For a long time, I've been interested in making custom costume pieces myself. I've been following Bill Doran over at punishedprops.com for awhile now and his work has inspired me to create my own work. From college, I have some experience working with fiberglass and now that we've moved into this larger home I have a workshop area where I could work on said projects. However, right now this space is packed full of boxes and I don't have the money to invest in the equipment and materials.
Yet, the other week, Bill mentioned something about "Pepakura" and it got me investigating. Basically, pepakura is a program that allows you to take 3D models and "unfolds" them into paper sheets. Then, you can print out the sheets and recreate the model as a papercraft object. I figured I could use it to do some experimenting cheaply until I can move on to more complicated projects. My first project -- Iron Man! Or should I say, Iron Man's helmet. I'm using a pre-made Pepakura project by someone who goes as "Robo3687" online, so thanks go to him for the awesome detail that's been put into the Iron Man model. Here's what the helmet looks like thus far:
Here is what I have done so far. Only a little ways in, having printed out the helmet plans, cut out some of the pieces and assembled them using hot glue. Already I've learned some valuable lessons:
1) Hot glue is definitely hot, and yet not hot for very long - I've had to bite my tongue and work to get the pieces together quickly, as the hot glue will cool off very quickly if I do not put the pieces together quick enough. Either that, or I have to work small parts at a time so that I give myself plenty of time (this is hard to do on some of the larger pieces though)
2) It's not going to fit my head - I half expected this, as I just printed the page without looking at the sizing, but just from the sides and back work I've done, it's going to be too small. After I printed out the pieces, I found a formula on how to judge sizes, so anyone else looking into Pepakura I suggest you do some research on how to size it properly. Also, if you are using a pre-made model, make sure the pieces are scaled onto the sheets correctly - mine was set for A4 paper and it shrunk when I printed it on Letter size paper, yet if I had set it for Letter size in the Pepakura program, I could have moved the pieces around so that they would not have been resized.
I've still got a long ways to go, and when I finish it should be a cool backdrop piece for the studio. Eventually, I'd like to have a full Iron Man armor that I could dress up in for Comic-Cons and the like, so I look forward to the day I can improve upon these techniques.
Do you have any suggestions? I gladly will take any ideas that can improve the helmet.