This section shows the character Scarís Bio helmet from the Alien vs Predator film, which I made. I never intended to make one, but after buying what was claimed to be a 1:1 life size bio only to find when it arrived and I eagerly opened it, it was about half size, if that. It was just big enough to fit over an adultís head, so was really more a face mask, instead of an actual prop replica as it was claimed. There was no way it would fit over a latex predator head mask.
Even at this point I never thought of making one, until I found out through eBay just what was available, or more so what wasnít available. There were a couple of the smaller ones found more in the UK, and a couple of P1 (the bio helmet out of the first film is known as the P1) with a scar mark added, but the actual helmet was still slightly different, to the old P1. The new Scar bio in the film was based on the P1, but slightly different.
So I decided to make my own, and once the film came out on DVD, I went through the film screen grabbing any shots of the Scar bio from all angles. I ended up with several hundred, but narrowed them down to just over one hundred, incorporating all angles and aspects needed to base a rough setup on.
With everything I needed to make a bio, I got started. Now while I can sculpt I am not the quickest or best sculptor in the world and freely admit to it. What I am good at is car body kit flaring in and custom car body work accessory making, which in everyday terms mean I can make any shape out of a lump of body filler, so this is how I done it. When I first posted how I was making it on a message board I received some hesitant views, but have since noticed more people making bioís this way. Of course nobody would admit they saw how I done mine and copied my method, but I think a lot of people wanted to make a bio, but like me werenít any good at sculpting, and needed another way to do it. I just think its nice other people are now making something perhaps they didnít think they could do before.
So anyway as my bio is made differently to most, in terms of I made the face and top of the helmet separately. Some would say why, but I found it easier to do, so did it that way. I also found by doing them separately I could check each side was symmetrical to the other side much easier. When it comes to being symmetrical, I am obsessive and if there is a slightest difference it has to be changed to match perfectly. There are only a few production shots as I bought a digital camera halfway through, so have no pictures of the very early stages. For my basic bio helmet base I made up a fibreglass shell to work from. Then from there I could add filler and either sand by hand or dremel it to the right shape. Also by using filler the whole thing can be moved around without fear of breaking it. From the pictures you can see the two halves before they were joined together. Both halves were made from a central point, and worked outwards, and the top piece still has the angle lines on, from which the edge was measured to marked out points to make sure it was perfect.
Once the helmet was held perfectly in line it was joined with the behind the eye sections. Once joined it was just a case of filling the gap in and making sure it looked as good as it could. Probably the only benefit of making a mask out of a solid substance, is once its set, you can pick it up and look at it closely from all angles. Obviously if you can sculpt well enough to make one of these out of clay, then you are skilled enough to see what looks right and what doesnít, from just looking at it, but when your not that clever you need to pay far more attention to what you are doing, to get it right.
With the mask what I consider first done, I then go back and check itís still symmetrical, and alter or modify anything that I think needs attention. Now luckily I have lots of fancy tools from my other work, and one of them is a laser alignment tool. This is great because you place it on the bench in front of the mask and you can swivel it from side to side checking each side it as perfect as you can get it. Iím almost paranoid about things not being symmetrical and spent many hours fine tuning the sides so they matched. It was one of those things if I just left as if, I would never be happy with it.
With the mask done, I then turned to painting it. I didnít want to leave the surface smooth as the film used one had a hammered finish so I turned to a paint specialist I know who had a spray on hammered effect paint. The finished bio was sprayed and came out very similar to hammerite only the dimples are more defined.
Once fully finished it was time to make a mould. First thing I done was to make a study stand for it to sit on and then built a base of clay for the mask to sit on top of allowing a lip round the edge. This lip is very important if you want to slush cast the outer layer, as it means you can tip it around without the resin running out.
Once the bio is secured in place, a box is placed all around to keep the silicon in. I then placed large headed bolts through the walls for anchor points. Now from what I have seen everyone does the mould making slightly different.. it seems you do it the way you feel most comfortable with. I then pour the silicone in, pending the size and amount needed i do it in several lots to avoid over mixing and wasting it.
When this has cured I remove the outer container and then make a two part fibreglass jacket to hold the bio firmly in shape. This is where the anchor points come in. Each anchor point on in the silicon mould it filled with high strength filler, then a two part outer jacket is made around it all. Then when its taken apart, the resin anchor point are fixed o the fibreglass jacket, and enable the silicon mould to be held firmly in place so when you tip it around with the resin in it the silicon mould stays in place to make sure it comes out as good as the original.
So with the mask and mould finished, its time to take the first cast. I always find this the most exciting point, as itís when you find out if all that time and money has been worth it. To take a cast I use a custom filled fast setting resin. This is mixed at 1:1 and takes around four minutes to set hard. This is long enough for you to tip the mould around getting a thin layer on the entire surface, while setting quick enough to keep it there. I tend to use around three hundred millilitres of resin which I find is enough to make the outer shell strong enough to hold its shape as it is, without reinforcement.
I then apply fibreglass matting in overlapping squares to reinforce the outer shell, reinforcing it further round the edges and eye sections to make sure whether itís being worn of just for show it will withstand general wear and casual knocks.
The final job is to paint it to look as close to the film used one as possible. This entails painting or spraying in layers so to get the effect right. It starts with a cellulose primer as this attacks the resin outer shell, which makes it adhere far better. Then a base coat of shiny silver is added to start the process of getting it to look right.
Once the silver is dry an airbrush filled with matt black is used to add depth to crevasses and highlight areas. Then changing to various shades of grey I work upwards adding patches highlights and lowlights, till it looks right.