Continued from Part 1 – Prepping your helmet and Part 2 – Painting your helmet
Installing the visor face shield
Making a visor template
If your helmet didn’t come with a visor paper template, you can easily make your own. All you need to do is place paper inside the visor area, and trace the T-visor outline. Remove and add about ½ inch extra to the outline. To get a symmetrical template you can fold it in half and copy the half outline. Test your paper template by placing it inside the helmet and make any adjustments so that your template sits flat inside the helmet.
Another method to make a Mandalorian helmet visor template is to use clear acetate sheets. You can easily see the visor opening to trace out the outline from the inside. These sheets from office supply stores are too thin for helmet visor material but they may help you make a visor template pattern.
Cutting your visor material
Choose a visor material that is not too thick and not too thin. You want a visor that will help add some structural support to the helmet cheek and mandible area, but thin enough that you can still curve it a bit. Also, you want a visor tint that is dark enough to hide your face inside. The darkness required will vary if you are in bright outdoor sunlight, or if you are at a nighttime event. Suitable Mandalorian helmet visor materials include the grinding visor shields shade 3-5 by Hobart, the Sellstrom safety face shield, or even this one looks suitable by Forney. Note that dark green visors will look black against a dark background, (like your face in your helmet wearing a dark balaclava).
Place your template pattern on your tinted face shield. Trace the outline, and cut it out with strong scissors. You may want to place some painter’s tape on the visor center area to prevent scratches.
To shape a slight curve in the plastic visor use boiling water. Hold the curve in place and allow it to cool to set the curve. But be careful that you don’t warp the plastic with the boiling water. Test fit your visor inside the helmet again and make any further adjustments if needed. Slight gaps are ok and can help minimize visor fogging. If it still doesn’t sit well, check whether the inside of your helmet has irregular edges around the mandibles. You might need to further sand down the inside of your helmet.
Once you think the visor shape looks good, use some window cleaner and a lint-free cloth to clean it up or remove any leftover sticker glue.
How to install the visor in the Mandalorian helmet
There are various methods of installing the visor to the helmet. These include:
- Hot glue (semi-permanent)
- Chicago screws or nuts & bolts
- Clip system (mirror/visor clips)
- Velcro hook & loop (both rough & soft sides)
- Velcro just the soft side (semi-permanent)
I suggest choosing a method that allows you to change the visor in the future, (if it’s scratched badly, or if you’d like a different colored or mirrored visor). Although hot glue is easy to use and somewhat removable (it can be pried apart), in hot climates it may soften and separate. And using both sides of Velcro might leave a gap that is too large.
For beginners, I think using only the soft side of adhesive Velcro is a great method. Just cut out strips and secure the visor flat inside the helmet. Be careful when laying down the Velcro that you don’t place it too close to the opening where you can see the fuzzy Velcro from the outside. Also when securing your visor, make sure the visor is set down low enough so it meets the cheek bottom corners. You can find industrial strength Velcro rolls easily in most places. Regular adhesive Velcro is not strong enough and will peel off, use the industrial-strength stuff.
Lastly, if you feel that your helmet needs more structure around the mandibles area or you’re worried about warping cheeks, you can add a bridge at the bottom of the T. The hard plastic visor helps keep the structural integrity but if you’re worried you can add a little metal bar or piece of plastic to bridge the 2 bottom cheek corners.
How to tint a clear visor
If for whatever reason you can’t find a tinted face shield in your country, you can tint a clear visor shield as an alternative. This is also an option if you want a special color tint or a mirrored visor.
You can find clear safety shields at places like HomeDepot or on Amazon. Search for clear safety shields or replacement face shields. And when looking for a black window tint choose one that is about 5% light transmission tint (also sometimes called “limo tint”).
Place your template on your visor material. You might need to position it to avoid any brand name engraving. Do not remove the protective film yet. Cut out your pattern with strong scissors, or a razor blade to get a cleaner line at the bottom of the T. Do a test fitting and make further adjustments.
You can use the scrap plastic to practice applying window tint, if this is your first time.
Cut a piece of window tint large enough to cover your visor. Remove one side of the protective film on the visor. And also carefully peel apart the window tint protective film layer by using 2 pieces of scotch tape.
Wet the tint and the visor a bit with soapy water, and using a small squeegee or plastic card (like a library or bank card) squeeze out any bubbles from the center out. When you think you’ve gotten all the bubbles smoothed out, trim the excess around the edges with a razor. Leave to dry completely.
You can then remove the second layer of protective film from the clear visor and check the surface again. If some bubbles or dirt specs show up, you can start over with a new sheet. You can wipe off any residue with rubbing alcohol. Fyi, this can be a frustrating process, don’t do it when your patience is running thin. Also, note that window tint doesn’t like being heated to curve.
Once dry you can then secure to your helmet as shown above with the soft side of industrial velcro. Place the tint facing outside, this way the flex of the curve helps keep the tint stretched tight.
Got questions? Ask below.
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