Soldier of Gondor costume + an alternative to Bondo?


New Member
Hey all, I'm hoping that posting my progress on this costume will motivate me more to continue, so here goes ^-^
(I'm a new poster so please let me know if I'm doing anything wrong!)

I've not made much progress yet but I'm working on a Gondor soldier/Guard of the Fountain Court. I'm going to try to make it modular so I can wear either

I've made the helmet from a pepakura file
(I'll add the link :here: when I'm back home) and strengthened it so far, but I'm wanting to keep one post to one process)

Moreover I'm hoping to use Foamclay as a non-toxic, odorless and cheap alternative to Bondo filler for smoothing, hopefully it'll be of help to some people (this is going to be a bit of a theme, I'm trying to make the whole thing as indoor/non toxic friendly as possible)

Here's the pepakura stage by stage and then the completed shape; I've used normally printer paper glued to thin cardstock so it'll stand up better to getting doused in wood glue, it's being glued with pritt stick and it's not too hard to cut!
It's been difficult keeping the shape right (especially when strengthening) as you can see, it varies a lot in these photos
It was flexible enough at this stage though that I didn't worry about it, that's a concern for strengthening.

(progress picture dump + thanks for looking!)

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New Member
Post #2

Okay, so this post is about strengthening, I don't have many progress photos but it was a pretty simple process

The helmet was sort of protected from warping by the cardstock I used which became pretty important. I watered down some Gorilla wood glue (I assume any pva would be fine, I just wanted to use the good stuff ) about 2:1 glue-water (so it flows, but slowly).
I applied a couple of layers of this all over the outside, allowing an hour or so for the layer before to dry before I moved on. I did about four layers on the outside but this was probably excessive. I made the glue slightly thicker on each layer as the risk of warping went down.

I repeated this on the inside to toughen it up for the next stage)

I bought some fibreglass cloth (pretty cheap stuff, it's like plastic-y bandage) and began layering it over wood glue (strip by strip) while it was still wet. I cut it into a bunch of about 8x4cm strips as the inside was so curved.
When all this was dry I plastered a couple more thick layers of wood glue over the cloth to really seal it in and left it overnight to dry.

The results were astounding to me, the paper feels as hard as plastic and it's still flexible enough in places to fix the shape up right. The fibreglass stuff has essentially dried like plastic, so no mess and because there's no melting involved- no fumes!
The cheek area of the helmet has come pretty far away but I'm confident I can glue it down right with some wire/balsa wood later.
The one downside is that strands of the fibreglass cloth have dried sticking up into some pretty mean spikes, I have pretty long hair so they rip me apart
No worries however; I can sand down or, more likely, incorporate a sort of coif inside the helmet with some kind of fabric.

Thanks for looking! The next post/maybe a couple will be about using foamclay and my experience with sanding/sealing it

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New Member
Alright, after a couple months of uni I'm back at it!
Unfortunately covering the whole helmet in foamclay was a pretty huge failure; the finish was uneven (as expected) but it reacted terribly to my rotary tool. Any attachment would just leave terrible gouges so I scrapped trying to do this.

My all NEW strategy was one of my first ideas: make a pattern and turn the paper template into foam.
Cutting the helmet up was out of the question at this point, I'd need a hacksaw to get through it (especially as I wood glue'd up the outside again)
I covered the whole thing in duct tape so I could then draw patterns onto it. I next cut these shapes off and applied them to some cheap 2/3mm craft foam (the stuff kids use) and started laying it over the original helmet, making sure it fit and making adjustments accordingly.



I'm super happy with the results overall, it needs a bit of shaping still but I'm all set up now to contact adhesive it and think about filling all those seams

Thank for reading!
Oh and if anyone wants these (IMPERFECT) templates to reproduce give me a message and I'll work scanning them if I've not glued it yet