This Instructable will present my somewhat peculiar method for creating replicas of helmets and armor from video games. Admittedly I'm not the world's greatest sculptor, and to make up for my lack of skill in this area, I've devised a way to use 2D templates as guides for making complex forms as easily and symmetrically as possible.

In reading this guide, you may think that the only end result is an identical Draugr helmet from the game Skyrim. In fact, there are many methods here which are useful for creating any sort of 3D shape from shoulder pauldrons to other game helmets.

Note that this process involves some potentially dangerous chemicals and tools, so if you're looking to replicate the things seen here than please exercise caution. A respirator is mandatory for almost all steps outside of the molding process, and in some instances gloves and safety glasses are a good thing to use as well. Be careful!

The methods that follow will furnish you with not only a replica helmet or armor, but also molds from which to produce copies for sale or outfit other friends in similar costumes. Moldmaking is somewhat tricky and expensive however, so if this is your first attempt at such an endeavor, I recommend starting with smaller pieces than a helmet first.

Onto the process!

Step 1: Blueprinting and Scaling

The lovely thing about basing a project off of a video game is that a designer somewhere has gone through the immense trouble of making a beautiful 3D model for you to work from. If the game you're basing your project on happens to be available for PC, then chances are there is a modding community out there that has extracted these files and can help source some perspective still images or even the 3D model itself. (Pic 2)

For this project I'll be building the female "Ancient Nord Helmet" (also called the female Draugr helmet) from Skyrim. The models for this helmet were provided to me by a gent who mods these games, and I used the perspective screenshots in order to make 2D blueprints of the top, sides, bottom, and front/back of the helmet. (Pic 3)

There is a rather large community of costumers who also employ a method called Pepakura (essentially complex paper folding and cutting) in order to achieve very similar results using game files as a base. While this is an excellent method, I personally suck at it, hence this Instructable!

One of the questions I have received the most concerns how to scale blueprints. Recently I've found a great method for this: Print off a 1" grid onto a sheet of plotter paper, then trim out a space for your subject to stand. Photograph this as close to perpendicular as possible, then import the photograph into an image editor such as Adobe Illustrator. By scaling the image so that the 1" squares are indeed 1" in size, you can then import your blueprints over the image and find all the dimensions of your finished part! (Pic 4)

Once your blueprints are scaled, print them at full scale on a plotter. A local print shop can assist here if you don't have access to one of your own.
Do you sell copies of the helm?
The best instructable i have ever read. Very well done. Cant wait to try some of this.
<p>Could Apoxie Sculpt be substituted with paper clay?</p>
<p>This is so beautiful and you have more patience than I ever would omg</p>
<p>This is so amazing! I want to get into casting so badly. One day, when I can afford it, I'm going to make the jump.</p>
<p>This is not hyperbole: this is probably the most informative and well done Instructible I've read. So many modeling/casting problems answered! Thanks for posting!</p>
<p>How many helmets do you think you can get out of 1 gallon of urethane?</p>
<p>Would fiberglass work instead of the Plasti-Paste, or would it eat through the silicone?</p>
<p>Hmm this is clearly not your first rodeo. That is stellar work. Kudos.</p>
<p>That is one very cool helment.</p><p>Very nice Job-very good instructions---you got talent---congratulations</p>
<p>Any aspiration to get a roto-casting machine, or are you content with slush casting?</p><p>EXCELLENT work, I'm going to be starting on a Boba Fett helmet once I get my casting stuff. </p>
What primer did you use on step ten? and for the cuts on the helmet what did you use?
Thank you so much for the informational tutorials. I actually created an account just because I wanted to leave you a 'Thank You' note. I have many projects coming up and I hope to perfect my skills at this art form. I have many questions that I wish could be answered.
this is a great tutorial! im really looking into expanding my knowledge of costuming. Can you please explain to me the reason for casting/ molding? i usually stop at the master sculpt stage.. i'm still trying to understand why should things be molded. is it to cut down on weight? or to make things 1 piece? or for other reasons? i'm gonna try and pick at this tutorial so i can get an understanding of your thought process. great instructable!
awesome, the best one!
FUSH ROH DAH! very nice, mate!
this is an amazing build but 2 things are bothering me, firstly what are the pink caps for and secondly if the cast is of a solid object won't the final product be a block of resin aswell?????? <br>
The pink caps provide registration marks for the mold jacket (see step 11). The mold is actually two layers, the flexible silicone layer on the inside, and a rigid mold jacket that provides support to the silicone for casting. You could do a one piece mold, but you'd end up using a whole lot of silicone to make a mold thick enough to support itself. Silicone ain't cheap and stiffer mold making materials are (like Plaster of Paris, for example). This method gives you the best of both worlds. The ability to hold small details and tolerate small undercuts of silicone, without a high price tag. <br> <br> <br>As for your second question, it's not a fill cast, it's a slush cast. You pour in a little resin at a time and roll it around inside the mold to cover all surfaces while it sets. The repeat the process before the resin cures completely so each layer bonds to the one before. This way you can make a helmet that's thick enough to hold together and don't have to make an inner mold (since there's no details we need there) <br> <br>There's a great example video of this casting process here (http://www.youtube.com/watch?feature=player_embedded&amp;v=bAU3NGI-ZDo) where he uses it to make a calf armor piece for Halo Spartan armor.
Err. Iron Man armor, not Halo armor. <br>
Awesome printer.
This is absolutely beautiful! I'm working on a much simpler armor project for Halloween - just a chestplate and shoulder guard. I don't have the resources for casting, and was thinking of following your tutorial up to the final of the base model. Will those materials hold up ok if finished with a clear coat and all? Thank you for posting this, it's really amazing :)
Love it!! It looks awesome!
what brand and types of paints do you use during the weathering process?
Your detailing is amazing, I've seen alot of trophy antlers and these have alot of the fine details as the real ones great attention to detail.
Very cool, may have to add something like this to my list I thinks I want to build. <br>
Volpin is on Instructables... since when?! I love your builds; always taking some A+ progress photos as well!
r u.... a girl geek?
Nope! This was a project I made for my wife.
aahhh....is she a girl geek? lol jk, i love this....
Hey Volpin! <br /> <br />Just been reading some of your blog posts about your first Portal gun, fantastic work by the way. Just a question- I know you used wonderflex in the past and I was wondering what you used to harden/smooth it out. Apoxie sculpt seemed like it did the trick but what did you do to give it that glossy effect? Was it just the paint?
Is it possible to get a list of the materials needed? This would be my first project of this type, and I'm wondering what supplies I would need to attempt it.
Careful, that printer looks to be previously owned by Aperture Science...
It's alright, it doesn't look like it's the model with the neuro-toxin addon.
Awesome job,awesome i'ble,awesome helmet.The only thing that I don't really get from your i'ble is the toughness of the final product.Shoudn't it be reinforced with some sort of inner skelleton for cosplay?Because it would really be bad if this piece of work helmet will get damage from a small hit.
Urethane resin is remarkably resilient. You'd have to take a blow to the head with a baseball pat or similar impact to crack it.
That tough huh?Then I guess when summerbreak finally comes I will begin my Halo costume.Thx :)
I am curious about what kind of suspension system you put on the inside. Do you build a leather harness, or just glue in bits of foam?
Just foam padding. The helmet fits very close to the wearer's head, so there isn't much need for a lot of rigging
Very realistic, I think the hammer finish you've created is fine.
Thanks - admittedly its a bit too regular, but I have another of these (male version) in the works and I'm hoping to improve on the technique with that project.
So, where can I find some good polystyrene foam?
Home Depot or LOWES is your best bet
one more thing, how come your profile says you're a guy but these pictures show you as a girl?
you are awesome!! <br>i better place orders to you than getting myself a truckload of disaster!! <br>you have the golden hand for such things!
Seriously !... awesome work although the hammered texture looks more like golf ball divots, the paint job overall and texturing of the horns is nothing less than superb ! <br>Maybe try bumping the next one with the round side of a ball peen hammer, the foam should crush and clay will dent if its still malleable and make an authentic hammering texture for you.
I tried making a mold with standard runny silicone and runny resin... the result? Awful. I need to get some of these products but they're not readily available in Denmark.
Just ordered a cr*apload from a german company... I'll know monday if the order went through. If any danes read this you can send me a PM and I will answer you :)
Very clever, logical, and well thought out.
Amazing :O

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