Level 1-1 : Acquire Helmet

2 Jul

We knew that we had to start with the helmet for Subject Delta.

Subject Delta Helmet Reference

We could tell just by looking – and also from the scores of frustrated cosplayers out there that we researched – that this would be the most challenging part of the costume to create. Since we didn’t have access to a full shop or a previously stocked up tool chest, we knew that we would have to rely on study, ingenuity and adaptation. We had hoped that, from our research, we could avoid the pitfalls that other’s warned us about from their own experiences and sail right through.

We planned to start with a construction helmet. This would allow for at least some comfort and support for Daniel as he tromps around in the costume. Hopefully some of the pressure would be spread across the helmet’s support system rather than resting on the peak of his head.

I was worried about his comfort and safety. I know that he probably runs the risk of overheating and I didn’t want to compound that with a splitting headache. I had even suggested some sort of support system that would run from the helmet to rest on his shoulders so that he could relax his neck and let the brace do all the work. But Daniel talked me out of it.  – Sara

While I appreciated my wife’s concern, I talked her out of it because we didn’t have the means to construct it in a way that would be as supportive as she wanted it to be. I didn’t want to add more complexities to a project that was already going to be so intricate. – Daniel

We picked up a helmet from one of our local hardware stores – GO LOCAL BUSINESS – then we commenced. Most construction helmets, if they are truly up to code, will have a bill. We looked high and low and couldn’t find something with a shorter bill than this:

Helmet Before Cutting     From other models we had seen, it looked like others that had used a construction helmet as a base had left the bill intact; this resulted in a  porthole that stuck too far out away from the helmet itself.  Which deviated from the over all look. So Daniel cut it.

Taking a drill with a 5/32" size drill bit he prepared it for cutting.

Helmet After the Cutting

Using a 5/32″ drill bit, he drilled holes along the base of the bill. This would allow him to saw through it more easily with a hand saw. Let’s hear it for low tech solutions!

When his Dad gave him that hand drill for Christmas, I had no idea what it would be good for other than taking up closet space. – Sara

Way to go Dad! – Daniel

Next, we planned to do a frame out of cardboard and duct tape. We didn’t have the jumpsuit yet, but we knew that it would add bulk so Daniel put on his bulky, down-filled coat and we got to it on a Thursday evening after work.

We didn’t have a tape measure, but we assumed that we could use ribbon on the spool to mark onto the cardboard where to cut. We could always shape later if the measurements weren’t perfect, right?

We had purchased a cheap X-Acto knife which, in the end worked fine, but the removable blades bent easily. In hindsight, if you don’t have supplies, you should take an extra week of savings to purchase good, quality tools. While you might feel like it’s breaking the bank and delaying the project, you’ll thank yourself when the process is easier to execute.

Our first night totaled 3 hours of work and nothing but a base to show for it. Daniel was sweating and tired and our attempts to link the helmet to the shoulder piece was proving difficult.

End of the 1st NightWe called it a night.

We were confident that, if we just had more uninterrupted time to work, we could nail it.

I felt very scrutinized because I knew that Daniel really wanted to be doing the cutting and the taping but he couldn’t. I really felt a lot of pressure to do it right. I made sure that I expressed this to Daniel as we worked because I knew that it wasn’t his intention to make me nervous but I wanted to avoid any sort of stress-filled outbursts on my part. It’s the curse of being a perfectionist. – Sara

It’s true. I use to tinker around and do stuff like this a lot as a kid growing up so. I wanted to be more actively involved. However, the helmet needed to be built directly onto my frame to get the proportions right. I couldn’t build it on myself. In truth, Sara was doing a phenomenal job. It was coming together quite nicely but she would get frustrated and rush herself. I knew it was important to have a good foundation for the frame so that every layer that followed would stay true to the form. – Daniel

The following Saturday, we slapped the base onto Daniel’s shoulders, he took a seat on a stool and Sara got to snipping, bending and taping. There was some back and forth on the positions of a few support pieces and there was frustration in trying to get the work to stay put on Daniel’s chest and shoulders but, over all, it was smooth sailing and we were very, very pleased with the results. The trickiest part was trying to get the curve from the helmet to where it meets at the shoulders and keeping the rings around Daniel’s face uniform and even, especially since Daniel couldn’t really move.

1st Attempt Side View 1st Attempt Back View

It wasn’t until I got those front and back support strips that linked the head piece to the base harness that I really started to see it. I remember getting really excited and kind of dancing around. Poor Daniel couldn’t see a thing so I had to keep taking pictures and showing it to him. – Sara

The shape of the helmet was starting to look pretty spot on and it had that great slope down the sides of the neck to the shoulders that gives Subject Delta’s helmet that distinct look. It felt really cool when Sara showed me a picture and I could see it coming together so well. – Daniel

We carefully took the helmet off of him and put it on our makeshift stand. A mannequin would have been nice, but since we didn’t have one we made do with a lamp stand. Then Daniel finally got to get his hands dirty – he reinforced everything with more duct tape and he was ready for his photo shoot.

Reinforced Helmet - Back Reinforced Helmet - Front

Helmet Frame

We spent 4 hours on this second building day. So with 6 hours total under our belts we were enthused and confident that we could pull this off. Do you remember how you felt after your first cosplay build? Why not share it with us below in the comment section?

Be sure to check back next week for our next update!

6 Responses to “Level 1-1 : Acquire Helmet”

  1. geekygirl91 July 2, 2013 at 10:20 AM #

    Good job so far! I’m pleased to see you’re working as a team and I’m waiting to see your next results!
    I remember very well my first cosplay. It was Misa Amane from Death Note. It was a quite easy cosplay to do,and when I went to the comic convention I received a lot of compliments :3
    The second cosplay I did satisfied me a lot more; it was Haruhi Suzumiya from The Melancholy of Haruhi Suzumiya, and I did all the costume with the help of my mother. Creating costumes gives a great satisfactory feeling 😉

    • thosecrazygilberts July 2, 2013 at 12:09 PM #

      Thank you so much for sharing! I was unfamiliar with those characters so I looked them up – I bet you got lots of compliments from the Misa Amane cosplay! Did you do the black corset outfit? Her hair was probably really fun too! Do you work with wigs too? Sorry, I’m just full of questions!
      Is your mom teaching you to use the sewing machine? That’s definitely something I wish I had practiced more. I find the thought of sewing much more intimidating that the constructing we’re doing. – Sara

      • geekygirl91 July 2, 2013 at 12:41 PM #

        Your welcome 🙂
        I did the cosplay from the cover of the fourth number,it’s quite simple except the arms 😛
        I bought a blonde wig from eBay cause I’m a brunette hehe 🙂
        My mum tought me a little bit of sewing,but she actually did almost the whole skirt of Haruhi. She claims she’s not very skilled but the skirt was fabolous 🙂 But I guess that she wouldn’t be able to make, for example, an entire dress ^^”

  2. geekygirl91 July 2, 2013 at 12:43 PM #

    *You’re and *taught and *fabulous lol sorry for the mistakes haha


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