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The finished MK I helmet.

Note: a second "improved" helmet kit is under construction. Check back soon for updates to this "hero" version of the prop.

Cylon Centurion Helmet
Another great sci-fi prop to add to your collection. By your command.

First of all, I'd like to say that it was years since I've seen Battlestar Galactica, [until the DVD set was released in October] and when I began research on this project, I was delighted to find that there was "alive and well" BSG community on the internet. I wanted to build a complete costume, like I did with my Stormtrooper uniform. Unfortunately the cost for a "real" or "official" one was prohibitive. I decided to start with just the helmet, [as I did years ago with my Stormtrooper]. I searched several options, fiberglass, resin, and vac-u-formed plastics, before choosing on a vac-u-form styrene/resing kit. The following is a work in progress that details the build up of this prop replica. Please note, I'm not a big fan of "sending off" my stuff for others to complete, even having a pro shop do the chrome plating, just so you would know. Also, under the PAINTING section, I have my experiments of different off-the-shelf chrome options and techniques available for comparison.

The kit is one of those "unofficial" versions, as there are no known officially liscensed helmet only kits on the market. Check the LINKS page for official BSG merchandise. Click here to request the source of the helmet by email.


The kit arrived from the online seller in quick fashion, and was $65 plus shipping. Now, for anyone who has never dealt with unofficial or garage made kits, these things can be a little rough as compared to a commercially produced piece. I was pleasantly surprised. The kit, although a simple 4 part job, was fairly symentrical, and the vac formed plastic moulds had cut lines as guides. The resin "eye" is less symetrical and had numerous casting flaws. The "mouth" piece was at first glance dissapointing, but furthur research revealed there were originally 2 types of "mouths" , the one in the kit is a "background' version.


Well, the styrene kit needed to be trimmed, glued primed painted and chromed. The following is my list of needed parts or supplies to finish this kit:


Sharp hobby knife [X-acto]

Sand paper in various grits from medium to extra fine

Steel wool 0000

Super Glue and accellerant

Sharpie fine tip marker

Body filler glazine putty [Bondo spot putty] red kind

foil type metal duck tape

Flat spring type clamps



Takck cloth

Primer paint [gray or white]

Dark gloss machine gray spray paint

Ultra flat black spray paint

Glossy Black for chrome undercoat

Gray foam or Hard hat liner [optional]

2 part resin for building up the visor, JB quick weld or similar 1:1 resign will do.

electronics for eye

electrnic for warble and cylong voice

The following is a photo gallery detailing the building process. Please note, this is not the only way to build the kit, and I used a lot of liberty in making this one. Again, I tried to use hardware store or auto parts store materials instead of special mail order stuff.
Image 1 shows the kit as received from the seller. Note the instruction sheet, visor and mouth pieces. Image 2 shows the amount of trimming needed to get started. The visor area, will be done last. Image 3 shows the non symetrical visor part. this will require some build-up to make work.
Image 4 shows the mouth part, and is the "background type, with less defined "vents". Image 5 shows a trimmed helmet half on the right and the as received one on the left. Note the amount of trimming around the bottom of the helmet. Image 6 details the "mohawk" trim. Note, the mouth area and visor are not yet trimmed.
Image 7 details the final trim without the visor slot cut. Image 8: The next step required the two halves to fit together and hold its shape. Since these two halves do not overlap, and controling the contact points needed to be considered, I decided at this point to make my helmet a one piece unit. Image 9 I cut small strips of styrene from the excess trim materials, and super glued them to make fingers. alternating them on each side of the helmet halves.
Image 10 shows one side... Image 11 shows the other side... Image 12 shows that when fitted together the helmet starts to take shape.
Image 13 details the inside of the helmet. Note how the finger strips inter mesh to hold its shape. Image 14 shows the parts of the kit up to this point. Image 15 shows the body filler applied to smoothe out the resin visor casting flaws.
Image 16 shows the non-symetrical shape of the twos parts. This was discovered after the two halves were gluded together. Image 17 shows masking tape applied to the inner side seam, to act as a backstop for the body filler. Image 18 shows the body filler applied to the seam. Several layers will be required.
Image 19 shows the body filler used to hide the seam. Note the top is not even, and will require a build up. I kinda like the red "mohawk"! Image 20 shows another view of the body filler applied. Styrene is very easy to use and will take a lot of abuse before a repair is necessary. Look-out though, styrene will melt and distort in hot weather and is subject to melting with certain chemicals like finger nail polish remover.
Image 21 I needed to extend the "nose bridge" section about 3/4". So I built up a small form from hobby clay, masking tape and carboard, mixed some Bondo and poured it in the form. Bondo will set up in a few minutes, and was ready to sand.
Image 22 shows the backsideof the nose bridge extension, I reinforced it with a strip of styrene from an old garage sale sign. Just super Glue it into place. Image 23 shows some final sanding and some additional surface pinhole repairs. Note the top portion, it needs to be more level, the left side is considerably thinner than the right side. Image 24 shows a close up of the addition. Almost ready to paint. There needs to be some additional material added to the top left portion of the visor.

Image 25 shows the primer gray paint before a ultra flat black top coat is applied. Note, the leftside has been rebuilt, using a simple masking tape form, and Bondo then sanded to conform to the final shape.

Image 26 shows the painting of the ultra Flat black paint still wet. The flash from the camera makes the black look glossy. It is not. Image 27 shows the helmet shell ready for final primer coat. A lot of defects will be revealed with the gray primer.
Image 28 this is what the first coat of gray primer looks like. Not bad, but some rough spots will need to be addressed. 2 more primer coats will be necessary. Image 29 shows the mouth portion with the first of the two primer coats. The finish coat will be a machine grey glossy with a Plasticote Charcoal Gray topcoat dusting. This will simulate a gun metal finish. Image 30 shows final smoothing and defect filling using the body filler. A final topcoat of primer will be added. On to chrome painting.
 Image 31 shows the initial application of the Krylon Original Chrome paint. Not as shiney as real chrome, but will work for this project. Several coats will be applied, and a final glossy topcoat will be added to give it a little more shine.  Image 32 shows the second coat of chrome paint.  Image 33 Adding the mouth vent.
Image 34 Marking the position of the visor. Image 35 making some tension splints for holding the visor. Image 36 masking for final accent color with a low stick masking tape to define the outline.
Image 37 painting the accent color a flat black. Image 38 final product without electronics. Electronic eye and "warble" sount to be added later.

Bondo is a trade name as is used for gthe generic term Two-Part Polyester Resin Auto Body Filler.
Super Glue is a trade name for Cyroacryllic glue
Xacto is a trade name Precision Hobby Knife.



I'm a big fan of Krylon. Rustoleum is ok, but the control of the Krylon for me works better. Below is the results of several "spray chrome" paints. The Krylon "Original Chrome" gives the best effect, but must be sprayed from a close distance, no more than 4-6 inches from the surface, and every last trace of dust will show up. Also, I have noticed the surface will release easily if masking tape is applied. So when painting the rear indent areas, you might want to do them first, mask the them, then paint the chrome last.

The kit gets 2-3 coats of Krylon Sandable Gray Primer

The visor gets 2-3 top coats of Krylon Ultra Flat Black

The Mouth gets 2-3 top coats of Krylon Machine Gray and a dusting of Plasticote Charcoal gray auto body paint.

The helmet shell gets one heavy coat of Krylon Original Chrome

The helmet indents get 1-2 coats of Krylon Ultra Flat Black

Let the helmet dry for several days. The chrome will lift, and there will be some fingerprinting. Only other option is a Pro Shop Chroming service. Price Range is $80 to $150 for the shell. Ouch!

Here is the chrome finish samples:

I prefer the one on the far right, the Krylon Original Chrome, next to that one, is Krylon's short can of chrome, in the middle is Rustoleum Spray Silver, and on the left, is the Krylons with a polyurethane topcoat, yuck.


Detailing this project consisted of superglue-ing the mouth piece to the front, and mounting the visor. I wanted to remove the visor part in the future so that I could add electronics, I tension bracked mounting system was devised with strips of styrene.


This was a fun project, that did not require a lot of time or special supplies or equipment. If I were to do it again. I would not use the provided visor, but make my own. Also, having the helmet chromed would be a nice touch, but expensive $65 to $100. More that the cost of the helmet and the paint! For the prop maker on a budget this is a good alternative. Add a foam sweatband, and cut the eye slot, and you can wear it!


the following images are collected from the web. Try Google image search for cylon.

Here is an excellent reference page for a real Cylon! Thanks Starbuck!


KROPSERKEL Prop collection page has good info on Cylons. Check out this page. Cylon suit reference Page with images of a real Cylon suit and helmet. offically liscensed BSG gear, although sometimes hard to get. Eye electronics source. a Cylon news site.

Replica Prop Forum - grandaddy of all prop collecting discussion boards. [membership required] - veteran collector of original BSG props.


Last update: March 30, 2006

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