First of all, I'd like to say that I have nearly no experience making pepakura helmets, which, I'll admit, is probably one of the worst ways to start off a how-to on making a pepakura helmet. Given my lack of experience, I was a bit intimidated at the idea of doing an Instructable on a Stormtrooper helmet, especially since there are already so many tutorials online. Really, this will be more of a guide of how I made one, and hopefully it'll lead you onto the path to make your own helmet.
Also, Shameless Self-Promotion here: I'm entering both the Beyond your Comfort Zone contest and the First Time Authors contest, so if you're reading this before either July 21st or May 33rd, I'd much appreciate it if you would vote for me!!
Anyways, there really wasn't much of a reason for me building this, other than I always follow my whims, and I couldn't resist building this when I saw people making these and posting pictures online.
Hope you enjoy!!
Step 1: Materials
Here's what you'll need:
- Card-stock (110 lbs)
- Ruler, or something with a straight edge to help you fold the pieces
- X-acto knife
- Hot Glue and Hot Glue Gun
- Polyester Resin
- Cheap Paint Brushes
- Fiberglass (chopped strand mat)
- Dremel Tool
- White Gloss Protective Enamel
- Black and White acrylic paints
- Black belt/ any black piece of leather
Step 2: Finding a Template
To start, you'll need to download a couple of things. First, download Pepakura Designer, which will let you open and print out the template that you'll use to make the helmet. You can get a free trial of the program that includes nearly all of the features.
Next, find a Stormtrooper helmet template to print out. There are a few online, so just do a quick google search and you'll find something. I used Spacecowboy's template, which seems to be one of the more popular templates on the web. You can it find here:
This template is missing some glue tabs though, so you'll have to make some when you start gluing. I think there was probably a reason for Spacecowboy not including them, but I don't know why.
Once you've downloaded the template and have it open in Pepakura designer, you can scale it by going to 2d menu >>> Change scale>>> Set Scale. I found that the template was the perfect size, but if you have a larger cranium you might want to scale it up a bit. Once the template is scaled to your liking, you can print it out onto your cardstock, and you're ready to start cutting.
Step 3: Cutting, Folding and Gluing
Cutting out the template was pretty easy, it just took a while for me to cut out all 20 pages worth of pieces. I used scissors, but an X-acto knife might be helpful for cutting out the smaller pieces. Just cut precisely along the straight black lines, being careful not to accidentally cut the dotted lines. It's also a good idea to listen to some music or to watch a movie as you're cutting so that you're brain doesn't explode from sheer boredom.
Once you've cut all the pieces, you can start folding. In the land of Pepakura, there are two different kinds of folds: valley folds and mountain folds. Valley folds are represented by dashed lines, like this: "- - - -" and mountain folds are represented by a dash-dot line, like this: " - . - . - ." Mountain folds are folded downward to form an upside down "V" shape, and valley folds are folded upwards to form a "V" shape. Use the two types of dotted lines to guide you as you start to shape the helmet.(In some pep files, the mountain fold and valley fold line are switched, so beware!) When you're folding, use a ruler to help you fold the lines.
I started gluing the helmet with superglue, but I switched to hot glue because it was easier to work with and more forgiving. If you make a mistake with superglue, it's there to stay, but with hot glue, you can always unglue the pieces with the tip of the hot glue gun. Use the numbers on the edges of the pieces along with the glue tabs to help you glue everything together.
BE PRECISE! Even though you can fix some of the mistakes later with Bondo, you still want the helmet to be even and symmetrical.
Once everything is glued together, you'll need to use a material to strengthen the helmet, which is where polyester resin comes in handy.
Step 4: Fiberglassing
The polyester resin will come with a chemical hardener. Mix the resin and the hardener according to the instructions that come with the resin, and use a paintbrush to apply the resin to the helmet. Because of the quick working time of resin, it's impossible to do the entire helmet at one time. Instead, apply the resin in sections. Then, do a second layer of resin.
If you want, you could just stop at the second layer of resin, but I chose to strengthen it even more with fiberglass. You don't need to fiberglass the entire helmet. Putting too much fiberglass can cause you to lose details. I really only used fiberglass on parts of the helmet that needed to be very durable, like the edges, the dome, and parts of the face.
One obstacle I faced was that the resin was still wet after the drying time of 10-12 minutes. After searching for a while on THE RPF, I found out that the problem was the temperature. When you apply Resin in thin coats, it might not generate enough heat to turn into a solid. To fix this, I put the helmet in direct sunlight so it could warm up, and after a few minutes, the resin solidified.
Step 5: Bondo Coat and Sanding
Bondo is an automotive putty, and like the resin, it comes with a hardener. The Bondo is used to sculpt details and shape the Pepakura. Compared to the resin, Bondo is much easier to work with, so just follow the directions that come with it and use a Popsicle stick to apply it onto the helmet. I didn't do a very good job on this, but try to smooth out the Bondo as much as possible before it dries to make your life easier when sanding.
One of the downsides of Bondo is that it has a very small working time, usually about 3-4 minutes, so work in small sections and don't mix more than you can use.
When the Bondo has dried, you can start sanding. I started by using an orbital sander, but that turned out to be a mistake, because it was hard to control on round and detailed surfaces. I mostly used the orbital sander on the back and on the top, and sanded the rest with coarse sandpaper. Also, although I didn't have one, a dremel would have been soooooo helpful Cough Cough pleasevotepleasevotepleasevote Cough Cough.
So anyways, after I finished sanding, I ended up with lots of small dents/dimples/imperfections, mostly because I didn't smooth out the Bondo enough before it dried. In the third picture above, you can see the imperfections. I marked them with a sharpie, then covered them with Bondo and sanded them down. If you have really small imperfections, you can fill them in with spackling paste. As you continue sanding, start using finer grit sandpaper, and keep sanding until you're happy with the shape of the helmet, at which point you can move on to painting.
Step 6: Painting
When you're ready to paint, clean the surface with a damp rag to get rid of dust, and then give it 2 or 3 coats of primer. For the actual Paint, I used Gloss Protective Enamel, and I did about 6 coats. Once the base coat was finished, I used some acrylic paint to paint in the details. I found These stencils online, and used them to paint out the stripes on the sides of the helmet. I used a combination of black and white paint for the teeth. That's pretty much all I did as far as painting goes. Some people spray the helmet with varnish to make it shiny, but I just used car wax.
Step 7: Details and Finishing Touches
Now, for the funnest part!
I'm cheap, so instead of buying the brow band and the aerators for the helmet, I made them myself.
For the brow band, I cut out a piece of leather from a belt with an X-acto knife and glued it above the eyes. For the aerators, I removed the knobs from a vintage record player and glued them to the helmet.
I couldn't figure out what to use for the vocoder, so for now, I'm just going to leave that part empty, but in the future, I might make one out of wood and paint it black.
I also decided to weather the helmet, so I used a q-tip to brush powdered charcoal onto parts of the helmet. To further weather the helmet, I used a combination of iron oxide and water to make it look as if the teeth had rusted. I think I might have over-weathered it a little, but it's ok because the charcoal isn't completely permanent.
So . . . yeah, that's pretty much it. In the future, I might make some changes to it, like adding the vocoder or adding the ears (which I forgot to put). It's also slightly asymmetrical, but I'm not too worried about that since the original helmets were asymmetrical anyways.
So, overall, I'm pretty happy with it! If you're reading this before July 21st, please vote, and if you're not, I hope you enjoyed my Instructable anyways!