Vader Helmet sculpts


Jr Member
Hi everyone,
I thought I'd post here a project I'm working on...a Darth Vader helmet. A helmet that isn't full sized to the screen used ones, but one that should look more proportional if you aren't built like Dave Prowse...hence the Fun Sized Vader Helmet!
This is the first time I have ever sculpted anything in clay, and certainly the first time that I will be making a mould from which I can cast helmets.

So here's a quick rundown of the Fun Sized Vader Helmet:
  • It is a smaller size, suitable for both kids and adults
  • It is sculpted from scratch, there is no helmet or form underneath the clay - this is just built from a lump of clay stuck to a piece of foil and gaffer-taped wrapped, PVC pipe
  • It will firstly become an ANH mask/helmet, then I will modify the sculpts to ESB and then ROTJ (hopefully a reveal version using magnets to connect the parts)
  • The clay is Chavant NSP Medium; you'll see green throughout the sculpt, that's because my very first clay on this project was the Chavant NSP Hard, which I quickly swapped out.
  • The helmet will be sculpted directly over a cast of the mask, when the mask is done.
And a quick history of the FS Helmet:
  • I made a Kid Vader costume last year, pics below, for my son (and occassionally daughter) to wear with me on 501st Troops (they are in the Galactic Academy)
  • I had never used a sewing machine before, made a pepakura helmet, made EVA foam parts etc. I have only ever made my 501st TK suit. So the Kid Vader was completely unknown territory, I had to design my own parts from my templates, used a couple of pieces from a 48" Battle Buddy Vader, and learn the techniques I'd need as the costume came together. Eventually, all pieces of the costume are scratch-built (apart from the gloves, I don't need to replace the bought ones...yet!).
  • As part of the Kid Vader costume, I need to upgrade pieces over time as the kids outgrow them. The helmet upgrade inspired this helmet project now.
  • I wanted to make the helmet upgrade one that will last a while, so I decided to make the mask bigger than what the kids could wear, and then I decided to make it wearable by adults too! And THEN I decided to make it a cast helmet, from which I could make all three OT film versions.
The Kid Vader suit:



This now brings me to today...the upgraded, Fun Sized Vader helmet as the sculpt currently stands. It is next to a modded Rubies Supreme so that you get an idea of scale:

The neck flare on the mask's left will be's just that way because I packed more clay underneath to reinforce it better, but it's been pushed out further as a result. No biggie, I'll cut that down.


I have added the base of the tusks, with the hope that I can interchange the rest of the tusks depending on film version...

The C-scar...

The mask is currently being smoothed out, hence the cross hatching everywhere, but I may keep the brush strokes from the mineral turps I've applied, to help with the hand-painted look of the ANH version:

I have attempted to capture all the assymetry of the OT masks, the cheeks, droopy mouth, neck etc, to the best of my abilities:

For reference, I've been using Shadow FX, Bookface and SL ANH helmets, and studying all the photos I can get good references from.

Anyhow, I have ordered the silicone and other pieces I need in order to start the mould, they should arrive next week sometime. In the meantime, it's down to finishing off the mask details, fixing errors and smoothing!


Jr Member
Great project...but you must cut the kid´s hair for the reveal look!;):D
Ha ha! You're right off course. Hmmm....perhaps a silicone cap.
By the way, it's you're reveal mask thread I used as inspiration and a heavy reference for my kid's reveal mask. Great job on that and thanks for putting it all up so I could use it to help build mine.
The difference being that mine get outgrown so I need to balance detail and accuracy against being able to regularly upgrade it. I'll make a more permanent reveal using this current sculpt.


Jr Member
Thanks all. I'm tempted to do a retrospective 'how to' for the Kid Vader costume as well now. It could be scaled up of course for the bigger kids!

I've got the silicone and other bits on the way to start the Vader helmet mold next week, so I'll post updates on those too.


Jr Member
Haso, is there a missing tusk on your reveal jaw?
Yes there is, nice pickup. When the pic was taken I'd only made the one at the time.
I used the round serrated part of a super glue cap for the base, a small bolt, modelling clay to fill the bolt head, and a bit of electrical/gaffer tape wrapped around the bolt shaft. Then just painted it.


Jr Member
So picking up where I am at now, I have successfully molded my clay sculpt and can now cast it. The helmet fits an adult, and is smaller than the full 1:1 scale so that it looks more proportional on the average person. The first test cast I did was a very thin fibre resin cast to assess how the mold came out. It's picked up all the fine details, even the paint brush strokes to simulate the ANH paint job, and the serrations on the base of the silver tusks! Therefore, a success. This first cast, being just a layer of fibre resin, was done quickly in order to do that assessment of the mold and check that it was worth any further work...but it was also very brittle, being just a thin pour of resin, and is now in the bin.

Progressing next, I cast a quick fiber resin / bondo mix mask to become the base onto which the helmet will be sculpted. That mask is now trashed, it's got plaster and bondo all over it to give it some additional strength (the helmet sculpt will be heavy).

Moving on to the helmet sculpt, this will be the ANH helmet version, so the way it sits over the mask is different to that of ESB and ROTJ. It sits lower over the eyes and was originally mounted with just some 3M tabs on the screen used one. I'm hoping velcro will be all that's needed for this version.

I tried a couple of different methods to get the helmet sculpt underway, the big challenge being how to support the helmet's dome and flanges, as the clay needs to sit on something.

Originally I tried cardboard, hotglue and plaster, but discarded that. Then, I just started to add clay directly to the mask's head and just build supports as I needed, but scrubbed that to.

My latest method was to build a foam base and heat form it to the rough shape, this was done over the mask as well to ensure that it was right proportionally. Then, I plan to mold the INSIDE with fibreglass/bondo and use that hard base to add the clay to. Doing the inside gives me back about 10mm thickness of the foam to add and shape the clay. Here's where the sculpt is now, with the second casting of the mask used to support the helmet build. The foam is still a work in progress to finish the basic shape; I've put the smooth side on the inside to give the resin/bondo pour less to grip onto, as I'll want to take it out. I sprayed the mask black to help visualise the overall sillouette of the helmet, then a quick sand back to give it more ANH grittiness!:



The very first fibre resin cast on the right, the helmet base cast in the middle, and the original clay sculpt on the left:

After the first session of sculpting the ANH helmet (about 3-4 hours worth)...

From the foam mold shown in the earlier post, I cast a fibreglass armature for the clay to go on...


After trimming that cast, I started work at around midnight last night, finishing up with this after about 1 1/2 hours (I usually heat the clay to sculpt it, but because it was late I didn't use my heat gun and instead had to roll and place cold clay on, which takes longer).


Then, after finishing up this first session of getting all the clay on and roughing in the shape, it's looking like this. I've got it sitting on the clay mask sculpt because you can see the structure of it all better. (And I hotglued some cardboard inside the helmet at the back to strengthen that bit more)...




Jr Member
A little update on this project...
I did make a cast of the mask, and paired it with a Rubies helmet so that we could take the mask out to Supanova earlier this month.
Yes, the Rubies helmet is too big, but my helmet sculpt isn't ready to mold yet, so I didn't have my helmet available.
A couple of pics of my mask cast with the Rubies helmet, sitting on a pepakura chest armour and EVA foam shoulder armour, both of which I created my own templates for.
I also very quickly made a larger chest box out of EVA foam - this I will replace later as I didn't have time to make a resin cast one for 'Nova.
I tried to emulate that rough hand painted look of the ANH mask for this casting.
I had to cut the neck down to fit my 10 year old son better...


Here is my mask (Left) next to a Rubies Supreme (modded) for a good size comparison, mine also fits adult heads too. Unfortunately I didn't sit the silicone mold inside the jacket mold well enough and so the nose bridge came out too narrow; but that's all learning experience I guess.


During painting...

"All too easy...."


Since these pics, I have made some significant changes to the mask sculpt, so I will be making a new mold soon, with the helmet. I also have some pics to post of the mask and helmet sculpts as they are now, so will post up pics of those when I get time next. Here's a recent pic of the helmet WIP, although it has progressed a little since this pic was taken...
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