Hey look, its another reeeeeaaaally long gap between two blog posts. Ho hum… One of the projects I’ve been working on I had hoped to get finished by this weekend as it sees the release of X-Men: Days of future past and I was hoping to tie in a bit. Yet in my own typical fashion, I’m late to the party. So while the rain is coming down (yup, its another bank holiday) I can’t get outside to paint so instead I’m doing admin and catching up on some other bits n bobs.
This little item is what I’ve been trying to finish. Based on a mashup of the X-Men: First Class helmet and the more flamboyant comic one, I started building this as a test that got carried away. I’ve been itching to try out Pepakura for years now but its PC based so had to make do with grabbing time on other peoples computers when possible. Not the best way. But around the end of April I suddenly woke up in the middle of the night with Wineskin in my head (yeah I actually do things like that). Wineskin is an OSX app which runs PC software in a wrapper and I’ve used it in the past to run things like Star Trek: Elite Forces and I don’t know why I didn’t think of it sooner. Pepakura, for those not in the know, is a paper folding app that gobbles up 3d files and spits them out as printouts you cut up and glue together to make things. The prop industry has been using it for a while to kick off projects and I figured it was time for me to have a go.
A quick hunt online got me a few different versions of Magneto’s helmet and using the free version of Pepakura (viewer) I tried a few out. I chopped and changed around some of the details and set to making my own with the intention of not actually finishing it.
So one fine Saturday morning I sat in the cellar hacking up paper and gluing it together.
I then layered fibreglass into it, along with some matting, some more resin and then started to coat the whole thing in car body filler. You know, theres something bad ass about putting a big helmet on, even when its not finished. I can’t see beyond the end of my nose without the glasses on but I feel awesome.
Layers of filler, paint, lots of sanding (thankfully the rain washed the dust away from the garden) and more paint followed by erm… oh yeah… sanding.
I kept coming across weak spots from the first slushing so a lot of time was spent gouging out these parts and filling then getting back in the garden to sand.
I had some paper templates to measure around the edge and to get the raised lip I blocked out the negative space with plasticine and then mixed up some Rondo to brush in. For those not in the know, Rondo is a mix of car body filler and fibreglass resin and takes its name from Bondo (a brand of car body filler) + resin. A word of warning, this stuff stinks. It takes two of the most evil smelling products on the planet and merges the stench. Even with a mask on it was vile. On the plus side, it brushes in nicely and flows well.
Once the raised edge was in place I just removed the plasticine and sanded/carved it neater. A little tip that I came up with, my plasticine was rock solid and rather than spend ages kneading it, I popped it into a plastic bag then sunk it into hot water. The plasticine softened up nicely and was easy to press into place.
I spent ages carefully examining the surface for marks and pin holes but sometimes just running your hands over it… lovingly… caressing every surface… ahem… helps you to find things that are not quite right. I managed to find a couple of minor dimples which couldn’t obviously be seen.
The crest is sculpted from milliput and then drilled and pinned to the head. I’ve got the paint ready for the final colouring but sadly its not ready in time for me to wear to the premiere of Days of future past unless I time travel like in the story. Of course this isn’t a bad thing as I wouldn’t be able to see or hear anything while wearing it.
Huzzah! She’s done. I’m in the process of cleaning her up and should be ready to mould later in May (not much time left is there?)
She’s gone through around three different bodies and I’ve lost track of the number of heads she’s had. Around her base she has a cauldron, a boar (Hildisvíni) and two cats (more like Lynx’s than puddy tats), she wears a cloak of falcon feathers and a necklace (Brísingamen) and she has a large drinking horn in her hands.
These seals are going like hot cakes. So far I’ve done versions for bookmarks, fridges, computers, LARPing and even a badge which was actually quite hard to get the pin into place after the resin has set.