Introduction: 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: monksvoice.com/Rocketeer
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
fiberglass and resin
Gold Rub and Buff
1/8" tinted acrylic
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.
It slowly begins to take shape!
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.
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.
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...)
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.
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!
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)
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.
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.
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.
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!
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.
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.
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!