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HOWTO: Convert the Black Series FO Helmet to be More Accurate


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Alright, so before I get started I am going to mention that this HOWTO is being done on the BS captain cardinal helmet. If you are reading this from the future and BS has a standard FO helmet on shelves, I would assume that this HOWTO would still apply, assuming it uses the same molds/form as the captain cardinal helmet. 


EDIT: There is now a white version of the hasbro helmet. It does use the same molds, and this howto will still be an accurate guide on how to modify it.


I initially started this thread  when I first saw the helmets promotional material to discuss it's accuracy, but I will be summing it up here. While this helmet is extremely good out of the box, it has a few inaccuracies to be corrected for higher level approval (presumably, no one has used this helmet as of yet for an approved build). They are as follows: The tube stripes are not hollow, there is 2 speaker slots on the rear of the helmet, the channel/groove on the chin of the helmet goes around the aerator instead of through it, and there is a missing groove/channel that goes from corner to corner of the lower traps. 

My plans for this thread are to correct all of these issues, as well as making a few adjustments to some of the parts of the helmet (like the teeth) that have some very small gaps that bother me personally.


I will also be doing a total repaint on this helmet to convert it to a first order executioner! If one only wishes to correct the speakers, a repaint of the helmet would not be necessary. However for this conversion we are going to cut several of the pieces, fill in some groves with bondo (or a similar fill), and more. This would require a repaint anyways, regardless of what the base color for the plastic is. If you are planning on using this helmet for a full suit of armor, I would also recommend a repaint so that the colors are able to match exactly.


So on with the tutorial!


Here is what I am using for this build (will be updated as the build progresses)

  • 1 Black Series FO helmet
  • Small Philips screwdriver
  • A flathead screwdriver, butter knife, or equivalent as a wedge
  • Wire-cutters or a strong pair of scissors 
  • 200-250 grit sandpaper
  • Exacto Knife
  • Dremel kit
  • E-6000 or equivalent 
  • Super Glue or equivalent 
  • Light Grey Primer (spray)
  • White paint (spray)
  • Black paint (spray)
  • matte finish clear coat (spray)
  • 1k or 2k Gloss clear coat (up to personal preference)




Step 1: Disassembling the Helmet


I initially was not going to do a detailed breakdown on this process, but it proves to actually be quite difficult compared to what I imagined.


Remove the strapping from the helmet. I will be replacing this with padding later, as I find it uncomfortable, but it will still be needed to be removed in order to take this apart. 

Next, remover the battery cover (which is also the entire lower edge of the helmet) and unscrew all of the screws along this edge, as well as all of the screws on the inside. I recommend keeping track of which screws go where for the final reassembly later. Once this is done the small faceplate, rubber eye ring, and the black base should come off rather easily. The black base has two electrical wires that are still attaching it to the rest of the helmet, make sure there is no battery inserted in the battery case, and then cut the wires with a wire cutter or scissors.






With a small push the aerator should also slide out of place from the faceplate.




Congrats, that was the easiest part of this whole build. Everything will get significantly harder from here.




The next step is to remove the inner grey sections from the helmet. You may have noticed that despite taking out the screws earlier, these sections have still held in place, they are secured through a few different methods still. Namely: glue and plastic tabs. For ease of explaining the next few steps, I made a quick diagram above, and numbered the parts 1-5.

Section 1 is at the back of the helmet, and will be the first to be removed. 1 has two tabs, one on each side, that join with 2 and 3 (the sections by the ears). It also has five tabs deep in the helmet that connect 1 to 4 (the cap at the top). You will be able to easily unhook the first two tabs at the sides, the others you are unable to reach. Once the first two are unhooked, place one hand at the top of section 1 where it meets 4, and apply lots of pressure, this will push the tabs to an ideal position for removal; while doing this, take your other hand and pull section 1 out from the bottom. This will take a lot of force, don't worry, nothing should break here. The inside should now look like this:




Sections 2 and 3 have two tabs at their top, securing them to the cap, section 4. There is also a couple spots of glue on their sides that attach them to section 5, the face plate. Take a small butter knife, screwdriver, or other item to use as a wedge, and slip it into the cracks where the glue is. Mess around until you think the glue is separated. 




Then repeat what you did for the first plate, and remove these two sections.It should now look like this:




The faceplate (section 5) should be easy to remove, and the lens will fall out with it.


The cap (section 4) will take some maneuvering as there are a few tabs holding it in place. Once it is removed, the two clip greeblies at the top of the helmet are no longer held in place and they may be removed also.






Now we will separate the two large outer sections of the helmet, the faceplate and the cap/back. There's 6 screws total, four at the top and 2 at the rear. At the front where the two meet, there are three tabs glued in place. They are not very hard to bend back and remove the glue with your fingers. her's a better look at them:




You can set the cap/rear aside as the only parts left to take apart are on the faceplate. On the right side you will see there is some electrical components, take out the screws and throw them away, however save the small red button/greblie. This also is the same for the electrical components on the black base. Make sure that you follow any local recycling and garbage guidelines/proper safety precautions when throwing away electronic components!!!


You will also see there are two black strips of plastic underneath the tube stripes. They are glued in place, and easy to remove. These are also to be thrown out, as the tube stripes should be fully hollow. Behind the tube stripes on each side is a single screw and spacer. This holds on the small trap, unscrew them and remember to keep these small parts! 






Finally there's only one thing left to remove, the black sections of the face! this was the trickiest part to figure out, but it should be fairly easy for you if you follow these steps exactly:


Use whatever you used for a wedge, and wedge it underneath the tear area (beneath the eye)




Push the tear forwards and out, this should pop out the small tab behind it. Repeat for the other side.




There is a similar but much longer tab at the top of the faceplate, where the large traps are. Theoretically this should also be able to be pushed out like the ones at the tears, but I couldn't get it to move far enough. So I took a small knife and cut the tab in half (only on one side). I was able to pop the tab out after that. The other side at this point slid out really easily, and the whole large piece can be set aside. Finally there is one last small part on the frown, with some jiggling this comes off easy also. 




I'm open to suggestions on this part:




This is the back of the aerator, it seems the metal part was cast into a hole of the plastic, or jammed in there by a machine. I have tries hammering this out, but because of the shape it can't be done on a vice. I tried without it, but it was putting some strain on the plastic, and only making dents on the metal. I think i might have to drill next to it, but I'm unsure if thats the best bet. Any suggestions would be extremely helpful, as masking it off would be a pain in the butt.




And thats it for the dissasembly!!!!!



Prepping the helmet for modification and paint


Take the four large red pieces, and sand them down using 200-250 grit sandpaper. (I used 150 because thats what I had laying around, but 200-250 would be preferred). You could argue that this is overkill, but I prefer to have a non-slick surface when applying primer, paint, and gloss.




Next, in a well ventilated area and with a mask on, spray these parts with the light grey primer, as well as the red greblies and the aerator (once I figure out how to disassemble it). I did 3-4 light coats to ensure that all of the ups and downs and details of the helmet were covered. Feel free to do more, but remember there will be more coats applied later as the modifications are made. I also did one coat on the inside, so it won't be bright red when this is all finished.







I would love to continue this post, however the next steps will be some of the major modifications on the helmet. I am still not finished with them yet, and will continue with it later this evening. Expect this thread to be updated daily-ish from now on until it's completion!


Until then, 



Edited by Ericnathan811
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Part 2!  I was debating holding off on posting for another day, but I figured I had the time to post this tonight, so let's get into it!


Modifying The Helmet

Additional Items Needed:

  • Spare sheet of either ABS or HIPS (.25-.5mm)
  • Small File



I decided to start with what I felt was the hardest part of this build, just to get it over with. This would be the grove that runs from the lower traps and goes around the helmet, parallel to the black strip.

Start by measuring the distance from the bottom of the faceplate to the bottom of the small trap. This was exactly 1/2 inch on my tape measure. Then mark every so often with a pencil, a point where the groove will go (use the measurement to be as accurate as you can).  To help make this guide more visible on the cap/back, I used tape to go between each point.




Attach a medium size cutting disc to your dremel, and secure the faceplate so it will not move at all. Following your guideline, you should make a cut that looks like this on each side:




Again, secure the cap/back so it will not move. Starting from the center and working your way out, make slots with the dremel, and leave some space between each cut. BE CAREFUL NOT TO CUT THE SCREW SUPPORTS! It should look something like this:




You will notice that at one point, my hands slipped and it made a cut where it shouldn't have. This is ok as errors like this can easily be fixed in later steps, don't worry too much if this happens to you.

Now, use the dremel to cut the rest of the slots out on the cap/back.




Now to finish the cut, take an exacto knife and cut the supports by hand, while leaving the screw slots intact:




One last time with the dremel, go to the front of the faceplate, and cut the loop around the aerator out






This next part take some fiddling,  but you want to cut out as much of the stray supports as you can on the cap/back. You want a clear surface on the edges where the cut was made. Then with some sandpaper, sand down the edges of the main cut to straighten and smooth it out. Start with 200 grit, and work your way up to 250 or higher. Also use the sandpaper and knife to do the same to the small slots on the face plate; this will be harder as you have to work inside of the cut as everything there should still be attached.










Now with the spare sheet of plastic, cut out two small rectangles that are a little larger than the cuts on the face plate. Glue them in place







Now cut a long strip of the spare plastic, and make sure it has alot to work with. I cut out major slots for the top part of the cut on the cap/back, and carefully made slots for the bottom half of the cut. These slots are for the remaining supports and screw slots. It's better to cut less than more, so slowly make these cuts deeper and wider as needed, bit by bit. you should get to a point when sliding the pieces together, the groove is the same width as the grove on the face plate, and they should line up. Glue the pieces together to finish the cap/back (do not glue it to the faceplate). 










Take the loop cut off from the faceplate earlier, and glue it to the neck/ring. While you are at it, glue the clip greblies and the button greeblie to their original position.








Now Take the faceplate, and a small file. The file should be able to fit inside of the tube stripes. Use the file to shave off the tapered edge of each stripe. Here is a in progress pick to demonstrate what I mean:




Once they are finished, take the file and clean up the edges and corners until they are looking very nice!




Tomorrow's  steps will be filling with Bondo and sanding, as well as a final preparation for painting!!! 


Until then, I'm signing out :salute:



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Man, you are doing an awesome job of this upgrade. very impressed so far. I'm going to pin this thread so it's easier to find.

looking forward to you next post. :popcorn:

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  • Sly11 pinned this topic
  • 1 month later...

I just wanna post a quick update since it has been a while and I feel I should explain myself.  Just before I was able to finish work on the helmet (I probably only have a days worth left) I unfortunately contracted COVID-19 and had to deal with that for 2 weeks, and for obvious reasons was unable to work on the helmet. Immediately after my semester started at uni and I don’t have the available space required for painting. I have finished bondo and the first few coats, I was going to wait till it was done, but I will post later today with the half finished paint job, as it may be a number of weeks until I get the opportunity to finish it up.


sorry to keep y’all waiting, it’s just how life winded up being :duimomlaag:

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So sorry to hear you contracted Covid-19 but happy to hear you have come through it ok. I know it's hard leaving projects halfway through, I had a fall before Christmas and injured my shoulder and elbow and I'm biting at the bit to be able to do some building.


Looking forward to seeing the updates, hopefully you'll be able to get back to it in the not too distant future.

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Thanks Glen!! 


As promised I am going to post what I do have done now.


Before going into the bondo and paint process, I did manage to finally get that darn aerator out of the surrounding plastic. It was very messy, but an slowly chipping away with an exacto knife did the trick:





Bondo And Sanding


In order to hide some of the modifications, as well as any crimes you made up to this point in the mod, we will be using my favorite smelling resin: Bondo :peace:


This stuff is made to repair stuff on cars or something, idk never used it for that. You can find this like everywhere, Walmart, Fleet Farm, Home Depot, Menards, and like any auto shop in existence. Go out sopping and have some fun, collect them all :laugh1:


There's lost of different sizes of this stuff, but assuming you didn't slice the helmet in half on accident, any of the smaller sizes will do. 

Bondo is a 2 part resin, meaning there's the gray playdough like stuff, and this other colored (red, blue, whatever) activator. You will notice you get a lot more of the grey than the colored, and thats because you don't need much of the activator for this to work. 



Don't get this on your skin. It burns real bad, and water makes it worse. Although some people out there seem to have built up an immunity to it, I'd really recommend not trying it out. Instead, wear a pear of rubber or latex gloves; and rather than touching the bondo directly, use pop-sickle sticks/tongue depressors for large amounts and some flat toothpicks for smaller amounts. 

You may also want to do this in a well ventilated area or with a mask. However as I stated earlier I love the smell so I never do that. I am very much in the minority here.


Ok so how do you use this stuff? Well, step one is to prep. Make sure you know exactly where you are applying the bondo:

  • The speaker slots on the black neck ring
  • The seam formed from the previous posts, where we cut and glued the plastic around the aerator 
  • any places where you slipped up and cut where you weren't supposed to

I recommend doing this in separate batches, it'll take more time but bondo is time sensitive so this will make your life easier. The next part of prep is to figure out what you are mixing on/in. DO NOT USE CARDBOARD. This never works. ever. Instead use a hard surface, like a painters pallet, or a very smooth stone plate or something. If you're cheap like me you can just take the lid off of an old ice cream pale or tupperware  container. Get your popsicle sticks ready, its time to mix!


Step 2 is to mix and apply

Pour out/scoop out some of the grey part onto the mixing surface. It should be approximately enough to cover the entire surface of what you are filling and then some. My rule of thumb is guess what looks to be 1.5 of what you think you need. With bondo it's always ok to have too much! but you have to do this all over again if you have too little. Then, just take a tiny smidge of the activator (the colored stuff) and put it on the grey. You really do not need much at all, it should roughly be proportional to the amount given per the whole container. So just eyeball it. Too little and the bondo won't cure well and you'll have to sand and start over. Too much and you won't have time to apply it. It sounds way scarier than it actually is. You'll be fine


Take you sticks or whatever and mix it until the color of the mix is consistent throughout. You're supposed to have about 5 minutes to work with it at this point, but that will vary. Try to avoid making any air-bubbles, but they are almost inevitable.


Now with your sticks, apply it to the surface over what you are filling. Spread it around and try to get it how you like, but remember what really matters is what it is filling in, the rest will be sanded in. Special side note for the speaker slots:

Since these are fully hollow, take a second stick and cover the back of them, it will make your like way easier.


Here's how beautifully messy my application turned out:







Step 3: Sanding

I recommend starting with a course grit sandpaper and work your way up to a fine one. I used 100 grit for knocking off the large rough patches, 250 for leveling off, and 400 for smoothing it out and matching it to the surface. I also went across the entire surface of the helmet with the 400 grit to get everything to match nice and smooth. Be patient. 


You may notice there may be some air bubbles you can't get rid of like this:




Just go through the process again and you should be fine!

Here's what it should look like (including fill ins from mistakes)









Priming and Painting PT 1


Put on 2-3 light coats of the grey primer on the helmet pieces that needed bondo/sanding. You may need more or less, you just want enough so the surface is one uniform shade of grey. This is white paint we are going to work with, everything underneath will show if theres not enough primer.




Wow so nice and smooth right?


Ok so now for the paint. I am using rustoleum's gloss white acrylic automotive enamel. or something like that, I don't actually have it with me at the time of writing this post but I'm pretty sure thats its full name. SPRAY IN LIGHT COATS. This is white paint, everything shows. Any pooling or dripping will take 15 minutes of sanding and 12 more coats to hide. Trust me, if you think you sprayed too little, you sprayed too much. Lots of very light coats from multiple angles of approach will do the trick. I lost count of how many I did, but it was close to 15. This will take a long time (20-ish minutes between coats) so plan accordingly. (but look at the pictures below for results)


Also remember to paint the black neck ring also. Do this on a different day or in a different location. even if you are care-full, small particles of the paint will float in the air and wind up on the white coat.



This next step is for executioners only, so you may skip to the next post if you're just doing a plain TK.

Carefully mask around the border of the black stripe, you may do the whole helmet, but i like to wrap everything else with newspaper and seal it with painter's tape. Then take some matte black paint and spray carefully. This will only need 2-3 coats because black is dark. Duh :icon_eek:




You may be asking to yourself: "Eric, why are we painting the black stripe before applying the gloss?" The answer is I am impatient, and the gloss was still in amazon's warehouse. Ironically now I have to wait way longer because of my covid encounter and school.


Once it is dry remove the paper and tape and you should have something similar to this:




Thats all for now. I actually winded up being the klutz that I am and I dropped parts of the helmet. Nothing too bad happened except the area around the aerator cracked bad and has to be completely re-done in the future for me. It'll be a little while until I post the last update, as stated before I am unfortunately in a crunch on availability to work on this.


However I'll still be on the boards, and I am working on a fun post coming up that I promised a long while ago regarding spraying the inside of your armor with truck bed liner???!!

So go ahead and check that out when my little science experiment drops later this week


And with that I'm signing out for tonight :salute:

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  • 2 months later...

Finally! Back home from uni for the summer, and now there is progress to be made!!! 


Last Minute Adjustments


After coming home and looking at this sitting in the basement, there's a few more minor inaccuracies I want to get rid of, both have to do with the frown/faceplate. I didn't notice this before, but the smaller separate piece of the frown doesn't sit flush behind the teeth. This is a quick and easy fix.




As you can see there are these three posts that hold it back from the teeth, I took my Dremel and just chopped these off and sanded them down.




There is a new problem now, it will be hard to glue this in properly behind the teeth, now that it will be loose in its slot. There's not much room for error, and I don't trust myself getting this right, so rather than glueing it behind the teeth now, I'd rather get the rest of the faceplate in and secure, then glue it behind the teeth after. However the frown is not accessible from the inside of the helmet, so we will have to cut out the plastic behind the frown so it is accessible later during the assembly. Heres a look at what I did:








Now for the second last minute fix to the helmet: the small faceplate; again not something I noticed at first, but a much needed correction, the small faceplate isn't the same thickness all the way around, but rather sits on these 'stilts' or idk what to call them. This will leave these weird gaps above the frown between it and the faceplate, so I'm going to fill this in.






I have some cheap .020 styrene scrap from some recent modeling, but other strips of plastic will work. I layered them onto each other, cut at different lengths to get a smooth slope between the stilts. Nothing to fancy, just eyeballed it. Should look something like this now:






Now it's back to using bondo. Apply it to the visible edges of the faceplate, and atop the slope you made. Wait for it to harden then sand down. You'll notice there's more bondo on my aerator again. Thats from the cracking I mentioned in my previous post, nothing you need to do. You also don't need to assemble the helmet at this point, I just did it to try something out with painting I haven't done before.




Ok now that its sanded down, re-apply primer and paint the faceplate. Hopefully you've read this thread all the way through before starting your build so you don't have to paint this a second time, for those of you following along. And here's my parts drying in the garden, I wanted to try spraying the helmet on a stick, seemed like a neat way to approach things, the face plate is just resting on the cardboard.




This build is sooooo close to done, It just needs a few layers of gloss now!!! Hopefully this can be done in the next week, but I can't guarantee it, I've just got my kit for a CT build, and I really can't wait to start!!!!

Edited by Ericnathan811
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  • 1 year later...

Well it's been a year...


safe to say I got a little distracted :P


I've been working on a CRL for the clone trooper detachment among other projects and life events (including my first year of trooping!) and this one just fell to the wayside I guess.


I've reached the painting stage on my clone finally, and decided it was about time to finish this one too. 

got my hands on some 2K clear coat and I've been waiting for some  nice weather. Got it this morning with a 68° F  high today (~19° C by my estimation for the rest of the world)


so I sprayed the final clear coat this morning before getting to other clone things. Important to note that this stuff is very dangerous, you need a respirator, and clothing covering all of your skin head to toe. Also make sure to do this outside or in an extremely well ventilated area.


i put one thin base coat and 2 very thick coats all about 15 minutes apart.



i say it's looking great to me. I'm going to wait 2 days till I reassemble the helmet to let it cure fully. So expect a final update soon!

Edited by Ericnathan811
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Just gonna add some advice/observations out from someone who has done this

The tolerance for the black sections is tiny.
When I was trying to refit my teeth/tears it was a nightmare.
I had to sand back everything to the base plastic.

That was after this happened though


This meant buying a whole new lid just to get that piece.

The top tabs can be removed/sanded off as it stays in place without needing them.

I managed to get the black sections back on but probably could have sanded the paint back more to get a much closer fit.

There are some very small gaps on mine, but I’d have to point them out for you to notice.

I ditched the black inserts on the cheeks and used some 1.5mm styrene cut to shape and then added vinyl on top.


The black section running around the bottom is not uniform in height. If you have a template then you’ll be in a good place

I used a straight strip on black vinyl and then had to pull it quite tight near the front to stop it overlapping.

Overall I feel it’s a budget friendly way of getting a TLJ specific lid, it’s just a bit scary along the way.

Denuo Novo lid is three times as much and doesn’t seem to have the right clip.


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After the clear coat dried all we need to do was re-assemble the helmet fully, the easiest part of this build besides disassembly!

And it's finally done! Not perfect, I missed some spots, but I'm happy with it and will call this project finished!




I hope this thread has been and continues to be a helpful guide to new and incoming troopers! Best of luck to all of you!


likely that I won't get around to making the armor for this guy, but it fits great into my helmet collection.

Edited by Ericnathan811
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