Following the fall of the Galactic Empire in Star Wars ‘Return of the Jedi’, the First order was born with the same intent to rule the galaxy and put an end to the Jedi order once and for all. The army of the First Order was made up of children that were taken at birth and trained as soldiers; these became the First Order Stormtroopers. With reference to their predecessors of the Empire, the Stormtroopers wear all white armour, one of the most iconic parts of the First Order Stormtrooper suit is the Helmet. This makes it a perfect build to celebrate the release of the newest trilogy, starting with ‘The Force Awakens’.
Build casting video: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=f9iuQB5nRr0&t
First Order Stormtrooper helmet build:
Pepakura File – Online
Card stock paper – Craft Store
Builders Bog or any body filler – Bunnings
Patterned plastic sheets – Bunnings
Liquid rubber silicon – Craft store/ online
Plaster of Paris – Bunnings
Polyurethane Resin – Online
Transparent black acrylic sheets – Online/ Bunnings
Sand paper of various grits – Bunnings
Black acrylic paint – Craft store
Grey primer spray paint– Bunnings
Gloss white spray paint – Bunnings
Gloss clear coat spray paint – Bunnings
Creating the helmet shape:
- Download the Pepakura files from online from sites such as therpf.com and open files in a Pepakura viewer program, such as Pepakura viewer 3.
- Print out the files onto thin card stock paper, as long as it is thicker than regular paper it should be fine. Regular paper may not be durable enough to use for this process. Then cut out the shapes systematically.
- Using the files in the Pepakura viewer, assemble the pieces into the shape of the helmet as seen in Fig 1.
Fig 1: Pepakura assembly of the helmet
- Once completed, mix up the body filler accordingly to the instructions. Working in small amounts as the filler dries quickly, cover the entire helmet and allow the filler to cure and harden.
- When the filler is completely hard, sculpt the shape of the helmet using a dremel tool or sand paper. Continue to use body filler in higher spots and finalise the shape of the helmet. The helmet will look like Fig 2.
Fig 2: Body filler application to finalise shape
- The helmet may have scratches due to sanding, in order to remove these scratches, cover the helmet in filler primer paint. The paint will fill in the small scratches and allow you to re-sand the helmet, by doing this you fill in the small scratches and smooth out the helmet, as seen in Fig 3.
Fig 3: Primer and body filler application
- Continue to use filler primer and body filler if needed until you are happy with the final shape and smoothness. The best results are seen when using a high grit sand paper to smooth out the surface.
- The top surface on the helmet has clips, as seen in Fig 4, you can make these out of whatever you want, I used plastic sheets and cut them into the desired shapes and glued them to the top of the helmet.
Fig 4: Clips on top of helmet
Creating the master mold:
- Once you are happy with the surface and shape of your helmet, it’s time to start making the mold that you will cast helmets from. Firstly, block up the holes in the visor and create an extra rim on the bottom of the helmet, this allows for proper casting of the edges.
- Using liquid silicon rubber, coat the entire helmet and rim. Continue to build up even layers over the helmet until the silicon is thick enough to hold its shape as seen in Fig 5. I would recommend using around 3L of silicon for a helmet of this size.
Fig 5: Silicon covering on helmet
- Once there is sufficient silicon covering on the helmet, its time to create the hard outer jacket to help keep the shape during casting.
- Using Plaster of Paris, cover one half of the helmet (split vertically) as seen in Fig 6. This layer should be around 1cm thick across the entire helmet.
Fig 6: Plaster of Paris hard outer jacket
- Once the Plaster of Paris dry, flip the helmet over and place a strip of aluminium foil along the seam that will connect the two sides of the plaster, this will prevent them from sticking to each other.
- Cover the remaining side with an even coat of plaster and leave it to dry.
- Once the plaster is dry, remove the two halves and carefully remove the helmet from the silicon as seen in fig 7.
Fig 7: Removal of the original helmet from the silicon
- The plaster halves can now be places back together and cable tied so they don’t move, the silicon mold is then placed inside the mold in the correct position.
Casting the helmet:
For a video on how to cast the helmet,
- When the mold is assembled with the plaster outer jacket and the silicon mold is in the correct place, casting can begin.
- Using the instructions on the bottles for the Polyurethane resin, mix a small amount of resin in disposable cups with a mixing stick. Once the resin is thoroughly mixed, pour it into the mold. Rotate the helmet to move the resin around, working in sections to get a good first coating. The resin will become more viscous as it dries and then will turn white when dry.
- Continue to add resin layers over the entire inside of the helmet, ensuring that no parts of the helmet are missed and that it is as even as possible.
- This helmet used around 1L of resin to make a solid helmet; you could use less if you wanted a cheaper helmet or more if you wanted a really thick helmet.
- Once you have put all of the resin into the helmet, leave it to cure for at least one day so the resin fully hardens
- To remove the cast of the helmet, disassemble the plaster jacket like before and carefully remove the silicon mold.
- The cast may not be as good as the original helmet as it casting sometimes creates high and low spots, these will be fixed in the next section.
- The mold can be used many times to create casting as long as it is kept in good condition and cleaned before use
Cleaning up the casting:
As the helmet comes out of a casting it has rough edges and requires clean up
- Clean up edges around the rim of the helmet using scissors and sand paper
- Clean up the edges around the front microphone piece
Filling in imperfections on helmet:
In the casting process the helmet will create low spots around the larger surfaces hand especially on the rim of the helmet, this need to be filled in and sanded smooth to create a uniform surface.
- Use Builders bog to fill in the low areas of the helmet, these will be mostly on the back/top/rim of the helmet. Mix the bog with the catalyst as per instructions and fill in low spots. As seen in Fig 8. (Use a respirator or work outside when using builders bog as it has toxic fumes)
Fig 8: Filling in low spots
- Allow for bog to dry and harden, then sand the surface down as smooth as possible. Repeat 1&2 as many times to ensure that entire helmet is smooth and uniform (this takes a lot of work)
- At some points there is extra resin where an air bubble has formed, these can be sanded down with sand paper or a dremel tool. Be careful not to go through the helmet and create a hole. If that does happen, use builders bog to patch the hole and add extra on the inside to strengthen it. Builders bog is strong if covering small holes but remember that it will not be as strong as the resin, so avoid needing to cover large holes.
- A tip to get the best possible finish is to use a paint primer (not white in colour as it will be hard to see differences) and spray this over the areas that have scratch marks or other small marks. Once the primer is dry, sand down the primer, leaving it in the grooves and essentially smoothing out the surface. Primer is also good at showing you where the imperfections are located. Take time with this step of smoothing and levelling out the helmet as any imperfections will be easily noticed when the final painting is done. Final sanding should be done with a very high grit sand paper, as it gives the best finish.
Attaching a textured grill:
The next step involves creating the insert in the grill that gives texture to the black mouth area.
- Place masking tape on the helmet over the area that the grill will cover as shown in Fig 9, highlighted in red. Trace and cut desired shape out of the masking tape and transfer onto the black textured plastic sheet. At the end it will look like Fig 9. This may take a few attempts to get the perfect shape; extra plastic has been added to the kit to allow for multiple attempts. Keep any leftover plastic as it will be used later on.
Fig 9: Grill insert
- Test fit the grill insert to make sure it fits and covers the required area, which is designated by the sunken section of the helmet. Once happy, glue with super glue or hot glue into place as seen in Fig 10.
Fig 10: Grill glued into helmet
Final prep before painting:
- Before painting use a drill or dremel tool to cut out the air vents on the cheek of the helmet. Follow the existing guide holes and drill all the way through the helmet, this gives depth to the vents as seen in Fig 11. Once the holes are drilled, use a knife or files to clean up the edges and make crisp rectangle vents.
Fig 11: Air vents added to helmet
- Using a similar method to the air vents, remove the visor area as seen in Fig12. Use sand paper to leave the outside of the cut clean and smooth.
The steps involved in painting follow the sequence of:
- Primer -> Base coat white (Fig 12) -> Hand paint black areas (Fig 13) ->Painting of microphone piece (Fig 14) -> Clear coat entire helmet
Fig 12: White base coat over entire helmet
Fig 13: Application of black paint over required areas
Fig 14: Microphone with base primer, to be painted silver
- Following the application of the black paint by hand, apply several layers of clear coat to protect the paint and give it a gloss shine.
- Using a piece of paper, trace out the exact shape of the visor by placing the paper inside the helmet and tracing through the front of the visor
- Apply this shape to the plastic for the visor, and add ~5mm around the perimeter to allow it to be attached to the helmet.
- Cut this shape out and use a source of heat (oven, heat gun) to heat the plastic up to become slightly bendable and shape it to the inside of the helmet. It should now fit smoothly against the cut out for the visor, repeat heating and forming until it fits.
Putting it all together:
- Glue the microphone into the well in the helmet. The microphone has a specific orientation as demonstrated in Fig 15. The extra detail on the microphone faces the top right side if looking straight on to the helmet.
Fig 15: Orientation of microphone
- Glue in the visor by applying hot glue or other glue around the perimeter of the visor, in the extra 5mm added when cutting out. Avoid getting any glue on the visor as it will obstruct your view.
- Cut a small rectangle piece from the same material used to make the grill insert and glue it on the inside of the helmet so that it covers the air vent holes.
You have successfully made your own Stormtrooper helmet, from this point on you can do any modifications you would like. That could be adding padding inside the helmet to improve comfort. Other ideas could be adding more detailed paint by weathering the helmet or adding in movie details as seen in Fig 16.
Fig 16: Finns movie helmet with weathering and blood stain