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Mac's Modeling, LLC.

Forming Helmet visors

To get a good fit of the visor on helmets, it is best to form them so they fit nicely.

I use a system very similar to that described on Denizen Miniatures website. It is also very handy to replace those visors that crack and split on some diecast models, EXOTO for example.
See what I mean.

First, I make a template of the visor I want to form, by marking it out on some painter masking tape. (This can be done by sticking a piece of tape around the helmet and marking out the visor, if no template is supplied with the helmet.) When replacing a broken visor, I stick the broken one on the masking tape, then stick the tape on a piece of clear or dark plastic sheet. (What I find to be really good are the little plastic "forms" that the drycleaner put at the front of my shirt collars.) I mark the holes for the hinge pins and drill them out.

Some helmets come with a template, in that case I use a piece of clear "Scotch tape" over the template and stick it on the plastic I plan on using.

I then cut the shape I have marked out on the tape. Depending what scale, decides what I use, 1:43 I use a modeling knife with a new blade, larger scales I just use scissors and then trim with a modeling knife and sand paper. When using the knife, don't worry if you don't cut all the way through. You will be able to simply "tear" the visor out. It will follow the cut you made with the knife.

Then I check it on the helmet it is to fit and make sure everything is good.

After I have the shape I want, I get a piece of rod material. I use aluminum as I have all kinds of sizes around, but a wood dowel material will work. Select a diameter close to the size you need, possibly a little smaller than you actually want. 1/2" diameter is generally good for 1:18 scale, 3/8" diameter is good for 1:20. But use the size you are happy with. (In this case I used 3/8")

The next step is where you need to be careful. Get a small piece of white paper; it only needs to be around a strip 1.5" wide. Now wrap this around the rod and overlap itself. Now place the visor in between the paper (Update: I use two more of the plastic "collar pieces" to sandwich the visor, that makes sure they remain crystal clear.) as you continue to wrap it around the rod. Make sure the visor is square to the rod or it will not fit correctly when done. Once completely wrapped stick some tape on it to stop it from unraveling.

I like to use HOT water for the next step, some like to use a heat gun. I use a Pyrex cup/dish, something like that and pre-heat it with hot water from the tap (to make sure it does not break with the temperature difference, your spouse will appreciate that). While I have a kettle boiling some water. When the kettle boils I sit my visor mounted on the rod in it and pour in the water that has just come off the boil. Letting it replace the warm water. Once the water is replaced I generally let it sit for 1 minute max, then remove the rod and run it under the cold water. (Try not to burn yourself.) This cools it down and sets the shape.

Remove visor from the paper and rod. You should have a perfectly shaped visor that you can now install on the helmet and it won't stick out at the bottom like "un-formed visors". I use tiny rivets or sewing pin heads for the hinge pins, drilling a smaller hole than the pin size. Start the pin off on one side, so it will not come out, and then start the second pin on the other side. I take a pair of pliers and just squeeze the pins in far enough so the hold the visor in any position I put it.

With that done you should have a really good looking visor on the helmet.

See easy! And no special tools needed.  Now you try. ;)
Mac