Iron Man 2008 Helmet





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 ...

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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73 Discussions

I would like to use this method on another project, and I am curious, can I use fiberglass resin on poster board foam?

nice man could you tell me how did you get your helmet to look like it is from plastic.......and can you send me if you have facebook request to my facebook Patrik Ktbkzpmj

1) BEAUTIFUL HELMET 2) i dont know much about resin, but would it be possible to coat it with resin and not do the fiberglassing? or would that not work/be to fragile?

2 replies

Resin without the fibreglass is very brittle, it will crack and they'll be nothing to hold it together. I wouldn't be worried about using fibreglass, it isn't as scary as people make it out to be, just wear gloves and work outside. If you're really not for it, I suppose newspaper and PVA glue would be a simpler solution, but you couldn't sand and shape it as precisely. Good luck with that!

Ok, you have a helmet and it looks really really good. Now for the next step... Make a cast of the various parts, bake the plaster casts @400f for about 2 hours. Place them in a medium box and fill carefully with sand , raising and positioning the pieces as you go. Then once you have the box full, and just the tips of the parts showing, you gently break the tip of the mold and pour in molten aluminum. This will give a nice pretty cast of each part in turn and will make your whole helmet a better project.

For metal casting instructions try this link:

listen, how did u reduce percentualy the size of your project? i'm trying to make the armor and it's just ti big. i saw that u sugested increase 10% the size of the helmet... is it some tool of pepakura, or print setting?? i just can't find it!!!! i know it sounds really sily, but it would help a lot thanks

1 reply

you should use the pepakura designer along with the viewer, it is freeware also but you have more options such as resizing and editing.

bit of advice, make sure that if you have a file with color that you turn the color off, I just printed out a 17 page helmet and it burnt out a brand new color cartridge.  just figured I would try to help anyone else from making the same mistake.

 That's amazing! I'd love to make one of my own, but I can't open the PDO files and I have a Mac, so I can't download Pepakura Viewer... So I'm pretty much screwed. Does anyone have a PDF file of it or something?


2 replies

No PDFs from me I'm afraid.  But could you get around it by runing a virtual machine of Windows XP, might work...?

 I just tried using the trial one, but it keeps wanting you to buy it so it doesn't really let you actually use it unfortunately. And I don't really want to pay 80 bucks for the full version.