Iron Man Custom Helmet Sculpt

IronHelmet39Having previously made a full size Iron Man Statue, I’ve now decided to make a wearable Iron Man Helmet. The head from the statue is undersized and so I can’t recast or modify it to make it wearable.

The plan for this project is to sculpt my own custom helmet in clay, then recast it in fibreglass resin or similar to make a hollow version that’s large enough to be worn.

I now have a new Iron Man Project, which you can find here

4th October

The fist stage is of course to make a clay version of the helmet. I started with this polystyrene head to base it on, rather than making it from solid clay:

I’ve wrapped it in cardboard to pad it out to roughly the right shape:

…and then covered it in foil so the clay is easier to get off later:

The clay I’m using is oil based clay which doesn’t air-dry, so the sculpt can be made of several days and the clay can be reused. This particular product is Klean Klay, which I got in the UK from Creative Resources Distribution.

Covering the head in clay:

…more clay:

Here’s the basic shape:

Taking shape further, but still a lot to do:

5th October:

6th October:

7th October:

The final sculpt – as good as I’ll get in clay anyway. Next step is to make a ‘hard master’ from this to clean up / sand down etc, and recast again to make the final piece.

Time to make a mould from the clay. I’m using Latex as I only need to cast from it once. I’ll make a support case over the latex once I’ve built up enough layers:

10th October 2008:

In the last few days I’ve layered up about 10 coats of latex, followed by a layer of absorbent cloth material to help firm the mould up and prevent shrinkage as the latex dries (I used blue kitchen cloths cut up):

I then did another 10 coats of latex, and I’ve also added some latex lumps which I made from the inside of milk bottle tops which will help locate the mould in the plaster support jacket. Just need to wait for all that to dry out before I start the plaster layer:

11th October 2008:

Next job is to make a support jacket from plaster bandage:

I’ve divided the head in half with some more clay, it’s not a straight line so it’s easy to tell how the two halves fit together:

I’ve covered half with plaster bandage:

Then removed the clay and did the other half. I used petroleum jelly on the first plaster ‘edge’ to stop the second half sticking to it:

After the plaster has set, they can be removed:

And the latex mould is finally removed from the clay sculpt:

The top of the head is squashed flat against the work surface in the next picture, which is why we need the support jacket:

Here is it back inside the support jacket. Now we can make a hollow cast piece from the inside of the mould in the same way I did C-3PO’s head, only with resin instead of plaster:

7th November 2008

I decided to try Aqua Resin for this project, which is a water based resin. You can cast with it or laminate in the same way as fibreglass. It comes as a liquid and a powder that you mix together. For a UK equivalent to Aqua Resin, check out Jesmonite.

So, here’s the raw cast of the helmet. There’s a lot of sanding and some filling to do to get it perfect:

9th November 2008

Lots of sanding and primer later… and some more still to go:

6th December

I’ve made a one-way tinted/mirrored visor to go behind the eyes. It also lights up, and you can still see straight through it:

That’s just about it for the helmet, but check out the rest of the costume: