AW177 G.I. Joe: Retaliation Snake Eyes Prop Helmet Restoration Project
Restoration of a Snake Eyes prop helmet from the movie G.I. Joe: Retaliation.
Some history: being an 80s child, I grew up watching the animated TV series, G.I. Joe: A Real American Hero, and reading and collecting the Marvel comic of the same name, written by legendary writer, Larry Hama. The one particular character of the comic which I always found cool, bad-ass and fascinating was Snake Eyes. Who doesn’t love a silent ninja that fights for good?
I am not going to go into the full backstory on this character or G.I. Joe, but if you’re interested you can find out more here:
One particular trait about Snake Eyes is his signature balaclava and visor, which covers his entire face. In the movie, this visor was replaced by a helmet, which I found equally cool.
Back in about February of 2018, I had the opportunity to purchase a fiberglass/high quality resin prop of his helmet from an online prop maker/company for a good price, and figured it would make an excellent display of one of my favorite characters, so I went ahead with the purchase.
Excitement turned to disappointment when it arrived; it was badly crafted, wasn’t even finished/molded correctly, parts fell off, had holes and other visible defects, and the visor didn’t even fit correctly into the helmet. I contacted the prop maker/company and after some talk, they decided to refund me most of my money and I can keep the helmet. At this point I got it for a very great price so decided to do a restoration myself. Little did I know how long, tedious and strenous it took to complete the project! I had a huge learning curve and not a lot of free time to do it.
A few items I had to learn and/or picked up doing this restoration:
– filing tools, Dremel
– sandpaper grits, when to apply which grit, wet sanding
– stripping and primering
– apply, shape and sand Bondo, along with drying times
– choosing the right spray paints and how to use them correctly
– how to minimize dust particles, drying times of spray paint
– clear coating, wet sanding imperfections, and repeat
– how to make parts fit correctly, use of weld to keep everything in place
– choosing, using and applying the right polish to keep the visor shiny
On top of all this, I purchased a helmet display stand and once the helmet was placed on top of it, something seemed missing on the bottom of the stand. I figured a sign or plaque would look great there – what design could this be? The ninja clan that Snake Eyes belongs to, the Arashikage symbol, would be perfect. Hence began a side project on top of this project!
The Arashikage symbol plaque involved cutting out a piece of styrene plastic sheet, sanding corners smooth, priming, vectorizing the symbol in Adobe Illustrator, cutting the design out on a vinyl cutter, applying the cut out to the styrene sheet, spray painting multiple coats, and clear coating. However, it took 3 tries of this entire process in order to get a plaque I was happy with! 3 times the charm!
Combining the helmet, plaque and helmet display stand together, everything looks awesome (I know it’s not exactly the same as the original G.I. Joe: Retaliation Snake Eyes helmet, but it’s my version!). A long time coming, I could not wait for the day I can say it was done. I could not be happier with how everything came out. Total completion time for this project, working on and off, took approximately less than two years, completed at the end of December, 2019.
Thanks for checking out my G.I. Joe: Retaliation Snake Eyes prop helmet restoration project! Enjoy the pics!