bondo shouldn't stick to it too much, if it does ... well use your own judgment.

Mix Bondo carefully, in small batches and go sparingly on the cream hardener... a little goes a long way.
Do thin layers, sand to shape, then wipe with a damp cloth and apply another thin layer...
repeat until you are sick of the sight/smell and process ... then do one more layer.

It helps a TON to sand down the cardboard triangle edges before you even start bondo work!
As in painting, the more you prepare the project for the next stage the faster/easier/better the results come out.

Next up:
- Bondo Face on 1:1 bucket,
- Add another coat of Resin to the inside of both buckets.
- Face shields got here today and are ready to be fitted.
- Prime and paint.


Jr Hunter
Camera recovered from it's POW camp deep in the jungle of my wife's desk drawer.
The Buckets post Bondo

Left side



Right side

Top down

1:1.1 scale top down

1:1 scale top down

not much to say really, the 1:1 Bucket looks like it could use another thin coat in the photos but in person the edges are almost unnoticeable.
The big bump on the back right side of the 110% Bucket is still easily noticed in Top down view, much less from other angles.
I have decided to keep it as it is and make it look like a sloppy weld job fix.

Next up is the last Ear, the 110% right ear, which I have been putting off.
The plan was to add another layer of Resin but the weather turned NASTY,
spent a good hour just watching random garbage and debris float down the street.
Strangely relaxing, almost Zen like...

Until next time Vode,


Jr Hunter
Quick Update:
Last Ears built Sunday, sanded, shaped and glued onto Buckets Monday, Bondo'd seams and Ear surfaces today.
It is a really good idea to Bondo the ear pieces BEFORE gluing them onto the Bucket.
Tomorrow will be a right pain in the shebs when I have to sand them on the Bucket.

Also laid another coat of Resin (no mat) on the inside of both Buckets.
It's a lot smoother now, all sharp edges, pointy stabby bits are no longer.
It also gave me a chance to fill in the areas that had previously bubbled up and underfill some of the raised areas of mat.

The rigidity of the Buckets was noticeably increased by this extra coat, they are much stiffer and quite resilient to impacts.
Ended up accidentally proofing my work when the 110% bucket rolled off the table while I was coating the 1:1.
Four foot drop onto concrete, impact on the crown ... bounced and rolled no damage sustained whatsoever, not so much as a scratch in the Bondo.

I really hope to wrap up this build over the coming weekend as I need to get cracking on 2 sets of Armor plates.
Armor Party is coming up fast and I need to be ready, best case scenario with Buckets in hand.


Jr Hunter
many coats (layers) very thinly applied.
I used a small scraper and put a small "sausage" of Bondo on the end.
Then start at the bottom of the dome (i rest the clean side of the scraper on the top of the ring) i scrape the sausage onto the dome in an upwards motion.
VERY THINLY! Move from Triangle to Triangle around your dome. Let it set and start sanding each Coat when it is hard. Sand around the Dome horizontally and over the top from side to side. You will lower your "Ridges" and barely sand your "Valleys".

This is a bad drawing of the ridges and valleys of the dome, with "---" representing the layers of Bondo. ( the "..." are for spacing)

1. Coat
___ . . . . . . . . . ____ . . . . . . . . . ___
\ . . . . . . . . / . . . \ . . . . . . . . /
\----------/ . . . .. \----------/
\_______/ .. . . . .. \_______/

2+ Coats
___ . . . . . . . . . ___ . . . . . . . . ___
\-----------/ . . .\----------/
\________/ . . . . \_______/

Last Coat
___ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ ___ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ ___
\__________ / . . .\__________/

for the Larger Bucket I needed 5 Coats before my "Valleys" were filled level with my "Ridges". You can still see the different Coats by their slightly different colors as they near the "Ridges" they feather into the lower Coat then into Cardboard and in some of the very tall "Ridges", Resin.
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Jr Hunter
okay too long between photo updates!
I'll spare you photos of primer gray buckets.. enough of those around.

LET THERE BE SHINY-NESS! (cue lighting and thunder)



Silver is my Wife's 1:1, Gold is my 110% Bucket


still too vanilla, let there be eyecandy!

transferred, traced, cut and peeled.

phew done, just in time too. the light is fading and my hands are cramping.

time to take the Shyness down a notch, neighbors are trying to tan off the reflections.

where my wife decided on a negative Jango, I am going with the time old favorite... Black

some Eagle Eyes may note that there is more masking tape on my Bucket than strictly required.... well spotted.
my design is a surprise, not quite as elaborate as my Wife's though.

there you go, hope I delivered what you were expecting to see today.
until next time Vode.