It started when a fella on Facebook put out a request for a Rocketeer helmet and a mutual friend, Lauraly, commented to him that I could definitely make one. I appriciated her confidence, but I had never made a Rocketeer helmet. Without contacting either of them I decided to give it a go… it’s just that
sometimes my projects don’t work out my projects work out a lot more often that I do.
Having found a papercraft pattern of the Rocketeer helmet on the interweb, it was a simple matter of printing out pages on my home printer to be cut out and assembled. It was similar in process to how I made the first Wall-E (that’s right I said FIRST, there’s been… a 2nd). Once I got the proper size printed out, I traced it to cereal box cardboard and slowly pieced it together with tape and glue. The shape of it was spot-on but the cereal box cardboard was just a little too flimsy. Otherwise, I’d totally recommend cereal box cardboard (maybe combined with fiberglass)!
That’s about the time I told Marc PaperScissors, the fella on Facebook, that I was fairly confident I could make him a helmet. He gave me the green light for the commission. For Marc, I decided not to use cereal boxes. After going to the local art store and feeling-up on all their cardboard and paper, it was mattboard that seemed to be the perfect weight for Marc’s helmet.
Surprisingly, version 1 was such a solid design it required very little improvement. Version 2 is basically identical except for the piping on the sides. The piping is merely fishtank bubbler tubing that’s been sliced in half, glued-on and painted.
- more layers of polyacrylic clearcoat (5)
- reinforced glue
- bronze paint (instead of gold)
- reshaped the mouth slits
- and a small foam rectangle on the inside above the mouth slits (to keep it from scratching the tip of your nose)
All the detailing in the world wouldn’t complete this helmet without tinted lenses for the eye holes. I thought for sure I’d be able to find a toy…something, with a tinted visor I could pillage but that ended up being damn near impossible. I couldn’t even find a pair of those giant novelty sunglasses! Some research led me to discover that if you color transparent plastic with a Sharpie, you can still see through it. I tried it but the large lenses looked to streaky (like it had been colored with a Sharpie).
I ended up finding a translucent black spraypaint that worked like a charm! It’s main application seems to be for blacking out automobile lights… turns out it works just as well on transparent folder dividers, which is what the final lenses are made of.
…a leather chin strap (made from a watch band)…
…and a display stand!
This really was fun to make. Almost as fun as it was give to Marc…