There may be a few movies that make more money this year than Mad Max: Fury Road, but there certainly will not be a movie that makes a larger impact on our cultural landscape. And yes, I understand the absurdity of calling a dieselpunk car chase movie a blip on our society’s cultural radar, but it is really hard not to. On top of being simply one of the most meticulously and artfully directed films that we’ve seen in years, it also started very real conversations about diversity, gender parity and the limited roles that women play in modern films. It also tweaked a few noses by unabashedly calling itself a feminist film and criticizing toxic male aggression head-on. And there is nothing more toxic about Fury Road than the respirator-masked warlord named Immortan Joe.
Immortan Joe is the unchallenged, nightmarish ruler of the Wasteland and he commands it with an unfeeling and brutal iron fist. He has very carefully cultivated an image that portrays him as a god to the people who depend on him for survival, and he uses that to surround himself with devoted followers so desperate that they are virtually powerless against him. Immortan Joe certainly looks the part, with his bulky body armor, tricked out cars and army of fiercely devoted War Boys all contributing to his contrived persona. But nothing is more terrifying than Joe’s iconic horse tooth-adorned respirator mask that looks as terrifying as it does inhuman.
The respirator mask may be used to terrify his subjects, but it also serves a purpose by feeding him pure, untainted oxygen perhaps in an effort to slow the harmful effects of his toxic environment. And of all the memorable moments and props from the film, Immortan Joe’s mask really stands out. As you can see from this incredible recreation by user Logan74k on Replica Prop Forum (RPF) the mask is just as unsettling in real life as it was up on the screen. And it took a lot of elbow grease to to make his recreation just as terrifying as what we saw in the movie.
The 3D printed components of the mask were sculpted in Zbrush entirely from scratch. Logan then 3D printed them using a selective laser sintering (SLS) process capable of a higher level of detail than FDM or SLA 3D printers would ever be able to accomplish. By using an SLS 3D printer, the final parts have no noticeable striation marks and needed very little post processing work–however, the lack of flaws on the final model are clearly due to excellent 3D modelling skills and a lot of hard work.
“I worked intentionally to try and avoid the ‘lines in clay’ trap that’s easy to fall in with teeth. Making gaps and overlaps as sharp as possible and constantly redefining edges after each paint coat. It helps that I was using just about every still I could grab from the different trailers, which had a surprising amount of coverage. Keeping molds in mind, there’s a limit to how deep and sharp things could be, but I’m generally satisfied with the balance. A dark wash can really make things pop,” Logan explained on his build diary at RPF.
Logan researched the original mask meticulously and his final sculpt is almost indistinguishable from the real thing. He used all of the photo references that he could find by pulling from set photos, promotional images and grabbing screen captures from the movie trailers. And that was just for the 3D model; once he had them printed he needed to assemble all of the parts, recreate the paint job, add the non-3D printed parts and make sure that it was functional both as a display prop and for cosplay.
When he sculpted them, Logan chose to create the 3D printable parts with extremely thin walls and very little infill. Not only would this keep printing costs down, but since he would be further finishing the parts after printing he would be able to strengthen them using other less costly methods. First he coated each part with five individual coats of a quick setting epoxy that would firm up the parts and prevent them from breaking. Because he is selling his masks on Etsy he was intending to mold the master prints and cast them in a cheaper urethane before painting, so they needed to be very durable. After he molded the originals and cast copies, he added more epoxy putty to further strengthen the parts, assembled them, attached the non-3D printed parts like the hoses and brass inserts and painted the finished mask.
If you want to try to make your own version of Immortan Joe’s mask, Logan is selling just the urethane resin parts on his Etsy store for $120 or a kit with all of the fittings and hoses for $170. He is also selling both an assembled but unpainted version of his kit, and an assembled and primed version of his kit. If you don’t want to have to do anything then he is offering a fully assembled and painted prop for $550, which is actually rather reasonable for a high-quality prop replica.
As all dictators are wont to do, Immortan Joe hoarded as much luxury for himself as possible while simultaneously depriving his subjects of as much as he possibly could. He resided in an impenetrable fortress full of food, security and of course his most prized possessions, his five wives who he tasked with birthing him a healthy heir. As with everything in his possession, the idea that his wives would demand their freedom is unfathomable to him, and when he discovers that they are missing the hissing “my property!” that he screams from beneath his mask is all that you ever need to know about this terrible, terrible man. But terrible or not, his taste in post-apocalyptic face masks is impeccable.
Let us know what you think about this prop replica in our 3D Printed Immortan Joe Respirator Mask forum thread at 3DPB.com.