So last time, I had a wire frame/foam/fabric structure. The next step was to layer and layer and layer paper mache, and smooth out the lines as much as possible. This had mixed success.
Using paper towel (it is thick enough to fill gaps, and super absorbent, holding the glue really well) and Modpodge (a type of craft glue/varnish thing). I would paint a layer of Modpodge, lay down a small piece of paper towel, and then paint a heavy layer of over top, letting it really soak in. After each layer, I had to let it dry for about 10 minutes before applying the next layer. I would work on it in spurts over a series of evenings, driving my husband mad. I had a shower curtain, the helmet, hot glue gun, paper towel, and Modpodge on the dining room table for about two months. (I’m sorry, honey! But I really needed to get this done!)
There is a ridge detail on the top of his helmet. By twisting small pieces of towel and gluing them into place I was able to recreate this. I then continued my flat layers overtop to smooth it in.
The horns were posing a bit of a problem. The helmet was now so front heavy, it fell forward into my eyes. I needed the fit to be loose enough that I could pull it on, but that extra room also gave it space to slide forward. My first attempt at this was to counterweight the back with sand. There is a large hollow at the back. Using craft sand (so I know there is no broken glass or other unsavoury things that can be found in the sand at a playground…) I mixed small amounts with some Modpodge to make a sandy glue. This, I “painted” into the hollow space, one layer at a time. Between layers, I would let the sand dry over night and then apply a layer of paper towel/glue to secure the sand in place. A few rounds of this, and the helmet was feeling a little more balanced, but it would still flop forward if I tilted my head down.
So, my problem was not yet solved. I tried attaching a strap so I could tighten it once the thing was in place on my head, but I couldn’t get my fingers in to tighten the buckle. And it still flopped around. Back to the drawing board…
While I was thinking up ways to keep the helmet from wiggling around, I continued on the exterior. An attempt at sanding the outside to a nice smooth finish ended in disappointment. Unfortunately, Modpodge remains fairly soft. It just gummed up my sandpaper. Instead, I just painted layer upon layer of Modpodge in the hopes that the thick fluid would fill in some of the pockmarked texture left by the paper towel. This has been working to some degree.
I spray painted it black so I could get a better sense of the texture. I tried sanding it again, but with the same gummy result. Oh well. On with the painting of Modpodge…
The journey continues. It is looking more and more impressive each time I work on it. Slowly, it is taking shape, and feeling better. I am trying to think of ways that I can excuse or hide the lumpy surface texture. There are a few details yet to engrave into the helmet, and those may help distract the eye from the uneven surface. We will see!
Onward! My goal is to have this presentable for a Steampunk themed photoshoot at the end of the July. While I don’t intend to wear it for the shoot (I have a Steampunk/Lolita/Loki outfit, and the helmet just doesn’t really work…) I would like to have it as a prop. This means it doesn’t need to fit perfectly, as long as the exterior looks decent. There are other costume pieces that I will need to have wearable, so those have been taking precedence over the helmet, and those I will cover here as time permits. The plan is to ultimately have this piece and the full movie-inspired outfit ready for action by mid-September, when we have our Comic Expo. I am squeeing in anticipation!