Wanting to buy a Stormtrooper helmet kit that was screen accurate, but didnt have alot of money to spend on it at the moment, I decided to buy a helmet kit from "Authentic Props" for half the original price as I then would get a flawed kit with thin spots in the plastic that I thought I could just fill up with bondo on the inside to strengthen it anyway.
Finally the package arrived, and I've opened the box to reveal the helmet parts on the inside, not knowing what to expect.
The first things I saw was a piece of white foam over a white helmet surrounded by alot of paper.
Moving away some paper reveals a big shiny white helmet inside the box, and it doesnt look bad at all considering I bought a flawed kit.
The woman on the paper even seems happy for me.
And there you have the back piece of the helmet, and its not looking bad at all.
The only thin spot on this was on the front of it where it will be glued onto the face plate anyway, so it doesnt matter at all, and doesnt need to be filled up with bondo either.
The back of it looks very good aswell and there are no thin spots to worry about there either.
Finally I get to pull the scary face of a Stormtrooper out of the box and it looking very good and shiny with no thin spots to worry about or fill with bondo, so my plan of filling it with bondo didnt come to use anyway.
The ear pieces for the helmet were really thick and offcourse didnt have any thin spots on them.
Also they had a convenient text on them, telling which side they should be mounted on.
Also in the box was a big bag O' stuff containing all the things needed for the helmet.
Inside the big bag O' stuff was two decal strips with curved dark blue stripes, a sheet of grey decals for the helmet, a smaller bag O' stuff, a sheet of green foil for the lenses, and two rubber trimmings for the brow and neck opening.
Inside the smaller bag O' stuff was two aerators made of sink parts, six white headed bolts for the ear pieces, ten nuts for various bolts, two washers, and two smaller bolts.
Now on to working on the face plate.
As you can see in this photo, the face plate needs some amount of trimming, such as trimming out the holes for the frown and lenses, along with drilling some holes and trimming the edges.
On the edges of the face plate above the tubes, a small amount of excess plastic had to be trimmed away, so I used a pair of scissors to cut the plastic away.
After cutting the excess plastic off, I sanded the edges smooth using sand-paper as this stuff was made for that kind of thing.
In this photo, you will see a line running down the side of the helmet back.
This line is there to show where you should cut away the excess plastic before bolting on the ear pieces.
Using a pair of scissors, I cut away the excess plastic, and this is what the helmet looked like after having done that.
Some holes suddenly appeared on my helmet.
I do not know why.
Having put a couple of bolts through the holes, I could see my helmet come together for the first time and its looking pretty cool.
The other holes on my helmet was made for the ear pieces, so I decided to trim them ready so that I could see what my helmet would look like with those on aswell.
Starting with the right ear piece, the first step was to cut away most of the excess plastic around it with a pair of scissors.
The next step was to grind away the rest of the excess plastic with a dremel multi tool.
After having removed all of the excess plastic, I sanded the edges smooth using some sandpaper and a piece of herring on a stick.
With a slope grinder, I grinded a slope.
The heads of the bolts used for the ear pieces are sloped you see.
Now the right ear piece is trimmed ready and fits into place.
My helmet can now hear things.
Now its time to start working on the left ear piece.
As before, I cut away most of the excess plastic with a pair of scissors.
Also I'm wondering why its called a pair of scissors when its only one.
The next step again is to grind away the rest of the excess plastic with a dremel tool or something very similar to a dremel tool.
If you ever wondered how far you should grind one of these, its down to the line you see right below where I had allready cut it.
Now the left ear piece is done and the edges have been sanded smooth and other such things.
Now the left ear piece fits onto the helmet aswell.
Here is a photo showing both the ear pieces when mounted.
Now its time to put some decals onto the helmet.
This sheet contains four decals for the back and front of the helmet along with three decals for the face plate, one being a decal for the frown, but as I wanted to paint the frown, I didnt apply it.
The decal for the back of the helmet was made the way that you had to apply it from the top and cut away the excess part of it on the bottom of it, other than being a complete decal made to fit right inside where it should be.
Now I've cut away the excess part of the decal.
What I stated before that these decals are not complete, is that they lack the bottom stripe on the edge of them, so now I've applied masking tape around it to make the stripe myself.
Some painting later and the decals look like they should.
Here is a composite photo of both the front helmet decals.
There's no work needed for these as the bottoms of them will be covered by the brow trim anyway.
Before adding the decals on the face plate, I decided to grind open the holes for the frown and lenses first so that I wouldnt mess up the decals in any way if doing this after applying them.
As there are two different Stormtrooper helmets, one being a "Hero" helmet having three open holes on either side of the frown, and a "Stunt" helmet with four or more, I chose to grind open all five holes on either side as my helmet is to become a "Stunt" helmet.
The way I opened the holes for the frown was to use a dremel tool to grind away the back side of them until they opened.
This method will give a nice clean line around the opening and the holes will be shaped exactly the way they should be, so I also used this method to make the holes for the lenses.
After grinding away the plastic behind the excess piece inside of the lense hole, the excess piece simply dropped out of it, and the lense hole will have the exact shape as it was meant to have.
Here is a photo showing all of the holes made in this helmet after sanding.
Behold the unsymmetrical glory of a prop replica helmet from a low-budget 1970's movie.
Now I can start adding the decals for the face plate.
These are the decals for the face plate tubes.
Each strip has thirteen dark blue curved stripes on them and are the decals that are most likely to get messed up when applying.
The stripe decals are all individually placed on a sticky white strip with a less sticky surface than the decals so that they wont fall out of order when the strip underneath them is pealed away, and so that the strip over them will peal away after the decals are applied.
After the decal stripes were applied, I used the round back of a screwdriver handle to press down the decals securely.
As the strip used to hold the decals in order had a less sticky glue on it than the decals, it pealed right off without tearing off any of them.
Now the face plate has decals on the other side aswell and they all worked out very well.
As I didnt have any paint for the frown yet, I decided to start working on the brow trim.
As I wanted a somewhat high brow as seen on the "Stunt" helmets, I cut away a small amount of the helmet fronts bottom.
To prevent the brow trim from falling out of place, I cut a slot on each side of the helmet where the edge of the brow trim will be placed later on.
Now the brow trim is in place but not yet glued on because of the helmet having a different shape without the face plate screwed on.
Here is a photo showing the helmet put together with the brow trim.
At last I got some paint for the frown and I've masked off the areas around it.
I decided to use a can of enamel paint and a paintbrush to apply it, rather than using spray paint as I wanted it to look just as crappy as the screen used helmets.
I also decided to hand paint the chin of the helmet as its easier to paint the edges round with a paintbrush rather than trying to mask the edges round with tape and spray paint it.
Also this way I would get it just as lumpy and unsymmetrical as the real helmets were.
The way I made the round edges using enamel paint was to use a long haired paintbrush with a drop of paint at the front.
When I put the brush onto the chin piece, the paint would flow into a perfect circle.
Here is a photo showing both the finished frown and the chin piece.
The ear pieces will also be painted with the same enamel paint.
Here you can see that I've masked off the areas around the piece that will be painted.
The ear piece was painted obviously.
The left ear piece was also painted.
After the grey paint had dried, I painted on the black details such as the stripe around the edge of them and the other black stripe on the top side.
Instead of just gluing on the green lense foil on the inside of the helmet, I wanted to make my own lenses that will be removable and look the same as the lenses seen in the Stormtrooper helmet from the "Star Wars Visual Dictionary" book.
The first step was to trace out the lense hole shapes onto a piece of paper.
The second step was to draw a line around the shapes of the lense openings one centimeter away as I will be adding a one centimeter wide foam lining ontop of each lense.
The third step was to cut the shapes out of the paper sheet and cut the lense hole shapes out of them so that I could use both templates to make a universal Stormtrooper lense that will fit on both sides and look much better than having unsymmetrical lense holes on the inside.
Using both the templates, I traced around them to create another template for the "Universal Stormtrooper lense 2000".
Here I've traced around the template onto a piece of dark grey foam that will be used for the lining.
Using a sharp knife, I cut the shape out of the foam.
Using that same sharp knife again, I cut the foam in half to make foam lining for both the lenses and trimmed the edges with a pair of scissors.
Using the template once again, I traced around it ontop of a sheet of clear plexi-glass.
Using a cutting wheel on a dremel tool, I cut the shapes out.
Now I've used a grinder to remove the excess plexi-glass and sand paper to get the edges smooth.
Behold the Stormtrooper lense 2000.
To get the lenses to the same curve as the inside of the helmet, I used a hot-air gun to heat up the plexi-glass and bend it over a curved sand paper holder.
After having bent the lense, I ran towards my bathroom sink to cool it down under cold water so that the lense would hold its shape.
The same thing was done to the other lense and they both worked out very well without any deformations or over-heating.
To mount the lenses, I used these six parts as seen in the photo next to this text.
I dont know what they are or what they are called, so you probably shouldnt ask.
In order to screw the lenses into these parts, I had to make threads through them with a tool made to make threads.
Here I've grinded down the back of the parts to fit inside the helmet where they will be glued on.
Here you can see the first part glued into place.
Now all six parts are glued into place and looking very cool.
Here you can see the lense placed over the parts.
With a marker, I made three dots on each lense where the screw holes will be made.
After the holes were drilled, I screwed the lenses onto the parts to see what it all looked like and it worked out very well.
Because of my plan to make removable lenses, I used double sided tissue tape to hold the foam inplace, not having any over the screw holes so that I could simply lift the foam up to remove or tighten the screws under it.
Also since I used tape instead of glue, I can also replace the foam lining if ever needed.
Here is a photo showing the screw hole under the foam when lifted.
Here is a photo showing the foam covered lenses screwed into place.
The green lense foil supplied in the helmet kit is meant to be taped onto the inside of the helmet using the double sided tape that is allready on it, but as I wanted to make removable lenses with four replacable foil lenses on the inside, I had to remove the double sided tape to get enough foil to make four green lenses.
Here are the four green foil lenses that I cut out using the lense template that I made earlier.
Trying to drill through the foil would probably not work, so I used a hole making tool to make three holes through all the four lenses at the same time instead.
Here is a photo showing the green foil lenses infront of the plexi-glass lenses.
The green lense foil supplied in the helmet kit is very light in color and not sufficient enough as lenses as you can easily see the wearers eyes on the inside of the helmet, so I will have to darken the plexi-glass lenses using a special foil made for this purpose.
Here you can see the darkening foil next to the plexi-glass lenses.
To apply it, I had to spray water on the lenses with a small spray bottle and push the foil upwards with my fingers.
Here is a photo of a plexi-glass lense with the foil applied.
Allthough the photo makes it appear asif the lense is pitch black, its more like a lense from a pair of sunglasses in reality.
And here is a photo showing both the lenses with the foil screwed into place.
After adding the darkening foil, the green lenses looked much better and had a shiny metallic look to them and now noone can see my eyes through the lenses anymore.
For the frown I used a white mesh with circled holes through it that will be painted black.
The first step was to roughly cut the mesh to the shape of the frown.
After bending the mesh into the right curves, I used a marker to trace where the frown is.
Now I've cut the shape out and the white paint has been sanded off.
After having spray painted the mesh black, I glued it into place using a hot-glue gun.
Here is an inside view of the mesh after getting glued into place, trying to get it as clean as possible.
The final parts to add to the face plate are the aerators, but as they are just made out of sink parts with black tape around them, I wanted to modify them to look the most like the screen used aerators as possible.
Taking the black tape off reveals a chrome colored sink part with a piece of cable conduit screwed into the back of it.
Taking the whole thing apart gives you a piece of black tape, a chromed sink spout, three ribs from a cable conduit, a rubber gasket, a small piece of mesh, two white plastic parts, one bolt, two nuts, and a washer.
Soon I will convert some of these parts to look the most like the real "Hovi Mix" aerators that were used in the movies.
The first step was to grind away the threads around the back of it to get it smooth.
To fill in the remaining grooves, I applied bondo around the area where the threads had been.
Some sanding later and the part looked pretty much like this.