In a dramatic departure from our Durarara-centric portfolio, my next project comes from Code Geass: Lelouch of the Rebellion (R1). It’s Lelouch’s helmet that he wears as Zero. This will be the R1 version, not the R2 version. In R2 the shape of the crown of spikes changes slightly, but I’ll stick to the original.
Like Celty’s helmet in Durarara, the animators for Code Geass have absolutely no consistency on the details of the helmet’s shape. The length and shape of the spikes changes, sure, but the biggest problem is the round viewport on the front. It varies significantly from shot to shot, ranging from a tiny spot on the front of the helmet to the entire face. It also shifts from a fairly scrunched oval to a perfect circle. For my purposes I’ve selected an oval shape that takes up most of the face. This will allow for greater visibility and the possibility of electronic effects in the future.
Like some sort of strange game show, this project comes with an extra challenge condition: I’m in Japan and only speak a tiny bit of Japanese. I have access to some of the same materials, some that are very similar, and some that are totally different. If a product is nearly the same, I’ll just call it by the name of its US equivalent. Holts Cataloy Paste, for instance, comes in large Bondo-style cans here, and it’ll be filling in for Bondo. Milliput and Tamiya Epoxy Putty will fill in for Apoxie Sculpt when necessary, although neither of them feather nearly as well (although the Tamiya Quick Type gets close). Incidentally, Tamiya Quick Type does what it says on the tin. You only have a couple of minutes of real working time once you mix A and B.
I started with a hard hat from the local hardware store and stripped it down. Next I marked it up and cut it into several pieces. The helmet itself has three segments on a common pivot, so the piece removed from the front to make way for the eyes will become the helmet segment for the back of the head. I would later remove a few inches of unnecessary forehead plastic from the skullcap as well.
Using some scraps of cardboard, I extended the bottom of the large piece of helmet to support the rest of the skull-cap. once it was glued in place, I coated it with Bondo, sanded it down, and edged it with Tamiya putty. The surface is still slightly rough, but since I’ve still got to put some holes in it for the pivot, I don’t want to do too much smoothing now only to muck it up later.
Next came the fun part: the faceplate. I built it up using cardboard backed with armature wire to give me more control of the exact shape as it went along. I “drafted” it with masking tape, which I gradually replaced with hotglue as I finalized my shapes. As it grew, It spent a while looking like I was making a Big Daddy helmet instead.
After I had the shape right everything glued into place, I cut out a rough shape of the viewport (to be refined later) and started coating the cardboard with Bondo, refining the shape a bit with knife and rotary tool as I went along.
Bondo gave way to sanding, primer, spot filling, and little bits of epoxy paste to refine the edges. I found a great primer at Tokyu Hands in Osaka, and I’ll be using it from time to time to get a better sense of where my pits and shape inconsistencies are.
To make the bubble visor (a test version seen above and below), I assembled a vacuum plastic forming station following this instructable. Instead of a full-sized oven, I have a 30 x 30cm oven/microwave combo unit that is just big enough to heat the plastic I need to make the visor. I’ve experimented with both polypropylene and PET plastics available at the local hardware store.
I heat the plastic in the oven and then use the vacuum to pull it down over the sliced-off top of another hardhat. My best pulls so far are with opaque white and smoke tinted PP, but I’m still learning and hope to do a good pull in clear plastic soon. The PET may be better for the job but the PP is about 1/3 the price. At any rate, now that I have a good test pull, I can get back to refining the faceplate’s shape. I needed the visor in order to shape the aperture.
I used Apoxie Sculpt to further refine the shape. I also stuck a few globs on the inside edge of the skullcap to keep the plastic from bending too far and cracking the bondo.
Upon further examination, the ear spikes stay way too close to the head. I thickened them up on the outside with Apoxie Sculpt and then cut/ground away the cardboard, milliput, and bondo from the inside area.
Meanwhile, I began adding finishing touches to the skullcap with Apoxie Sculpt. A little bit of a ridge (to be reduced and evened with sandpaper) and a faux seam down the center of the helmet will give it a bit of character and make it look less like a cheap hardhat. The seam shows up in some but not all images in the show. Sanding, filling, sanding, filling on the skullcap. Ready to make the mold.
In order to give some definition to the front of the faceplate, I added a subtle ridge with Apoxie Sculpt and then smoothed it out with spot putty and a good bit of sanding.
I cut out the geass-shaped crest for the chin area from paper, and after I was happy with the shape and size, I traced it onto sheet styrene and glued the plastic shape to the front of the faceplate. I bridged the gap between the two halves with Apoxie Sculpt.
Once I was reasonably happy with the surface, I gave it another layer of primer and wet sanded it from 400 to 2000 grit, topping it off with turtle wax.