The past few months were pretty busy and January was no different. I spent more than a few weekends and evenings working on my newest project - making a Mandalorian helmet out of EVA foam. I have enjoyed watching others on YouTube make cosplay props for years now, including Adam Savage on Tested, Punished Props Academy and Kamui Cosplay - just to name a few. Until now, I had never really gotten involved in making cosplay/prop making and this was all entirely new territory - as I have much more of a background in electronics and software. I had recently gotten a rotary (Dremel) tool for a present, so working on this project was a perfect way to try it out. When I saw that Punished Props had given out a free pattern for making this helmet, I went for it!
There were so many tools and materials I had never used in this build. To keep it simple, check out the video from Punished Props for a better idea of what Bill used in his version. I decided to go 1:1 and tried to get as many similar materials as possible so that I was able to try out all the parts of the process. I got a whole bunch of tools/paints/materials from a local art shop, hardware store and amazon for the harder to find items.
Making the Helmet
For the sake of brevity, I won’t go through every small detail of the build, but will give a bit of an overview of what I ended up doing. The video above has a much better description of all of the work involved. Here is quick list of what I ended up doing:
- Print/cut/trace patterns onto EVA foam
- Figure out how to make a DIY router for cutting 45 degree pieces
- Connect pieces of foam with contact cement
- Smooth seams and hard edges with rotary tool
- Fill seams and bumpy sections with caulk, sand after dried
- With a lot of patience, repeat 3x:
- Prime helmet
- Coat in epoxy and sand down
- Fill bumps and smooth with automotive body filler
- Sand things down
- Put on a base coat of black acrylic paint
- Dry brush on a silver acrylic paint to start making it look more metallic
- Rub graphite powder (normally used as a dry lubricant) on the entire helmet to really make it look metallic
- Learn how to use an airbrush… then
- Airbrush 2 coats of lacquer to protect the graphite powder
- Airbrush on the Mandalorian Crest onto the top
- Airbrush on green highlights to the front cheek portion of the helmet
- Apply weathering to the entire helmet using oil paints as well as airbrushing some dark tones to certain parts of the helmet
- 2x application of a gloss top coat
- Add foam pads inside helmet for comfort and fitting
Wrapping Things Up
Wow, that was a lot more work than I realized now that I write it down! It was a ton of fun to work with EVA - an incredibly versatile material. I learned so much in the process, including how to use a rotary tool, use an airbrush, numerous painting techniques, sanding is REALLY boring but incredibly important - to name just a few. My favorite part was definitely the airbrush - it was such a different way to paint and I loved how smooth of a coat of paint could be applied compared to a normal brush.
I have added a final video as well as a ton of pictures below to take a look at the process, enjoy!