Developing the Concept
Born and raised in Hawaii, I had the benefit of seeing both Western and Eastern superheroes. I grew up with American superheroes like Spiderman, Batman and Superman, but I was also exposed to Japanese superheroes like Kikaida, Inazuman and Kamen Rider.
The latter fall into the genre of Tokusatsu, Japanese live-action shows that involve superheroes. This genre spawned an estimated 3 - 4 billion dollar global industry that eventually made its way into all corners of the globe from Asia to Europe and the Americas. In the United States, the original Japanese shows eventually got watered down (due to US TV standards) into what most in the States know today as the Power Rangers.
So, what does a superhero geek do when he grows up and you give him access to a prototyping studio and some of the most talented artists in the industry? He makes superhero armor.
The idea behind the Kamen Rider CRD helmet was to create a more contemporary version of the original Kamen Rider V3 character from the 70's. The goal was to create a 1:1 scale wearable helmet based on this concept.
The Kamen Rider CRD Helmet
Sketching the Helmet Design
|Concept pencil sketch for the "Rider CRD" design.|
I worked with Calvin Lac, an Application Engineer here at RAPID Technology, on the design for the helmet. Calvin is an award-winning model maker and artist.
We tried to take original elements from the character and give it an edgier, more mature feel using antiquing techniques to make newly printed Z Corp 3D printed parts appear old. Calvin, an avid Gundam fan, tried to incorporate Gundam design elements as well.
I have a deep appreciation of Swiss surrealist H.R. Giger's work and wanted a bio-mechanical feel to the overall design. Some areas were to have organic, fluid looking curves, while other areas would have hard edges and well-defined lines. Above all, unlike some remakes, I wanted it to preserve the spirit of the character and pay homage to the original show, keeping long-time fans happy and hopefully winning some new ones.
Designing the Helmet in 3D CAD
Once we had the idea hammered out, we began designing in 3D with the CAD program Maya. At this stage, the helmet went through several changes and then was engineered for 3D printing.
Maya rendering showing computer-generated model half as a surface render and half as a wireframe.
"Rider CRD" 3/4 scale helmet prototype.
3D Printing the Helmet
The 3D model was printed on the ZPrinter 450 in parts. We created the lower jaw separately to allow the helmet to be worn and retain a tight fit on the wearer's head. We finished the 3D printed helmet prototype with ZMax to provide extra strength to the helmet so it could be used as a true functional part in production work. Finally, we assembled the helmet and prepared the surface for gloss painting.
Rider Helmet prototype emerging from ZPrinter.
Test Fitting the Jaw
|Fit adjustments for the faceplate.|
|Test fitting the jaw.|
Painting the 3D Printed Helmet
We kept to the original color scheme of the character as much as possible. The original Kamen Rider V3 had a grey lower jaw. We opted for silver because we thought it would match the mechanical aspect of our design better. We also selected darker colors to give the character a more mature and contemporary feel. The helmet was painted in layers and sections.
First coat of primer and spot patching for the faceplate and jaw.
"Rider CRD" in his first coat of sanded-down primer.
Smoothing, joint patching for "Rider CRD."
Silver base coat laid down on "Rider CRD" helmet.
Metallic red overcoat going on the helmet.
Rider CRD in red metallic paint.
Casting the Resin Eyes
The Rider eyes were cast in resin. The masters were 3D printed and silicone molds were made. Then we mounted the resin eyes in the helmet.
Rider CRD... green eyes.
Adding Lights and Antenna
We added lights in the back of the eyes in order to give them a glowing effect. Finally the antennae were added to complete the look. Some of the smaller details were created in Z Corp’s ZBuilder Ultra plastic prototyping system and then painted.
Completed, functional 3D Printed Kamen Rider CRD Helmet: "Hmmm...something's missing..."
Next on the list, creating the entire suit?