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Posted by Justin Ishmael on
  • Justin Ishmael w/ Han Cholo in Downtown Los Angeles, CA : Photos by Quang Le

Last summer, I doodled a helmet and armor over a screen grab of GALLIGANTUS and sent it to Han Cholo to see if making some "REAL" armor would be possible. Luckily, he was up for the challenge. After a year in the making, we were able to take a tour of the Los Angeles factory to see the process and meet the talented artisans that help make these truly one-of-a-kind helmets / works of art a reality. 

When we arrived we were brought first to the wax stations. Those pots are full of hot wax and it is injected into a mold of the jewelry or, in this case, the helmet.

Once the wax has cooled the mold is separated and the wax version of the helmet is removed and prepared to be put onto the "tree." 

The wax is then added to a "tree" which is then covered with a crucible. This is the area where we did not get a chance to photograph, but it involves the actual casting of the jewelry / pouring of molten metals... in this case Pewter. The wax piece melts away when heated and out comes this...

The piece I hold above is a raw helmet. There has been no clean up or wear applied. There are jagged pieces and parts where the helmet was connected to the tree in previous photos that need to be cleaned up. 

Grinding and removing any major imperfections is the main goal of this stage. This is the midway point of the process. 

After the helmet is grinded down and cleaned there are loads of choices for finishes. We wanted ours to have an antiqued look with wear so it was dipped first in acid which reacted with the pewter and turned it totally charcoal black.

Then, it was polished and most of the black oxidized acid removed. 

Each finished helmet is sized to a GALLIGANTUS sofubi head to make sure it fits the post-production specifications. Being able to see the process in person made me appreciate and understand the craftsmanship and detail that goes into each helmet. They are truly each one of a kind pieces of art. Many thanks to Han Cholo and everyone at the factory for letting us come in and look around! Helmets are available now to purchase individually or on the Painted Version.

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