In this tutorial I will be showing you how to make a Star-Lord helmet from Guardians of the Galaxy using a pre-existing pepakura template (see step 1).
I encourage you to play with different techniques in this process.
This helmet is not meant to be 100% movie accurate.
- Hot glue gun
- Cutting board
- Mat Knife
- Small Putty Knife
- Small Paint Brush
- Hair Dryer (optional)
- Thick Cardboard (shipping box)
- Thin Cardboard (cereal box)
- 1/4" Eva Foam
- 1/16" Eva Foam
- Paper Towel
- Wallpaper Paste
- 12 Gage Wire
- Spot Putty
- Mat Card
- Filler Primer
- Dark Steel Spray Paint (Rustoleum)
- Gold Spray Paint (Krylon)
- Silver Model Paint (Testors)
- Flexible Plastic Straws (bendy straws)
- 3/8" Dowel
- Red Lighting Gel or Red Lenses
- Spray Adhesive
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Step 1: Source Material, Template and Print Settings
Before moving to the template it is important to grab some images from the internet to better understand what the helmet looks like outside of the template.
I have attached the template I used for my build.
I did not create this template and have used it as a guide. I picked up this specific template from JFcustom on www.therpf.com
Print Settings and Adjustments
Once the template is downloaded you will need to print it. The file size is larger than a standard printer page, using the poster setting on your printer will solve this problem.
The circumference of my head is 22 1/2" (570mm) and printing the template at 100% made a snug, but perfect fit. If you head is bigger/smaller than 22 1/2" (570mm) you can use this formula to determine what percentage your print size should be.
100 x (your head measurement in mm) = Value
Value/570mm = Print percentage
If you have a 600mm circumference your print percentage would be 105%
Once the template is printed you will need to tape or glue the seams together before you cut out your pieces.
*** As you build try on your helmet to ensure that it fits!
Step 2: Tracing and Preliminary Build
Before you begin remember that if you see a - - - - - - line on the template that indicates a mountain fold. A -- - -- - -- line indicates a valley fold. The best way to utilize these folds is to score them with a knife in the direction the fold will be.
Trace the template onto thick cardboard (an old shipping box will be sufficient) and use either a mat knife or scissors to cut each of the pieces out. Using hot glue and tape piece the helmet together leaving out the ears and brow portions of the mask. Once the shell of the helmet is complete test the fit on your head. If the helmet is too big trim the back pieces, if it is too small add cardboard spacers in the back. It is easiest to make both of these adjustments in the back. Once the shell was complete attach a 1/4" strip around the top edge of the helmet.
*** I used eva foam to reinforce a number of my helmet connections. This is optional and can be substituted with cardboard or tape.
Trace the ear template on to mat card and mount them onto 1/4" eva foam. To attach the ear cut a piece of cardboard that is slightly bigger than the mat card and attach to the inside of the helmet.
Trace the brow template onto 1/4" eva foam and cut it out. The brow and the side burn pieces should be separated. Test the brow to see if it fits and trim the edge to round it before hot glueing it down.
Step 3: Vents and Paper Maché
Before attaching the tube vents to the helmet, paper maché the entire helmet with wallpaper paste and paper towel. Be sure to make the maché sit as close to the helmet as possible being careful to saturate the paper towel with wallpaper paste using a brush. Once this is dry connect the tubes to the helmet and the tubes to the vent connection with the flexible part of a drinking straw. *** I use wallpaper paste instead of a PVA or wood glue/water solution because it is more flexible.
Before attaching the vents the mouth piece needs to be solidified. Using paper towel and wall paper paste, paper maché the front portion of the mask. Once the maché is dry attach the vent pieces with hot glue.
Build the front portion of the vent out of the thinner eva foam.
Helmet Tube Vents
*** I chose to not use the vent templates for my helmet build. I felt they were too small and decided to make the large vents 1 1/4" in diameter and the smaller vents 1".
To make the vents I cut two 1 1/4" diameter circles and two 1" circles out of thick cardboard. Using the circles as caps wrap the circles in the thinner cardboard to make a four tubes in total (two big and two small). Wrap the tubes in the thinner eva foam attaching them with spray adhesive to smooth them out.
Step 4: Primer, Panels, Eyes and Filler
I primed the helmet using a Rustoleum fill primer. This primer gets into all of the scratches and imperfections and builds up. This eliminate a lot of the sanding I had to do. When the maché is dry coat the helmet in two coats of primer.
The paper maché greatly alters the panels on the helmet making them less distinct, the primer will highlight this. The solution is to put new panels on top of the old ones.
The panels can be made from cardstock or thin cardboard and can be made from the same helmet shell templates. You will have to trim these new pieces to get as close a fit as possible. Before attaching the panels make sure to do a preliminary sand of the whole helmet.
Attach these panels with hot glue and paper maché the edges. The edges will be cleaned up with filler, primer and more sanding.
Primer, Filler and Sanding
Once the panels are attached coat the helmet in primer. When the primer dries you will be able to see and imperfections on the helmet. Using thin layers of spot putty cover any imperfections. Once the putty is dry sand the areas with heavy to fine sandpaper, prime and repeat as necessary.
Once the panels are attached the eyes of the helmet can be attached. They are made from the thin cardboard and are attached with hot glue.
Step 5: Side Pieces and Connection Tubes
The side pieces are made from flexible drinking straws. Use the lines on the straw to cut it in half. Cut the flexible part of the straw in a triangle shape and put the two flexible ends together using hot glue. Evenly space the side pieces on the helmet and coat them in primer.
The connection tubes are also made of flexible drinking straws. The connection between the ventilation tubes was made by cutting 1" length of 3/8" dowel at 45 degrees. Once these components are attached coat them in primer.
Step 6: Stripes, Front Tube and Details
Side and Back Stripes
The stripes are made from the thinner eva foam and are attached E6000 and then coated with primer.
*** I chose to use E6000 over hot glue because the adhesive was not sticking to the primer.
The tubes in the front of the mask are made from 12 gage electrical wire. following the edge of the mask bend the wire to fit. When the wire is the correct shape and size wrap card stock around the top end making it thicker. Hot glue this piece in place.
Using Eva Foam cardstock and bits of lighter weight card create the details of the helmet. These details will give the helmet more visual impact.
Step 7: Paint
I decided to paint the helmet in a backwards order.
Once the helmet is primed spray the entire helmet gold. Using painters tape cover the pieces by the eyes and cheeks that would remain the gold colour. Once dry spray the helmet with dark steel coloured paint. Remove the tape once everything has completely dried.
Outline the stripe portions on the sides and back in tape, covering the remainder of the helmet in newspaper. Spray the strips with gold and remove the tape when the paint is dry.
The final step is to take silver model paint (for model cars etc...) and use a small brush to paint in the silver details.
Step 8: Lenses
Lenses (lighting gel version)
I had some red lighting gel (Rosco colour R26) that I cut into small circles and hot glued on the inside of the helmet. Working in theatre gives me access to this material at little to no cost. I would suggest if you can't find red gel to use red tinted sunglass lenses instead.
Lenses (Sunglass version)
I found a pair of red round sunglasses today and I thought I would try to use them instead.
Take the lenses out of the sunglass frames and lay the lense on a table making sure the curve of the concave is upright. Cover the front and back of the lenses with painters tape to protect the lense. Use the old gel lense as a template and trace the shape onto the tape.
Using a disk sander slowly shape the lense. Test the fit of the lenses until you are satisfied with how they look. Remove the tape and glue the lenses in with E6000, making sure to keep the glue off the visible part of the lense.
*** I prefer the sunglass version. They are brighter and clearer.
Step 9: The Finished Product
Once the lenses are in, your Star-Lord helmet is complete!
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