Monday, February 20, 2012

Iron Man Version 2

So you ask, "Why make another Iron Man helmet"?
Well, here is my answer:  Because I want to.
So there!

Actually, my first few Iron Man helmets didn't fit, or accidentally got crushed, or I gave them away.
The last one that was made was semi-successful (seen here) but it had become quite heavy from all the many layers of bondo, fiberglass, resin, wood filler, spackle, primer, etc.  The original pepakura model was only about 1mm thick.  That Iron Man helmet now is about 3/4" thick, and is heavy!!!  Plus, it does fit alright, but it is not comfortable, so I am making a new one!

I started off using the same pepakura file as before, however this time I pasted the prints onto cardboard.
I also decided not to have it exactly like the Iron Man helmet that everyone else is making, so I took the liberty of changing the top of the helmet, the back, the 'ears' and the jaw line.

Below are images of my initial build.

The above photos were taken at my desk, at my job.  That's right, I made this at work, instead of doing actual work!  Ha!  
Anyway, when I got home I added a few more pieces to the helmet, most importantly an extension to the back by the neck.

The next step is my new favorite, plaster cloth (or gauze).  When used with cardboard it is exceptionally strong - practically as strong as fiberglass and resin, but not as messy or expensive.

And now it's time to dry for a while.

Next step - application of wood filler.
below are 2 images showing side-by-side comparisons of my 2 Iron Man helmets.

The helmet on the right is the new helmet.  Note that it is smaller and more angular.
But surprisingly it is a lot more roomier and comfortable in the new helmet.
The lines on the side of the new helmet are for me to know where I want certain edges to appear.
Unlike the first helmet, the new helmet will not have a removable face plate, but I would still like it to look like it can be removable.  I still have several layers to put on the new helmet to give it the smooth curves that the old helmet has.

Sanded and then added more filler.
Sanded some more and then added a coat of primer.
Once the primer dried, I used wood filler to start raising up the face plate.

after a little sanding...

and then some more filler.
Then some major sanding.

After it was sanded down, I used a pencil to draw in lines where I planned on carving some lines.

Then I grabbed my x-acto knife and carved over the lines I drew.

Then I applied some primer.

The primer filled in a lot of small gaps and holes and gave the helmet a nice smooth finish.
I still need to use filler to fill in other parts, but this helmet is definitely coming along nicely.

I decided to give some raised areas around the eyes, brow and chin so I decided to use some air-drying clay.

Doesn't look pretty now, but after some sanding and more filler it should look pretty cool.

The sanding worked well and decided to add some more clay details.

Then more sanding, and added some wood filler.

And then some more clay.

After some sanding, my Iron Man helmet and my stormtrooper helmet got a nice coat of primer.

As I mentioned in my Stromtrooper blog, the air-drying clay that I used is not sticking to the helmet too well.  The image above shows the gap that was left on the jaw after the clay had dried.  This is going to be remedied by some glue, wood filler and perhaps Apoxie sculpt.

But it is looking nice.  It's definitely starting to look more like Iron Man's helmet.

Added some Apoxy sculpt to fix up some trouble areas left behind by the clay.
Once that dried I added a lot of wood filler to smooth out the transition from clay to helmet surface.
Unfortunately, the lines that I carved into the helmet earlier had been filled, but I can put them back if I want to later.

After a little sanding...

and more sanding...

And more filler.

Then I used some more clay to fill in depressed areas of the face plate.

I also filled the squarish area on the back of the helmet that I was not happy with.

Next step - sanding & primer.

Priming went nicely, but the parts of clay that were exposed have a very rough appearance (see below).  That will have to be sanded, but it's all ok because the helmet still needs more filler.

At this point I had a funny idea.  What if I gave him some horns, or antlers?
So I grabbed some hanger wire and tape and constructed a Ram horn.

Ah Ha!  I think I will call him Iron Ram!

I made the second horn.

I wrapped both with some wire mesh.

And wrapped both in plaster wrap.

I had hoped that the plaster wrap would have held the shape I had wanted, but even after it dried the antlers were still quite flimsy.  It would require a lot more material to get them sturdy, and after it all I'm sure it would weigh a lot, so I scrapped the antlers and began to fashion new ones using foam.

I started by cutting 2 strips of foam, both the same length.  
Then I cut them into pieces.

Each piece's ends were then cut at an angle and glued to each other.  The angle helped make the piece curve.

They are definitely not perfect but it will look a lot better once I start to trim them down and shape them better.

The next step will be to add some plaster wrap.

While that was drying, I fixed up some spots on the helmet with filler.

While that dried I added plaster cloth to the horns.

I used some clay to make the chin a bit bigger and more square.

I also used a bit more filler to fill in some spots.

Then sanded and cleaned the helmet.

And gave it a few coats of primer.

It probably wasn't the right time to prime it, but with all the different colors from the old red primer, to the yellow wood filler and gray and white clays - it was getting difficult to see what needed some work.  With the helmet now all one color I can easily see when area needs fixing up.

I decided to use some clay to connect the ridges I made on the cheeks and the temples.  I also made the crest on the top of the helmet go all the way to the back of the helmet.

So fast forward a few weeks.
This helmet had kind of been sitting around and the best thing I could think of to get started on it again was to connect the horns.  So I did so....

....and I don't like it.  It looks like bunny ears to me.  So I decided to scrap the horns (again) and just work on making it look more like Iron Man.

Since this Iron Man helmet is a bit more squat than it ought to be, I decided to quickly make a new face plate which I may be able to place over the older one.

Next I cut off the old face.

And positioned the new face onto the rest of the helmet.

Next I glued some strips of cardboard to fill in the spaces that were missing.

The cardboard was glued behind both the old and new parts of the helmet.  This left about a 1/4 inch gap between the surface of the cardboard and the level of where the 2 parts of the helmet were - mostly due to the thickness of the old helmet.  To fill in this gap, I cut out pieces of foam and glued them to help level it all out.

Next I covered the new face plate and foam areas with plaster wrap.

Below we see my Iron Man v2 Helmet drying next to my iron Man V3 Helmet.

Next I applied some wood filler to start smoothing out the new face plate.

Followed by some sanding.

Followed by even more filler.
And More Sanding.

Next, I cut some cardboard and shaped it to fit along the sides of the helmet which were a bit uneven.

And then added wood filler.

So after several weeks of neglect, I picked up this helmet again.  Since my Iron Man Version 3 helmet was coming along very nicey, this one was on the back burner.  I decided to make this a silver colored Iron Man helmet - perhaps an earlier model that was left around to rust.  

I also decided to add some bolts or rivets to emphasize an older look to this helmet.
The 'bolts' were actually beveled faucet washers and are quite inexpensive.  I glued them on using hot glue.

And using wood filler, I filled in the hole in the center and the spaces around the washers.

Once the filler dries I do not plan on sanding the helmet any further.  The unevenness of the surface is perfect for giving this a rusty appearance.

Next I gave it a coat of primer.

When that dried, I painted the insides black.

Below we see Iron Man and Loki helmets drying.

Unfortunately it started to rain while these were drying, so I brought them inside and further painting will have too wait for another day.  Luckily, the primer dried well enough indoors.  The following week I brought it outside for a coat of silver.

I chose a hammered silver spray paint for 2 reasons.  The first being that hammered paint will hide some unevenness in the surface of my helmet.  The second reason is that it will also help make this helmet look beat up.  And the results were great.

Once the silver dries, the weathering process can begin!

I currently no paint for my airbrush and I have very little acrylic paint, so I decided to use what little acrylic paint I have and apply it on the helmet with a brush.  Then using my airbrush filled with water, I will spread out the rust colored paint (first coat purple and red).

First dabbed brown paint with a brush.

Then used my airbrush to spread it out.

Initially the brown color is more like a raspberry jam color, but rust has many many colors to it's palette.

At this point all the bolts have paint, as well as the mouth area and under the eyes a little.
I put the helmet aside to dry for a bit.  When it was dry, I used some black acrylic paint to continue weathering the helmet.

I used a sponge to apply the paint, followed by a paper towel to smooth out the paint and remove excess.

Below are a few shots of the weathering so far.

Next, I took some orange acrylic paint and continued the rust look.

Below we see Iron Man v2 drying next to Iron Man v3 & a Stormtrooper helmet.

Next, I mixed a lighter brown and did the sponge/paper towel treatment.

The brown is actually a lot darker than seen in the pictures.  

And even though the helmet is now covered in brown, black and orange paints, the silver still shines through.
Next step is to apply a matte protective enamel.

My first coat of protective enamel concentrated on the inside and bottom rim of the helmet. 
While that dried, I decide to try something out for the eyes.  Almost a year ago I bought a bottle of car tint called Nite-Shades.  Supposedly, I can spray a clear piece of plastic with black Nite-Shades tint, and hopefully still be able to look out of my helmet, without people being able to see inside. 

I sprayed a gradation from light to dark on my plastic and set it aside to dry.

Then I gave the helmet it's final coats of clear enamel.

Thankfully the enamel did not distort the acrylic paint.
The next day I checked on my clear sheet of plastic.  The Nite-Shades worked great!

I cut a small piece to see how well I could see out of it, and how well someone could see in.

I could easily see out of the helmet.  My girlfriend, even at close range, could not see my face inside, so it worked!  The image above shows the plastic in place.  So the next step was to glue the plastic in place.  First I took a piece of paper and traced the eye-holes.

I then traced the paper onto my plastic and cut it out.  I did this for both eyes and popped them in and glued them.

Below is how the plastic looks on the inside.

Next I took some thin black foam strips and formed them for the top center, and back of the neck of the helmet.  This will make it more comfortable to wear.

Then I took furniture foam and cut blocks which will make sure the helmet fits any head comfortably, but snugly.

And at last this helmet is done!!!!  Below are a few pictures at various angles.

This was a long project which had many changes.  But I love how it looks, and I hope you've enjoyed this blog!