My MJOLNIR Mark VI Build and Quasi-Guide [Pics] [Ongoing]
I just wanted to say a huge thank you to everyone who has posted info here, whether it be a brief answer to a question, or a whole thread about your build process. I learned a huge amount from reading over the content that's available on this site.
Particular thanks goes to Spitfire22, whose thread I basically read like a Bible on how to put together a low-def suit, and LongShot-X, whose suit first inspired me to build my own when I saw a photo of it on reddit.com.
I learned an enormous amount about the process of contruction, as well as relatively unused materials like AquaResin. I will add a post about my experience with all of that, as well as any ideas I have for noobs like myself that are getting into their first build, but for now, I just want to post a photo, and a link to the imgur gallery with the rest of the images.
Hope you enjoy!
http://imgur.com/a/D7oUQ#0 <-- imgur gallery
Last edited by daviduffy; 02-08-2013 at 10:58 AM.
Part 1: Full Speed Ahead
I know I haven't posted here pretty much at all, but here's my first: a start to finish build post with photos and what will hopefully be helpful advice!
I chose the Mark VI because in my mind, it's the armor I think of when I think of the game Halo. Also, it seemed to be the most popular, so I figured that there would be a wealth of knowledge on the subject of constructing it.
Before starting to make my project, I had to consider my locale and my workspace. I live in Wyoming, and since I started on Nov 2nd, it was practically winter already. Also, I live in an apartment, so I was going to struggle with using your typical fiberglass resin and bondo building materials. I settled on trying Aqua Resin, and started making the purchases -- card stock, Xacto, hot glue, etc. These initial purchases got me rolling pretty quickly, and because I have a fairly relaxed work schedule, I was charging through the process.
I started the pep process with the helmet, which is generally a mistake, because you have no idea what you're doing with this glue and paper process. But I hadn't read the stickies all the way through, and was too excited to get started, so there I went.
It turned out alright, but I was a little to awestruck at the time to really see its flaws. Once I had finished that, I moved to pepping the chest, since I had yet to receive the AquaResin in the mail.
In four days, I had both the helmet and the chest fully pepped, and moved on to the biceps. I thought I was absolutely flying high, but disaster was about to strike.
Full imgur.com gallery of Part 1
Part 2: Aqua Resin ... This Stuff Isn't Made For Pep Pieces
A part of this post is just a word of caution about using Aqua Resin. It is non-toxic, which is great for using indoors, but it is also water-based, which makes it not so great when you're using it with paper. Each swipe of this water-based resin onto my pep piece made it sag, warp, or otherwise deform. Especially on the low-def pieces, this is a huge problem, because there are such large segments of paper in the pep design, which are the most prone to warping. I hadn't even gotten through a first coat of resin on the pieces when I decided I needed to explore other options.
I decided to slap on all the parts that fit before I threw em out. I realize that there are some people out there that might not think of a little warping from your pep piece as a big deal, but I knew it would just lead to more work down the road if I would have continued. Here's the last gasp of the AquaResin pieces.
After saying all that, I supposed I can (somewhat hypocritically) explain a way that works *better* for using Aqua Resin, but still doesn't work as well as your typical fiberglass resin method. After your pep piece is finished, you have to absolutely DOUSE the outside of it with a water resistant lacquer. Once you have applied about 2-3 coats of this to your piece, you can use the AquaResin on it with more limited negative effects, but it WILL still warp out of shape to some degree. I did use this technique with my forearm pieces, and since I didn't want to rebuild them, I chose to just keep them as-is. However, after finishing them, I can attest to the fact that finished Aqua Resin pieces are more brittle on the outside as well as the inside, and react less positively to hot-gluing of straps/padding/magnets. Buyer beware.
Full imgur gallery for Part 2
Part 3: Rebirth
One lucky part about the total screw-up of the first few pieces was that I got a chance to check the scale of everything. I am 6' 1", have a slightly muscular build, and weigh about 200 lbs. These are my measurements from my Excel spreadsheet. If anything, use them as a kind of reference point as to how much you might need to change your own pieces, but definitely don't use them as a guide.
During the entire process, I kind of looked to Spitfire's thread as a guide for me to determine what things should look like, what stuff to buy, etc. After having made one helmet already, I chose to leave the sides off of this next one like he did, so that I could fiberglass the inside more easily.
...Oh yea, after some consideration, I decided to go with your regular old fiberglass/resin build. I asked a friend if I could use a small room off to the side of their garage, which they kindly agreed to let me do. I wired up a utility light and went to work in the -20 to 30 degree winter days with nothing but a space heater to ward off the cold. Throughout the rest of the build process, I subjected my pieces and building materials to extreme cold and radiant heat, and I can personally vouch for the adaptability of bondo-brand fiberglass resin and bondo. It never failed.
Before I moved any pieces over there, I obviously had to have them finished with the pepping process. Cold weather and relative humidity can have a dramatic effect on untreated card stock, so having everything glued into place was a must. Also, because the low def pieces are a little bit bland, I took a cue from Spitfire and decided to detail a few of them out. However, any detail work I did was finished at my house beforehand as well.
(NOTE: Do NOT do detail work with foam board, as I have heard that it collapses when it comes into contact with fiberglass resin. I had finished a few details with foam before I read this, and had to start over.)
Re-detail with card stock instead of foam board:
My forearms (which had been my last foray into the world of Aqua Resin) were the only quasi-finished pieces at this time. Even though these pieces were eventually finished and made it into the final costume, they really suck. They're brittle, were a lot more work to finish, don't respond well to strapping/gluing the way that fiberglass resin does, and are an all-around liability. I will eventually remake them.
Also, I decided that since I had all this non-toxic resin that I wasn't going to be using, I would occasionally keep putting it on my first helmet to see what it would look like. ...not good.
Full imgur.com gallery of Part 3.
Last edited by daviduffy; 01-10-2013 at 01:30 AM.
So many questions! But first off, Awesome Build! I am just about to start with my build. I downloaded Pepakura, found some files, and now I am stuck at scaling the armor. David, if I may ask, what pep files did you use and what formula did you come up with to scale your armor. I am 6'3" and 202lbs. I am using a formula that I found online and it doesnt seem right.
What kind of glue did you use to glue the pep pieces?
Thanks a bunch!
your armor looks great! is this your first?
Part 4: Fiberglass... it's a Love/Hate Relationship.
I actually don't have many pictures from this part of the process, partially because I hated it so much, and partially because I made such a colossal mess with the fibers that I didn't want to take my phone out to take any photos. I probably went through 200 gloves, 5 packages of fiberglass cloth, and 2 packages of fiberglass matte, as well as one small and one large container of fiberglass resin. Before I get to the part where I describe what I did, let me offer a few common sense tips on how to make your fiberglass experience less awful.
1. Have a pre-made measuring cup. The way I did it requires that you use semi-opaque plastic cups to hold your resin in, instead of any other vessel, because they're cheap and easy to use. First thing you do is measure out 1oz of water, and make a mark on the outside of your cup so that you can fill to that level again. After that, measure out as many measurement marks as you think you might need (2oz, 3oz, whatever), but be sure to label them just in case you forget. Keep all marks you make in a nice column (one on top of the other), kind of like what you see on a mixing bowl. After you're done making marks, cut the cup in half the *long* way, so that you have a U-shape that you can nest any other cup of the same brand right into. Now, since you have used a cup you can see through, you can nest a new cup into your "measuring" cup, and always have an accurate measurement, without having to clean anything out afterwards. Long-winded explanation, but it's worth it to have one of these.
2. Always cut pieces of matte or cloth BEFORE you mix your resin. Your hands will be full of resin if you run out, or are (god forbid) tearing it off of the matte as you go along. On top of that, if you stop halfway to cut more, you may end up wasting resin, since it's always getting closer to its hardened state after you mix it.
3. Always have fresh gloves handy. Your hands will start to get so gunked up with resin that you won't be able to just grab the next piece of matte or cloth -- you'll get 3-5 sticking to you at once. A few more bucks spend on gloves makes a world of difference.
4. Buy the cheapest paintbrushes possible. Each one you use, you either have to immediately douse with acetone, or you will end up throwing it away. Even if you get the chance to hit it with that acetone, not all of the resin comes out, so you'll have this semi-chub paintbrush that isn't really good for what you bought it for in the first place. Solution: find a dollar store, and clean them out of their 3 or 5 pack paintbrushes. The size of the brushes doesn't really matter, unless you're below 1" or above 2.5". 5 crappy paintbrushes for $1 is a great deal.
5. Don't just assume that matte or fabric is better for one thing or the other. You WILL have to experiment with the products to get the results that you want! I initially thought that matte would be better to fit into small detailed parts and crevices, but found that unless you tear it apart very thinly beforehand, it's actually too thick for that kind of work -- fabric was better. However, your materials and working conditions might yield totally different results. You just have to work through it.
6. Working in incredibly cold climates IS TOTALLY POSSIBLE. Sure, it's a little more expensive, and you have to prepare a little bit each day before diving right into your project, but the fact is that I made each one of these 15 pieces in a temperature range that is not recommended by the manufacturer. Everything turned out great (except the forearms, different story) and I'm totally satisfied with the results. My strategy was two part: use extra drops of hardener when necessary (usually between the usual dose and up to 2x if the day was colder), and to run a little heating table to cure everything when I reached that stage. My "heating table" was simply a rectangular table with a big, heavy drop cloth draped over it. To heat the area, I ran a heater through an opening on one side of the cloth. The underside of the table is kept warm from the heater, and the resin can cure quickly enough to keep progress moving!
7. Spitfire's advice about keeping the sides of the helmet out of your pep for the visor glassing also is a phenomenal idea, and it makes it a lot easier (mostly because you can actually see what you're doing).
So, as I said in the last post, I decided to re-make the helmet. By now, I had made practically all of the other pieces, so I was a bit more well-versed in the ways of Pepakura. Almost perfect symmetry.
I got to work glassing everything, and it was an (obviously) slow process -- the temperatures I was working in required that I use smaller batches and higher hardener content to ensure that the parts would cure in time for me to do move on later/the next day. I countered this with my drying rack, and the "committee approach," which meant I work a little bit on each piece each day, so I never get hung up waiting for just one to dry. The exception to this was the helmet, which I was most obsessed over finishing first.
8. NEVER RUSH ANYTHING. In my haste to finish the helmet, I made a mistake that I had read about in Spitfire's thread, but never actually anticipated dealing with. I ended up taking different steps to fix it than Spitfire did, mostly because I had already re-made the helmet once.
I cut the afflicted area out with a dremel, re-made it to the exact scale that I had used before, and resined/fiberglassed it into place in it's (pretty much) proper position.
At this point, I was also finished fiberglassing the chest and had moved on to primer (dunno why I primered before bondo) but I found a weak spot and had to backpedal into fiberglassing again, which is why it looks like it has armpit hair.
In my opinion, it's always better to have things be a bit stronger and a little heavier than to have them come apart on you.
Full imgur.com gallery of Part 4 here.
Last edited by daviduffy; 01-30-2013 at 06:39 PM.
Hey, thanks! I used the robogenesis files from here, they are the low-def versions of the files.
Originally Posted by derrickgott007
In terms of scaling, the How To Scale thread was really helpful. I found that it worked well for pretty much all of the pieces. I might go a little small (like 5-8mm) on the shins and the shoulders just to keep your mobility once you're all done. Keep in mind that you will most likely have to cut, as well as modify the openings of the shins (and a few other pieces) once they are finished, so that you can get them on.
As for the glue, I LOVED hot glue because it is more forgiving than other types of glue. For most pieces, I use the edge IDs (which are centered in their respective segments) to give me a guide for where both parts should be glued together. If they didn't align perfectly, I could re-heat the glued area with the tip of the gun and move or even re-glue the whole edge. However, hot glue cannot be sanded, so you should keep your glue usage in check when you put your peps together.
Hope this helps!
Yep, first build! Thanks for the encouragement!
Originally Posted by spartansonny
oh man, keep up the great work you have going on. i have just done helmets, no full armor yet like i want but i am also reunfolding the warrior chest in between my two current helmet builds lol, which is taking me way longer than i expected. than after that, everything else will be easy cheesy nice first post btw.
Originally Posted by daviduffy
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