Saturday, June 30, 2012

Iron Man Version 3

Yes...another Iron Man helmet.
The previous versions of the helmet that I've made have not been movie-accurate.
Hopefully this one will be more like the ones seen in the movies.

To start, I crafted the pepakura file using card stock and tape.

I saw on a website that someone used layers of white glue to create a shell on the outside of the helmet.  Intrigued, I decided to try it out.  I really wish that the person who posted it had video or photos of it, as the glue started to seriously deform my helmet and I wanted some guidance.  The person didn't return my inquiries, so I decided to proceed without the glue shell.

I then decided to fix my new helmet instead of making yet another one.  To do this I cut out pieces of cardboard that matched all the shapes of the interior and glued them in place.  Once that was done and dry, I applied plaster wrap to the inside of the helmet, and a few parts of the outside of the helmet where the glue really messed things up.

It's not looking too pretty at this point, but hopefully I'll be able to fix it up.

Using altered forms from my original pep file, I created templates on paper to trace of sheets of styrene (these sheets happen to be pink).

And then I glued the styrene onto the helmet.  For the most part everything fit perfectly.  For some slight curves, I used a heat gun to warp the styrene into shape.  The face plate did not shape too well, so I had to cut into it a little to make it work.

Then I applied a decent amount of wood filler onto the joints and areas that needed leveling.

A side by side comparison of my 2 Iron Man helmets.  The new helmet looks distorted in this picture for some reason.  After I sanded the filler down, I evened out the mouth area which was slightly crooked.

Then I added a few filler I found called Durham's Rock Hard Putty.  This stuff comes in powder form and you have to mix water into it.  The great thing about it is you can use a lot of water and make it smooth and creamy or use less water and have it more paste-like.

After the putty dried, I sanded it down using a mouse sander, dremmel and sand paper.

I then decided to clean it and give it a coat of primer.

Next, I used some more Durhams Putty to cover the many pits and holes, but this time I made the filler very watery and easy to apply smoothly.

I was a little unhappy with the mouth area so I remade the mouth pep file out of cardboard.

And did the same thing with the eyes.

I cut out the old mouth area and evened it out.  While trying to get the new mouth area I accidentally ripped it and decided to simply apply some cardboard behind the mouth, and rebuild the area with clay.

In addition to the mouth, I added clay to other parts to correct the shape.  Most important were the cheek bone areas and the brow and temples.  Once the clay dries I will sand it down and add filler to make everything look right.

The sanding did the trick nicely.  Next I added the chin additions and the circle ear panels with the rounded cut out.

I glued them in place and used some clay to fill the gaps between the pieces added and the helmet.

After a little sanding I then added some watered down wood filler to smoothly fill in some pits and holes.

Sanded and ready to prime!

The first coat I used a light gray primer.

The second coat I used black Primer.  Looks crazy!

When the primer dries I sanded the helmet down a little and used a silver marker to mark the areas that need work.

Next, I used more Durham's filler to level out the upper and lower areas of the face mask.  Also applied  filler on various other parts of the helmet.

And then did some sanding.

Then I used some clay to fix up a few areas and fill in some holes and sanded it when it dried.
Than I applied more wood filler to continue to shape the helmet.

After some more sanding I added even more wood filler - in particular around the top of the face plate where the edges were not smooth, and around the 'ears'.

After some more sanding it was primer time.
The first few coats were filler primer to fill up a lot of the small holes.

Below Iron Man, Boba Fett and a stormtrooper helmet drying after some primer.

The next few coats were black sand-able primer.

Once the helmet dried I sanded down some areas where the primer caked up, or felt gritty.
Then using an exacto knife, I started to carve lines out of the helmet to show where the face plate separates from the rest of the helmet.

And then cut out the eyes.

Next I applied some more filler to continue smoothing out the helmet.

Followed by more sanding.

Next, I used some clay to strengthen the areas around the eyes.

And sanded them down when the clay dried.

Next, I sprayed on some more primer.

Below the Iron Man, stromtrooper and Tie Pilot helmets are drying in the sun.

Since the shape of the helmet is pretty much complete, all that there is left to do is fit up the little areas that need touching up.  So one early morning I took a silver marker and marked the points in the helmet that need some touch up.

And then I started touching up those areas with wood filler.

And then a good sanding.

Then it's back to priming.

I also gave the inside of the helmet some black spray paint.

Despite the primer, there are still some cracks and other spots that need working on.
So, back to filler and sanding!

Using a pencil, I marked all the areas that needed work.

At this point I also noticed that park of the original pink styrene was beginning to peel off.  This is not good.  I will most likely use some krazy glue to quickly fix that.

Then I finally decided that I wanted the face plate to come off, so I cut the face plate off.
I covered the edges with Apoxy Clay.

And then I increased the size of the neck.

And I cut the jaw area off.

I tried it on, and it's looking ok. 

When the Apoxy Clay edges had dried I checked the fit.

The edges needed some major sanding to get all the parts to fit better.

So I used my dremmel and mouse sanders and really worked on making the pieces fit better.

When everything fit together nicely, I used some filler to get the edges perfect again.

Now all the pieces are apart, but I had to figure out how to get the helmet to easily be assembled and disassembled.  To do this I bought some super strong neodymium magnets.  

When the filler dried I gave all the pieces a good sanding.

I drew lines where the magnets were to line up.

Using the lines I marked where I will drill holes in the sides of the helmets for the magnets.

and drilled holes.

And glued the magnets in place.

And the magnets did a good job keeping the faceplate attached.

However, I was having a lot of problems having all 3 pieces of the helmet together at once.  So I attached the jaw portion to the face plate to make things easier.

That made things a lot easier.

However, I now have a bit more cosmetic improvements to make.  

So with the magnets in place I had a lot of fun taking off and putting on the face plate....HOWEVER the helmet did not hold up too well.  Some of the magnets cracked and some of them ripped through the part of the helmet they were glued into.  Sadly, I removed all the magnets and glued the faceplate back in place.

I cleaned up the seams with some wood filler.

Once it dries I will have to figure out how to get the helmet back onto my head.
The best way to do this is to cut away at the bottom/back of the helmet.

That did the trick.  It's a tight fit, but I can get it on my fat head now.
Next I gave the helmet a good sanding.

And added some apoxy clay onto the newly cut areas.

When it had hardened, I dremmeled the edges to give it a more angular look.

The helmet still needs a lot of work but I decided to give it a coat of primer to help me along.

Once it dried I marked off more areas that need to be cut away.

These areas were mainly in the back and bottom.
With these cuts, the helmet should be easy to get on and off.

And it worked.  It's still a little tight getting on around the ears, but it does go on a lot easier now.

Then I began fixing up a lot of the gaps that showed up after I reattached the faceplate to the helmet.

I also dremmeled the edges of the inside to make it easier to slip the helmet on and off.

Then I sanded everything, cleaned the helmet and then gave it a coat of dark red acrylic paint.

The weather is too cold and wet to use spray paints which is why I went with acrylic paint.  When the red dried I have the face plate it's first coat of gold.

It's very streaky, so when the first coats dried I applied a second.

The second coat looks a lot better, but it will still need a third coat.
Below Iron Man v3 dries next to Iron Man v1.

After the third coat I was pretty happy with the paint job.

Once the paint dried I added some black paint to give it an extremely battle-damaged look.

Next I painted on silver chips and scratches to continue the damaged look.

When the silver dried, I sponged on some more black paint to complete the look.

Painting is all done.  Now it gets a coat of glossy clear enamel.
But I will have to wait for the weather to be a little more cooperative to do that.

Below are images of my Iron Man helmets 1,2 & 3 all together.

So, today the weather isn't too terrible, so I gave the helmet some glossy enamel outside.

Next I glued in tinted plastic for the eyes.

And then I glued in some furniture foam to make the helmet fit right and stay comfortable.

And I'm Done!!!

I really enjoyed making this helmet, even though I ran into trouble here and there.  Most notable is the face plate/magnets fiasco.  If I didn't try to do that, I would have finished this project about a month ago.  When reattaching the face plate, it was slightly uneven which is what prompted me to add the massive amounts of battle damage - but I like it that way.  A lot of people make this Iron Man helmet, and I am 100% sure that no one has one that looks exactly like mine!

Below Battle Damaged Iron Man hangs out with Battle Damaged Loki and Battle Damaged Thor.

Thanks for reading!!!


  1. More great work as always, Timbo. Looking forward to your next post. Phil

  2. Thanks John & Phil.
    Hopefully one day I'll actually finish something!

  3. Hey how much oz. of acrylic paint did you use for the red and gold? I'm gonna to my local arts and crafts store to buy some but i want to buy the right amount so I don't have to keep going back to the store to buy more.

  4. I used only one 4oz tube for the red and gold and i still have some left over.

  5. Steve...just wanted to say thanks for reading my blog and would love to see your progress pics if you have any!

  6. Thanks for the answer! I started with pepakura but the faceplate didn't line up with the jaw or helmet pieces correctly. It was also a little big for my head so i'm gonna do foam. But just to make sure you used 2oz. for three coats of red and 2oz. for three coats of gold? Or did you use 4 oz for each?
    Also what brand of acrylic did you use?

  7. Hey Steve. First of all i used the brand "artists loft" which i bought at Michaels art store. I used one 4oz tube of red and one 4oz tube of gold. They are the smallest tubes they make i think. Secondly, i made a foam iron man helmet too and its on my site and its called "iron man version 1". It may be helpful. Let me know if there is any other way i can help.

  8. Ok thanks. Btw i found some liquid varnish at joann. Here's the link
    I think it would be to use when you cant use spray paint. I haven't tried it yet so I don't know if its good or not.

    1. Thanks for that tip! I will have tip look into it

  9. I also found liquid primer :)

  10. Hey Steve,

    Gesso is a very good thing to use as a primer. I admit that I have not thought to use it lately with my projects. I tend to use layers of acrylic paint, or wait until the weather is good enough to use automotive primer. I think I will use your suggestions for some of my in-progress projects. Thanks!!!

  11. No Problem. I can't use spray paint cause I live in an apartment. I'm looking for alternatives things to use that are non-toxic and fairly cheap.

  12. I'm also in an apartment and can't use things like fiberglass, resin and bondo. Take a look through my blog....i use a lot of"safe" materials like plaster wrap, wood filler, plaster and foam. They are great alternatives!

  13. Timbo , If I don't use primer how many coats of acrylic paint do you think I would need?

  14. That's hard for me to answer. I do many layers of paint through out the helmet making process. I would think to add enough layers until the paint is uniform, and streaks are gone. If this is the last step in your helmet i think 3 layers should do it, but i would play it by eye. I always add spray on clear enamel once all the painting is done to protect the helmet and paint job. I do that in my yard. If you dont have a yard, perhaps you can go to a friends house or a parking lot.