A mempo (or Menpō) is a type of facial armour worn by the samurai class and their retainers in feudal Japan. It covers the face from nose to chin and provided a way to secure the top-heavy helmets.
The 2013 movie "47 Ronin", starring Keanu Reeves, featured some beautifully designed Samurai armor.
My friend Paul bought one of the film suits but it didn't come with a mempo.
We researched actual mempos and used this one to base the new one on.
I drew a template for the new mempo.
Based on the front and side views, I sculpted the mask in 3D.
To double-check the measurements, I printed out a paper model.
Size confirmed, I printed a thin-walled copy at Shapeways.
The model was printed at Shapeways, then further modified with epoxy putty.
In addition to a rolled edge, I added a decorative grommet.
A silicone mold was brushed onto the master.
My resin copy of the mask gets epoxy putty fangs. Grrrrr!
Weathering and ribbon straps added.
View of the inside.
Paul bought horse hair to add to his mask.
We drilled holes for the moustache and beard.
The hair was pulled inside the mask. Dig the antique gold inside!
Paul used epoxy putty to secure the ends of the hair.
The putty was smoothed to become almost imperceptible.
The final weathered mask. The hooks on the sides allow the helmet to be secured.
Detail of the teeth.
A hole under the chin allows sweat to drain out.
Detail of the grommet.
The mempo with the rest of the suit.
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"Even a blind squirrel finds an acorn from time to time."