Introduction: Pepakura Rocketeer Helmet

Picture of Pepakura Rocketeer Helmet

This is my first experience with Pepakura, and I wanted to build a Rocketeer Helmet.

I have the pepakura file on my website:

So, I downloaded Pepakura and ran it on Virtual Box on my Mac.  The helmet file is easy enough to find.  I didn't do any modifications to the file itself, I just printed it out on some matte paper and started cutting pieces out.

Here's a list of materials:

matte paper or any heavy stock
razor knife and scissors
super glue
fiberglass and resin
palm sander
detail sander
foam core
Magic Sculpt
Gold Rub and Buff
1/8" tinted acrylic
E6000 glue

Step 1:

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Lots of pieces!  This was actually kid of fun. I carefully cut out each piece and attempted to keep the numbers together, so I wouldn't have to go searching for them later.

That was wishful thinking.  Searching for the attaching number and tab was a puzzle!  I used superglue to bond the paper together.

Step 2:

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It slowly begins to take shape!

Step 3:

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And here it is!  All it is so far is superglue and paper.  The air vents on the top took some figuring out, but with enough tape and glue, they held and were symmetrical.

Step 4:

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So I mixed up a batch of resin to coat the outside and inside to give it some rigidity. No fiberglass at this point.  Just let the resin soak into the paper and let it sit overnight.

Step 5:

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The next day, I mixed up more resin and added a layer of fiberglass to the inside of the helmet.  At this point, while you can still see the original paper lines, cut out the fiberglass to the paper and cut out the holes for the mouth.  Get them as clean and accurate as you can, because once you loose track of the holes in the paper... you're on your own.  (ask me how I know...)

Step 6:

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The Pepakura will print out the fin on the top, but it's a little flimsy, so I replicated it in 1/8" foam core and did the resin treatment to that as well.

Step 7:

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From there I added a skim coat of autobody filler.  Now, in all honesty, I put on WAY TOO MUCH!!  go thin, and do less sanding.  I am by no means an autobody guy.  And I can't stand sanding!

Step 8:

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Yah, so, sand that all down.  I went out the shop and made a huge mess.

This is the part that will drive ya nuts.  Sand, fill, sand, fill... and each coat has to dry or else you're just wasting sandpaper.  I did this project in between other projects.  So there was no problem putting on the shelf and letting the chemicals do their thing.  (this stuff does have a funk to it)

Step 9:

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Ok, as I mentioned, that mouth part is a pain in the patootie.  I lost track of the holes and had to go back in a couple times till I got it right. Note to self, follow the Pepakura files.

This is the helmet primed up.  I would alternate colors of primer so I could keep track when sanding and not burn through several layers and cause more of a headache later.  Again, I'm not an autobody guy.  The guys that do this for a living have all my respect.

Step 10:

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For the welding, I used a product called Magic-Sculpt, it's a two part clay that hardens to a rock like substance overnight.  Then you can sand it, paint it, whatever.  What I did was create little balls of the clay and press them into the helmet creating a bead type effect.  There's a slight overlap of each ball to create the weld puddle look.

Step 11:

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I also used the Magic-Sculpt clay to attache the fin to the top of the helmet.  The clay was used again to create the ribbing on the side of the helmet.  The Pepakura file that I had did not have these, so I used a lot of images found online to estimate where they should go.  The bottom of the helmet does have some shape that guides these lines.

Step 12:

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Here is where the gold Rub and Buff comes into play.  The entire helmet was primed black, and then the Rub n Buff is rubbed all over the helmet. It's a waxy pigment and won't get into all the cracks unless you really try, however, by not letting get into the cracks, creates the grime in the cracks due to the black of the primer showing through! 

Step 13:

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Next I added the 'rivits' to hold in the eye pieces. Again, just Magic-Sculpt rolled into little balls, and pressed onto the helmet.  The stuff sticks to almost anything I swear.

Step 14:

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Here is the one part that I outsourced to a friend.  I couldn't find 1/8" acrylic for a reasonable price, so for 27 bucks, I had someone else make them.  It's actually easy enough to do, you cut out the eye piece oversized, heat it in boiling water, and using oven mitts press it into shape.

Again, for 27 dollars, have Oz over at The Real Prop Forum make you a set.  They didn't fit Exactly perfectly, but they are pretty darn close.  I could use a heat gun and give them the final shape if I wanted too.

Step 15:

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And here's the result.  I'll make a pedestal for it to sit on, and I'm adding a leather flight helmet to the inside to give it the straps it needs. 

All in all a fun project.  Pepakura is a great way to get the rough shape done and from there it's onward with the body filler and your sculpting skills.  The helmet looks great in the office already!


moon_g (author)2016-06-29

Did you print this on A4?

monkeywork (author)moon_g2016-08-31

I printed it on letter size, 8.5x11

ShannonI3 (author)2016-08-25

I'm totally new, so apologies if this is an obvious/silly question, but: if I print the PDF onto cardstock, do I need to download/use the Pepakura software? Thanks!

monkeywork (author)ShannonI32016-08-31

Nope. just print, cut and start gluing!

mrrentalshoes (author)2016-06-02

Great job. Do you mind telling me what shade of gold you used for the rub and buff? There are a few shades available.

monkeywork (author)mrrentalshoes2016-06-02

I used "antique gold" and a little goes a long way!

mrrentalshoes (author)monkeywork2016-06-02

Thank you. I actually have a tube of antique gold I used on a Spartan helmet, so that'll work out nicely. Again, awesome work and thank you for getting back so quickly.

jgderuvo (author)2015-10-18

That did it. Odd because I clicked on the link and got the error. Must've been a server hiccup. It works now.

gfoster4 (author)2014-11-28

Where can I get a copy of the pdf?

monkeywork (author)gfoster42015-03-03

I just put one on my server at

Good Luck!

jgderuvo (author)monkeywork2015-10-17

404 error. File not found.

monkeywork (author)jgderuvo2015-10-18

they're there. click the link or make sure you type it with the capital "R" on Rocketeer.

Ryan Rocketeer 898 (author)2015-08-19

This is what i was looking for. I am going to build this for my Rocketeer halloween costume. I have all the costume parts except the helmet and jetpack. But i have a question, what size is this helmet?


monkeywork made it! (author)Ryan Rocketeer 8982015-09-03

My hat size is 7.5, This is how it fits on me.

monkeywork, thank you so much. I did make the helmet out of paper and it's a little too big. So me and my dad are going to build it out of sheet metal and get padding for the inside. I got the jacket, the pants, boots, and mauser airsoft, I'm building the jetpack and the helmet.

Excellent! Post pictures! make an instructable!

I should totally build a jetpack, that's next on my list.

h8lametweets (author)2015-09-02

This looks great as a display. But I dont think it will work well for a costume helmet.

I just wanted to point out for those trying to build this for a costume like I am that the pdf file for this one is not really a wearable size. Its really big! I got the whole thing assembled before the resin step and its huge! I'm making a backup from another file I found and that one can fit inside this one easily. I haven't found the .pdo version to see if that ones any better. But if you're a stickler out there for accuracy, notice the eyes on this model go to a near sharp in upper inner corners where it should be very round. Original has a bit meaner look.

That's about the source file though. Not your work. Again, you did a fantastic job! Thanks for laying out all your steps.

monkeywork (author)h8lametweets2015-09-03

once you've built the pepakura, you can do some shaping to the eyes to make them the way you want.

As far as size, it fits me pretty well, (I must have a big head!)

Remember it's a helmet, so it should have some padding and a liner. VS an Iron man mask that is close fitting. We're talking WWII technology here, it's welded!


monkeywork made it! (author)monkeywork2015-09-03

It looks right on me. Now to make the backpack and leather jacket!

trey.raimon (author)2015-02-18

Is there any possible way you can post a PDF file because I can't open the file on your site

monkeywork (author)trey.raimon2015-03-03


I just put a .pdf on my website at

I'm not sure if there will be any scaling issues but give it a go!

Celt (author)2014-05-23

I have the PDO file for this one and more, but im not sure how to upload it. any suggestions?

annoyingfeatures (author)2013-10-24

do you have the files on hand? may be in a pdf form? i have no program to open them up, and of course i decide to do this a week before halloween

I don't have the .pdf files unfortunately, only what I have on my server at which are the Pepakura files. I use virtual box on my Mac to run the software, and just haven't had time to R&D exporting the files as a .pdf


Drillbit (author)2013-01-20

If I may did you create the helmet file from scratch or did you pull it from a forum? If a forum could you pm me with it. I've been looking for this helmet for a long time.

Thank you

monkeywork (author)Drillbit2013-01-21

Sure thing!

jarikcbol (author)2013-01-19

Awesome 'Ible! I always loved the movie. Quick tip for future projects. Instead of using Bondo, which, as you said, stinks to high heaven, look at using a product called Durhams Water Putty. In projects like this, it will work just as well as Bondo, but does not have the awful smell.

monkeywork (author)jarikcbol2013-01-19

I'll look for that! I used Bondo, because that's what I had laying around. (I'm not cheap, I'm thrifty!) But I'll search it out!

PS118 (author)2013-01-16

Wait. Rocketeer's helmet... Cap'n America's shield... lightsaber...
You, sir, are officially indestructible! :)

I love this!!!

One other option for the faux welding. I remember seeing in an issue of Woodsmith magazine where they made a fake metal clock out of wood. (Sorry, I can't find a pic online anywhere.) To get the welding look they just ran a bead of regular painters' caulk (don't smooth it, of course) and painted over it.

monkeywork (author)PS1182013-01-16

Right now I'm working on a District 9 inspired Nerf. My Halloween costume is going to be a hot mess.

craigferguson (author)2013-01-15

sweeet man! nice job!

monkeywork (author)craigferguson2013-01-16

Thank you!

Penolopy Bulnick (author)2013-01-15

That looks amazing! Now I want to watch the movie again :)

I recently re-watched it, it's a fun movie. Seeing the GeeBee airplane featured was nice too.

wwhitt (author)2013-01-15

Can you please elaborate more on this step I was confused reading it

monkeywork (author)wwhitt2013-01-16

Sure thing, with autobody filler, aka Bondo, you mix up a small batch, spread it over the helmet and let it harden. From there you sand it down to smooth it out. The goal is to fill in all the holes and smooth over all the bumps of the paper to create a smooth helmet verses one that has the angles of the paper.

It's time consuming, as you have to wait for everything to dry. If you don't wait and start sanding too soon, the filler will just load up the sandpaper and frustrate you. I move on to other projects, (like work!) and let it fully harden up before sanding.

This is where your sculpting skills come into play, creating a smooth surface from a faceted one.

jawasan (author)2013-01-15

very nice job, like the welds!

About This Instructable




Bio: I'm an actor/tech/IT/graphics/editor/writer kind of guy. I do a fair share of voice over work and have the full ... More »
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