Jump to content

Building Styrene ANH helmet with CAP-W


Recommended Posts

Hello troopers. I know there are peeps who have not built a bucket yet and others who haven't tackled one of the many available ANH helmets which are out there. This should cover all the ANH & TE derived lids made of HIPS (High Impact Poly Styrene) without the use of a Dremel which some folks may not have. So if you've got a hankerin' to get an ANH bucket don't be afraid to build it, it just takes a little time and patience. Most importantly always remember the first ever Star Wars trooper lids were slapped together in a hurry and looked really thrashed with several coats of paint, chips, runs, crooked stuff, etc.They were made of High Density Poly Ethylene (HDPE) which is plastic but has certain characteristics like wax. Ever try to paint a candle??? So don't become discouraged if you slip and cut something or crack something, there are a lot of really sweet looking buckets around with a little personality and plastic's not extinct. :thumbsup:


Getting started:

Tools you honestly require would be a good razor knife, some scizzors, any type of drill and a 5/32" and 1/8" drill bit. We will be using some other tools but the basic build doesn't require everything we're using.


As you can see in the photo I've got Acetone, paper towels, clamps, Neodimium magnets, Left hand tin snips (Green), Right hand tin snips (Red), Dikes, Scizzors, a countersink type drill bit, my 5/32" and 1/8" drill bits, a 5/16" socket on extension, a 1/4" socket on extension, small screwdriver, my box opener, small hot glue gun, and some Episode 4 mood music.

Not pictured yet are some larger clamps and a few things we'll get to.

You really don't need all of this but I use it because sometimes I build several lids at once.

Link to comment

"Get the popcorn ... there's gonna be a show"


Thanks for doing this scootch. I may be building a helmet in the near future and any pointers / help / tutorials are very welcome!

Link to comment

First off the pieces of Styrene out of the box! I'm using a helmet pulled in really crummy regrind sign plastic. It is ugly but also thin and will build up quick. :thumbsup:

It is paramount to clean the insides of the pieces with something that will get rid of the mold release agent which was used to aid in removing the styrene from the forming buck.

Personally I fold up a paper towel and add a little Acetone...... wipe out the interior of the parts.

DO NOT saturate the styrene with acetone it WILL melt!!!

Just wiping away some greasy release agent.



Once we've cleaned up we will begin with the faceplate. It seems intimidating at first look, it's not.

Establish some trim lines....



That tall "bump" on the forehead can be left on for a brow that sticks out a little past the faceplate (good for Move Along Trooper), or cut off. I generally cut em off.

we're ONLY cutting off the back edge of the faceplate which has flared out! Don't take too much off or you will end up with a gap in the finished product! I have elevated the CAP faceplate buck

so this can be avoided and while the plastic looks funky with mold lines in it, it is there for good reason and will never be seen once the lid is built. ;)



Link to comment

Some faceplate reflection...

Many times there is webbing at the lower back of the tubes. The thermoformer (guy) will usually fold these in on themselves while the plastic is still plyable. If your lid has these webs glue the inside seam of the web. Later during the build you can sand the web down. Generally these will not be seen in the finished product.

The mic tip wells will always be thin. There are many remedies for this too, we will cover one simple fix in our build.


Trimming the faceplate;

Beginning with the teeth we use a small pen-knife to cut the back of the teeth openings out. All we want is the back.


Now flip the faceplate over to reveal this:


Holding the knife accordingly we can slice away the excess of each tooth to make a nice opening which will ensure a very pronounced tooth.


Locate the mold lines on the eye ports


Score the mold lines along the eye ports, score gently several times until the pen-knife's blade slips through. Take your time here and remove slightly less material than you intend to. Once the ports are opened up they are easy to shave or sand to the desired end result.




Next up the "Cap'n'back" also known as the "dome".

When trimming the cap'n'back we always like to leave the ridge from the mold line on the helmet. This we do so we can come back after assembly and "fine tune" everything with a final trimming if necessary. It is important NOT to have right angles in the trimming where the brow meets the com cover area. This must be rounded slightly to avoid potential cracking later.




As you can see in the photo's I've colored the assembling holes in the cap'n'back. We really only use the middle one but this way it's easy to tell which that is. Drill this middle hole out with your 5/32" bit.

Link to comment

Aligning the faceplate with the cap'n'back.

Alignment depends upon the desired look of your bucket but the simple rule is to line the edge of the eye up with the edge of the trap. Remember it's not rocket science and the movie helmets never looked as good as yours will. :no:






Determine how high you wish your brow to be above the eyes and while clasping the faceplate and cap'n'back together transfer your mark through the cap'n'back to the faceplate. Drill and bolt together.


Do likewise on the oposite side of the lid and see what you end up with. Drilling another hole or two in the faceplate to achieve the desired look is not uncommon ;)

Link to comment

By mistake I lost several pics of this build but luckily I have some from another. Different lid, same concept.


Securing the cap'n'back and faceplate.


Utilizing Neodimium magnets we can easily "set" the desired brow height....(some folks use clamps. I like the magnets as I build my lids without the brow trim in place).....




With the desired brow trim height achieved we begin center forehead applying warm "hot glue" (don't want to warp the lid with superheated glue)

Working around to the corners where it is a good idea to glue beneath the seam then add a set of magnets to hold in place.


Once done with the forehead and coming down toward the com cover seam area we now get the big clamps out. Gluing the seam then clamping the faceplate and cap'n'back pieces tightly together at the top of the "tube".



Look who's back!!! :blink:


Link to comment

Com Covers


Well let's face it, com covers seem like a huge and risky undertaking. They're tough and it's easy to mess em up. So here's a few tips to help avoid a big sandtrooper gap in your com covers.....

First the easy stuff.... drilling the screw holes :thumbsup: Drill these with a 1/8" bit


Next countersink them ever so slightly!!! don't go nuts! You can even use the tip of your razor knife here and do it. I am accustomed to using a countersink bit but CAREFULLY!!!


Now the trimming begins....

Locate the mold lines on your covers and pencil them in, as you can see in the pics mine are dotted along the critical area of the mold lines and I have a second pencil line which is solid.





Simply trim along the solid line which should be minimum 1/4" outside the mold line in the curved areas.

You may trim slightly more as you go checking the fit often. By now you will be down to the razor knife and sandpaper.


Now you may hold it against the helmet and see where to shave and sand until your com fits nicely



Link to comment

Regarding "countersinking the com screws........Yes the screws should appear to be sitting up from the plastic slightly, We only sink em enough to keep em from creating big ugly dimples in our com covers. :thumbsup:


With the cover in place, drill the top hole first...



Insert your screw and nut it up from inside the lid.

Ensure the com is still in the desired location and repeat for the next screw down.

For the bottom screw at the underside of the tube you must grasp the tube with your fingers and press the bottom of the com into it with your thumb so the fit is extremely tight. This must happen because once you've drilled the final holes and insert the last screw the whole thing will relax slightly.


For this reason it's important to squeeze the pieces together very snug and then drill.


Check your piece and adjust if necessary! The neck trim will hide any extra hole you may have drilled. :thumbsup:


Once you've repeated this process on the opposing side of the lid and all adjustments have been made you may snip off the excess bolts inside the helmet. Snip ONLY the COM COVER SCREWS leave the larger joining screw alone, this may be utilized for chin straps and lense plates later.It is recommended a dab of hot glue be placed over the cut end of each screw. This is primarily for personal safety. The cut screws are sharp.


Link to comment

During assembly if the hot glue joints pop loose near the tubes don't become alarmed, it will happen. after the com covers are screwed in place it will not be a problem.



ANH helmets have some traits many people are unfamiliar with. They're wonky! If you trim the com covers to the mold lines you'll find out the left com cover sits 5/8" lower than the brow trim line while the right com cover fits fine. This is how they looked in the films, :yes:

Link to comment

Simple fix for mic tip wells.


Backing up the mic tip.

I like to utilize a couple small pieces of styrene here, I make washers of them first:



Next I apply a tiny miniscule drop of E6000 to the edges of my washers and slip the tip into place. Insert the glued washer and nut up snug.









Once the tips have been inserted and you are positive they are remove-able stand the helmet up so the faceplate faces skyward and walk away from it for the night. :kiss:

Link to comment

Let's take a look at the tip well washers we made:

They've turned out very nice and now provide good backing for the mic tips.


remember this helmet is paper thin in the tip well area. If yours is thin it is a good idea to reinforce if you plan to use the helmet regularly.



Another method of reinforcing I haven't tried personally but many friends have said is awesome:

Saturate a piece of cotton T-shirt material in quality super glue (NOT THE DOLLAR STORE STUFF!!!)

Apply over the tip wells INSIDE the helmet and allow to set up. My buddy Amish Trooper says it reminds him of fiberglassing.

If anyone has pics we will add em here.... :thumbsup:

Link to comment

Next a good coat or two of primer is in order both inside and out for our lid. Best to use a primer made to adhere to plastic. :thumbsup:

This process is not necessary if your bucket is made from good styrene with smooth texture. Again try using a paint which bonds with plastic.


We will cover some groovy customization from here out as if the helmet's been primed, sanded, and ready for painting; we may choose to go with a solid color like Glossy White and do a clean version lid.... or we may opt to do a "Chipper"... that is to say one which appears more like the screen used buckets worn by the stunt men! :woot:

For screen used Chipper look only: Begin by selecting a mucous colored base coat. AJCG has done some true beauties with Rustoleum "Taupe" as a base coat. We have Rustoleum Painter's Touch "Oregano" in a Satin finish. Satin finish goes away with some wet sanding, it's the color we want!

This lid ended up with the mic tips glued in, so they get sprayed too! LOL!



Next step is adding the chips! How do we do it??? With Liquid latex and a cheapie artist's brush...

Simply apply liquid latex to the helmet wherever you desire chips! Don't do the com covers though, the original lids were HDPE faceplate and cap'n'back, white HIPS com covers.

Once the latex is applied, allow it to dry then shoot your lid with gloss white paint.

After the paint has tacked up well you may peel the latex away. You may also wait until the paint is cured!

In this photo you can see the chipping effects after the paint has gone on and the latex is peeled away.







Some big runs in my paintjob. :rolleyes: The screen used lids often had drips and runs, maybe not as hideous as mine... :teehee:

Link to comment

Finishing the helmet is the same at this point, we're doing the hand painted details, decals, neck and brow trim, and lenses.

Our white helmet ready for detailing.......



This job is challenging, it requires patience but is fun! You'll need some nice artist brushes, I generally use three, One with a rounded edge for vocoder painting, one with a flat square edge about 1/4" wide for teeth and coms, and a very fine striping tip for penstriping the coms and touch up elsewhere..... modeling paints.... Humbrol #5 or Testors #1138 for the gray



If you want to know what color the Vocoder should be ask someone like Troopermaster, personally I like em flat black although I've seen many in gloss black.



Next some old school decals..... These are made with a "Hand Painted" look to them. ANH helmets were hand painted. So if your job comes out looking hand painted you have succeeded!!! :woot:

ESB were a combination of hand paints and decals.



Some green Acetate lens secured in place with velcro for easy change-outs (Learned from Supertrooper) :thumbsup:

Brow trim slips on....


And the neck trim secured in place with E6000. I recommend gluing the exterior only so you have the option of tucking wires and stuff under it inside the lid.


Link to comment

For CAP / CAP-W helmet info see here: http://forum.whitearmor.net/index.php?showtopic=13876


For magnetics: www.kjmagnetics.com K&J Magnetics - Strong Neodymium Magnets, Rare Earth Magnets


When using hardware use Brass,Stainless, or plated screws to avoid rust bleed onto your finished helmet.


Rubber trim used in this tutorial came from Astrotex; Brow trim is item #: E-0830 Neck Trim is item #: E-0874


Rubber "S" Trim for a more accurate neck trim may be found through Weber's Nostalgia Supermarket Rubber Gaskets Item #: RG-102


My favorite brushes for detailing.......


Link to comment

You guys should've seen my first couple of helmet builds......total garbage! :yucky: I really botched em. :down: CAP showed me how to build em in 2009 with a knife and scizzors. Took him like 15 minutes. LOL! :lol:

Link to comment

Depends on the look you're after, I have shot them with color and no primer and ended up with a finish I liked, especially in black laquer.

I'd say if you want it perfectly smooth then sand it and primer it.

Link to comment

I use 1/2" quilting foam from the fabric store, looks like the stuff the OG's used. I start with a piece at the top of the lid, then I build it up in strips until I like the fit around my crown. It's easy and fast. I use warm hot glue to keep it in place, just a couple dabs here and there.

Here's some pics of the first helmet I did for my boy, it's hideous but you can see the foam padding.... yeah I went overboard, it was my kid's lid.




Link to comment
  • 6 years later...

Create an account or sign in to comment

You need to be a member in order to leave a comment

Create an account

Sign up for a new account in our community. It's easy!

Register a new account

Sign in

Already have an account? Sign in here.

Sign In Now
  • Create New...

Important Information

We have placed cookies on your device to help make this website better. You can adjust your cookie settings, otherwise we'll assume you're okay to continue.