Aron's Ironman Helmet - Paint and LED's finished


Well-Known Member
I started this build in the summer of 2010 thanks to everyone here at the RPF and have been working on it on and off all this time. I figured it was time to post and show my progress in a single thread.

This was my first pepakura project. It is Shark's Mark VI file.






The last picture shows what happens when you do not know how to scale properly. From left to right that is chronological order.
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Re: Aron's Ironman Helmet - Bondo Detailing Stage

Unfortunately I do not have many pictures left from the resin/fiberglassing and first couple layers of bondo stage.

A layer of primer and light sanding

And the original ugly bondo'd mess

My piece is far from perfect. During the resin/fiberglassing stage the sides of my helmet sunk in a bit throwing off the proportions. The lower right jaw also sticks out a bit from warping. I also made the mistake of not resining the ears separately. They have deformed quite a bit and I am redoing them.




The cheek detail is missing because of how badly they got messed up when i cut the faceplate off. It's ok though, I have Bimmer's 3D printed version from Shapeways along with the bolts. The lips do not fit together as perfectly as they should. I am trying to clean up and fix all these details now.





More primer, bondo, and sanding





Trying to stay motivated as I only have an hour or so to work on it every other day. Spot filling holes and reshaping warped areas this weekend. I'll post pictures Monday.
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Re: Aron's Ironman Helmet - Bondo Detailing Stage

Awesome! I always loved pepakura builds!

Something I learned a long time ago with pepakura was to always make a size testor... It's extremely agrivating when you get so far into a pep project and have to go back to square one... You obviously know the feeling.

Ah well, it's always a learning curve. Trial and error.

Keep it up, your pepping looks very clean.
Good luck,

Re: Aron's Ironman Helmet - Bondo Detailing Stage

Looks good! I have the same file and pepped it also which was to big. What scale size did you finally come to, to get it right?
Re: Aron's Ironman Helmet - Bondo Detailing Stage

Thanks for the support guys.

Looks good! I have the same file and pepped it also which was to big. What scale size did you finally come to, to get it right?

The first 2 I believe were dung0beetle's file. Then the third time around i made the testor for Shark's file at the default scale and it fit perfectly. So the fourth and final was Shark's file at default scale.

It fit nice. I have a 23" skull thats about 6" wide. Even with the sides compressing in I still have enough room for hardware inside.

At some point when this is closer to finished I would like to try my hand at molding and casting. If I do, maybe I'll see if anyone would be interested in a low price run from an amateur. I'd like 1 or 2 extra casts for different paint jobs but I don't need 10 pulls for myself.
Re: Aron's Ironman Helmet - Bondo Detailing Stage

Gotta stay motivated! Bondo is a pain in the butt sometimes, but give it enough time and it'll come out nicely. Keep at it! It's already coming along very nicely.
Re: Aron's Ironman Helmet - Bondo Detailing Stage

Anyone else have that itch while at work, all you want to do is go home and work on your piece?

Trouble is I get home and just want to relax cause I'm so tired from work. Oh, the irony.
Re: Aron's Ironman Helmet - Bondo Detailing Stage

Thanks for sharing! Im working on the same helmet (in pep stages) so its great to see how its looking.

I really hope it fits. I totally forgot to size it before starting and am now too far in to start over...
Re: Aron's Ironman Helmet - Bondo Detailing Stage

I have a 23 inch skull and I'm using the default scale. The only reason mine is snug is because the sides compressed in during resining. Just be aware of that and you should be fine. I'm sure the default scale will fit a 24 or 25 inch head
Re: Aron's Ironman Helmet - Bondo Detailing Stage

All of my work has to take place on my back porch and since it is so freaking hot in Florida I had to go out and buy a nice fan and chair to keep me cool and comfortable.

I got some Bondo Spot and Glazing Putty to help smooth out the surface. It works very well. I discovered that it is a good idea to let it cure completely before trying to sand it. It will gum up your files badly otherwise. Some pics after applying it.





I'm sanding now with 100 grit sand paper and my detail files. I'll bump up to finer grits after the surface is nice and uniform. Pics after sanding.





Here are some close ups of the surface at this point:



I still need some filler and spot putty in some areas so another round or two will be needed.

I have a lot of edges that need to be built back up and that would take forever with bondo or the spot putty. I read through Volpin's blog recently and discovered Apoxie Sculpt, an air-fire clay that will bond to filler and resin, can be sculpted, and dries to a sandable, paintable surface. I have ordered some and will use that to rebuild my messed up edges.

I also got ahold of a heat gun and might try to delicately heat the inside resin in hopes of reshaping the jaw ever so slightly. I hope this will not destroy the bondo, even though i know it is prone to cracking. So if anyone has had this happen, please stop me beforehand.

I'll keep posting progress...
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Re: Aron's Ironman Helmet - Bondo Detailing Stage

Really good techniques on this, i am so slacking on mine. Keep up the good work it will be good to follow to see how sick this turns out. Good job
Re: Aron's Ironman Helmet - Bondo Detailing Stage

hey dude... thanks for your comment on my thread... saw your work and its getting nice too... if i may suggest, you may put some more bondo on the forehead to round it up more... cheers!:)
Re: Aron's Ironman Helmet - Bondo Detailing Stage

Thanks everyone. It will still probably be a long way out before this is finished.

ProjectEarth, thanks for the tip. I do need a lot of reshaping all around, but I'll definitely keep close attention to that.

I should have been keeping my layers of bondo thin so that I didn't lose the shape and proportion from the pep. Those silver rings on the faceplate were my original attempt at a hinge mechanism. They are bolt heads that added a lot of thickness to that plate so I needed to build up the bondo thickness in order to make it look flush.

I have scrapped that attempt and I am going with MightJohn's Orbital Hinge system, so I need to remove those from the helmet now. That will leave some holes that will need to be filled but will also give me a chance to sand down all that extra bondo and get back closer to the original pep shape.

Hopefully that will fix some of the deformities. I'm gonna drop back down to 80 grit so that the sanding will not take forever, looks like I have many nights of sanding ahead of me. Pictures to follow after tonight.
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Re: Aron's Ironman Helmet - Bondo Detailing Stage

Came home and decided to do some damage. The only thing that was running through my head was the line from Ironman 2 where Stark says "Get ready for a remodel, we are back in hardware mode!"


I removed the screw posts that I had mounted before. In order to get down to the ones on the side of the helmet I had to dig deep with my dremel. You can get an idea of how badly sunken in my sides were by the thickness of the bondo I've got on there.

Just like removing rivets I used a drill to bore down and separate the post from the bolt head. They all popped off without too much trouble.


I then sanded the crap out of the helmet to get it closer to the original pep layer. You can see the light shining through. I left bondo on in areas that I thought were at a good shape currently.





I also did some cutting. I removed all 4 pieces again without doing too much damage. They are all warped pretty badly but hopefully with my heat gun and some more fiberglass I can reshape and stiffen them up better. You can see how on the bottom, the edges do not line up anymore

I realized that when I originally cut the lower back piece off I went straight across instead of following the contours. This will leave a nasty seam so I cut the small bit out and will rebuild it onto the lower back portion.

I am also missing the wedge detail where the cheek line of the faceplate extends toward the ear. I have been trying to sand that detail in there, but it isn't easy to do.

Also managed to resin the replacement ears I pepped and will try attaching those some time soon.
Re: Aron's Ironman Helmet - Bondo Detailing Stage

No new pictures today but did some work.

Trimmed a lot of my nasty edges. I penciled in the groove details and cut them with my dremel. I then used my detail files to smooth out the lines. They will need more cleaning as I finish the surface, I just have to try not to fill them in.

I decided to try un-warping the helmet but was having trouble with how to go about it. If I did the pieces separately they might not fit together properly afterward. I thought of hot gluing the pieces back together and reshaping it as one, but the heat gun would have melted the glue and would be a pain to clean off. I also don't have enough large clamps to clamp everything together.

My brillant idea was to use some spare masking tape and mummify the edges and pieces together and hope the tape didnt catch fire as I hit it with 750 degrees. It looks quite ridiculous right now but it is working.

I gradually hit it with the heat gun and got it fairly warm. I don't think any bondo has cracked and I was able to at least alter the warp somewhat back to normal. I might have another round or two of heating and cooling before I take all the tape back off. That should hopefully reset the shape.

My Apoxie Sculpt should be here soon, then I can continue repairing and hopefully have this thing finished with 400 grit in the next 2 weeks. Then I have to decide whether to mold or not.

Since I was a recent student, I can get a 10% discount on Smooth-On products from our Orlando supplier. I'll be in Orlando next Thursday and Friday so I could swing by and pick up some material to mold and cast with. I am thinking Rebound 25 and Smooth-Cast 65D, since I've seen many people get good results with those products. If I do mold and cast I'd prolly offer helmets at a "budget" price since this will not be the work of a master builder

I have this entire weekend free to dedicate to getting a good chunk of this finished, so fingers crossed for progress.
Re: Aron's Ironman Helmet - Bondo Detailing Stage

After much difficulty I have come to the conclusion that I will never be able to get the shape back to perfect. Flexing the jaw inward causes all of the other dimensions to go out of wack, so I'll just sand and shape the best I can and be done with it.

Got the Apoxie Sculpt on to fill key areas, works really well. Mummified again to hold everything together and just added an extra layer of fiberglass to the main helmet body. Tomorrow I plan on adding more fiberglass to the rest and this will hopefully hold the shaper better.







Popsicle sticks as bite sticks, it looks like I beat the crap out of him.
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