purchased a $45 TIE Fighter Pilot Helmet from Sean Dudley; it
was the recently released version that looks like the Don Post
first action I took was to remove the small bubble set of lenses
that come standard on the helmet. The view is much too limited.
I purchased a great set of bubbled lenses like what came with
my Stormtrooper armor, again from Sean :)
a very sharp pocket knife or hobby knife, be extremely careful
please and trim away the excess plastic that the small lenses
were glued to, if you remove this amount of area, the Stormtrooper
lenses will fit like a glove into the eye socket. I also took
the knife and carved out the two fake screens where your breather
hoses will be inserted.
have a small inexpensive Dremel tool, which I took and smoothed
out the edges after removing the excess plastic from the eye holes
and the breather tube holes.
purchased mine at Wal-Mart; it came in handy while constructing
my TK armor as well.
next took a drill and drilled a single hole into the recessed
area in the TIE helmet grin. I next used a three-sided hand file
with very fine grit to it to work each hole into a square within
the grin, just file until you reach the boundary edge of each
these simple steps completed, I next started the sanding process.
I bought a single item called Sandblaster sanding sponge made
by 3M from Lowe's, I got the 320 Fine grit designed for in between
coats. It is extremely easy to use and doesn't wear out as quickly
as the paper.
completely sanded the entire helmet. The sandpaper grit on the
sponge is so fine; it won't damage your helmet and also makes
it very easy to work into the various dips and shapes of the TIE
the fine grit will leave the surface of the helmet ready to grab
hold of the primer that will come next.
used a cheap spray gun handle which made the spray painting process
less strenuous on the hand, in other words, my hand never got
really tired while painting and the bonus was no paint on the
tip end of your finger. I applied an entire can of primer on the
helmet; it took about half a day to complete and was approximately
five coats deep.
letting this dry for a complete day, I once again lightly sanded
the primer itself. I then washed the helmet under the faucet outside
to completely remove the dust. Dry it off. At this point was when
I drilled the 1/4 hole in each ear for the metal earpieces that
are applied later in the process.
this point the helmet is ready for the first coat of glossy black
paint, I bought all of my paint from Lowe's, it was Valspar American
Traditions Ultra Enamel. It was just a personal choice after looking
at about every can they had on their shelves. It worked flawlessly
on my helmet and is designed for hobby use, so it won't damage
plastic. After the first can, the helmet had a slightly rough
look to the surface, but remember, as you let it dry and the more
coats you put on, that roughness will disappear. I used three
entire cans of the glossy black paint and was amazed at how the
surface starting taking on the look of the fancy ABS plastic as
opposed to the dull plastic that it started out as from the box.
is after the first can. You can notice some slight roughness to
mentioned before I applied three full cans of the glossy black
paint, you may decide to do more or less. The roughness completely
disappeared after three cans.
letting the helmet dry for two days (I just didn't have the time
to work with it) I took a small bottle of gloss silver model car
paint purchased at Wal-Mart and painted the teeth that were left
in the grin and the speaker communication piece that is in between
the breather tubes.
small bottle of silver model car paint and a pointed paintbrush
were less than $3 at Wal-Mart.
next took the can of glossy clear acrylic protective finish and
used about 1/2 the can coating the entire helmet thus protecting
the valuable work you have already completed. Plus, it will add
an amazingly good-looking sheen to the surface of your helmet.
the clear coat had cured for a day, I added the metal ears pieces
through the previously drilled holes.
are available at Lowe's and are very cheap. Make sure to get the
1/4 size of each item.
this point I cut the screen patch I found at Lowe's and hot glued
it over the grin on the inside of the helmet. I also hot glued
the bubbles lenses into the eye holes.
will apply the Silver Imperial Cog transfers that I purchased
on the web from Greg Parker at www.exedge.net Greg gives 501st members a discount on the merchandise and the
transfers are of the highest quality I have seen. The one pictured
below is still in between the protective paper that covers them
because I had not yet let the clear coat dry long enough to apply
them at the stage of this tutorial.
found that after installing the fans to keep you cool. You will
have plenty of space left for the head gear that you decide to
install to make it fit your head just right.
is still adequate room for installing most any kind of unique
head system that you can come up with. I actually purchased an
adult sized boxing head protector and cut it up into several components
that compared with the proper places to my head and glued them
into place with a version of Goop glue that is a hobby version
that will work with leather and plastics.
course you can come up with a never ending line of ways to insert
the type of headrest support that you like, I just found this
type to fit my head shape perfectly, was easy to trim and glue
into place. It allows for the speaker mike to fit over my ear
and it actually makes the mike sit right in front of my mouth
and stay there. The leather or durahyde editions of the boxer
gear are soft and comfortable. I wear glasses and I still have
enough room to wear them under the helmet.
complete with fans and car door edge. The car door edge was purchased
at Auto Zone, it's called TrimBrite. It has a small line of adhesive
in it and you can take a hair dryer, heat it and it immediately
becomes very flexible and easy to work with. It's a snap to apply
it to all the funny edges that the TIE fighter helmet has and
when it cools, which is pretty quickly, it's stuck on good. The
trim really gives the helmet a professional look I think. The
trickiest part of the entire job was applying the Imperial Cog
transfers that go great on a flat surface to a rounded surface,
I didn't pull off a perfect job, but it's passable.
ready to rock! The trim really made the deal.
with clear coat now.
going to construct four spare pieces of styrene in a way that
I can rivet through the armor under the arms and through the elastic
and the rivets won't pull back through the elastic. I will then
be able to simply slide the armor on like a shirt, hook up the
hoses to the breather box, put on the helmet and be ready to troop.
the styrene tubing at a hobby shop in town.
raised the fans from the surface of the helmet about a 1/2" using
spare styrene square tube pieces that I had also used to construct
a border for the life support buttons and the line of white trim
that runs across the breather box. They move enough air to keep
you cool and fog-free. This helmet turned out to be a beauty.
this little tutorial helps you construct a killer looking TIE
Fighter Pilot Helmet.