Thursday, October 25, 2012

Dovahkiin Iron Helmet

My wife's recently been playing a lot of Skyrim, and so when deciding upon Halloween costumes for this year, she naturally gravitated toward Dovahkiin. She set out on replicating the studded armor, but she was without helm. Being that she works a lot and has little free time, I volunteered to make the helmet for her while she tailors and sews the rest of her armor.

I took this project up 9 days before our Halloween party, excited about trying my hand at something like this and, at the same time, nervous about the time crunch (my own costume is still not complete!).

I started with some screenshots from the game from four different perspectives.
 And because patience isn't always a virtue of mine, I just rather sloppily traced the important bits of the helm that I would use to carve out the shape.
Here I have stacked a bunch of EPS boards, glued together. From this I will carve the helmet out with an old kitchen knife (that is now no longer to be used for food).
Here are a couple shots of the carved shape

 Painted with some leftover standard wall paint, to seal the foam from the next step's Bondo resin. Without sealing, the resin would dissolve the foam, which would be bad.
 With (many) applications of Bondo and (a lot) of sanding, the helmet is now primed and hollowed out.

 Here is a shot of the hollow portion of the helmet. You can see that the EPS still constitutes a fair chunk of the helmet interior. I will be sealing this so as to not infect my wife's hair with little bits of pink foam, and painting accordingly.
 The horns were constructed from more EPS glued together. The rough shape was cut using a 9" bandsaw, and then finer shaping was done via belt sander.
The helmet is painted black first to get inside all the nooks and crannies.
Disaster! I noticed a few things that were displeasing to me, and so major surgery needed to be performed. The left side horn mount protruded too far and needed to be cut back. Also, there are seams and more banding around the helmet that needed to be added.
 Here you can see the horn mount positions have been trimmed back, and I added rivets for reinforcement (and aesthetics). Additionally, the rear of the helmet has been fixed to be more like the actual in-game helmet, what with the two-layer effect and the chunks cut out there in the middle.
The horns, covered in Crayola model magic. Unfortunately, it seems that the model magic has a propensity to shrink when it dries, so they're cracked all over. I may just wind up using Bondo on these as well, followed by painting.
And here we have the helmet with the silver paint rubbed over the black. I think it gives it a beautiful iron look and finish.

And here is the finished helmet! Horns and all!

Due to time and material constraints, I opted against the ribbed horns, and instead made them smooth. I used a satin ivory paint for the base, then a satin summer squash, followed by satin espresso. I then used a paint brush to drag the paint across while wet to give it the grainy organic look.

So this helmet is actually pretty huge. It's definitely a larger scale than was necessary, but you live and you learn. It sadly looks a little ridiculous on my wife, considering she's not very big, but for Halloween, it turned out as well as I could hope for a first attempt at something like this.


  1. HOly crap, this looks awesome! Very impressive!

  2. That's pretty awesome, dude!