Arbiter Build

TPceebee

New Member
I've just finished my first full costume build (Sadly, not halo related. 'Twas Arrow's s2 Deathstroke) and I fancy doing something a little more ambitious. I'm in the early stages of planning and could do with something I can document my process on, hence this thread. My plan is to build the Halo 2 Anniversary edition of the Arbiter (with an energy sword of course). I have begun by sketching body positions and getting an idea of the scale of the project. I've seen quite a few WIP elite builds in my search on this forum. Hopefully this is a project I can see to the end.

Body Scale
I am 5 ft 5.6. Halo Wiki has the arbiter standing at 7ft 10. To make it easier for me I plan to keep the height under 7ft 5inch. I will add height by using Digigrade stilts and positioning my head at the base of the neck.

Pieces
The main pieces would be the feet, calf pieces, thigh pieces, hip pieces, torso/chest and back pieces, arms, shoulder pauldron, neck pieces, helmet, face and undersuit.

Materials
I plan to build the main armour pieces using eva foam as i prefer it to pepakura. It will be coated in urethane resin using a technique by XRobots. An alternative to this is to 3d print the rough shape, clay sculpt the details then mould and cast, though I believe I can get the detailing done accurately using the foam. I will 3D print the head, then sculpt clay on top for detail and mould and cast in latex. I will then cut the 3D print to create a skeleton for the head. I will create some internal mechanism or servos to make the mandibles move. I will bulk out the shapes of the body with LD200 foam (Using softer, upholstery foam for the joints). The undersuit has a hex pattern with strips across them. I will either find a fabric with the hex pattern or I will mill an mdf board with the pattern then mould and cast in latex. I will then use thin foam or webbing to create the strips. Evakura armour also sell strips of similar stuff for the master chief undersuit that would suit my needs. The joints will be neoprene.

Internal Frame Composition
Due to the size and shape of the suit I believe I will need an internal frame. I will build a frame for the upper torso and connect it with backpack straps and some solid pieces. The head will also be connected to the backpack. A hollow gimbal in the neck will allow for movement of the head, controlled by a strap around my head with wires connected to it. As I've stated before, the legs will have digitileg stilts. I don't believe it is necessary for a frame for the upper legs or lower torso. The hands will likely need wires connected to my first 3 fingers and thumb to control.

Body Positioning
As I've said before, my head will sit at the base of the neck, just above the chest armour. I plan for my elbows to match the positioning of the arbiter's but this isn't too important to me at this time. My hips and knee positioning need to match.

Strapping and Attaching Pieces
I will connect the overlapping pieces using either webbing or elastic straps. To hold them in place I'll use velco on the undersuit.

Timescale
This will be a long project. I plan to give myself a year or two to complete.

Budgeting
If I buy the Digilegs then that would cost £700. They would likely cost £200 to make. I would allow approx. £300 for the 3D printing, £150 for the foam, Maybe £500 for the latex head and suit?, £50 for clay, £20 for strapping, £50 for paint and allow for £130 additional costs. I have no idea if these are accurate as I'm just guessing. I will fund it piece by piece whenever I get the money monthly. At a guess, this would make the total cost of £1800 with using area 51's Digilegs or £1400 by building my own. Though if i learned anything in my last costume build, I'm awful at budgeting.

Resources/Contacts
Google, this forum, Foamsmith books, contact with experience in electronics, contact with experience in mechanical design, contact with experience with optics (for the sword which I'm yet to plan)

Any help, queries or comments would be most welcome. :)
 

TPceebee

New Member

TPceebee

New Member
While I'm waiting for a quote for the metal for the digitigrade stilts, I've been sculpting the head in Blender. This is what I've got so far. I'll add a bump map for texture and convert it to a mesh. Any thoughts on what I've got so far?

Screen Shot 2016-10-08 at 00.03.01.jpg
 

VividT E X

Jr Member
I have a hard time figuring out how you converterd a normal map into geometry as it has no height information ( unlike a displacement map ) but if you can retain your sculpted information for future 3d printing I think your sculpt is very capable an convincing :) ( well done, its pretty to look at ) I raise this issue because the general rule with normal maps and 3d printing is that as it has no height information it canot be used to ad detail to the print : only the lowres model would be printed... But if you already know that I wish you luck on this print :)
 

TPceebee

New Member
I have a hard time figuring out how you converterd a normal map into geometry as it has no height information ( unlike a displacement map ) but if you can retain your sculpted information for future 3d printing I think your sculpt is very capable an convincing :) ( well done, its pretty to look at ) I raise this issue because the general rule with normal maps and 3d printing is that as it has no height information it canot be used to ad detail to the print : only the lowres model would be printed... But if you already know that I wish you luck on this print :)
There is a function on blender I believe. It's a modifier called displace. The other way would be to convert the texture bitmap to an SVG vector, import it as a curve, convert it to a mesh, extrude it, then use a Boolean modifier to subtract it.
 

VividT E X

Jr Member
Could you use the armor files and the normal maps provided with them in the archives to ad details to helmets and armor pieces ?! Because I once tried with 3ds max before realy understanding how the software worked. I tried to work with modifiers and it realy did not work properly :p because It could be usde to print nice quality helmets wothout much trouble !
 

Takanuva

Jr Member
For the jaw mechanism, look into cable mechanisms used by SFX artists and in prosthetic limbs. I'm pretty sure there are some guides from Stan Winston's SFX website, but I definitely know you can find tutorials on instructables.com for it.
 

TPceebee

New Member
Could you use the armor files and the normal maps provided with them in the archives to ad details to helmets and armor pieces ?! Because I once tried with 3ds max before realy understanding how the software worked. I tried to work with modifiers and it realy did not work properly :p because It could be usde to print nice quality helmets wothout much trouble !
I did have some success converting the normal map to a mesh. Hard to tell as my laptop isn't powerful enough to put into render mode. I can't promise that I could improve the models until I've successfully printed the head, but it could be possible. If you can point me to a certain file you would like me to try then I can experiment in my spare time.

Screen Shot 2016-10-08 at 23.15.07.png

On another note, I've realised that the teeth aren't finished meshes so I'm working on making them a separate model that I will attach to the head once printed.

For the jaw mechanism, look into cable mechanisms used by SFX artists and in prosthetic limbs. I'm pretty sure there are some guides from Stan Winston's SFX website, but I definitely know you can find tutorials on instructables.com for it.
Yes, I did think of these, but I planned to have the mandibles open up as well as close. Because of this, the initial thought is to build a skeleton for the mandibles from a meccano-style set, or a plastic equivalent. TBH I haven't thought too much into it as i still have some major tasks to complete before I even get close to the animatronics. Thanks though.
 

TPceebee

New Member
Been a while since I've updated, but I've been busy. I've revised the strategy to moving around with the suit and I've decided to scrap the plan of using digitigrade stilts. If I want something I can wear for hours at a time I'd want something a bit more comfortable. To that end, I've drawn up a basic plan of how I'm going to fit inside the suit.There is a bit of overlap and some concern about the arms, but the proportions don't have to fit exactly. I'll use foam to pad out the shapes to make it look digitigrade. Someone has also finally uploaded a file from killer instinct of the arbiter so I'll import it into blender and use that. I've also been in contact with a few friends and colleagues and they own tools that will make my life a whole lot easier (a foam cnc machine for example).

 
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agentflorida

Jr Member
I was actually introduced to the voice actor for the Arbiter before my knowledge of Halo. I guess it was one of the reasons why I felt so engulfed in the series. Good luck on your build and keep in mind that there were 2 separate versions of the Arbiter, the one in Halo 2 and 3, and the one in Halo 5, same person different armor and weapons. I would say that the Prophets Bane is held just like an energy sword, two fingers on each side of the handle and thumb on the opposite side in the middle of the handle, but provides a cover for your hands while gripping it. The blades were modified and reprogrammed to have a curve or look different signifying that he is no elite based on the history of the Arbiters. One last important part that all Arbiters regardless of everything, have a special symbol or mark that is burned on to them on their chest, signifying that they are the true Arbiters. You will need to have the mark visible under the armor. Once again Good luck.
 

TPceebee

New Member
Another little update: I've managed to scale and edit about a hundred individual armour pieces so that they are all complete meshes ready for 3D printing/milling. These will be used to create the armour from rigid foam. I have also scaled and cut this mesh and sent it off for print so that I can use the model to figure out the body suit that will be shaped from LD200. Once that process is finished I can buy the hex pattern material I found on alibaba and create the undersuit. The idea is the final suit will come off in 3-5 pieces, with the armour and undersuit glued to the foam so that it is easier to get on and off. Looking forward to start actually crafting things rather than working digitally.

Screen Shot 2017-02-20 at 21.44.31.png
 
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