Introduction: Skyrim Dragon Priest Mask (Pepakura Papercraft)
I recently started to play The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim again and while I was fighting a bunch of dragons and wandering around for hours to find all the Dragon Priest's masks, I wondered how to make my own mask - in real life. I think I'm not the only one thinking that these masks just look damn great, so I searched the internet for a tutorial on building one. So, in this Instructable I'll show you how to build your own Krosis, Morokei or another one of the Gang. ;)
Step 1: Stuff You'll Need
Tools & Equipment:
- Scissors or X-Acto knife
- Rubber gloves
- respiratory mask & safety goggles
- Dremel or something similar
- sanding paper with different grit sizes (maybe a Delta sander)
- old clothes, newspapers, plastic foil
- glasses and sticks to mix the resin, body filler
- Paper (150g/sqm or heavier)
- Resin (epoxy resin or polyester resin)
- fibreglass mat or cloth
- Body filler
- Paint (spray paint, acrylic paint)
- Patience & creativity
Step 2: Papercrafting the Model
First of all, you have to find a paper model file you like and download it. I got mine from a thread full of Pepakura-files for Skyrimstuff at 405th.com (http://www.405th.com/showthread.php?t=36462).
To open and print this file you'll need the freeware "Pepakura viewer". It's a program to open .pdo-files and quite easy to use. Just open the file and you'll see the 3D-model on the left, and the single parts on the right. You can even see where each single part belongs in the model, if you put the cursor on it. I recommend to turn on the "Edge ID" before printing. This will add some small numbers on the edges and will help you a lot while glueing together all the parts. But if you're really into puzzles and stuff, you can try building it without the IDs (but seriously, don't! I once made that mistake and it took me hours to find where each part belonged.)
For printing you should use thick paper, not regular 80g/sqm. I think you should at least use 150g/sqm or even heavier. Otherwise the built is likely to be deformed or will just collapse. Cut out the parts with scissors or a x-acto knife, fold them on the printed lines (there are two types of folds in pepakura: mountain folds (---, folded down: ^) and valley folds (-.-.-, folded up \/) and glue the whole thing together. You can use regular glue for that. Take your time here and be pacient.
When printing, cutting and glueing is done and you've got all the pieces put together, you'll have a polygonal Dragon Priest.
Now the fun-part can begin.
Step 3: Resin and Fibreglass - Harden and Strengthen
Once you have your basic papermodel, you want it to be really solid.
To harden the paper, you have to resin your piece. On this mask I used polyester resin, but I really recommend to use Epoxy resin.
Be careful here and only work with this outside! Don't use it inside of your flat. These are some serious chemicals and espacially polyester resin develops fumes which will definitely do no good to your health. So just use it outside and maybe even use a respiratory mask and rubber gloves while working. You also should put on some old clothes here, you won't get resin out of your clothes and I bet you don't want the brand new shirt that you love so much to be ruined. Also you should cover the ground/table with newspapers or a plastic foil so your terrace, table or wherever you're going to work on your piece is resined, too.
Read the manufactor's instructions on the resin and use it just like they say. If you decide to use epoxy resin (doesn't smells so bad like polyester resin) you have to be very careful with the measurements. Exactly mix the Hardener and the Resin like the guide says! Otherwise it won't harden at all.
(Resin is not the cheapest stuff, so I've read about some alternatives to resin, e.g. wood glue mixed with water or even flour mixed with milk, but I don't find these strong enough to get the same result as I got with epoxy or polyester resin.)
So when you've mixed your resin, put it all over the mask. I prefer to do this in two steps: Outside - let it dry - inside. Let the resin soak the paper and be careful not to deform your piece and keep it in shape. When the resin is dry it will be quite hard to get out any deformations. When the first layers of resin are dry, you'll notice that the paper now feels like thin plastic.
Now it's time to strengthen it with fibreglass.
I used fibreglass mat (300g/sqm) and cut it into small pieces. Also soak them with resin and put them on the mask. Only put this on the inside, not on the outside! Be sure you cover every part of the mask and let it dry. You can put on several layers to make it even stronger. When it's dry you'll see that the mask is now no longer like paper. It's like thick plastic and not bendable anymore. That's how you want it to be. If it's too thin, put on some more covers of fiberglass.
Step 4: Getting the Shape Right: Body Filler
Once your piece is fully dried, you can start modelling the front. The Dragon Priests don't have polgonal masks, so you have to do something about it.
Now you'll need the body filler. You can get it in hardware stores or stores like walmart. Normally it's used to get dents out of your car or something like that. I used some cheaper stuff from the internet.
(A cheaper alternative to body filler is paper-maché, you may know that from your days in kindergarten ;). But I don't like working with it because it's not that hard and not so easy to sand.)
Apply small layers of body filler to fill the polygonal shape. Don't put on too much, otherwise you'll probably never will finish sanding it later ;). Mix small badges of filler and just put on the amount that you need to cover the edges and make it look smooth.
Step 5: Sanding, Sanding, Sanding
Once you've covered the mask with body filler, you have to sand it down to a good shape and a smooth surface.
Use safety goggles and the respiratory mask to protect your eyes and lungs.
For the first rough parts I used a delta sander with rough sanding paper but you can also do it by hand. Sand it until you're satisfied with the surface and use different sanding paper. Use finer grit with every step. I think I sanded until 240 sanding paper, but you can even go finer and wetsand it with these extra-fine grit paper.
While sanding you'll notice thousands of little bumps, holes and other error-spots in the filler. So mix a new badge of body filler and, well, fill them up ;). You will have to repeat sanding and filling and sanding and filling a few times. Be pacient and do so until your result is like you wanted it.
Step 6: Primer and Details
Now you've got your filled and sanded mask.
To get a better impression on how smooth the surface really is and to prepare the surface for painting, you should spray Primer on it.
Spray an even coat of Primer on the mask and you'll notice that there are more errors left in the surface than you thought. You can now repeat sanding and filling the small spots or you can decide to leave it like that. I decided to leave it a bit rough and uneven because these masks are old and weathered and I don't think the Dragon Priests have time to polish their masks while all the dragon-worshipping. No way they're smooth like a baby's bottom ;).
Now it's also time to add some details to the mask. I added the stuff on the forehead and edited some parts that were too asymmetrical and finally primed it again.
Step 7: Painting - First Try: Fail :D
Once the primer is you can start painting this thing. You can use different types of paint e.g. spray paint (directly out of the can or airbrush it on) or acrylic paint.
I bought some cans of spray paint in different colors. First I sprayed silver all over the mask to get a metal-ish grounding. Then I tried to add some acrylic paint to make the mask look oldy dirty and weathered. Well, that turned out to look like crap so I decided to re-paint it later on.
I went on and took the mask and cut out the holes in the eyes. I used a dremel tool for this and by that chance I started to add some scratches.
Step 8: Painting Again - Finishing
When the cutting was done I sprayed the whole thing silver again. Then I put on some black spray paint and used a wet sponge to uncover the silver again.
Just play around with the paint and be creative here, this part is the most fun. For example you can water down the paint a little bit, use brushes or sponges to add details or even put real dirt on it to make it look weathered. This is a try-and-error-part where you can play around with the paint.
When you're done let it dry and , well, you're done!
Now you have you're own Dragon Priest's Mask and can go worship the old dragons of Skyrim. I hope you'll enjoy buliding your own mask and write some feedback in the comments and add pictures of your own masks.