Multipart helmet question

Hey all!

I'm new to the site and school, and burning through some sculpture tutorials while waiting for a bunch of supplies I've ordered to come in.

One of the things high on my to-make list is a helmet. It's part of a design experiment I'm doing to reimagine the Stormtrooper armour, and I'd really like to get a helmet in multiple hinges, with a faceplate that hinges up. Visually it won't look like the Iron Man helmet, but as a reference, a similar "helmet in multiple pieces" kind of thing. So my question is this:

What's a good way to sculpt a helmet that will be in multiple (2, probably, but maybe 3) pieces? Should I sculpt them separately and then hope they come together? Sculpt in one single piece and cut it up? My intent is to mould the pieces, if that helps. 



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    Have you thought about fabricating the helmet rather than sculpting it?  If you want multiple copies it may not be your best option, but if your design & application would be compatible with fabrication that may be your best bet.

    Fon Davis just did a fantastic webinar on helmet fabrication using vacuum forming, including instructions on making your own vacuum forming machine.  SWS is working on getting past webinars available for video on demand, so you may want to keep an eye out for that one.

    Otherwise, depending on the design, I would sculpt/fabricate each individual piece that you want to articulate.  You could sculpt the helmet as a single piece, then break the sculpt down into individual components, refine their edges after cutting it apart, then individually mold and cast them.

    But many of these methods depend highly on both your design and how you plan on articulating everything.


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    Hey Chris,

    Thanks for the response! I'm wanting to sculpt it because I want to get more into sculpture, so I figured that would be a fun challenge. I don't know if I knew about the helmet fabrication webinar, I'll definitely keep an eye out for it!

    It seems like the best solutions would either be to sculpt, cut apart, cast and tweak, or sculpt the first piece by itself, then cast it and sculpt the next piece on top of it.

    This is the (still somewhat in progress) helmet design, which is part of a Stormtrooper reimagining I'm working on as a design experiment. The idea is to have the chin and side be one piece, and the top be a secondary piece that hinges upward. 

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    Nothing wrong with choosing a construction method just because you want to hone that skill set!  No better way to learn a material/process than to have a project to try it out on.

    Clean mechanical structures can be a real challenge with clay.  It's super hard to get a perfectly level/smooth/even surface.  Here's one construction process that may work for you.
    1. Sculpt the entire helmet as one piece.
    2. Cut the sculpt up into individual components.
    3. Make molds of each piece.
    4. Cast all the individual pieces in resin.
    5. Bondo & sand those pieces to get perfectly smooth surfaces and straight lines.  (Any defects can be turned into battle damage)
    6. Use those as your final pieces or mold/cast them again for the final helmet(s).
    That process combines sculpting with the normal bondo/sanding steps that come with most fabrication.

    Fon's webinar covers a different fabrication process (no clay sculpting), but it's a process that really lends its self to your design.  Especially as the original Storm Trooper helmets (a design he covers) were also vacuum formed.

    Your design looks pretty darn cool, and I hope you can share some progress photos and the finished work here!

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    Thanks for the feedback, Chris. It's appreciated! And I'll definitely be inundating with progress photos. :)
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    Have you watched Bruce Mitchell's videos? His method would allow you to sculpt the helment without the need to mold and cast parts. I don't know how heavy a full helmet in Magic Sculpt would be but it might work.
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    You mean the "How to Make a Mask" tutorial? No, I haven't seen that one yet. So many to watch!
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    Have you considered sculpting your helmet out of a foam block?
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