Back to Tron (1982) Cosplay SDCC 2017

SDCC 2017 - Tron (1982) Helmet

Update 3/25/17: Helmet Neck Visor Complete!

For rerezzing this cosplay for SDCC 2017, I acquired a SMALL size Cooper "SK 2000 S" hockey helmet for the Kevin Flynn costume. The Cooper SK 2000 S is - near as I can tell - the helmet used for Kevin Flynn and for other characters including Tron, Ram, and Yori (during her solar sailor scenes only).

Cooper SK 2000 S (small) hockey helmet.  This helmet is a magnificent specimen (Homestar!) complete with face guard and side guards.
Cooper SK 2000 S (small) hockey helmet. This helmet is a magnificent specimen (Homestar!) complete with face guard and side guards.

The key distinction between the small, medium and large sizes of the Cooper SK 2000 is that the small has 4 vent holes on each side at the rear of the helmet, whereas the medium (some, not all?) and large each have 5 vent holes. In studying the film, it seems that all the SK 2000 helmets used were of the small size (padding removed and customized). The helmets are adjustable, and when the small size is adjusted all the way out (to fit adult heads), it looks sleek, elongated, and integrated - as if part of the user or program itself.

The Cooper SK 2000 S has 4 vent holes on each rear side and is the helmet used - sans face and side guards - for Kevin Flynn and for other characters including Tron, Ram, and Yori (during her solar sailor scenes only).
The Cooper SK 2000 S has 4 vent holes on each rear side and is the helmet used - sans face and side guards - for Kevin Flynn and for other characters including Tron, Ram, and Yori (during her solar sailor scenes only).

In cosplaying Kevin Flynn for SDCC 2016, I used a large Cooper "SK 2000 L" helmet which fit well but fell short of screen-accurate in three ways: 1) it was larger in proportion, 2) it had the five vent holes issue, and 3) it had to be adjusted in all the way, resulting in smallish ear openings and line art alterations in that area.

Update 9/2/16: Helmet Disassembly

Part of me hates to take apart this nearly pristine Cooper helmet. But here it goes.

Cooper SK 2000 S disassembled. Neat find in between the liner and shell:  made 27 JAN 1993. The bare shell, ready for sanding.

Update 9/25/16: Cooper Bumper Repair

A common problem I run into with Cooper SK 2000 helmets is that the side bumper's center screw eyelet breaks off, resulting in the inability to tighten down the size adjustment. This is probably due to the age of the helmet and plastic dry rot. Not to worry, like the man says: no problems, only solutions.

Update 1/16/17: Helmet Neck Visor (vinyl backing)

The original neck visor from the film is fashioned out of craft foam. For durability, I am taking the approach I did last year by using a piece of white vinyl cut from the back of a Sterilite kitchen trash can. This material is similar in strength to the plastic of the helmet, and makes a nice surface onto which to bond craft foam in a subsequent step. Here are two 8.5"x11" printable PDFs of the template:

Cooper SK 2000 S neck visor template (left)
Cooper SK 2000 S neck visor template (right)

Pizza, soda, scissors, Tron screenshots - let's cosplay! Neck visor is fashioned from white vinyl cut from Sterilite kitchen trash can. After many measurements, markings, and cuts, the result looks promising.  It will be anchored by 5 screws (2 each side, 1 rear center). Hand-traced template from resulting visor.

Update 2/26/17: Helmet Filling and Sanding

Used JB Plastic Weld to fill screw holes of side bumpers and factory holes around the helmet. At this stage, those fills are sanded smooth. More work remains on the front bezel.

JB Plastic Weld in screw holes. Inside view showing five #6-32 x 1/2" bevel screws holding neck visor. Screw heads are plastic-filled on outside and sanded smooth. Tractor Supply has these screws. The trick to getting the front trapezoidal feature is to cut away the bezel.

Update 3/25/17: Helmet Neck Visor Complete!

The original Tron prop helmets used only craft foam for the neck visors. For durability, as shown above in a previous step, I opted for rigid vinyl to closely match the helmet's plastic. But that thin visor "shell" needs the craft foam for thickness, fit, and original look. Behold the final result:

Neck visor complete, using rigid vinyl backing and craft foam padding.  Looks authentic compared to original prop helmets, yet is more durable in the long run.
Neck visor complete, using rigid vinyl backing and craft foam padding. Looks authentic compared to original prop helmets, yet is more durable in the long run.

The craft foam is 1/2" closed cell polyethylene from The Foam Factory (1/3 sheet, $16.99). Below is a photo album showing the detailed steps to rough-out the neck visor's craft foam padding, bond it to the rigid vinyl backing, and do final cutting and sanding.

The cut-out at left was a failed attempt.  Starting again here. The rough-cut blank craft foam with 1/2" holes drilled to clear the screws protruding inside the visor shell. The blank protrudes front of the helmet sides. Cutting to fit inside the helmet sides. Fits inside the helmet sides now. It's going to trim nicely to meet the vinyl neck visor. Double-sided fabric tape from Walmart is extremely sticky and will create a permanent bond. Left ear with double-sided fabric tape applied, with tape backing still in place. Double-sided fabric tape around rear edge and interior. Right ear fabric-taped. Working from left ear around to right ear, remove portions of tape backing and secure padding in stages. Secure padding to left ear area before peeling backing off remaining taped areas. Sticks very well. Next remove tape backing from rear area. Showing rear area tape backing ready for peeling off. Rear taped area ready for sticking the padding to it. And finally, remove tape backing from right ear and press padding into place. Craft foam padding is now securely bonded to the vinyl neck visor. Front view of bonded padding. Side view of bonded padding. Rear view of bonded padding. Use a razor blade to rough-cut the padding. Rough cut complete. Be very precise, and with a short cutting action, use the vinyl as the blade's guide. Use a sliver of a razor blade to navigate the tight curves of the ear areas. Final cut of the neck padding complete. Looks good, but blade leaves a lot of cut marks on the padding. Use 320 grit sandpaper on craft foam to reduce jagged cut lines. Final neck visor looks really good.  The vinyl backing will stand the test of time over craft foam alone.