Introduction: Predator's Helmet (made With Synthetic Resin and Fiberglass)
Maybe the Predator born as movie character, but its best stories and the expanded universe from the Yautja (the real name of the Predators race) came from Dark Horse Comics. You can click in the following links to see more of Predator comics story:
This is one of the two projects I made in 2007 under the wing of master Mauro Santini, one of the best argentinean models and props makers. I took some pictures of the process and, in case of missing photos (I was smeared of resin and I could not take pictures without ruin my camera), I will try to explain it the best that I can.
For the helmet I needed the following stuff:
- Clay (for the model)
- A real size human head model
- Fiberglass and synthetic resin (like the used in boats)
- Aluminum spray paint
- Transparent spray paint
- Acrylic black paint
- 3 red LEDs, wires, batteries box and AA battteries (for the triple laser designator)
- Sculpting tools, Dremel, heatgun and latex gloves.
NOTE: There are better ways to casting props, like silicon rubber. But, for educational purposes, this project molds were made with synthetic resin and fiberglass.
Step 1: The Clay Model
The first thing you have to do: Research. If you're not a fan of the franchise, you will see the same Predator over and over and over: an extraterrestial hunter with an ugly helmet, a ray gun, wrist blades, thermal vision and three red laser dots in the prey. Even you will say "hey, look! it's the Alien!!" (it's silly really, but more frequent than you think).
But, if you are a fan of the franchise, you know that every Predator has a different helmet. So, see the movies, read the comics, search all-angles images in Google and look for your helmet of choice (I choose the one from the 1987 first film). Print the images and get ready for the clay.
Get a human head replica (the size of your head) and clay (a lot of clay) and start covering the head replica. Then, shape it. Use the heat gun for melting the clay, and the sculpting tools for removing clay and giving details. A bit of vaseline can help for giving the finish.
Step 2: The Mold
Do you remember when I said there are better ways to casting props? well, I had to learn the hard way, so the next thing is to make the mold with synthetic resin and fiberglass.
If you note, the Predator's helmet has some complexity. It's not a closed helmet, and has features that difficult a two part mold. So, it will be requested a three parts mold.
Use the clay for making extra limits in the helmet. Look at the pictures for better reference. The limits function is to divide the helmet in three areas, everyone for a mold part. When the resin solidifies, the clay limits will allow to separate the mold parts.
You have to mix the resin with the catalyst and, if you want, some additive for thicken it. But be hurry, because once you mix the resin with the catalyst, you have a few minutes before it solidifies. You can find all of the components and indicationes in the specialized shop.
Cover the clay model with a layer of resin, foils of fiberglass and the again, at least three times. Don't forget the respiratory protection, the vapours of the resin are noxius. And use a lot of old newspapers and old clothes, because the resin will ruin everything it touches.
Step 3: The Helmet
I have bad news: the beautiful clay model you made in three hours of effort and enthusiasm... now you have to destroy it!
When the resin solidifies, take off the mold and remove the clay. Clean the mold the best you can. Then join the mold segments, using screws and bolts.
Spread inside the mold vaseline or alcohol mixed with glue (it will be the dismoldal agent). Then use a brush for spreading resin inside the mold, then fiberglass, the resin, etc. Made three layers. Too few will result in a fragile helmet, too much will result in a heavier helmet.
When the resin solidifies, remove the nuts and bolts and rip off the mold, part by part. Use hammer and a chisel. Be careful, the dry resin is hard and has spikes.
When you finally have the helmet, use the Dremel for cutting spikes, and epoxic and sandpaper for correcting imperfections.
Step 4: Paint and Details
Paint with aluminum spray. Let it dray, and then use acrylic paint disolved in water for highlighting the imperfections and making them look like battle marks. Cover with transparent paint.
For the eyes, I use metalic mesh. Use red LEds for the triple laser designator effect.
And now, I have a Predator's helmet hanging on my room's wall. The Predators aren't the only ones with battle trophies in thir homes!!!