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zaterdag 7 september 2013

The Dwarven Helmet, part 1

My dwarf costume wouldn't be complete without a helmet, of course. I wanted to make a basic shape out of paper maché, and add more features to it using the styrofoam and acrylic resin technique I used for my hammer. My inspiration was Gimli's helmet in Lord Of The Rings. In fact, my helmet will be more or less the same.

The basic shape
I wanted to use paper maché and a balloon for the basic shape. I have used this technique in the past for creating masks. You take a balloon, inflate it to the right size and glue strips of paper maché over it. Next, you pop the balloon and you have a sturdy cardboard object.
It didn't really work this time, though. I don't know it was the quality of the balloon I used, or the fact that it was insanely hot the day I did this, but after only one day the balloon was almost deflated! Usually, a balloon keeps its size for at least three or four days. Of course, because the glue was still wet, the shape was ruined. I realized this wouldn't work this time.
Luckily, I found a perfect alternative. In fact, this was a million times better: a steel mixing bowl! I had it lying around in my kitchen, and it turned out to be the perfect size for a helmet. The only thing I had to do was warp it a little bit into an oval shape so it would fit nicely.

Building up the helmet
So I had the perfect helmet base. Next up: cutting some styrofoam! I used my hotwire cutter and boxcutter for cutting various shapes and I glued them to the bowl with liquid nails. Great stuff, this will stick to just about everything! After that, I filled up all gaps with paper clay. Very easy to make, just soak shredded newspaper in water, blend it into a fine mush, squeeze out excess water and mix with wallpaper glue. I also add some salt so mold won't grow in it.

Next step: coating it with acrylic resin! This time it worked a lot better since I have some experience with it. I coated eveything, including the steel. Two layers were sufficient, and it didn't need sanding.

The outer parts were painted the same way I painted the hammer. A gray base color, shading with thin coats of black and white, and a final silver finish. The inner part - the steel bowl - is painted brown to resemble leather. This was a bit more difficult. I started with a uniform brown base color, and while still wet, I added some darker spots. Once dry, I used the sponge drybrush technique again to apply several layers of shading to achieve a nice finish.

The next step is adding the earpieces and neck protection. But that's for another post!

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