Power Ranger Helmet Base Sculpt (pics) - Basic Shape Done

Discussion in 'Sculpture and Makeup Effects' started by KidHaru, Apr 10, 2015.

  1. KidHaru

    KidHaru Member

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    So I've finally taken the plunge and am enthusiastically jumping into the world of sculpting. I've spent the last few months (very few) working with foam and getting a grasp for that medium but I've really wanted to learn sculpting. The work I've seen on this forum has been an amazing influence and you can tell that years of honing and work have gone into developing the skills you've all been delightful to put on display here. Long time lurker but it's nice to finally step into the ring and see a project through.

    I've always grown up a huge tokusatsu fan and felt making a Power Ranger helmet from scratch would be a great first project.

    I intend to use this thread to chronical my progress and hopefully reach out to the community for tips and advice as I go along.

    After 8 hours and 4.5lbs of Chavant NSP Medium Clay, I am here.

    IMG_8411.JPG

    Basically the plan is to sculpt a base helmet that I will then cast, break down the clay, layer it ontop of the master and build the final helmet from there.


    Given that I've never used clay before and the cheap foam head is a tiny, I accidentally built a large portion of it to be uneven. Kinda works out though since I haven't even designed the final helmet design completely.

    I'm considering going in with my calipers and cutting circles into the sculpt later tonight to try and get an idea of just how much I messed proportion wise and balance it out before smoothing and gathering my silicone and such.

    Any and all tips/critique/advice is welcome. I'm honestly horrified that once I cast it, I'll find it's too small haha


    (Also, sorry if I'm attaching these below wrong. Long time lurker but first time starting a thread (that I can remember) so I'm still exploring the interface.)
    IMG_8403.JPG IMG_8406.JPG IMG_8407.JPG IMG_8408.JPG IMG_8409.JPG IMG_8410.JPG




    ---Update 5 minutes later----

    Haha! I'm so glad I posted this thread! It immediately gave me the idea to just photoshop the helmet onto my head and it definitely is too short in the front!
    haha.jpg

    Also from staring at more reference pictures, I realize I forgot that the ranger helmets are very front heavy.
    (Photo Compliments of Aniki Cosplay)
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    Last edited: Apr 21, 2015
  2. KidHaru

    KidHaru Member

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    I've hit a cross road. I started on this Styrofoam head from Michaels out here in LA. I measured it and found that it was basically a good 2-4 inches off in all directions.
    View attachment 467505
    Rather than building it up with something expendable though, I got impatient and started in on the clay. Now I think I've lengthened the helmet (on one side) long enough to fit my head. However it's only half done, needs to be widened out width wise, and since I'm just using this craft head, the weights too much for it to stand on its own outside of use.

    View attachment 467504 View attachment 467506 View attachment 467517

    I've used up all 6lbs of the clay I bought and although I could (and probably will) go back and buy another two bricks, it's starting to feel like I'm just burning it ineffectively. It wouldn't be hard to get back to this stage (now that I've learned how to not burn myself and thank god for wire which I didn't have before) but I'm debating if I should just truck through it or restart to be more efficient.

    What do you guys think? Right now I'm just trying to build the basic helmet shape and cast that. From there I'd sculpt my helmet onto that. Just can't decide yet if I should keep on this road or rip it off and grab some expanding foam and build a new armature (this time with a base)
    View attachment 467518
     
  3. Zwilliamo

    Zwilliamo Member

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    I personally haven't done much sculpting aside from a self portrait, but I ran into the same issue with the small Styrofoam head blank.

    From my experience, I would highly recommend restarting.
    The best way to look at the situation is as a learning experience, allowing for refinement of the skill on the second pass.

    Definitely look into bulking the head out and making a base for it to sit on. I ended up making a wood base with some threaded metal pipe from the hardware store. The pipe added some weight to the base, brought the work area more into a comfortable height, and allowed for it to be removed from the base (if needed).

    Good luck on your ventures sir, I hope any of this info helps.
     
  4. pitchforknumb

    pitchforknumb Sr Member RPF PREMIUM MEMBER

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    You should look into getting a sculpting armature. Look into the Ed Head from Monster Makers, or David Mosher's armature. Both would be a lot more efficient then working off of a Styrofoam head.
     
  5. KidHaru

    KidHaru Member

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    Oh wow, Pitch! I loved your Deathstroke build. It's actually one of the one's I've been reading through to prep for this build.

    I'd kill to get a proper armature. I've overspent this month so I'm hoping early next month to resolve the armature issue. I'm debating between getting an Ed Head, David Mosher's armature, or just going all in and attempting a life cast. A Life cast would be my preferred option, and Tested's zoidberg project has provided the best life cast results I've seen, but I haven't ran the numbers yet to really assess just how much I'll need to save to do it yet.

    In the mean time, the weight of this head has definitely taught me the importance of having a stand. So I think I'm going to grab some expanding foam from my local home depot and start over as Z suggested. That'll save me on clay usage as well.

    I've read TMBountyHunter's Skullman
    build religiously before starting this and I think I'm going to try his armature method for this initial build. I'm going to take pictures of my head next to a yard stick. Print it out as close to 1:1 as I can. Cut some cardboard and slits to lock the profile and straight on shots together and fill the rest with foam. Currently limited to my motorcycle so lets hope I don't die trying to transport wood and a rod to make the base haha.

    Which armature do you use, Pitch? Also, since I'm basically going to make a master shell and then sculpt ontop of that to create my final helmet, what would you suggest I make the master out of since I basically intend to use it like a head armature and will need it to last multiple projects.
     
  6. pitchforknumb

    pitchforknumb Sr Member RPF PREMIUM MEMBER

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    Thanks man. I'm glad someones finding some use for it. :devil Cost of the life cast varies greatly depending on if you go the alginate route, and apposed to the silicone route they use on the Zoidberg project. Silicone will get you many casts, while alginate will only get you one. I do like going the alginate route so then I can cast a postive, clean it up so it has no air bubbles or deformations in the cast, and then cast that in silicone. I use David Mosher's armature, since the neck isn't elongated like the Ed head to compensate for latex shrinkage. It's nice a durable, and the keys already in place are a nice touch. If you're not planning on molding and casting the helmet armature your going to build, you'll need to use something nice and hard like Bondo, or my favorite epoxy putty. Either should work well for you. But if you're going to mold and cast then you can use things like urethane resing, or epoxy resin backed with fiberglass.
     
  7. KidHaru

    KidHaru Member

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    Thanks Pitch!

    So finally after non stop work these last few days, I have some time to make some more progress. I definitely intend to mold and cast the helmet armature. Would a slush cast do the job or should I actually fill the whole thing to make sure it has a long shelf life?

    Made the run to get my stand set up. One of the guys at Home Depot was cool and gave me the wood, free of charge

    I 11072764_10155540201535249_4594178911671315440_n.jpg

    Printed outlines of my head to get the sizing right. Just haven't decided the best way to mount it on the head. Had some card stock lying around so I think I may slice grooves into the head, stick the paper into them and then hit it with the expanding foam.

    In regards to LifeCasting, I was eye balling this set by Smooth-On. I know Smooth-On is the tried and true go to for casting but I'm wondering if this kit has everything I need to create the mold. I know I'll need a bald cap and possibly an additional release agent. Also, I've seen people use quickeners and thickeners in their silicone lifecast molds and am debating if I should pick those up or if it's not really necessary. I honestly doubt I'll be doing multiple pulls of my head once I get a good pull to work from. My biggest question is if those two containers of Part A and Part B would be enough to cover all of my head and a bit of my shoulders/collar bone so it can stand on it's own. How much body double do I need to cover that much?
     
  8. pitchforknumb

    pitchforknumb Sr Member RPF PREMIUM MEMBER

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    Slush casting works. Try to get a good thickness, 1/4" should do, and then fill in the void with some rigid foam. For a full head cast and shoulders included you would need two sets of the trial size units of body double. Good luck with the styrofoam head man. Can't wait to see the final armature cast.
     
  9. pitchforknumb

    pitchforknumb Sr Member RPF PREMIUM MEMBER

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  10. KidHaru

    KidHaru Member

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  11. KidHaru

    KidHaru Member

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    Whelp. After a day, I have learned expanding foam and I are not friends. Some of it may now be a part of me. And I may be expediting that head cast. Also due to the sheer pricing of Smooth On, I'm gonna look at alginate molding alternatives and just cast with smooth on products. I saw someone on the facebook group post about Raw Material Suppliers out here in California so I may look into them. Not sure if the styrofoam head is even worth trying to salvage haha.
     
  12. firion1234

    firion1234 New Member

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    First off, let me commend you on making your own helmet! Second, it's uncanny how similar where you're at now resembles where I was at around this time last year! I made Dan's helmet from Zyuranger for last year's Dragoncon and if nothing else I say is of any help to you at least take my word on this, when you finish, nothing could be more rewarding!

    Where to begin? As you have figured out, there is no substitute for having a lifecast. Before I started on my ranger project, I had it in my head I was going to do Iron Man. Using the very type of foam head from your pictures, no less. I quickly discovered that the bend she has in her neck plays havoc with symmetry. Can it be compensated for? Of course! But it's better to not have to, especially if this is your first rodeo. If you choose to move forward with that head, pay no attention to her neck as a "landmark" so to speak. It's just there to hold your clay, not represent how the helmet will sit on a human head.

    I did choose, in the end, to go the Body Double route. After two failed alginate attempts there seemed to be less "feel" needed on the part of the person doing the lifecast. Kind of "foolproof" you might say because there isn't much more technique needed than to just slather it on. Unlike silicone, alginate doesn't stick to itself after a while. Right now I am considering using moulage for both lifecasting and for waste molds because it's in the alginate family (derived from seaweed) and get this, it's reusable! According to the manufacturer, up to 100 times with care! I cannot attest to the level of detail it takes, but what matters in the case of a head form for a helmet is not whether it picks up every pore but that it's a size that's true to life. You can purchase it really cheap from Dick Blick here.

    I have a ton more I can share should you have specific hiccups along the way, just let me know! I even have ideas about how to improve the overall process that I am about to start experimenting with to make a Sasuke helmet from Kakuranger. Additionally, I have two threads here on the RPF detailing some of what I went through. (I am sorry to say I never "finished" the second thread...) They can be found here and here. Above all, good luck and whatever you do, don't give up!
     
    Last edited: May 2, 2015
  13. KidHaru

    KidHaru Member

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    Thank you! This was honestly an incredibly inspirational post for me coming home! haha.

    I spoke to another craft friend whose awaiting lifecasting himself as well and so we're trying to set up a date so we can both life cast and assist in each others casting. However we both work like crazy (he's been pulling 14-16 hour days lately) so I may have to move on without him if it seems like it'll be a long time. Moulage sounds VERY interesting. I had decided to grab alginate and use that for my head cast but the place where I got the clay only sold 1/2 lbs of it for $18. Kinda ridiculous considering the amount I'd need. I'm planning to make a Dick Blick trip very soon. Any and all advice and stories welcome! I'm gonna rip into reading your thread after a quick shower. Skimmed it and your sculpt pictures have me all jazzed up haha. I got sculpting wire to play with and see if I can cover my head until I can make my life cast.
     
  14. KidHaru

    KidHaru Member

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    In an attempt to keep motivated and my energy up, I figured I'd make an additional tool with all of the excess Clay I have laying around. A Mini Helmet Bust

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    It went from just making a helmet, to getting annoyed with forgetting which side was the front lol. Finally I decided to just make a bit of the torso to create a stand. The neck wasn't strong enough so I took a loose strand of wire from the mesh I bought before and created a spine for it.

    Then I realized this could act as a quick reference point for the future. (I think TESTED did this for their Zoidberg project) So yeah. I want to get 3 pulls of it and am just deciding between grabbing some smooth-on online. Driving an hour to grab some. Or just go to my local shop and use one of their $30 plaster kits. :/ I think I'd rather go with Smooth-on though since that's what I'll be using for the actual helmets and figure it'll help get some early trouble shooting out of the way.

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    I think my proportions are pretty far off though.
     
  15. firion1234

    firion1234 New Member

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    Are you planing on making a Fiveman helmet? If so, that's awesome! It's great to see some love for an older series. Not that I'm one to talk, the oldest series I've watched so far is Jetman. I noticed you commented on one Vagaranger's YouTube videos. I dropped him a PM recently to see if he and I could talk shop sometime. If you are making a Fiveman helmet, I'll ask you like I asked him. How's your Japanese? because that show hasn't even been subbed completely yet. Mine is really rusty, I quit studying after I passed JLPT N4. I recently pick it up again though. Anywho, just thought I'd send some more encouraging vibes your way. If ever you'd like to talk shop or about Japanese (if you study it, that is), shoot me a PM sometime and maybe we could trade Skype info. Heck, maybe all three of us could chat. I'm looking forward to your next progress post.
     
  16. KidHaru

    KidHaru Member

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    Awesome! I'm still dying to see what his base helmet looks like. Sadly I haven't gone back to Fiveman yet (wrapped up in GoBuster and loving it) but I think I'm gonna double dip and go back to DaiRanger soon.

    My Japanese is REALLY rusty. I can hardly even read Kata and Hira anymore. I do want to get it back to a conversational level soon. And thanks. Should be progress later this week. Even on a small scale. *hint hint wink wink*
     
  17. KidHaru

    KidHaru Member

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    Well my experimental pour of my mini bust is now underway.

    Things I've learned from this stage:
    -Figure out whats important to you before you buy the materials.
    I.e.: I knew Oomoo 30 and 25 were different based on cure times but with my girlfriend constantly alerting me that the store was about to close (her pet peeve) I neglected to check which had the shortest cure time. Now I'll have to kill the next 6 hours as opposed to oomoo 25's
    -Hot Glue guns eat up glue like there is no tomorrow (although luckily its very cheap) So learn to be efficient with it.
    -REALLY learn to make a good seal with the hot glue. I should've probably lined the cup with some clay at the base. Had a few spots where the silicone began to leak. (hopefully) patched it up with a river of glue.

    As far as the housing, I bought a large sheet of foam core, a huge set of party cups as I figured for this it'd be a useful mold housing. (Hopefully the cup doesn't effect the cure)
    I didn't need all of the party cups but walmart only sold them in a pack of 50.

    I figured out the amount of silicone to pour by filling up an additional party cup with water, pouring it into my mixing cup to get the volume. Figuring the water displacement of the head wasn't much, I used the exact of mount I had originally poured into the cup (400ml) and it worked out perfectly.

    Now to wait 6 hours and come back with results.

    IMG_8809.JPG IMG_8810.JPG
     
  18. KidHaru

    KidHaru Member

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    SUCCESS!!
    I learned just how much plaster expands by making 150+ml of it when really I only needed 25-50ml lol.

    So glad too because as the silicone was curing, I realized I only had resin which I didn't want to waste on a test mold. I zipped over to my local craft store and got ArtPlaster 10 minutes before closing. So glad I did.

    Things I learned:
    -Art Plaster expands a lot. About 3x the volume of the water.
    -Party cups make amazing and effortless mother molds for tiny sculpting. It slid perfectly into a new cup.


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  19. KidHaru

    KidHaru Member

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    So I've been experimenting over the last few days with my current set of materials and have a few questions.

    #1: What's a good way to seal and make a plaster cast durable?
    When I went to draw on my bad pull mini bust, the pen just dug into it. (Which made me excited and I started to carve into it) But when I do a life cast, I'd rather not accidentally cut into it while sculpting.

    #2: What's a good material for casting a stunt helmet with intended use?
    These helmets won't just be for show. I intend to use them and future helmets in film projects and a Smooth Cast 300 helmet seems like it'd crack pretty badly if it ever fell off a table. Would lining it with fiberglass during the casting process provide it enough safety?
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    Still working on different design ideas but over all this has been a lot of fun to learn on. Granted it's not he most direct progress on a project as many of the builds on the RPF.
     
  20. firion1234

    firion1234 New Member

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    When you do eventually get around to making a lifecast you'll want to make it from Ultracal 30 or something comparable. Basic hobby store plaster, is, as you found out, very soft. You can still scrape and scratch Ultracal 30, that's true of any type of "stone" whether it be something you pour for a mold or a rock you find in the backyard, but Ultracal 30 will not gouge. It's tough to describe precisely how much harder it is, but anyone who has used it can attest to the world of difference between it and a plaster of Paris. As to the second question, and I don't know if I mentioned it in my threads I linked to previously, but I DID knock my helmet off a table and it DID crack. That said, I did not cast it thick enough in certain places and I used Smooth Cast 65D. I have since read that Smooth Cast 300 has less issues with warping which was another issue my helmet also suffered from. All told, I believe that a helmet cast thick enough out of Smooth Cast 300 could withstand a fall from a reasonable height like off a table and come off no worse for it (aside from scuffing up your beautiful paint job). I sincerely hope no one wearing it falls on their head, even from a height of the average table!
     

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