So I was looking for a better/easier method of making the masks that would make them more durable, give me more versatility, and look good… the answer was fiberglass shells.
Using posterboard to make the forms, I fiberglassed them like a Pepakura model, coated them with Bondo, sanded them, and painted them. On some of them, leather plates were added to give the masks more depth and character.
The fiberglass shells also allow me to use lighter weight 2-4 oz leather and to make the mask, then slide a fiberglass shell inside it to support the lighter weight leather and keep its shape without sagging. The results are increasingly impressive.