My MJOLNIR Mark VI Build and Quasi-Guide [Pics] [Ongoing]

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  1. #1

    My MJOLNIR Mark VI Build and Quasi-Guide [Pics] [Ongoing]

    Hey guys,

    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

    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! <-- imgur gallery
    Last edited by daviduffy; Feb 8, 2013 at 9:58 AM.

  2. #2

    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 gallery of Part 1

  3. #3

    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

  4. #4

    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 gallery of Part 3.
    Last edited by daviduffy; Jan 10, 2013 at 12:30 AM.

  5. #5
    New Recruit
    Member Since
    Nov 2012
    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!

  6. #6
    spartansonny's Avatar
    Member Since
    May 2012
    Blog Entries
    your armor looks great! is this your first?

  7. #7

    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.

    Another tip:

    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 gallery of Part 4 here.
    Last edited by daviduffy; Jan 30, 2013 at 5:39 PM.

  8. #8
    Quote Originally Posted by derrickgott007 View Post
    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!
    Hey, thanks! I used the robogenesis files from here, they are the low-def versions of the files.

    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!

  9. #9
    Quote Originally Posted by spartansonny View Post
    your armor looks great! is this your first?
    Yep, first build! Thanks for the encouragement!

  10. #10
    spartansonny's Avatar
    Member Since
    May 2012
    Blog Entries
    Quote Originally Posted by daviduffy View Post
    Yep, first build! Thanks for the encouragement!
    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.

  11. #11

    Part 5: Treading Bondo

    After fiberglassing is finished, have a beer. You deserve it.

    It will also get you ready for what I considered a more difficult part: bondo. Before you even start, you will need to sand the exterior of all of your finished fiberglass pieces with a heavy grit sandpaper. Top Gear Top Tip: I HIGHLY suggest getting a mouse sander, as it makes the broad strokes a lot easier. I got one from Black and Decker, with the idea that I would buy a bunch of the replacement pads. In fact, you don't need any of those replacements -- what you need is a few pieces of sticky-back velcro from a hardware store, some hot glue, a stove, and as many sheets of sandpaper as your merry little heart desires. Simply cut the pieces of sandpaper to size, stick the velcro onto it, and presto, you've got your first low-budget mouse sander paper.

    But wait, there's more!

    That piece of sandpaper will wear out, and you don't want to keep buying velcro, do you? Well, rip that piece right off of there, and you'll notice that the velcro probably stuck to the bottom of your sander, didn't it? Run some hot glue on there, and stick your next piece on! In the future, if you don't want to keep re-applying hot glue, turn a burner on your stove on and heat the bottom for just a few seconds, then whip that piece off and put a new one on! Ghetto mouse sander crew represent.

    Back to reality...

    Bondo is this weird, plastic-y, fast-hardening putty that some crazy people invented for fixing cars, but it's actually better for giving costumers headaches. Fair warning. Also, in cold temperatures, I found the consistency and hardening time of the bondo I was using to be ... uh.. wildly inconsistent.

    I started with the helmet and chest, and instead of sanding immediately, I decided to just apply heavily in the areas that I knew needed to be bondo-ed, and worry about sanding later. I'm sure there are two schools of thought on this, so I might have been wrong, but I can say without a shadow of a doubt that while one way might be marginally faster than the other... neither will be quick.

    First coat on pecks.

    Probably 4th or 5th coat on chest and lower connector, post sanding.

    The helmet was also starting to come together now. It's probably important to note that you really shouldn't go overboard with the bondo. It's easy to get it into places, and hard to get it out.

    Another note: This is likely a part of your journey in which you will become discouraged. When I was working with Bondo, it felt like I was treading water -- the process goes something like this: see imperfections, apply bondo, sand, apply again, sand, "wow there are other imperfections", apply, sand, "now I see more imperfections that I didn't see before", apply again, sand.... etc.
    I found that the key is to understand that you should never really have the idea that you'll be "done after this round" in your head. You'll inevitably find some **** that isn't right and have to go back and fix it again. I kind of decided on certain flaws that seemed too difficult to fix, and once I was just down to those ones, I moved on.

    Removing visor:


    Last edited by daviduffy; Jan 30, 2013 at 5:59 PM.

  12. #12

    Part 6: Finishing a Helmet

    There are a million tutorials on this site that relate to finishing your helmets. I'll explain the way that I did it as best I can.

    First, with a low-def helmet, a lot of the details are left out. I took a page out of Spitfire's book, and used extra card stock and some math to figure out sizes and shapes (all by estimation) of what the details of a high-def helmet would look like. For the majority of my armor, I used these three (back, front, side) enlargeable photos to dial in where details should go. The results are much better than the standard low-def helm:

    Before modifications

    After modifications

    After these were hot-glued into place, I made the decision that I would also need to put resin of the top of them to make them totally permanent. After I did that, I did a sanding with 150 grit, then primed and sanded with 220 to get the finish to the same level as the rest of the helmet (might not have been necessary, but whatever). I also did a spray-coat of silver on the helmet before the green because of a weathering technique that Spitfire mentioned in his thread. The idea is that after you spray the green, you can use a heavy sand paper to make scratches and have the silver show through. After the fact, I found this to be more work than it was worth, as dry-brushing worked just fine, was quicker, and looked (IMO) more realistic anyways.

    This photo is from after the visor was installed and fitted, obviously. I'm getting to that...

    When I put the visor in, I used Blackula's tutorial on how to install and detail your visor. I used the HJC HJ-09 Visor just like it said in the Complete Noob List, and it went in perfectly. Remember to follow Blackula's tutorial to the tee, and get two tubes of that Epoxy Putty, because it's a lifesaver in pretty much every quick-fix situation.

    Once the visor is installed and fitted, and you've sanded down the epoxy putty that goes around the edges to it's finished state, you'll have to make a decision: to detail, or not to detail. I chose to detail...

    Really, the hardest part is getting the lines drawn and cut straight. Once you're past that threshold, scraping off the finish is pretty easy. My advice is to scrape parallel with the lines you've made, not perpendicular -- it's a much faster process that way.

    Final paint is a few light coats of green (I chose Rustoleum Ultra Cover Moss Green Satin) which was readily available at Ace. Remember, the color you choose is up to you, and once you're finished, the chances of anybody saying something like, "wow, wrong color" are pretty damn slim. If all your pieces match and look good, you could probably get away with lime green or pink if you wanted to.

    Once your final color is on, tape up your detail areas and spray them, too. Some people recommend going with a black primer, but I used the same style of Rustoleum paint in satin black, just to keep the finish consistent. After that, I moved into weathering. With this particular helmet (I'll explain this later), I had no idea what I was doing. I thought I could spray the black paint onto it and use a towel to wipe off the high spots, but the paint dried too quickly for me to effectively do that. I ended up spraying black paint in one direction (into recesses and lows) and spraying the final color green again, but in the opposite direction of the black. I don't think it really was that effective, but it more or less got the job done. I'll explain a better way to weather later.

    After weathering comes dry-brushing. For this, I did pretty much exactly what you hear everyone on the 405th does -- spray silver paint onto a paintbrush, and brush it on onto edges to simulate scratches. If you let the paint dry a bit, it becomes less ultra-silver and more just a bit of really light color that adds depth.

    I did ultimately complete this helmet with LEDs on the sides as well as an internal fan, but it was stolen the day after I finished it after I took it to a bar that I DJ at to show to the other two guys that I work with. No, I wasn't wasted, it was stolen out of the equipment room in the downstairs of the bar -- someone saw it and wanted it enough to jack it from someone they had never met. Lesson learned: these outfits are cool, and people (especially drunk people) can be scum. Never give anyone a chance to steal your stuff.

    Full gallery of part 6.
    Last edited by daviduffy; Jan 10, 2013 at 12:10 AM.

  13. #13

    Part 7: What Do I Wear Underneath?

    After I had finished my first helmet, and was getting close to having some of the other pieces finished, I started to think about what I would wear underneath the costume. It obviously would need to be black, and would probably need to have some bulk to it in order to accommodate the size of the pieces and to fill out the gaps in places like the shoulder/chest seam. On the Complete Noob List, as well as the Armor Strapping 101 thread, it shows a downhill MTB pressure suit that a lot of guys have used in the past. Unfortunately, it's no longer available, so I had to improvise.

    I ended up with...

    this SixSixOne shirt, which doesn't have any visible chest or back detail once it's on, but it does fill out the shoulders and elbows nicely, and is obviously all black. For the pants, I went with...

    these Troy Lee Designs ones that have a bit of detail to them, which doesn't hurt at all. They were expensive, but I knew I would be able to use them for other things as well, so it was much more than just dishing out for a costume.

    The lack of an innate structure to the upper undersuit made it so I would have to strap everything to the chest, which ended up being rather successful. The chest supports the weight of just the shoulders though, as the forearms are tight enough on my own arms that they just clip on, and are not strapped to anything at all. More on all of that later.

    For my gloves, I actually already had a set of mostly black DaKine downhill MTB ones, so I used Spitfire's method of attaching the hand plates with elastic so I didn't have to glue them on.

    Also, I had just finished my hand pieces, which were the first things other than the helmet that were completed. The detail piece on the top is actually from a cardboard cereal box, but I started with another printout of the hand plate, drew on that, and glued it to the cardboard before cutting anything out. Once it was hot glued onto the piece, I finished it with resin over the top, then sanded and applied bondo to smooth out the creases and seams.

    Last edited by daviduffy; Jan 26, 2013 at 11:12 AM.

  14. #14
    Augh the fact it was stolen makes me nauseous... I am sad to hear that happened. Either way it looked amazing, and I loved the detail etched onto the visor. I think it really pulled things together well. Let us hope someone finds your helmet. Each one is unique so it should be able to be recognized if people know to keep an eye out for it at conventions.

  15. #15
    That totally sucks about your helmet!

    Great job on the build - you did awesome upgrading the lo-def pieces with your additions/details!

  16. #16
    Quote Originally Posted by Zercon View Post
    Augh the fact it was stolen makes me nauseous... I am sad to hear that happened. Either way it looked amazing, and I loved the detail etched onto the visor. I think it really pulled things together well. Let us hope someone finds your helmet. Each one is unique so it should be able to be recognized if people know to keep an eye out for it at conventions.
    Quote Originally Posted by boomshakra View Post
    That totally sucks about your helmet!

    Great job on the build - you did awesome upgrading the lo-def pieces with your additions/details!
    Thanks guys, I hope someone does find it. It isn't painted black in the back/neck area like it should be, and has all Radio Shack internals (batteries, LEDs, switches, etc) and has a small break on the left side of the visor where the trapezoidal detail piece pulled away from the helmet. I liked it though, so I dry-brushed it and left is as-is. It's also got the internal foam from a Bern snowboarding helmet as a main component of it's padding. If you find it, smack a motherf.... just take it back and PM me.

  17. #17
    Quote Originally Posted by daviduffy View Post
    Thanks guys, I hope someone does find it. It isn't painted black in the back/neck area like it should be, and has all Radio Shack internals (batteries, LEDs, switches, etc) and has a small break on the left side of the visor where the trapezoidal detail piece pulled away from the helmet. I liked it though, so I dry-brushed it and left is as-is. It's also got the internal foam from a Bern snowboarding helmet as a main component of it's padding. If you find it, smack a motherf.... just take it back and PM me.
    I friend of mine linked me pics of your suit last night and thought it was completely awesome
    Very detailed build info too which will help out a number of people as well wanting to achieve the same level of quality you have!
    I don't think I got as angry and disappointed as you have with the theft of your helmet, but I felt pretty close to it! I think if I found the piece of filth that stole your helmet I'd probably castrate them with your ghetto mouse sander, then douse them in lemon and salt for good measure. I really do hope you find the culprit and get it back!

  18. #18

  19. #19

    Part 8: Paint and Weathering, Plus Helmet #3

    After having finished most of the bondo work, I turned the page to the painting process. For this, I would spray a few light coats of primer, and once they had dried and cured, I would hand-sand the piece with 320 grit paper.

    Note: with primer, you are not actually shooting a *color* necessarily, just a layer of paint that can be sanded before you apply your final coat. I found that there was no need to go overboard and use more primer than necessary.

    Thigh in primer:

    I shot the entire suit in Rustoleum Satin Moss Green, which seemed closest to the typical color of Master Chief. After several painstakingly slow coats of green, I would wait for a day on each piece before taping up and spraying black details.

    I just used your typical blue masking tape for the detail pieces, along with some newspaper to cover the larger areas of green in between detail zones. Once you get the black shot, things start to look a bit more like they are supposed to!

    After this step, you can start to contemplate how you're going to weather your pieces. I found that the method of spraying/wiping away black paint was totally ineffective, so I made up my own.

    The first step with each piece is to get the mottled black look, which I accomplished with a rather uncontrollable, yet effective method: I would spray a bit of black paint into the air, then sweep the piece through that area of air with my other hand. This gets a little bit of black on the part, without having to shoot paint straight at it. After I did this, it was time to get a little bit of weathering done.

    A lot of people use paintbrushes with their weathering, but I found that I didn't need them. I had a ton of 3/8" EVA padding foam laying around, so I cut scraps into little wedges, and used a technique similar to dry brushing with them: spray paint from the can onto the tip of the foam wedge, then apply to helmet. Wipe off helmet with clean rag if necessary; repeat. I was happy with the results!

    After I did the dingy-ing up with the black, I moved to dry brushing the silver metallic details on. This has been explained on this site an embarrassment of times, so I won't go into it. I had fun working with the silver, as it's probably the best method you can use to make something that isn't metal look more like metal.

    Tip: If you spray the brush and immediately apply it to your helmet, the silver will retain its shiny, metallic look. If you wait for it to dry for just a while longer and then apply, you still get the silver look, but it will not be reflective metallic like if it was applied when first sprayed. You can use these two different wait times to achieve different looks for your pieces.

    Tools of the Trade:

    I used this same method with all of the pieces: primer > sand > green > black details > black overspray > black weathering > silver drybrushing. After each piece was finished, as much as I wanted to immediately start in on the process of strapping them, I finalized them with quite a few light coats of clear-coat. The clear-coat has a much "dry-er" feel to the finish (even when cured, most of the paints I used still felt slightly tacky) and will help to keep everything well protected for a long time.

    Back of the chest:

    One of the thighs:

    3rd Helmet:

    I won't go into much detail on this helmet, since I've already talked about the previous one that was stolen, but I took quite a few photos of the detail work I did, just in case anyone wants to dress up their low-def helmet this same way.

    There are more photos in the full gallery for Part 8.

  20. #20

    Part 9: Fitting, Padding, Strapping

    As some have said before, this part of the process can make or break your suit. Even if you have everything scaled perfectly, if you end up butchering the strapping process your suit will look funny, not to mention it will probably be uncomfortable to wear.

    I can definitely say that I could have gotten away with buying quite a few less "strapping" parts. I purchased a ridiculous number of plastic buckles and nylon webbing (that backpack-strap type material you use with the clips to attach pieces), way more than I needed to. I could have easily gotten away with nothing but the 1/2" webbing, and a bag of those buckles, along with the cube of 1/4" neodymium magnets that I got. These magnets were absolutely indispensible, and should be a part of every build, as they make almost everything easier.

    Lets start with the chest: initially, I followed the method from Spitfire's thread, using huge clips and webbing to get the front and back attached. This method is not without merit -- it definitely works, but is also prohibitive in that you MUST have someone else take it off for you. I found that this wasn't desirable, as it gets kind of claustrophobic knowing you have no ability to take off your chest yourself. I ditched the clips and went with a different method: magnets.

    These itty bitty magnets are absolutely unbelievable. I used two on the top (along with an alignment post I made, although this was a holdover from the strap method of closure, and not necessary) and three on the bottom on each side, and the chest is now fully user-removable, and stays together like a champ.

    Other than this, I used the magnets on two other sets of pieces: the shins, and the forearms. For the shins, I had to split them down the back, because I could not get my feet through them to save my life. Once the openings top and bottom were trimmed, and the back was split, I could get my foot in, but it wouldn't stay closed perfectly in the back anymore.

    Magnets to the rescue.

    Using a bit of blue painter's tape, I would attach two magnets to each other, with the tape in the middle.

    Pro Tip: Lick or wet both sides of the tape so that the hot glue won't stick to the tape as much as it will to everything else.

    After doing that, align the sides of the piece you're setting, and with the magnets where you want them to be, tape everything in place. After you're done with that, hot glue both magnets (you might want to do just one side at a time, up to you) into place, and let the glue set at room temperature for a few minutes.

    After that's done, when you pull the piece apart, use your fingers to hold the hot glued magnets into place the first time you take them apart. The glue might have adhered to the tape, and if you're not careful, it could pull off of the piece if that happened. Using a "shearing" movement to take them apart the first time is helpful if possible, instead of just pulling in opposite directions. It's not the end of the world if it does come off, you just have to strip the old glue off the the magnet and repeat the process on that side.

    Repeat this as many times as necessary to get your pieces to stay put where you want them to!

    In all, I used 10 clips, all the 1/2" size, along with one roll of 1/2" nylon webbing, and practically all 64 magnets. Here's a quick sound-off of what I used for each part.

    2 clips on each side of both legs, and one connecting the top of the thigh to the codpiece. 4 magnets keeping the back of the shin attached. All this x2 = 6 sets of clips for the legs, and 8 magnets.

    I'm happy to explain in greater detail what I used and how I made the inner thigh detail pieces, and probably will in a later post!

    No strapping used on the cod, but plenty of EVA foam, and a pair of H-Type LC-1 Load Bearing Suspenders as well as a USMC Quick Release Pistol Belt. This probably a more expensive option as compared to what you might be able to find at a walmart or maybe even a hardware store, but I tend to buy first and regret it later. I also used some strips of the vinyl from the inner thigh detail pieces to glue the belt to the cod. Also, the way that I cut the cod, I made the front totally removable, so that you have better forward flexibility for getting the leg pieces on.

    For the chest, I used 2 clips (one on each side) to attach the shoulders pieces. To close both sides of the chest clamshell, I used 20 magnets, 10 on each side. There's also an alignment peg that I fabricated to keep things in order before I had installed the magnets. It's probably not necessary.

    For the forearms, I used 8 magnets each, for a total of 16 between the two. I usually put these on last out of everything when I'm getting the suit on, and since mobility is fairly impaired by the suit, it's nice to just have them snap together with magnets rather than having to mess with anything more complicated. The forearms stay in place with just the friction that they create -- they're not strapped to anything.

    In padding the helmet, I obviously didn't use any magnets or clips, but I did use quite a bit of EVA foam.

    I got the foam from Sears or Ace or some other online store, and it was just two packs of four 2' x 2' floor mat tiles in 3/8" thickness. Relatively cheap stuff, and VERY easy to work with. To pad the helm, I took apart a snowboarding helmet that I have and traced the padding design onto the foam, then cut it out. I also installed two fans and the 4 LEDs on either side, with each major circuit powered by it's own 9V battery. (3 9Vs in the helm)

    I live in Wyoming, so the winter time is incredibly cold, and to wear this around anywhere it took quite a bit of thinking for ventilation. I like the way it turned out. I'm happy to answer any questions about the wiring in the helmet!
    Last edited by daviduffy; Jan 26, 2013 at 1:14 PM.

  21. #21
    Small Advice for the Ventilation:

    Your Fans won´t work like they should, because they have no Space behind them.
    You should use Laptop Fans like this:

    They get the Air from the Side.

  22. #22
    New Recruit
    Member Since
    Dec 2012
    Very nice work! I can only hope my armor turns out so well.

  23. #23
    Absolutely amazing, grey job and certainly a suit to be proud of

  24. #24
    Quote Originally Posted by Sisko4 View Post
    Small Advice for the Ventilation:

    Your Fans won´t work like they should, because they have no Space behind them.
    You should use Laptop Fans like this:

    They get the Air from the Side.
    Thanks for the info! I would probably use fans like that for any future builds. These fans do actually have airspace behind them though, I didn't show the whole assembly, but they are "stilted" about 3/8"-1/4" from the helmet shell. Then I used foam to redirect the air down and away from the mouth and nose area. I initially only had one, which didn't really work, but now with two I can wear it in sub freezing temps without it fogging at all. I imagine this is due to to air flow redirection.

    I would probably go with your recommended fan and less work next time!

  25. #25
    New Recruit
    Member Since
    Jan 2013
    Really nice build!

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