Thanks for that feedback, if you can nail what you think looks off please let me know.
It is a mirrored shot, I found that taking a selfie gave it too much perspective distortion.
I do appreciate any feedback guys so have at it! Although, the helmet was a quick one off cast.
I agree....it did originally have gloss all over.
The reason it looks matt gunmetal is because I wanted to test that particular paint out and so went over those parts. Although I like this shade better, I need to get the right glossiness too. And also the ANH brushed on look! But yeah...the finish will be critical.
Here's the original gunmetal I painted on the mask before I tried out the grey paint that's currently on it. It had a better worn look and sheen than what is on now, but I think the tint of grey is a bit too blueish...(?). And I'm experimenting with paints and finishes.
Ignore the quality of the helmet....it was taken from a quick plaster cast needed for that weekend, and I later sanded it back and gave it a coat of matte black to subdue the blemishes a bit more, as per what you see in the trooping pics earlier. Given the plaster mold used, I couldn't have a return edge trim around it either, but it worked for the weekend! It's the one I'm sanding back and wearing in the picture earlier. I'll add a return edge trim to it too.
Frogfreak, I've been considering your opinion about what doesn't quite seem right. Too me, perhaps the neck is too wide...although I have had to cut it to a different shape for it to fit my kid, I think the neck needs to be redone. It's too fat. So I've been working at that part of the sculpt this afternoon.
The neck is a really hard part of it to get right, it's hard to reference it against other parts of the mask. For example, when I do the cheeks, I am referring to screenshots at various angles and seeing how the geometry of the cheeks relates to other parts of the mask; proportions, and what other areas are revealed around them at different angles. But with the neck, it's hard to do that...it's a real challenge getting it right.
Here's a work in progress on the sculpt, as of this afternoon...I'm bringing the neck profile in a bit more, and will make it a bit rounder across the bottom as well. You may notice that I have adjusted his left cheek so that the curve along the top is a little more subtle, and have squared off the nose a bit more. I am also going to rework the tubes and so they've been removed; once the sculpt is smoothed out and tidied up, I'll add them back on.
It will be be all smoothed out and tidied up once this round of rework is finished.
You might be wondering why the crack across the top of the head. It's because there is nothing to support the head at all under it, it is literally a lump of heavy clay sculpted around a piece of pvc tubing. There is no support form underneath that clay, no armature, nothing. I need to work out a better support for it. I can lay it down to work on though at least as I can remove the pvc tube from it's support base.
Here's another couple of pics showing what happens to a lump of clay if left in the sun...the whole thing fell apart because it warmed up in the direct sunlight. It wasn't a huge deal, it took me about 45 min to repair. But....yeah. Anyway it does show that there's nothing underneath the clay that I'm sculpting onto and that I am not simply reworking another mask. Enjoy!!
I've decided to split the Vader project into two helmets...the clay sculpt, and the specific Kid Vader helmet already casted.
So I've stripped the Kid Vader helmet used at Oz Comic Con and am going to resand it to smooth the helmet, and fix a couple of areas of the mask with bondo and clay.
I will now take molds from both...the clay sculpt will form the basis of the adult tailored ANH helmet, with that Kid Vader cast modded into an ESB version that is tailored a little more for a child. Although both are wearable between adults/kids, I will incorporate a couple of more kid friendly tweaks in the Kid-Vader ESB than in the full version:
Kid Vader ESB helmet will be a little shorter than the full version; I've found from experience that this allows smaller wearers to move it around on their head easier and reduce the chance of it hitting shoulders, as well as to save a little weight.
Kid Vader will have a shorter neck, again to allow smaller wearers to see reasonably well throught the lenses. I will reshape the neckline however.
Kid Vader ESB will have the larger chin vent cut-out to help with ventilation and visibility. The mouth and grill is a rubber diamond-shaped mesh that I've fortunately found in a garden hardware store! I'm really happy with this find as it's accurate enough in terms of shape and size. A little kid-friendlier than the metal car air filter mesh I will seek to use in the adult helmet.
Kid Vader will have the top-mounted helmet attachment assembly as seen on the screen helmets from the get-go; the ANH sculpt will remain with a velcro attachment on the forhead with side padding within the helmet for now.
Kid Vader's helmet will sit a little different than the ANH version, i.e. a little higher over the brow etc, but I'm sure you guys all know that.
At the moment, the Kid Vader nose bridge is a little narrow, I have been thinking to leave as is in order to get a little more lens area for visibility, but I may decide to just widen it a bit anyway coz the inaccuracy of the narrow nose bridge irks me.
The quick one-off helmet cast I did also better matches the ESB helmet as the nose bridge doesn't end in a 'point' like the ANH helmet.
The sculpt will remain ANH at first, but I still plan to then mod the sculpt for ESB/ROTJ. Here's both together, the ANH sculpt to the left, and Kid Vader ESB to the right...I am also building a return edge into the Kid Vader helmet as well. I am now thinking of runs for both, preferably as unpainted kits because I don't regard myself great at painting.
Kid Vader profile now that it sits like ESB...
Helmet will stay a little shorter than the full version I am also sculpting at the moment, it helps with smaller wearers for both weight, and to reduce it sitting directly on shoulders...
Front, with return edges being added, larger chin vent cutout, but narrow nose bridge...I think I'll widen it with clay before taking the mold. The mask's left cheek also needs a lottle bondo along the top, just to make that curve a little more subtle. The neck to me, is a little wide on the mask's left side, but I'll keep it that way to keep it a bit more open at the bottom for kids, I'll just reshape the neck line curve a little though...
Meanwhile, I am doing some final tidy up and adjustment to the ANH clay sculpt, ready to order the silicone for molding...that neck is a real challenge to get right, it seems to be different from one photo reference to the next!
The way I make the lenses at the moment is to simply save the clear plastic packaging around big easter eggs, cut the curved lens from that, then hot glue some mesh behind it. That way, you get yourself a giant easter egg and vader lenses!
Until I get the silicone to make the mould, the full size Vader mask is just on hold at the moment, but in the meantime I've been working to get the mask and helmet for Kid Vader ready to be able to mould and cast.
I've stripped out the mask and am currently sanding and priming to get the finish I want. Lots of sanding and filling, with primer being applied to help show the areas I need to work on more. So far, I'm happy with where the mask is heading, there's still work to do to smooth it out but it is getting there. The helmet will take considerably longer and I will focus on that once the mask is done.
Here's some shots of the Kid Vader mask as it is now...I've put in the black plastic mesh that I will use for the kid's helmet just to show (instead of the car air filter mesh for the full size). It's a bit more open, easier to see through, and with the neck not tapering as much backwards as it does in the full size mask, should be easier for kids to see forwards and downwards...
I have also left the nose bridge between the eyes narrower in order to make the eyes in the mask a little wider towards the middle of the mask for smaller heads.
As mentioned, this is mid-process of sanding, filling and priming so it is not yet finished.
Some more progress this weekend.
The mask is pretty much done and ready to mould, just a couple of little touch ups, but I've decided I'm going to widen the nose bridge between the eyes on this kid's version anyway; I just think it's too narrow and it annoys me too much. I'll use clay to do that, before I take the mould. I will also sharpen the cheek details by gently sanding the edges.
Here's how the mask and helmet look right now (with the narrow nose bridge):
and here's a quick edit of the pic to show what I want to do with the nose (I know it makes the eyes look a little odd, but it's just a quick picture edit, I'll tune the eyes to match when I fix the nose bridge)...
Anyway, I started on sanding, smoothing and priming the helmet for Kid Vader this weekend too. I also added to the bottom of the helmet's right side (i.e. Vader's right side) so that it ends lower down on that side. The left side of the neck I have also adjusted on the mask.
I was stoked at how smooth the helmet came out after this first pass of sanding, filling and priming, really happy with the result at this stage as I expected it to be much more patchy, uneven and need a lot more work than what it now appears to need.
So here's a pic of the Kid Vader helmet as it is now (before I make the nose bridge correction...)
Anyway, that's the Kid Vader helmet, my adult size sculpt has sat still for a good week while I've been focusing on this one. However, with a 20% sale on all stock at my supplier, I have this weekend ordered the silicone I need to take moulds of both the Kid and Adult Vader helmets, so I'm thinking over the next few weeks there'll be a fair amount of progress on both...
I also have in mind a new Kid Vader helmet project for littler kids, say from ages 6 and up. This Kid Vader helmet fits my 11 year old son and would have fit him last year too, so I reckon a helmet for kids 6-10 would be good to add to the inventory. What motivates me to do the kid versions? Well, being a Star Wars loving dad, it has always been so cool to have a Vader outfit that my son and daughter to wear with me when I'm on 501st troops in my TK, so I know, that if I can pull this off and have helmets on offer to other dads for their kids, it would be great to get these out there. But let's see...
Some more progress. The big work lately has been to reshape the neck. Because this kids helmet is a cast from my adult-sized WIP, the neck was cut down but then the shape of it wasn't quite right. It's bugged me for a while so I've spent the last couple of days adding bondo inside it and then sanding and dremelling into the mask to get a better contour, one that better matches screen masks.
I've also contoured along the bottom of the neck by adding bondo to it, to give the bottom a bit of a 'spread'.
I think it's closer to the screen masks, and not simply a cut down version of the adult, but is more accurate in it's own right. More work on this to get final shape, but the silicone has arrived and it shouldn't be long before I am able to at least start casting the kid version....
I feel it does bulge a little either side of the eyes but I'm leaving it, that part's hidden under the helmet anyway, and it does give a but more room for padding or ventilation.
...I think the helmet's contour along the bottom of the flange, and across the neck, is better now. It is a kid sized Vader helmet after all!
I'll fix the nose bridge indents once the rest of the helmet's done; that bit is clay and so gets knocked around with handling.
Once I have this cast I'll focus fully on adult-sized Vader.