A friendly follower of my blog named HmHinkle requested an entry for a Loki helmet.
Apparently she wants to make one for Halloween. Being only a few weeks away, I will need to crunch on this one - and I may not be able to get it done in time. But hopefully it will give everybody some useful instructions and ideas for their own helmets. I can not promise that this helmet will be entirely screen-accurate. In fact, I decided to try out a new method for making helmets for this entry. And as for HmHinkle - I hope this entry will be useful and I hope you will send pictures of your own progress. I will happily post them to this blog.
First step is to get some imagery of Loki's helmet. Below are a few I have chosen to work with.
A week or so before this posting, I played with the idea of making the base of a helmet out of insulation foam. I initially used the featherweight method for making the shape fit on my head, and then cut some foam to fit around the cardboard. I started this before the request came in to make Loki's helmet, so don't be surprised that it looks nothing like Loki's helmet at first.
Also I should note that there are probably better or easier ways to make this helmet. The fastest way would probably be to make this helmet out of pepakura and then fiberglass/resin/bondo it. I am sure there is a pep file for this helmet somewhere out there. I have mentioned in earlier posts that I can not use these materials given my present living conditions. The next best way would be to make this using the featherweight method - which I have used for several helmets. Strips of cardboard and hot glue can be made into something rather quickly - followed by plaster wrap and filler. Another drawback I feel I should mention is that insulation foam is well...insulating! To wear this helmet for hours could get warm. But, if you add enough of a cardboard or plaster shell you could probably use a solvent to dissolve the foam, leaving the helmet light and cool. I will not be doing that in this blog since I can not really use solvents easily given my living situation. You could also probably make the helmet using foam and then make a mold out of it and cast the helmet out of plastic, but I have not learned how to do this yet, so again I will not be doing that. In the end it depends on your skill level and how much time, money and effort you put into it. I am still quite an amateur, and I enjoy learning different ways of doing things. I haven't worked much with insulation foam, and hopefully I will learn a lot during the making of this helmet.
Using several small pieces of foam left over from other projects, I glued them onto the helmet.
This did not work well and decided to start over. Using the rejected helmet as a template, I created half the shape of the helmet on a piece of cardboard and traced that shape onto foam. I then flipped the cardboard and traced the other side so that both sides were the same shape.
I also traced a line on the cardboard for the inside cut. This helmet needs to be hollow after all.
After tracing both inner and outer lines, I cut out the foam and glued a few layers together.
I progressively made smaller templates and smaller cuts of foam so that my helmet had steps of height and width. The taller the helmet got, the smaller the layers became. Below are images of the inside and outside of the helmet so far.
Next, using an X-acto knife I started to bevel the edges of each layer, rounding out the shape of the helmet.
Next, I decided the helmet needed some sides and backs, so using my original template, I cut out a layer, but not the front of it (Where my face would be).
Then added more layers.
Next, I tried it on to see how it looked.
Not too bad.
Now at this point I didn't know what I wanted the helmet to be. I threw this picture on Facebook and asked what people thought I should turn this helmet into. I received feedback saying that it should be a Battlestar Galactica helmet, Ram Man (from the old He-Man cartoon), and a 'cyber man' (whatever that is). It was around this time that I received the request to make the Loki helmet. I wasn't sure how well this foam helmet would transform into Loki's helmet, but I thought I'd give it a try!
So after looking at some reference pictures, I began to shape the helmet a bit more. The first part was to widen and shape of the brow and cheek areas. Using a paper template I made the shape and traced it onto both sides of the helmet.
And then cut it out.
After a little sanding and cutting, the new shapes looked nice and smooth.
But other pieces need to be added and the overall 'steps' that the layers created needed to be smoothed out. So I added some wood filler to begin smoothing out the helmet.
While that dried, I decided to make some line art of the helmet so that I could have an easier time shaping the helmet. This step proved to be a bit difficult since I could not find images of the front and side of the helmet that were perfectly level. I therefore had to do my best with the images that I could find.
Above is my final drawing. I will print these out at full scale to help in making the helmet as close as possible to what is seen on screen.
When the filler dried, I sanded it down a little and added more cuts to the top of the helmet to help round the shape further.
Then using my print outs as templates, I cut pieces of cardboard to begin shaping the helmet to look like Loki's. I began with the crown of the helmet.
Once both sides were glued on I added the crest on the front.
Next I added the jaw areas and glued them on.
The guards were a bit wobbly since it extended past where the foam was. But before I tackled that, I cut more cardboard to extend the shapes on the back of the helmet to a point to match the reference images.
Then I added a large strip of cardboard down the center of the dome, making sure to leave enough space for the horns.
Then I finally glued on some more foam to the jaw areas and trimmed them down.
The above picture shows how the helmet looks after the second day working on it - approximately 6 hours total work.
So, just to remind people out there, always practice safe working techniques. Work on a table, and if you don't have a table, then make sure you work in a way that you won't hurt yourself or your work space.
Late last night I was not heeding my own advise and a blob of hot glue fell on my foot, producing a quite painful blister.
So at the start of day 3 the helmet looks like this:
The right side of the jaw guard did not glue quite in place (probably because the glue dripped off and gave me a blister). I will have to fix that so that both jaw guards look even.
So, taking my paper horn templates, I traced it onto foam and cut out several pieces.
And glued them together.
While the horn layers dried, I cut out the triangular shape on the front of the helmet and cut it out in foam. I glued it on and beveled the edges with my knife.
Then I cut and sanded the horns into their proper shape.
Using toothpicks and a lot of glue, I added on the first horn.
And then the second one.
This looks so awesome already.
It's a little top heavy, and the horns are not securely on yet, but that will be fixed tomorrow when I apply some plaster wrap.
I'm getting really excited about this one!!
At the end of Day 3 - approx 9-10 hours total work.
Next I added smaller pieces of foam to fill in the spots underneath the horns that did not fully connect to the helmet. I trimmed them once the glue dried.
And then I covered the entire helmet in plaster wrap.
This one is going to take several hours to dry. To be on the safe side I will let it dry over night before I go any further.
So this is how the helmet looks at the end of day 4 - approx 11-12 hours total time.
Next I started to apply wood filler to the helmet to even out the surface.
I was originally going to use spackle to coat the helmet since it's a bit lighter, but checking my supplies, I had very little spackle, so I opted to put on a thin coat of wood filler.
After a few applications I finally got the helmet (inside and out) covered.
I'm going to let the wood filler dry over night to ensure that it is fully dried.
Day 5 over - approx 13.5 hours total time.
The next day I decided to use some air-drying clay to fill in some of the gaps in the helmet.
Since the clay takes several hours to harden, this is all I could do for today.
Day 6 over - approx 14 hours total time.
The next day I was a busy one, so I didn't get too much done, but I did add more clay to the 'seams' of the helmet where the hard lines were lost from the plaster wrap.
It doesn't look super now, but once the clay dries and I sand it down and add more wood filler, it should look great!
So after day 7, add another half hour or so.
So after day 7, add another half hour or so.
On day 8 I softened the edges of the clay somewhat and added wood filler.
The filler smoother the transitions from the base of the helmet to the new raised areas made by the clay. The look does not quite resemble exactly how the Loki helmet looks in the Avengers movie, but nonetheless looks very very cool.
Now the filler needs to dry fully before I do a thorough sanding of the entire helmet.
At the end of day 9 - approximately 16 hours total time.
So day 10 starts.
I gave the helmet a thorough sanding - which too about an hour.
Since time and weather have not been on my side during this project, I opted to take the helmet outside for a priming before it starts raining. My first coat was a light gray and I began at the bottom and worked my way up.
My second coat was a black primer, and when that dried I switch back to gray.
Here Loki and Iron Man Version 2 are drying.
Unfortunately, after about 40 minutes the rain drops started to fall. So Loki will have to dry inside.
The filler primer did a good job with some of the small holes, but there are still many rough spots to this helmet. Once it dries and gets sanded, it's back to wood filler and smoothing.
Almost 18 hours of work so far.
Day 11 - after the primer dried I used some watered down wood filler to continue smoothing the helmet.
I used a sponge to moisten and smooth out the wood filler. Hopefully this will do a good job and make sanding and priming a bit easier.
Once again, it has been a very busy couple days. This is all I can do for tonight, so at the end of Day 11, we have a combined time of 18.5 hours.
Day 12 involves adding more wood filler to the helmet. The sponged-on wood filler definitely sanded nicely, but the application was too thin. So unfortunately I had to add a thicker coat.
Day 13 started with some sanding of the dried wood filler. After sanding it got cleaned, and then a coat of red primer.
The second coat was with gray primer.
Again, the primer is doing a good job smoothing things, but not as much as I had hoped. I really need to step it up and do a better job filling and sanding. This I will do once the primer has dried and aired out.
But before I begin filling again, I decided to add a few more details using clay. First up, I filled in areas in the front of the helmet near the brow.
And then I added more lines on the back of the helmet.
Now it needs to dry over night. So at the end of day 13 - approx 21 hours.
Day 14 involved covering the helmet once again with wood filler. I did this early in the morning and a few hours later it had dried and I gave it a good sanding. Finally, the helmet was getting the nice smooth surface that I had wanted.
At the end of Day 14, total of 23 hours.
At this point a giant Frankenstorm called Sandy hit the east coast of the United States. Hurricane Sandy devastated parts of New Jersey, New York City & it's 5 Boroughs, Long Island, Connecticut and other areas of the North East. I live on Long Island and I was unfortunately effected by the Hurricane, mostly having no power. Fortunately, the lack of power at home gave me plenty of time to work on this helmet.
So one powerless evening on Day 15 I was looking at the helmet and decided to spruce it up by adding some filigrees to the outsides. To do this, I took paper and traced some of the contours of the helmet.
I then cut the paper out, and traced it onto some crafting foam.
I then drew some tribal-ish designs onto the foam.
And cut them out.
I put it up against the helmet to see how it looked. I liked it!
So I traced the shape and made a duplicate for the other side.
And then glued it on.
I repeated this process for both sides, back, top and front of the horns. I also made designs for the inside of the horns.
This whole process took about 4 hours.
At the end of day 15, total of 27 or so hours.
Day 16, I took the helmet outside and primed it with light gray primer.
And then dark gray primer.
After the primer dried, I gave it a coat of gold spray paint.
It looks so good, but I'm not done yet!
I really liked the look of the gold helmet as is, but I wanted to take it a bit further. Since a lot of the surfaces of the helmet were far from perfect and smooth, I decided to give the helmet the appearance of having been through a very rough battle, complete with grime, dirt and maybe even a little blood!
So I took some black acrylic paint and began to give the helmet a distressed look.
This took a bit of time since it was getting dark inside....
...and painting each individual filigree...
....and using a Q-Tip to remove the right amount of paint, but my time and hard work paid off.
So at the end of a very long day 16, total time spent is approx 35 total hours.
On day 17 I woke up eager to get this helmet done!
I gathered some red and black acrylic paint, and a sheet of plaster wrap and headed outdoors.
I mixed the red and black paint to create a dark-blood color. I then took my paintbrush and flung the blood paint onto the helmet. It was a lot of fun doing this step.
Once I was done with the acrylic, I grabbed some red spray paint and the plaster wrap. The plaster wrap is used as a filter to keep a majority of the red spray paint from hitting the helmet. It also created different sized splatter which completed a great bloody look.
Above Loki is drying outdoors with a freshly primed Stormtrooper and "Astronaut" helmet.When the blood dried, I applied many layers of glossy clear enamel.
Lastly, I added a thin sheet of construction foam on the top insides...
...and pieces of furniture foam to make sure the helmet stays on the wearer's head.
And I'm done!!!!!
So at the end of 17 days and somewhere around 40 hours of work, we finally have a Loki-style helmet!
I didn't finish it in time for Halloween (October 31), but since Hurricane Sandy hit us and more-or-less cancelled Halloween, it was rescheduled for Saturday November 3 (which happens to be today), so in a way, I finished it just in time!
I hope you have enjoyed this posting.
A special thanks to HmHinkle for suggesting I do this helmet!
UPDATE: 2 years after making this helmet I began another!
I'm not done with it yet, but when I am I will post the link here.
Thanks for reading!