Recently BGS character artist Dennis Mejilones and his wife Elizabeth welcomed their first child, Adriana Dahlia. To help celebrate the occasion, world artist Josh Jay, whose been known to make some pretty amazing helmets in the past, decided to create a helmet for Adriana.
In the slideshow below, check out various images of the production process, and read our short interview with Jay after the break.
How do you come up with the idea for the Babyhood of Steel?
Jay: It came up as an offhand joke. Dennis came by my desk to tell me that Liz was expecting and the discussion turned to 3D printing toys for our (future) kids. I’m always thinking of Brotherhood of Steel props to build and thought it might be funny to make one that was cute and baby-sized. I was just kidding at the time but then thought …well, why not? I had just received my MakerBot Replicator as a gift and wanted to keep that good will on a roll.
You mentioned the use of a 3D printer. How has that changed your approach to creating physical items from our games?
Jay: You really begin to see props in the world as fully realized objects. You tend to skew away from stylization and focus on making them appear practical and functional. The temptation to add pointless flair becomes easier to resist.
What’s the hardest part of making something like this?
Jay: I think the toughest part was splitting the original 3D model into pieces that could be printed and seamlessly refitted together again. 3D printers have a limited printing space and you have to make some hard decisions as to how you will break the model apart in a way that can be reassembled without disrupting the surface continuity.
Is the helmet wearable?
Jay: Completely wearable. The safety of the Babyhood helmet was a real concern since it was designed to be worn straight out of the printer as opposed to something that was cast from a mold. The undersides of the prints had to be completely smooth since they served as the interior of the helmet. There cannot be any sharp edges that could scratch a face or scalp. This was where I did most of my manual work. All of the support material had to be cut away, sanded down, smoothed with acetone, and then sanded again with 300 and 600 grit paper that removed any chemicals while maintaining a glassy smoothness before being sealed.
Any other props/costumes you’re thinking of making?
Jay: Yes. The model used for the baby was derived from my own variation of the T-45d helmet from Fallout 3. I learned a lot from building the first Brotherhood helmet and am making a second one; the Mk II. The Mk II helmet will be 3D printed rather than hand-sculpted, more snug, and mechanically consistent. I’m also working on designs for the padded under armor and a matching set of plate armor. I have no idea when this will be finished but I try to tinker with it a bit each week. I have a half-finished prop of the Fallout 3 Gauss Rifle sitting on my work bench that I will be finishing before I revisit the Mk II armor though. I put the rifle on hold a year ago when I moved to Maryland and again when I had heard that Dennis had a baby on the way (the rifle could wait but a pregnancy would not). The Gauss Rifle needs to get finished first because I’d feel foolish standing around empty handed in a full suit of armor.
Anything else you’d like to share?
Jay: I’d like to thank Alan Willard of Epic Games for donating his Replicator to my shop and congratulate Dennis and Liz on their new arrival. They’re going to make terrific parents!