McQuarrie concept Boba Fett helmet

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torsoboy

Well-Known Member
Hey everyone! With the palpable excitement surrounding The Mandalorian, I wanted to make something to join in on the fun for DragonCon, but I thought I'd go in the exact opposite direction from everyone else. So I decided to go back to the source of it it all - one of the Ralph McQuarrie concepts for Boba Fett! It also just so happened to be on my to-do list for like a decade now, so win win!

I really wanted to focus on the gesture of the original sketch for this build. Disregarding the obviously round dome up top, it has a distinctive squareish shape to it that's very prominent down the ears and on the sides of the visor. The sketch also has some details on that aren't commonly used in a lot of reproductions or products depicting this helmet, so I wanted to include those in my build. Where the sketch ran out of details (since it's only a top/front 3/4 view), I opted to fill in details with a few select details from some of my favorite representations of this build (statues, art, etc.), but I was selective in what I felt best paired with the sketch.

There were also some minor design decisions that had to be made for the sketch to work in physical 3D space, but such changes attempted to at least honor the spirit of the design. For example, the sides of my visor are rounded, where as most representations are flat. I opted for a round side because the left side of the sketch clearly shows a round side to the visor. I liked the rounded side better than the flat, so I just had to make it work. Doing so altered the joint where the visor meets the ears, so a slight redesign of that area was in order. But doing so naturally fixed the top area of the cheek inset geometry, so all in all it was a positive redesign.

This started off as a 3D model, and subsequently a 3D print. However, a lot of the surface detailing came in the form of layered plastic sheet.

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Here's where I did the surface detailing with plastic sheet. This is just thin styrene hand cut from patterns I made over the 3D print. I don't like to do all the detailing in 3D printing because I like to retain at least some hand-crafted element to it. It also eliminates the mindless tedium of cleaning up tiny 3D printed details.

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Creating the patterns for the ear details in masking tape. The little round detail is done in a way you might not expect of this detail. I thought it looked particularly cool to do it with this negative space cutout, and I felt it was very Syd Mead in style. I know he has nothing to do with this concept design, but since he's one of my favorite artists, I thought I'd honor his recent passing by giving him a tiny little influence in my work here. Plus it just solved the issue of not wanting to carve panel lines. :)

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I repeated that same styling for the little circular detail on the front of the ears as well. Here you can also see the detailing I included that you don't see in a lot of other representations of this helmet design (busts, statues, etc.). The inset lower cheeks create space for these little vents, which you can clearly see in the original sketch.

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Continuing with the mixed media approach, I opted to turn some resin chunks on my lathe for the mouth greeblies. The bases to these parts were 3D printed so I'd have sockets that perfectly fit the pegs in the mouth area, but the "hero" side to these are all hand-turned resin. The two main tubes were subsequently modified with some sintra for the interior details.

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At this point in the build, the main helmet and the mouth greeblies were ready for molding. Aside from the little antenna piece shown with the mouth greeblies above, I hadn't made any progress on the range finder. But I'll get to that in a later post.

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JamesM242

Well-Known Member
RPF PREMIUM MEMBER
WOW! torsoboy! Fantastic work! I am looking forward to following your progress on this - as a huge fan Ralph McQuarrie's work this will be a fun build to watch! Great job on the helmet!
 

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torsoboy

Well-Known Member
Thanks everyone!

Yesterday I pulled the first helmet casting out of the mold, as well as a set of mouth greeblies. I was anticipating some issues with casting the deep visor corners in the mold, but this thing was a dream to cast! I couldn't be happier. Now to finish up the range finder parts!

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torsoboy

Well-Known Member
A bit of progress on the range finder to report today. The parts have been around for a little while, but I really didn't start working on them until the other day. The stalk was 3D printed with the other pieces, and the antenna was a chunk of resin I turned on my lathe back when I made the mouth greeblies. I got the range finder itself printed at ShapeWays. There is an underside to it that I designed (no references available for it), and due to the complex shape, I knew my printer couldn't handle it gracefully, and I knew scratch building it would take too much effort than I cared to put into that one piece. So I sent it off to print at a company that could knock it out of the park while I worked on other pieces.

That being said, I did get them all fitted together and started getting the stalk where I wanted it fit-wise. I have to hold it in place in these pics because the range finder just doesn't allow it to stand freely. The plan is to have the RF stalk pegged in the bottom vertically with some brass rods drilled into the casting, and then have the RF stalk screwed in from the interior laterally. So it will have both vertical and lateral support, AND be removable.

Oh! One thing I'm sure you'll note is the odd curve I designed into the RF stalk. That curve in particular is not represented in the sketch per se, but it was my way of reconciling the top triangular shape of the RF stalk (see sketch) with an otherwise rectangular-ish base. It thought it was a very gestural, sketch-like line, and it fit very well with the odd nature of the helmet design. It also correctly positions the RF to appear attached at only it's back edge. The very first image in this thread shows this a lot better than these photos, but I figured I'd bring it up here since this post is about the RF/stalk.

I hope to get at least the stalk and antenna under rubber by the weekend, and the RF itself will likely be a weekend molding project. But that should be it as far as the molding work on this!

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JamesM242

Well-Known Member
RPF PREMIUM MEMBER
torsoboy - this is looking great! Just curious, it looks like the range finder on McQuarrie's sketch is not 90-degrees to the helmet, but rather canted out a few degrees. Have you opted to go straight up for strength of the pieces fitting together, or more of a nod to the final design? Again, just curious, not a criticism.
 

torsoboy

Well-Known Member
torsoboy - this is looking great! Just curious, it looks like the range finder on McQuarrie's sketch is not 90-degrees to the helmet, but rather canted out a few degrees. Have you opted to go straight up for strength of the pieces fitting together, or more of a nod to the final design? Again, just curious, not a criticism.

I definitely considered it for a while. I also considered it a possibility that it's not leaning out to the side, but rather sheared backward at an angle. I have the option of making a canted stalk since it will be removable, and if I did I think I'd opt for the back-angled style. But as-designed it just seems awkward to me, both visually and structurally. Looking at the sketch, it almost seemed like a mistake, as if McQ shifted perspectives. Ultimately I decided to go with the straight stalk since it's almost universally depicted as such in all other helmet concepts/designs. Consider it a bit of a "correction" on my part, an effort to reconcile the concept art with our expectations in reality.

I did this on other aspects of the helmet too, primarily in the face area. There are so many funky lines on it that really only work on the sketch, but can't work reasonably on a physical model. So some angles were nudged and curves were shifted so that everything works in reality and can be matched up to the sketch within reason.
 
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torsoboy

Well-Known Member
And with that, all three of the RF parts are ready for molding! After this sanding work, I primed the piece, wetsanded it, and reprimed it. I've got the final coat of primer on all three parts curing over night, so I'll start the molding work tomorrow.

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torsoboy

Well-Known Member
It's probably going to be another week or two before I can wrap this thing up. ALL THREE molds for the RF parts failed. My process involves a final primer layer before molding, and it's worked for me for years now, but the primer must have a new formula now that's incompatible with the rubber I used. None of the rubber touching the parts cured (everything else surrounding it did cure). So I have to clean everything up, make any repairs, strip everything off, and start over. And I'm out of rubber, so I have to order more too. Not a happy camper tonight. :mad:
 

HighlanderFX

Well-Known Member
RPF PREMIUM MEMBER
Sometimes I feel like mold making has a never ending learning curve..
Fantastic work so far, oh and I second making all the other RMQ helmets!
 

torsoboy

Well-Known Member
I like your 3D printing/model making combo approach. That's working smart.

Yeah, it takes some of the heavy lifting out of the equation while leaving some of the more immediately reward aspects of it for hand fabrication. However, it's really just exchanging one kind of work (hand fabricating) for another (3D modeling). Labor is still involved, just one involves a keyboard. Though realistically speaking, hand fabricating is so much more rewarding. While I did indeed model all of this myself, it doesn't beat a good hard day's work in my shop by any stretch, with the singular exception of time - I can print while I'm at work.
 

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