The Classic Ant-Man Helmet was commissioned primarily as a display piece, but still needed to serve as a functional costume helmet. As drawn by the original artist, Jack Kirby, the helmet design suffered from several common problems of comic book costumes of the day. Mainly, that it was drawn as a solid metal sphere without space for a chin or neck, and eyes that didn’t line up with normal human anatomy. My main task was to make something that would capture the art style of the early 60’s, but translate it into the real world.
I first designed the helmet as a 3D sculpture in ZBrush, which I converted into a paper pattern that served as a base. The paper pattern was hardened with urethane resin, and body-shopped with layers of automotive body filler and primer. The eyes were then cut out, brows sculpted on with epoxy clay, and blended in. The entire helmet was then painted with gloss paint and sanded in progressively finer sandpaper, up through 2000 grit, before being polished, buffed, and waxed in preparation for molding.
A silicone brush-up mold was made, surrounded by a fiberglass mold jacket, and a positive was cast in urethane resin. The “mandibles” were created similarly, but separately, as were the mounting nubs for the antenna.
The cast resin parts were finally painted with several layers of catalyzed automotive primer, and wet-sanded up through 1,000 grit, before being delivered to the wizards at ArtCraft Plating to be treated with a skin of real, metal chrome.
The parts were then assembled using steel-reinforced epoxy, and the antenna held in place with rare-earth magnets so they could be removed. The final, chrome-plated Ant-Man helmet weighs barely 1.5 lbs, and is fully lined with adjustable padding.