Thursday, April 7, 2011

MkIV Maximus Helmet DIY/sculpting tutorial

Good day folks, seems me leave you long time...

Some, if not many, of us don't have access to Forge World's nice resin models, or for some reason, decided that it's not worth to order it instead. I'm of the former type though; and decided that I want some of my models to stand out from the rest of its Mk7 squadmates. In this tutorial, for want of doing a Mk4 Maximus-style helmet, I will outline my workflow on making up one... TL;DR; on with the show...

Skill level: Intermediate

Estimated Completion time: 30mins - 1hr ~ up to time putty fully hardens

References (courtesy of Forgeworld and Games-Workshop)

Materials needed:
1. Water/lubricant of choice (water, petroleum jelly, glycerine, spit, etc)
2. Epoxy putty (greenstuff, brownstuff, Sculpey, Fimo, etc)
3. Sculpting tools (dental tools, clay/colour shapers, toothpicks, hobby knife etc)
4. Hobby knife
5. Helmet bit of choice (I used a Mk7 with the skull since I have more of these than the rest of the helm styles)
6. Sandpaper, sanding sticks, emery boards, files etc.

I did mention I'm using the Mk7 with skull bit. Notice the front-vents/respirator-area slope more forward than the ones pictured over at FW (see left pic). What I did: cut-off some parts to accommodate the [steeper] slope I wanted. (see right pics) At this point, we can also chop/cut-off the tubes left and right of the cheeks and sculpt them back afterward. This makes smoothing/forming the 'snout' easier since nothing will be in the way of our sculpting tool.

Slap on a blob of putty to form as our would-be 'duckbill snout'. Let the putty cure for a bit for it to be less tacky and more workable. Work on it till we get the proper shape: mainly 'pulling' on the putty to the side and over the cheeks to let it 'blend', as well as over the middle crest to for the sharp(ish) edge. Looking over the bit from all angles as much as possible to form your snout (if not, one may get sort of a 'crooked-nose' look, or perhaps even the crest being off-center).
To form the steep slope, I pull/drag down the putty, forming sort of a 'chin'. I cut this excess of with a hobby knife

More on the snout
I take my sculpting tool and push into the putty to form the triangular underside of the snout. Guess it's easier to imagine it as a lip for now. I also pushed under it, up in the middle, to make the '^' better looking. Don't worry too much of the edges look rounded or otherwise: once the putty has finally cured/hard enough, we can sand it down to even the edges.

Grills, Vents or something like that
Let the putty cure/sit for a bit. Five minutes perhaps? Unless we took our time forming the lip/snout that it's firm enough (but not rock-hard!) for this step. Before continuing: notice the piece of precision screwdriver in the Materials Needed pic? Here is where it comes into play. It's a 1mm flat-head screwdriver that we will use to push into the putty forming the grills.
A word of caution though: the placement of these grills can make-or-break our work as we will have to mirror it left and right of the snout. So think about where we will place our grills on the snout, perhaps imagine a chevron, take a deep breath and relax. Form the upper grills first: use the screwdriver to push into the putty (imagine the chevron). With the upper grills as a guide, space the lower grills afterward.
The putty may deform (if not a bit) during and after this operation; might as well go back and forth with the screwdriver and sculpting tool until we are happy with the form. The putty being firm at this point helps with keeping the hard edges on our grills and/or the bottom-most part (using the flat side of the hobby knife we can form its edges, if not ignore it for now and sand/file everything down once it's cured/hard enough)

Finishing touches
Finally happy, put down all your tools and set your work aside. Let the putty cure/harden for a few hours. Come back afterwards, perhaps arming yourself with a hobby knife to cut off some excess on the chin; or file it down (up?); or go over it with a fine sandpaper used wet to have a smoother putty-plastic transition and harden-up the grill edges and define the crest at the middle. Reform the tubes using putty as well if you've cut it off at the start.
Below you can see a marine with a Mk4/Maximus helmet I did as a proof-of-concept before writing this tutorial

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