Scratch EVA Boba Fett Helmet Build


Cptlaurion

New Hunter
Hey all!

I'd like to start off by saying that I'm in awe of the creativity and community here at TDH. Many of you have done some absolutely amazing work and I must say, it's extremely motivating. I look forward to sharing my project as I progress and can hopefully get some insight from the veteran builders out there. Maybe I'll be lucky enough to make something half as nice as those I've seen posted.

I'm attempting a project 32 years in the making! I've had my sights on a scratch build Boba Fett helmet and maybe an eventual full cosplay style setup. I'll be using 3mm EVA foam as my base looking to bondo and fiberglass it at the end for rigidity. Since we're at the beginning of the journey and this is the most realistic point to be unrealistic, I plan on working some basic controls into the helmet and eventual gauntlet to manage a servo-powered range finder, various LEDS on armor and helm, cooling fan in helmet, and voice modulator. But that's the dream, right? And with that said, here we go!

*Note: I'm aware there are many similar posts on TDH, but I'm going to approach this one as if it's the only one out there. Please call me out if I forget to give credit somewhere as I'm definitely standing on the shoulders of giants.

I'm using the Wizard of Flight pepakura templates (These are amazing. Big shout out here!) and tracing them onto the EVA before cutting them out. I'll be honest, this is my second attempt at a helm using these prints (the first go is visible in the top right corner). My first helm I made several mistakes and quickly decided to restart with my lessons learned. The most glaring was with the initial print. If you print an A4 design on US Letter, you're going to scale down (duh!). My son will be receiving this helm as I didn't quite think before I hit control-p. Another hiccup was confusion with the inside and outside portions of the faceplate and so I only used the outer piece. Further on in that build I realized that the internal plate was a great rest for the dome as well as added some rigidity and dimension for the band that goes the back of the helm. The other error I made was to cut out the visor portion of the mask WAAAY too early on. I think this is a critical step so I'm going to post it in bold again. Do not cut out the visor portion until the helmet is hardened! Doing so causes the helm to lose all proportion and shape, or at least makes it far more difficult to maintain.

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As I said, I started by printing and tracing the WoF templates onto the EVA and cutting them out with an exacto knife. Using hot glue, I layered the front faceplate and larger front faceplate backing pieces on top of one another. This layering creates a little lip on the inside of the top where the dome will rest later (I assumed).

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Once layered on top of each other, I connected the front and back with more hot glue to create the round of the helm's faceplate. It's not shown, but I used the little half inch alligator clips on the joints to help hold the shape while the glue set. This worked really well at making a clean, one time seal. This also prevents any unnecessary glue build up from splitting and resealing, as the EVA foam doesn't like to let the glue go once applied.

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I guess that I could have cut out the cheek portions while the foam was flat, but I made due while it was upright. I haven't cut out the back portion yet to give dimension to that little band because I want to keep the rigidity for as long as possible.

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I cut out the traced cheekbone portions and their backings, as well as the arched upper cheek piece. Be sure when you're gluing these that you don't accidentally create two of the same piece (done it) as they are directional. No need to cut out more than one tracing as they are mirror pieces. When you attach the cheek piece to its backing, it creates a nice little lip around the outside to seat the arched upper piece.

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I would consider this the first "technical" part of the build as there is that magical angle in the upper cheek plate that I'm trying to achieve. To improve on the first attempt and to create a little cleaner seam, I did try to do a bevel on the outside edge of the upper cheek piece so it would slope in more flush. I think the easiest way ahead here is to attach the straight portion furthest to the rear of the helmet first, from base to top. Then, starting from the opposite end of the arch, glue incrementally up the cheek until you come together at the already glued angle. This gave me a bit of an angle, but they aren't quite as symmetrical as I would like and I need to compare this to an image from the film for accuracy. I'll have to do some massaging for sure.

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The lower cheek portion fits nicely into the gap, and follows the same method as the upper arch. Connect the two bases and slowly work up towards the angle. This smaller cheek piece will also help build that bend (the pepakura template was really masterfully done to create these angles).

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Now it's on to the dome. This takes by far the most time to complete (tracing and cutting) and I would suggest that you do your due diligence here. If traced well, the dome will come together like a charm. If I did anything right on the first helmet, it was the dome. It came out perfect. This attempt went awry somewhere. When I completed the round, the last seam was too high and there was a quarter sized gap in the middle. I had to go through with the exacto, cutting and massaging the old seams in order to get "closer" to where I need to be. It was getting late so I had to leave things for now. I'm not too worried with gaps for now as I imagine bondo and sanding will handle those. My bigger concern is overall shape. You can also see my little alligator clip buddies here. I unfortunately didn't take any pictures of the mistakes before I fixed them. I'll try to be better about posting the good and the bad for posterity.

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As my last step for the night, I affixed the dome to the faceplate. That little lip comes in handy here for certain. It can be a bit tricky to get the two to marry up, but the easiest way is to affix the front lip, centered above the visor seam, pinch the back of the dome, and seat the rest an inch at a time until it's all tightly bound inside the faceplate. Some massaging and a couple quick applications of glue and we've got what appears to be the making of a Mandalorian Battle Helmet! The helmet still appears a bit "round" to me. I need to look at some scaling to see just how oval to make it, versus being so circular.

If you've read this far, thanks so much for your patronage! I hope you found this educational, and in the least, a little bit amusing! Sorry for the rotated pictures. Not quite sure why they show up one way on the desktop and then flip in here. I'm anxious for any feedback or commentary from the group and hope I can answer some questions! I will continue on with the project in the next couple days and will post as soon as I have updates. Until then...
 
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Grimstuff

Hunter
That's really impressive actually. I briefly considered craft foam back when I was material shopping for mine, but I quickly threw the idea out the window when I remembered how flimsy it is. You've managed to make it work pretty well here though for sure.

The only real glaring problem area is, yeah, the cheeks. They're supposed to go far more inwards, but there's no reason you can't just double-up or hardback reinforce that area to give it some more rigidity so it can force itself into an inward curve more though, or heat massage as you suggested. The dome is also expanding a little wide just above the base, a sorta queen crown effect, but that's far less an issue since you said you'll be bondoing and sanding later.

Really great work all in all though. It's always cool to see the bucket done up in completely different materials with their own different challenges.
 

Cptlaurion

New Hunter
Thanks Grim!

I had considered Sintra (sp?) but availability was an issue. EVA foam was mentioned by a friend and that it hardens when treated with a heat gun. This is part of what went wrong with my first attempt. "Hardened" is in the eye of the beholder apparently as my build shrunk and curled. This really magnified the issue of cutting out the T-visor portion too early. I did like how the material worked however, and thought I'd give it another go.

I was a bit surprised at how the dome came together this time considering how perfect my first one was (far too small to be repurposed on this build). The image doesn't show it but there are several strips that aren't connected on the back side. I will most likely free them all now that the base is attached, and realign/trim them to get that nice flattened dome.

I agree that the cheeks don't seem quite right, but I think this has to do with my last comment in the post about how round the helmet is currently. When I squeeze the helm a bit to make it more oval, and closer to the shape I believe it should be, the cheeks suck in a bit and don't have as much flare, making them seem flatter. I'd be curious to know on a 501st approved helm what the measurements are from back to front (bottom back lip to bottom of chin) and side to side (middle bottom of earpiece to middle bottom of earpiece) so I can replicate the shape with a balsa wood stint until I harden the setup.
 

bpwmd

Hunter
As for the voice Modulator take a peek at the Adafruit Wave sheild. its arduino based but as long as your willing to learn a bit of code you can make one yourself. fairly satisfying to be honest.
 

Cptlaurion

New Hunter
As for the voice Modulator take a peek at the Adafruit Wave sheild. its arduino based but as long as your willing to learn a bit of code you can make one yourself. fairly satisfying to be honest.

Thanks bpwmd,
Adafruit Wave Shield. I'll take a look! I've got a couple arduino unos and my background is computer engineering. I was debating on whether to house all my electronics in the helm, or if I would build a casing in the gauntlet and sew wiring into the shirt, up the neck, into the helm to control voice, servo, LEDS, and cooling fan. Do you have any pics of your setup?
 

Cptlaurion

New Hunter
Well being the masochistic perfectionist that I am, I've started yet ANOTHER helm. This one of single layer mat board. I don't quite know how, but I'm just figuring out how to maneuver the TDH website and found AntMan's amazing post about using the WoF templates. I'm going to follow his instructions to the letter and see what I come up with. I still plan on finishing the EVA helm as planned, doing them both in parallel. I figure having the mat board helm with the internal guides will help me get the EVA closer to accuracy as far as angles. The round of the helm and flare of the mandibles is bothering me. It will more or less turn into a practice bucket for bondo and resin.

Should I change the title of the post and say "Parallel EVA/Mat Board First Time Build" or start a whole new posting?

Thanks for all of your help!
 

bpwmd

Hunter
ive actually not started that yet even lol just thinking in advance.
Im actually thinking of putting a fan in the JP and using it as a close loop cooling system and housing some of the electronics there (since the canon pack actually has electrical connections in the pack might as well make them useful. also planning on sticking a few in the gaunts and doing that too. my logic is to keep as much weight off my head as possible. also ive noted that some pics of the originals seem to include a product known as loom. used to organize cables in computers or in cars. seems to be a spiral loom and not a split loom. im not expert but am definitely willing to help you out if you want to ask :) let me know. i do have a build thread that ive neglected as i am getting ready for Seattle Comicon.

- - - Updated - - -

come to think of it if you have a computer engineering background i could also use a bit of help from you if you wouldn't mind
 

Cptlaurion

New Hunter
Not to get too specific bpwmd, but are you a Seattleite? I'm in Tri-Cities, moved over from Seattle about 5 years ago.

Yeah, if I ever get that far, I'll definitely post about the tech portion of the bucket build. I can give you a hand with whatever you need, just shoot.
 

Cptlaurion

New Hunter
Hey all,

So I got busy with the new parallel build bucket following Antman's walkthrough. I'm using single layer matting that I bought in something like a 3'x5' sheet at Hobby Lobby for $7.99. It looks like one sheet is enough for the entire bucket. Going is FAR slower than the EVA build due to my attention to detail here, as well as the difficulty with cutting the material. Does wetting it as you cut it have any benefits? I'm going through exacto blades rather quickly.

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Speaking of which, I put a nice quarter inch deep gash down my finger switching out blades. Stitches or no stitches? We'll let the electrical tape decide.

The rest of the build pretty much followed AntMan to the letter. Here are some pics of the progress:

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I cut out the outer faceplate as well, but I need to find a few more clamps before I can shape and glue it. I'll post some pics of that tomorrow. Speaking of pictures, still don't know how to correct the issue of images being rotated. For now I'm extremely happy with the dimension and shape of the bucket. The matboard is surprisingly easy to work with once cut. I think it's already heavier than the EVA helm, and that's without the cheek cutouts and the dome. I'll have to weigh them once complete before resin to see how they compare. Tomorrow I'll try to flatten the ears, attach the outer faceplate, and finish the dome.

As always, please let the feedback fly!

Matboard Helm:
Materials Cost: $7.99 (Matboard) + $4.99 (Exacto and blades) + Whatever a stick of hot glue costs (and two band-aids and electrical tape).
Time invested: 3 hours

EVA Helm (See earlier posts):
Materials Cost: $2.99 x 4 (EVA craft foam sheets) + $4.99 (Exacto and blades) + Whatever a stick of hot glue costs
Time invested: 6 hours
 
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ShortFuse

Active Hunter
I think you will be much happier with the mat board helmet than with the EVA. Do not wet the board before or while cutting it, only lightly mist it with a spray bottle to shape it after cutting it. Also while cutting it, make several passes with the blade instead of trying to cut it with one or two passes. With the 3mm board it can take up to 8-10 passes with the blade. You will get much cleaner cuts. You do go through several blades in the end. I used the snap off blade style utility knife.
 

Grimstuff

Hunter
Sometimes if I'm doing a long cutting project that's going through tons of xacto blades, I'll actually sharpen them up with a draw sharpener to extend their lives until the tips break off. Few passes on something like https://smile.amazon.com/Smiths-PP1-Pocket-Multifunction-Sharpener/dp/B000O8OTNC/ and it's nearly factory sharp again.

It's usually not very cost effective over just buying a crapload of blades, but it's almost still worth it for having the convenience of not having to constantly unscew em.
 

Cptlaurion

New Hunter
I think you will be much happier with the mat board helmet than with the EVA. Do not wet the board before or while cutting it, only lightly mist it with a spray bottle to shape it after cutting it. Also while cutting it, make several passes with the blade instead of trying to cut it with one or two passes. With the 3mm board it can take up to 8-10 passes with the blade. You will get much cleaner cuts. You do go through several blades in the end. I used the snap off blade style utility knife.

Thanks ShortFuse. I saw in a view of AntMan's project that he had one of the pop up style break-a-blade razors. Genius! Now I don't feel it in the pockets the same I did going through exactos ("One more pass" - Wedge Antilles). We'll see how my new tools and technique work with the dome cuts.

I have to ask, do you have an EVA build or is there an example of a completed one? Everyone says they don't like them or can tell the difference. If you fiberglass it, can you really tell the difference? I'm anxious to do both and see how it turns out. Maybe I can change some minds. Or crash and burn trying. I'll have fun either way.
 

Cptlaurion

New Hunter
Sometimes if I'm doing a long cutting project that's going through tons of xacto blades, I'll actually sharpen them up with a draw sharpener to extend their lives until the tips break off. Few passes on something like https://smile.amazon.com/Smiths-PP1-Pocket-Multifunction-Sharpener/dp/B000O8OTNC/ and it's nearly factory sharp again.

It's usually not very cost effective over just buying a crapload of blades, but it's almost still worth it for having the convenience of not having to constantly unscew em.

I had the same thought grim. I've got a nice Wusthof passover blade sharpener and I was going to give these blades a run. If they even get half of their original life back, it's worth the practice, right?
 

Cptlaurion

New Hunter
For those of you still following along, here's today's progress so far.

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Did some shaping on the faceplate.

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While this was forming, did some cutwork on the dome. Really anxious to see how this turns out.

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With all of the pieces cut and formed, I'll glue on the faceplate.

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I spread the glue and clipped on the outer layer. I ended up removing the dome brace as it was getting in the way. Easy enough to replace it.

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One issue I'll have to go back and fix, maybe with hot glue, is the edges that aren't compressed. This probably wouldn't have been an issue had I not cut out the cheek/back portions already on the outer layer. I don't think it will be a big correction, just take some additional solo gluing as I seem to have the maximum amount of clamps on the bucket already.

After dinner, I'll spend a little time on the dome and see if I can't get that glued into place. I'd like to finish tonight with just the cheek portions to do tomorrow. Might be ambitious but I'm not known for my patience. More to follow.
 
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Cptlaurion

New Hunter
Well tonight was successful and extremely frustrating all at the same time. In my opinion, the cheeks went in very well, however the dome proved to be an absolute sum-bitch. But I'll let you decide.

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I started out by cutting out the cheek area from the bucket. Easiest part of the day.

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Then I cut out the upper cheek portion and attached each to the mask. This wasn't too bad. I was nervous about creating that crease, but I'm happy with the angle I created. The one crease on the right cheek I accidentally scored the wrong side (doh!) and it has a good crease. I'm not too worried because if it's too inverted, I can just bondo and sand my life away. There's a shot of the inside seam too.

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After that, I cut and applied the lower cheeks. These went in far better than my EVA build, and actually forced the helm to contour to the appropriate shape. There is some slight gapping, but I thought the resting point on the bottom of the helm looked accurate.From the eyebrows down, starting to look like a Fett.

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I'm not posting crap for dome pictures other than the one above. I made 4 separate attempts, even got as far as two-thirds "done" on one pass before tearing it all down. I will say, the matboard is more forgiving than paper with the hot glue since it just pulls off a single layer at a time (thank goodness). I just couldn't get the pieces to center up right. I cut them PERFECTLY. I looked at AntMan's example several times and I've decided that his red line for the "cut the excess" portion is too generous. I did some more measurements tonight and it looks like if I cut off the entire shaded portion, my tips will all fall dead center. Hopefully I can give this another go tomorrow and then have a side by side comparison of two buckets ready for resin.

Thanks for all the feedback guys! Really helps motivate me and keep me pushing on. One day, I'll have something green and red with a dent in it that I can put on my head. Speaking of which, I just put the bucket on... and it's a little tight. Really hoping I'm not going to be giving this one away to build another at 110% print size. Time will tell.
 
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Cptlaurion

New Hunter
Hey boopyou,

You can find all of the various templates here. I liked WoF's, but there are others.

http://www.thedentedhelmet.com/showthread.php?t=41929

My helmet feels like it will fit me like a glove (the cheeks graze my cheeks in the helm. My head is 23" around above the brows. I imagine you could take the three dome segment pieces and add up the circumference. This should give you a fairly accurate representation as the rest of the helmet flares out. As far as EVA vs. matboard, I would at this point suggest the matboard. I think it's a little bit harder to work with, but I think it hold angles and shape better.

Good luck with the build!
 
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