Spitfire is a popular brand of skateboard wheels and my 12 year old son is a skater, and a fan of the brand. For a few years we talked about transforming the logo into a costume seeing that the logo character named Bighead, or Fireball, depending on who you talk to, has so much visual potential. TO my knowledge, no one has created a fully realized three dimensional mask or sculpture of the logo so we may very well be the first.
Initially I was going to create the signature grinning logo, but was later inspired by the Jason promotional sticker that was used to during a special line of wheels that they manufactured. We felt that it was more appropriate for Halloween.
TOOLS: Vacuformer, Dremel, x-acto knives, drill, bandsaw, belt sander, clothes iron, computer, inkjet printer
MATERIALS: 1/16' styrene, spray paint, acrylic paint, wood,, hot glue, coveralls, t-shirt transfer material, elastic straping, rivets, screen material
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Step 1: Spitfire Mask
The most crucial element to this costume is the mask. I am fortunate that I recently purchased a vacuformer and panned on taking advantage of it for this costume.
First part of the process for me is to take photos of my son and scale his face to actual size on my computer.
From there I downloaded an image of the Spitfire logo and traced it using adobe Illustrator. WIih the vector art, I could now lay it over my sons facial image and scale the art until it fits his face. Doing this allows me to see where any potential issues are with vision, sizing, depth etc.
Once I have established a size, I set my printer to tile and print a paper template of the mask.
Using 1" plastazote foam (High density) I cut out enough pieces to carve the mask in a addition to a little extra to accommodate the rounded edge that occurs during facuforming.
The foam was glued on both sides using 3M 74 spray adhesive.
The mask was carved until I was satisfied with the shape. Once it was complete, I had sanded the surface using 80 grit sandpaper. Plastazote is a very versatile foam as it can be shaped with heat, carved and sanded.
The complete carve was used as a mold, or buck, for the vaucformer.
I used 1/16" styrene as my mask material. The first couple of pulls did not capture the detail well ( I suspected this may happen) so I used one fo the pulls to create a master mold. I roughly trimmed the pull and filled it with Ultracal 30 gypsum which is a plaster cement mixture.. Plaster would work fine as well.
Once the gypsum had cured overnight I popped it from the styrene pull and began to clean up the detail that failed to capture the first time. The gypsum was still damp so I could easily recarve and shape using a knife and rasp. I sanded the mold once the details were reestablished.
With a stronger, more permanent mold, I was able to go back and re-pull the mask. The results were much better.
From there, I cut out the eyes, and calculated where all of the ventilation holes would go. Its a bit tricky as a two dimensional drawing doesn't line up when transformed into 3D so I had to do some math. NOTE: The vent holes make the pattern of Spitfire's teeth.
Next it was on to painting.
I recently discovered a product that I absolutely love for use with plastic. Its a plastic primer by Montana. Montana is a graffiti paint manufacturer who make great an exceptional paint with a ton of colours to choose from.
Often when you spray paint plastic, it has a tendency to crap when flexed. This plastic primer eliminates this problem 100%. I did some tests prior to using it by spraying onto a scrap piece of styrene, then painting. I flexed and bent the plastic at least a few inches and there was no cracking. This is very important as the Sptifire mask is flexible due to the thickness of the styrene. Alternatively, I could have used acrylic brush paint or an airbrush. I do not have an airbrush.
With the mask primed, I laid down an off white base coat.
Next I masked off the area for the black outline. I then masked off the surface to paint the 3 lines of red markings, signature to Jason's mask.
TO achieve the blood splatters, I simply sprayed the red paint into the cap, took a drinking straw, and dripped and blew paint throughout the surface, trying to match the artwork reference.
After the basic painting was complete, it was time to weather the mask.
I took some sandpaper and began distressing the areas. I always find it kind of crazy to spend so much time masking and creating a nice paint job only to turn around and basically destroy it with weathering - HAHA
With all of the scuffs and scratches in place, the final paint step was to discolour the entire look and age of the mask.I achieved this by using some acrylic paint diluted with water and a small piece of sponge. I rubbed on the paint, and removed the excess with a paper towel. I continued this process until I reached the desired look.
With the exterior complete, I needed to add straps, screens and padding.
I decided to attach the straps on the inside because I was concerned about the mask distorting when the straps pulled on it due to its flexibility.
I attached 1.5" webbing to plastic clips as the initial anchor, that way the straps could move instead of pulling on the mask. 1.5" elastic strapping was used and arranged in a goalie mask formation. The straps were hot glued and reinforced with rivets, commonly used in leather craft work.
I blacked out the inside using protectaire, any black fabric would do. For the the eye screens, black power mesh was glued to sculpture screening which was painted black.
Step 2: The Machete
After some debate, I decided to devote one day to building a machete for my son's costume.
The inspiration came from a screen used prop in the Freddy vs Jason movie.
I started by tracing the an image of the prop and scaling to the appropriate size. I read that the machete was approximately 30" in length. I then printed out the template using my inkjet printer.
I taped the template onto a scrap piece of 1/4" plywood and cut it using my bandsaw. I made sure to include the handle as part of the basic shape.
Next I cut our 3/8" bass wood in the shape of the handle and glued and clamped it to the plywood. The cross guard was made from the same bass wood and was built in 2 pieces. I cut a notch in the cross guard and slid it over the hadnle. The angles piece was sloid, beveled on one side and butted up against the opposite piece.
Next I sanded the handle using my dremel and sandpaper. The blade was shaped using my belt sander then hand sanded.
Once the sanding was complete, I primed the entire machete with filler primer.
The handle was taped off and I sprayed the blade with a mixture of dark metallic silver and chrome.
I allowed the machete to dry before hand painting a base coat for the handle. i used the same colour that was used to discolour the mask.
The handle was then lightly sprayed with black paint.
Next I rubbed black acrylic paint onto the blade and began to buff it off, leaving only the edge to look more metal. I did this to simulate that the blade was old and the shine came from recent use.
The final application to the blade was some rust. I used a mix of acrylic paints and repeated the same process of applying a watered down paint to highlight areas of the blade. I then buffed and removed the paint with the intention of creating a natural rust look.
I then sanded the handle to remove the black spray paint to reveal the base colour, giving the handle an aged look.
The final step was to add black hockey tape to the handle and then I dry brushed some blood red, white and earthy colours to achieve wear.
I wanted to tie the Spitfire character together with Jason so I came up with the idea of adding an old skateboard wheel as a pummel to the machete.
I drilled a hole into one of my son's old wheel and glued in a piece of dowel using gorilla epoxy. I drilled another hole into the handle and glued the dowel in using wood glue.
Step 3: Clothing
Deciding on an outfit for this character was a bit challenging. My son wanted a costume that was simple and mobile this year, not to mention warm, so we had to come up with something that wouldnt compete with the mask but still fit the theme. Initially I thought about using a flight suit but had trouble finding something that fit and was the right look. I found a pair of coveralls from an army surplus store that were a pretty good fit for his size.
The cost was affordable at $20 for a second hand pair.However, I wanted to add some details that would again tie in the character and link back to the Spitfire brand.
In addition to the Bighead fireball logo, Spitfire wheels often have a spiral pattern on them, its part of there branding. I wanted to use this on the back of his coveralls.
In order to save time, I downloaded a hi-res image of the wheel pattern and executed an auto trace in adobe illustrator. I sent the file to a friend who heat pressed the graphic onto the back for me. I could have used t-shirt transfer material as well, but he was willing to provide and higher quality.
Another element I wanted to add was a name patch on the front. iw as unable to get an embroidered patch in time or for a good price so I decided to make one myself. You'll notive that some pics show his costume without the patch. I hadn't decided on how I was going to do it, so some pics were taken as is.
I thought about pressing it on using t-shirt vinyl transfer sheets but I really wanted something tactile. I took a trip to Michaels and bought some cheap felt, and a pack of red cording.
I printed my design and traced it onto the white felt. It was a bit thin so I glued 2 pieces together using a glue gun.
I then hot glued the red cording around the oval base, but made sure to glue it on the back in order to keep it clean, didn't want any hot glue seeping out.
I then cut out the script font with an x-acto knife, spray glued it on backwards to the felt, but had no success cutting it out. The felt didn't want to hold its shape.
All the while in the back of my head I was thinking about the t-shirt transfer sheets I had lying around. Even though they're meant for cotton, I decided that I had to give it a shot. I printed the text out onto the Avery t-shirt transfer vinyl, and pressed it on to the patch using a clothes iron. Instructions are included on the packaging.
It worked well and I was happy with the results.
Last step was to weather the patch. I didn't want it looking new and that's why I left the cording a little frayed at the joint. I simply took some chalk pastel and rubbed it in spots on the patch and flicked some diluted red acrylic onto the patch with a paint brush.
Step 4: Final Costume
We did some early photos in High Park as we wanted that Jason summer camp effect. We also participated in and won a contest at a local comic book store. After, what will surely be my son's last Halloween trick or treating, he'll be taking Spitfire to the skatepark for some more festivities.
Thanks everyone for checking out the costume, and don't forget to vote if you like what you see.
Participated in the
Halloween Contest 2019