Saturday, November 5, 2011

Helmet Display Stands

I spend a lot of time on my replica helmets.  The paintjobs usually involve several layers of finishes in various shades and sheens even before I start on the weathering process where I'll add half a dozen more colors and who knows how many hours of labor.

Then I set them on a shelf or pile them in a box or hang them from the rafters in my workshop until some nebulous future date when I'll have a suitable area to display them.  While I'm not any closer to having a wall or a shelf or a desk to display my work, I have decided I need a way to cut down on the beating that the paintjobs suffer just from sitting on the shelf.  The solution: display stands.

For many collectors, a cheap vertical paper towel holder from the local retailer is good enough.  But living in the earthquake-heavy zone of Northern California (aka, "God's Etch-a-Sketch") means I need something more stable.  Clearly this is another opportunity to flex some skills and use some tech.

First, using the image import function, I've had Lopez the Robot Whittler carve me out a variety of appropriate versions of the bases.  Here's the seal of the Galactic Empire from Star Wars:
Helmet Base Imperial Cog

Here's the Seal of the Galactic Republic that preceded it:
Helmet Base Republic Cog

This is the Mythosaur skull logo from Boba Fett's shoulder armor:
Mando Helmet Stand Base

Once I had a variety of appropriate icons to fit my collection, I poured silicone block molds so I could cast resin copies of them.  Here you can see the plurple silicone mold and a couple of the castings:
Helmet Stand Parts

The addition of a 14" long piece of PVC pipe makes it functional:
Helmet Stand empty

A casting of the custom-machined plug for the top finishes the assembly:
Mando Helmet Stand Assembled

Here's a test fitting with a clonetrooper helmet from Episode III:
Helmet Stand in use

And another with my Jango Fett helmet:
Mando Helmet Stand Test Fit

It's worth noting that I spent a bit of trial and error and a few feet of pipe before determining that 14 inches is the magic height for these.  Taller and you've got too much of the pipe showing.  Shorter and you're back to just setting the helmet on the shelf.  Once I had that worked out, it was time to make many and paint them up.

Here's the Mando' version painted:
Helmet Stand Mando

Here's how the rest look finished:
Helmet Stand Lineup

If you had a sharp enough eye to notice the difference in color for the two on the far left, you win one free internet:
Helmet Stands Galactic Republic Cog Logo

The right one was painted while the one on the left was made with cold cast aluminum, painted black, then sanded to reveal the aluminum underneath.  Next to the aluminum one, they all look somewhat cheap.  One of these days I'll be writing an article about cold casting, but for now it's easy to find plenty of information about it on Google.

You also may have noticed the UNSC logo under the Halo Spartan helmet in the new lightish red color:
Helmet Stand UNSC

I didn't mold it yet because I've decided to redo this one and make the logo a bit smaller.  Either that or just make a circle with the logo on the front half of the base.  More on that whenever I get to it.

For now, these are not too shabby.


  1. What an excellent idea, they fit the bill perfectly.

  2. The mytho skull and the UNSC look awesome! And they look like a pain in the a** to make. Good job!

  3. Dude, i understand the need to safeguard your masculinity...but it really IS a whole lot faster just to say Pink :P