Seal Team Half Helmet Step by Step is a helmet design for a Seal Team whose commander was retiring and this was to be his retirement gift. Nothing to fancy here all accomplished with two inch 3M masking tape and a bit of transfer paper. I used House of Kolor base colors reduced about 60% with slow reducer. For airbrushes I used Iwata Micron C and HP-CS, Richpen 213 C.
If you’ve read my other helmet articles you already know how I go about prepping the helmet for the painting process so we’ll skip that here. This of course is just a half helmet which I masked the bottom trim off with masking tape. There is many ways you could approach painting this design I’ve chosen to base just the area in the front of the helmet where the team shield will go and than clear over the enter helmet. My reasoning is it’s a black helmet to get the colors to be vibrant they will have to be applied over a white base. If I had left the design area black masked the helmet off, laid the design out, cut it out one piece at time for reference I would have had to apply white than the color resulting in some very big paint edges along the masking having to adding two colors. To reduce these paint lines or build up of paint I prefer to base the enter design area white, clear it, mask it and lay my design out and than only apply the one finish design color. The goal is always to keep the amount of paint you apply to a minimum thus reducing the amount of clear needed to bury the design so it can not be felt when the job is complete, the helmet will end up with a smooth surface just as it started out as. Pictured here is the helmet masked of with a print out of the team badge to size and scale positioned on the front of the helmet. Using Photoshop or any graphics program you can easily bring your design to the correct size to fit the helmet.
I trace around the outside of the design making sure it was centered on the helmet first. After removing the print off I chose to use fine line tape to outline my design as it very easy to lay down nice lines like the outside of this design require. From there it’s just a matter of drawing the design on the masking which I generally do with pencil getting everything in proportion and my final draft in pen. There you have about the most time consuming part of the whole job; getting it laid out correctly. Could I have cut it on a plotter? Sure but if you’ve ever tried getting vinyl to lay flay on the curved surface you know it’s pretty much a futile effort.
Now it’s just a matter of carefully cutting out the entire design one section at a time. As you can see that white base starts to pay off right now as we begin the painting process. After removing one tiny section of the masking I use over reduced black base coat to outline my design just enough to act as a reference so once all the masking has been removed it just a matter of some free hand airbrushing to tighten the design up.
Pictured above the enter eagle, etc. has been roughed in with just the base black and we are ready to begin refining the design. In the end I have to go back in and straighten the forks of the fork which goes to prove it’s best to do it correctly the first time.
Here it’s just a matter of working the yellow than black, yellow, black until you’re happy with the design.
Now we’ll tackle the red 7 which with the micron is very easy and requires no masking of the yellow eagle I just painted. Cut the 7 out and apply the red all this is made so much easier because we already have a white base to work on.
To render the braid around the outside of the design you can see I have measured the sections off on the masking and will use over reduced black base to outline the braids cutting one tiny section out at a time. Looks time consuming but if you go thru and cut them all out at once it actually goes pretty quickly.
Fill the braids in with some yellow; again that micron comes in very handy for tight stuff like this. Pull the rest of the masking off the letters and stars and it’s not looking to badly so far. And as you can see there are our stars and lettering already in white just as they are required too be from the reference we had to work off from.
Remove the rest of the masking on the helmet; let it see the light of day so we can see how it looks and we are ready to add our background.
I want to close the design in with black but not all the way right up to the Team Badge so we’ll use the old and quick dry wall repair tape for a nice effect around the design. I think running the black right up to the helmet would take away from the design so we’ll add this very easy background to blend it into.
And there you have our pretty much completed front design except for fixing that ugly fork; doing it right the first time saves you time in the end. As you can see though the little added work around the outside made the enter design even more interesting, simple sheet rock tape, pool screen, window screen all work nicely.
Above you see he reference that was sent me for the side designs, frog skeleton which will be a first for me; never painted one of these, lots of skeleton’s but never a frog skeleton.
Transfer our frog onto a piece of transfer paper, position correctly on the helmet on both sides and we’re ready to start on the side designs. As I did with the front design I go thru the entire frog and cut everything out very carefully. Once again all I’m shooting for here are reference lines with this part of the painting process and for this I use over reduced base white.
Once I have gone thru both sides and placed my reference lines with the base white. I will pull all the masking off and free hand both designs alternating between base black and white to refine the frog skeletons. With this completed we are ready for a couple coats of two part clear and it’s done. Because we do not have a big build up of paint where we painted the designs clear coating this helmet will be a breeze.