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Bio helmet sculpting armature

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It was asked on Facebook. How do you start sculpting a bio helmet?


I will attempt to put as much info in here as possible.

First step is your idea and design, whether an original idea or copying a movie helmet, either way you will need reference pictures. Print them out, blow them up, multiple angles are useful.

I put large printed images on hard poster board stock.

Second, you will need clay and a sculpting base. A sculpting base is commonly referred to as an armature.

Armatures are best when they are both sturdy and of the general shape of your end goal.

For this discussion we will be talk about sculpting a helmet. So the best armature to use would be a predators face. With this idea in mind I made the following armature for Rob Clarks Juggernaut bio helmet. Link to thread here: 



The armature was made by laying plaster bandages over a P1 latex mask. This creates a perfect contour of the face and upper head area.

The plaster cast was cleaned up and filled with crack filling spray foam. Then attached to a 2x4 / plywood base.

Keep in mind the height of your desk and work space when building the wood base. You will be staring at the sculpt for endless hours so make sure it is ergonomic and at proper working height. Bonus points of you make an adjustable height base, I did not.


See pics below

Started with raw latex mask. (above)



Added plaster bandages to cover the face and create a base form.

Gypsoma is my preferred brand of bandages.
Get any size you like, 2" 3" 4". Doesn't matter.

WHAT MATTERS is following the directions on the package.
Keep the water clean! Change it out if necessary or they won't cure.
(Its a messy job)




Finished plaster cast. (above)



Sculpting base of 2x4.
Can't see the spray foam, but its behind and all around the 2x4 holding it together.
Don't spray in too much foam at once, or the center won't cure.
Need to do it in layers so it sets proper. Be patient.

I also cut out the eyes and put in a visor to act as a area to sculpt around.



Finished sculpture of helmet. (below)





This is the lazy susan I put the sculpting base on. You will need to rotate the sculpture as you go.
Always checking for symmetry and shadow lines.

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Great tutorial Gene, thanks for sharing the step by step for others looking to start their own bios. One of these days I plan on getting around to one myself.

P.s. lazy susan's are great and a must. I've got two of those exact ones and use them constantly for painting and sculpting.

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Thank you guys.

Sculpting helmet is one of the most fun parts of this hobby. They allow for some fun interpretations of the character and people love collecting them.

Only downside is the circling sharks of recasters lurking in the shadows. They are closer than you think.

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