TFA Helmet Sculpt, Australia

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madmanmick

New Member
Hi all,

This is my first time posting on the RPF. Over the last year I've taken somewhat of a liking to sculpting props and cosplay pieces. My first finished piece was a Halo 4 Masterchief helmet in resin, which worked out fairly well. I also got about 90% of the way through a Halo 4 Locus helmet sculpt, but scrapped it so I could work on the Stormrooper helmet.

I've decided that I want to have a new Ep 7 Stormtrooper helmet for when the movie debuts in December here in Australia, so I've taken it upon myself to sculpt the helmet from scratch. I'm using Monster Clay, around 3 buckets worth in this sculpt.

I've attached some pictures so you can see where I'm up to so far. I'm basically happy to accept this as the initial sculpt in clay, and move on to molding and casting in resin, however I would seek some constructive criticism on things I may be able to improve or make more accurate. I have based this design off the multitude of photos available online, but predominantly the photos that have been put up from Celebration 7 of both the ANOVOS replicas and the screen used models. I would be interested in doing a few small casts for people locally if they like the final result.

One particular part I am having trouble scultping cleanly is the fine dimpled effect in the mouth cut. Does anyone know if there is a foam material or other material that could be, or was used, to achieve this effect? I don't think I'll ever get it 100% using clay tools. All the photos I have taken on my Ipad.

Thanks for the help,

Michael.
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madmanmick

New Member
Updated:

I removed the textured effect to the mouth grill area, as I'll use a material substitute when I actually cast it. I've 3D printed a test pattern as well, which I may use if the material that I have picked up doesn't work very well.

Today I've more or less finished molding the helmet in silicone caulking. I've decided to do this for a first case to refine the helmet, before taking a final mold. The two part RTV silicone is too expensive where I am to waste, to I was able to do this whole helmet for about $45. Tomorrow I'll create a fibreglass mother shell to support the rubber... hoping this all goes to plan!

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madmanmick

New Member
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So the mother mold has been finished, I did this using fibreglass. This was my first time in around 10 years making fibreglass, so the job was fairly rushed and rough. It suited the purpose though, as this whole mold is meant to be a throw away mold.

The jacket worked well in the end, it held the silicone firmly inside and was very lightweight, making for easy slush casting.
 

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madmanmick

New Member
After finishing my mold, I decided to move quickly on to creating a slush cast for refining the design. I used rondo to do this (automotive body filler / polyester resin), but ran out of automotive filler part of the way through. I talked to one of the guys at the shop I go to get supplies, and Talc powder is also used as a common filler with polyester resin. So I tried a few coats of resin + Talc... won't do that again. The main problem I found is that it just cures way too slowly for slush casting, because it's only the MEKP in the resin which is making it cure, and resin can take hours to cure by itself depending on the temperature. Also, several areas of the Talc+Resin didn't cure completely hard, they are quite soft and flexible.

Lesson: Stick to using Rondo.

I have been trying to work out a cheaper way of doing initial casts and molds, so I'm not spending $100s every time to create my first helmet. I'm in Australia, so here's a few different options I've tried so far and what they cost:

1) Silicone caulking for mold: $5 per 300gm tube. Used 9 tubes to create this particular mold. Positives: Really easy to apply to the sculpt (submerge caulk in soapy water, then push onto surface), also it cures much quicker than the RTV-2 Silicone Rubber (Which costs $250 per 5kg). Negatives: I achieved very poor surface detail with this method... I was hoping for around 90% detail, it ended up probably closer to 65%.
2) Polyester Resin: I can get 1kg of this from Barnes for about $20. At Bunnings, it's $30 per 1Kg.
3) Automotive Filler: Repco and Supercheap sell SCA Automotive filler for $15 per 500gm tin. You can get 1Kg of Septone Car Filler for $27. I would also like to try Builder's Bog / Builder's Filler, which I can get from Bunnings at $44 for 3L. Apparently this builder's filler is polyester based, and has a second catalyst part similar to car filler, but I've never worked with this stuff before. If anyone knows whether you can use it to create Rondo, and how close it is to car filler in effect, please let me know.
4) Talc powder: $9 per Kg from Barnes. I wouldn't use this with resin again to do slush casting.

I estimate the cost for this mold to be (including separate parts):
$45 Silicone Caulk
$60 Fibreglass mat
$44 in Resin (This was when I was paying more for Resin through Bunnings)
$9 Bolts/Nuts for fastening
= $158 all up. That's still damn expensive for a throw away mold...

Does anyone know if you can do a throw away mold using just silicone caulking (have it really thick for stability, so it doesn't warp)? Or is there a cheaper alternative for making the jacket? I've used plaster, which is cheaper, but makes it so heavy that it's hard to slush cast.

Anyway, here's the first rondo pull from the rubber cast. You'll see what I mean about the poor surface finish.

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Size wise, I think the helmet is quite close. It's probably a touch smaller than 12" around, like the old ANH Buckets. The silicone caulk left many holes and divets in the surface, but these won't take too long to sand out. It did however mess up some of the holes and greeblie spots, and the vents I had carved under the duck bill are almost non existant.

I figure that taking a second cast from this same mold with more rondo probably isn't worth the cost, because it will come out with the same level of detail as this one. So I'm probably going to just build this one up with bondo, thicken the weak spots and then get to detailing the surface for the final mold.
 

Blaxmyth

Sr Member
RPF PREMIUM MEMBER
3) Automotive Filler: Repco and Supercheap sell SCA Automotive filler for $15 per 500gm tin. You can get 1Kg of Septone Car Filler for $27. I would also like to try Builder's Bog / Builder's Filler, which I can get from Bunnings at $44 for 3L. Apparently this builder's filler is polyester based, and has a second catalyst part similar to car filler, but I've never worked with this stuff before. If anyone knows whether you can use it to create Rondo, and how close it is to car filler in effect, please let me know.
I'm in New Zealand, so we have Builder's Bog as well. It works really well and is easy to sand. It shapes nicely with a Surform when it is at the cheesy stage of setting.

I have used polyester resin and mixed in Builder's Bog with no trouble at all - about half and half. And the ketone? peroxide? catalyst for the polyester works absolutely fine with the builder's bog. I mostly use the Rondo for slushing inside a pepakura helmet or armour piece, then stiffening it up when it has set by applying fibreglass mat or cloth. Make sure you apply the mat when the rondo is set firm and still green. It can delaminate if it has been cured for too long. I use wax mould release inside the pep - makes the rondo come away easier and you don't have to sand the paper off.

Just a thought - check out the local panel beaters. They use bog in 4 litre tins and get it much cheaper than even Builder's Bog, and they'll probably tell you where they get it from. Also, see if you have a company that supplies the resin and cloth online. I get my polyester in 20 litre drums and it is much, much cheaper per litre that way.
 

madmanmick

New Member
Thanks Blaxmyth for the info, I might get the builder's bog instead then. Also, do you know if the body filler can be softened after it has cured, so to sculpt it easier? I'm having trouble re-shaping fine details with bondo.
 

Blaxmyth

Sr Member
RPF PREMIUM MEMBER
Sorry, no, when it's hardened that's what you end up with. I recently got a Black and Decker mouse sander, and with 40 grit with very low surface pressure, it shapes and sands cured body filler really well. The trick is to not put much pressure at all on the sander so that the grit can cut the bondo away/ (Took me years to learn that!)
 

madmanmick

New Member
Yeah I have a mouse, it's fantastic, but I've never gone as low as 40 grit... I probably should, even at 80 it takes a long time to get the surface defects out.
 

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