Introduction: Iron Man 2008 Helmet

About: Completed a masters in mechanical engineering and then realised I didn't want to be an engineer. So I'm a freelance propmaker and costumier for film, theatre and music videos. Occasionally, I need to find a …

This is my as movie accurate Iron Man helmet from the 2008 movie. Lots of reference photos used to model the helmet on. Based on a Pepakura model to start with from card which needed some editing on the back end to get a better shape. Coated the whole shell in polyester resin, then fibreglass tissue and more resin. After it's hardened, then lots and lots of time, sanding and polyester car body filler to make a smooth shell and allow for the additional details to be sculpted in. The faceplate was also cut out to allow for a flip up system to reveal the wearer's face. Shell was then primed three times and then painted with three layers and two layers of lacquer.

The faceplate is attached to a rotary slider mechanism (similar to an engine conrod arrangement) which pushes the faceplate out and then lifts it up by rotating the left ear piece. Then six blue 3mm LEDs and a few resistors are attached to a 9V battery and a switch to light up the eyes which are covered with some blue lenses from an old pair of fashion sunglasses.

It's a shame I didn't take more photos during the making process but it essentially follows the same techniques used by many to make Master Chief helmets. A couple of lessons I've learnt from this are: To make a paper helmet to check scale and then make it 5-10% bigger with the cardstock as the fibreglass and body filler make the shell solid and much tighter, so much so that this helmet is really difficult to put on. At least with a bigger helmet, you can pad it out. When making the card shell, don't crease folds that don't need to be creased, otherwise you're just making more corners you need to smooth with body filler, and that's a real pain.

I also made a quick Mark II arc reactor from a used tape roll, some card, copper power wire and a ring of plastic tube. It was supposed to go together as a Zombie Iron Man, but unfortunately not many had read that series.

EDIT: Here's the link to the 405th forum where I found the pepakura file (which came from League Of Heroes). The link is also down in the comments.

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