fire equipment. I photoshopped the image, flipping it so I now had two sides. I printed the image on paper, then placed a piece of computer transparency film (acetate) over it and cut it out with an exacto knife. Lay the piece of paper and transparency film over the fondant and cut out a whole piece. Notice I have a little gap going down the middle, that's so it will create a "back" to the eagle and will fit over the ridge on the helmet later on. (make this about a 1/2" in width)
gold luster dust mixed with vodka and a tiny bit of green food coloring. Why do I use vodka? Vodka evaporates faster than water, therefore you are able to get the object painted without it turning into a gooey mess. (water would literally melt the fondant) The second coat, I used a brown food coloring (with a tiny liner brush) only in the crevices for depth. I used a darker brown where needed, like under each row and between the feathers and such. Then I applied another layer of the "brass" color only on what areas were raised to highlight them. When the "real" eagle arrived that I had ordered, I was thrilled that I got the "faux" eagle so close. I only had to do a little more painting to adjust the depth of color. (I totally regret that I don't have pics of each painting stage, next time I will, I promise)
The longer you can let the eagle dry and harden the better. I'd give it a full 2 weeks just to be on the safe side. If you'll notice, my form had little "feet" bent outwards. I placed it in a shoe box and taped the "feet" to the bottom. This kept it safe from falling over. I put the lid on so that it would remain clean and dust free until I was ready to assemble the cake.
You're probably wondering how much time was spent in total. It took me only a couple of hours to cut out patterns, construct the eagle, and do the first layers of painting. Another two days for the initial drying, then a few days between coats of paint. The looks on the faces at the firehouse, made it all worthwhile ;)
Part 1- Fire Chief's Helmet Cake
Part 2- Fire Helmet Cake Brim
Part 3- Fire Helmet Cake Eagle
Part 4- Fire Helmet Cake Shield & Bugles