1st Build Foam Halo 3 ODST Build

CMYKey

Jr Member
Still trucking along with the torso! So far I've done the vest, chest plate, and started work on the rib and hip plates.

Here's a little look at my supplies. As I mentioned before, Barge is hard to come by in Canada, so I've been using LePage Contact Cement. I managed to find a sizeable bottle of BMI superglue (purple bottle) for a good price locally, and this stuff rules. I believe SKS Props uses it for his builds, and it's a really great superglue.

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I've got my utility knives, an x-acto knife, heat gun, and my trusty dremel tool. I kinda suck at bevels, so the dremel really helps out in that regard (even if it takes a bit longer).

Here's the chest plate. I had a mishap and had to redo the top portion of the piece, which wrecked a few of my seams. But after some sanding and filling, it turned out okay.

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Start of the rib and hip plates.

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I'm going to keep working on the torso and pelvis parts before moving on to the extremities. In the meantime, I have a few questions...

What width should all the detail straps be? (on the codpiece, etc.)

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When it comes to attaching all the torso components to the vest... should I be attaching them before or after painting? I was also thinking of making the components removable so it becomes sort of modular in case I want to redo anything... but it might be more trouble than it's worth. Is it easier just to attach everything permanently (including the straps, velcro, etc.) and then mask them off when it comes time to paint?
 

PaiganBoi

Sr Member
For my V1 build I had attached the chest and side plate before painting. The 3 abdominal plates were painted first then attached.
As for strapping, for the straps for over the shoulders was 1.5" nylon webbing and all others were 1". Strapping was added after paint. Just easier that way.
 

CMYKey

Jr Member
Took a bit of a break yesterday. Torso is almost done, all but the belt and a few smaller details are completed. Contemplating 3D printing some of the details like the belt buckle and the little panel things on the ab plates. The butt plate and middle ab piece were a bit of a struggle. The butt plate ended up a little lopsided, but it's not too noticeable, so I don't think I'm going to redo it.

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The hip plates, on the other hand, I'm thinking about redoing. The bottom seam is pretty nasty. The center part was a separate piece that was glued into the opening, and because it wasn't a perfect fit, it bubbled out. I think I'll get a better result if I do it all as one piece with no seams and then glue the outer bevel on top.

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I attached the collar to the vest as well. I didn't want the neck hole to be too big, so I modified the opening by dremeling it bit-by-bit until it was just big enough to squeeze my head through. Then I modified the collar by adding a few centimeters to the overall length so that the inside circumference matched the circumference of the neck hole. However, the added height of the collar made it even harder to stick my head through. I could just get my head in, but the seams would creak a lot, which made me nervous, and I wasn't so sure it would survive frequent stretching. So I dremeled the inside of the collar a bit (in turn, removing the texture from the backside of the foam mats) and now it's slightly better.

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I just got news that I'll be returning to work on Monday on a part-time basis, so I won't be able to dedicate as much time to the build. I'm not in a major rush to finish, especially since cons are all but cancelled for the rest of the year. Plus, I still have my cosplay for this year's cons that I never got to use, and I'd hate for it to go unworn.

There's plenty of imperfections, but so far I've been pretty happy with the build. It's been a lot of fun! I'll be working on the belt and shoulder pieces next. From there, I'm not too sure. I'm a bit nervous to start some parts like the forearms, the templates are a little daunting.
 

PaiganBoi

Sr Member
Took a bit of a break yesterday. Torso is almost done, all but the belt and a few smaller details are completed. Contemplating 3D printing some of the details like the belt buckle and the little panel things on the ab plates. The butt plate and middle ab piece were a bit of a struggle. The butt plate ended up a little lopsided, but it's not too noticeable, so I don't think I'm going to redo it.

View attachment 289867 View attachment 289871

The hip plates, on the other hand, I'm thinking about redoing. The bottom seam is pretty nasty. The center part was a separate piece that was glued into the opening, and because it wasn't a perfect fit, it bubbled out. I think I'll get a better result if I do it all as one piece with no seams and then glue the outer bevel on top.

View attachment 289870

I attached the collar to the vest as well. I didn't want the neck hole to be too big, so I modified the opening by dremeling it bit-by-bit until it was just big enough to squeeze my head through. Then I modified the collar by adding a few centimeters to the overall length so that the inside circumference matched the circumference of the neck hole. However, the added height of the collar made it even harder to stick my head through. I could just get my head in, but the seams would creak a lot, which made me nervous, and I wasn't so sure it would survive frequent stretching. So I dremeled the inside of the collar a bit (in turn, removing the texture from the backside of the foam mats) and now it's slightly better.

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I just got news that I'll be returning to work on Monday on a part-time basis, so I won't be able to dedicate as much time to the build. I'm not in a major rush to finish, especially since cons are all but cancelled for the rest of the year. Plus, I still have my cosplay for this year's cons that I never got to use, and I'd hate for it to go unworn.

There's plenty of imperfections, but so far I've been pretty happy with the build. It's been a lot of fun! I'll be working on the belt and shoulder pieces next. From there, I'm not too sure. I'm a bit nervous to start some parts like the forearms, the templates are a little daunting.
The forearms from the armoury are a little crazy. Hero's Workshop has a simplified version of the templates. Unfortunately you would have to buy his ODST templates.
 

RogueOneSpartan

Jr Member
The forearms from the armoury are a little crazy. Hero's Workshop has a simplified version of the templates. Unfortunately you would have to buy his ODST templates.
Wait, have you bought them? I'll try to improvise with templates from armory. I guess I can't miss the right shape of forearm, if I just try to follow the shape of my arm?
 

CMYKey

Jr Member
Clleeean work. That butt pad is looking great too. Awesome job.

Thank you!

Wait, have you bought them? I'll try to improvise with templates from armory. I guess I can't miss the right shape of forearm, if I just try to follow the shape of my arm?

I actually did buy them a while back, before I knew about 405th and the Armory. Aside from a few changes, namely some simplification of the forearms and the helmet, and the inclusion of the correct chest piece (I know there's one floating around here, but it's not the same as the one in the pepakura files) the files are nearly identical. Some of them actually are identical, which is a bit... questionable seeing as it's other peoples' work. That said, I still think I'm going to need to modify the forearms a bit myself.

The armory files (and the Heroes Workshop files by extension) are great, but I've found that they do require some improvisation or modifications in some cases. I haven't followed the templates to a T. I think if you start with some of the more straightforward parts like the vest, the chest piece, the hip plates, etc. you'll get a feel for how the templates function and come together, which will make it easier to improvise down the line when needed.

Going on a bit of a tangent now, but I also had a bit of a struggle wrapping my head around the templates at first. I had a hard time understanding how the templates were supposed to come together, because when I did the two prop guns I mentioned in the OP, they were built with a lot of layering, which isn't necessarily how these templates are supposed together. It clicked for me when I watched some of Angelegend's videos. Although these are templates for foam, it still behaves a bit like pepakura in that sense, which I didn't really understand at first. You're gluing the pieces edge to edge, corner to corner, not necessarily by layering.

While I still consider myself a bit of a beginner, I did have at least some experience working with foam and making my own templates when I did those two props. I've found the armour to be a lot more challenging than the guns, and having some of that initial experience has helped a lot. For any beginners out there, I'd recommend starting with some weapons first before working on the armour.
 

CMYKey

Jr Member
Haven't been feeling very motivated lately, so not a lot of progress. I received some of the build hardware last week (straps, magnets, etc.) which gave me a bit of a boost, so I was able to complete the securing mechanism for the vest. I opted for the Heroes Workshop method utilizing both magnets and velcro. Pretty happy with the result, I'm able to secure it myself with little hassle. The magnets are a great idea to keep it all aligned. If I were to make any changes though, I probably would've cut the velcro just a tad shorter so you can't see it along the edges.

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I initially had a strip of 2mm foam covering the magnets on the velcro side because I figured the connection would be too strong if they had direct contact. But, it was actually too weak and I removed it.

I've been itching to build the combat knife cause I haven't done any of the weapons yet, and it'd be a quick little build. AndrewDFT posted a template for the combat knife a few weeks ago too, so I won't need to build my own template. I was thinking about maybe 3D printing the knife, but it might cause some problems at a con if it's a sharp, hard plastic. But, getting the right blade thickness with foam while still keeping it sturdy is kinda tough. Gluing 2 layers of 5mm together would provide enough strength structurally, but would be way too thick. And I'm not sure how successful gluing 2 or 3 layers of 2mm foam together would be, because there's a lot of beveling/sculpting and I find my glues don't dremel very well. And using a single layer of 5mm foam would be too flimsy. Any ideas?
 

PaiganBoi

Sr Member
Haven't been feeling very motivated lately, so not a lot of progress. I received some of the build hardware last week (straps, magnets, etc.) which gave me a bit of a boost, so I was able to complete the securing mechanism for the vest. I opted for the Heroes Workshop method utilizing both magnets and velcro. Pretty happy with the result, I'm able to secure it myself with little hassle. The magnets are a great idea to keep it all aligned. If I were to make any changes though, I probably would've cut the velcro just a tad shorter so you can't see it along the edges.

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I initially had a strip of 2mm foam covering the magnets on the velcro side because I figured the connection would be too strong if they had direct contact. But, it was actually too weak and I removed it.

I've been itching to build the combat knife cause I haven't done any of the weapons yet, and it'd be a quick little build. AndrewDFT posted a template for the combat knife a few weeks ago too, so I won't need to build my own template. I was thinking about maybe 3D printing the knife, but it might cause some problems at a con if it's a sharp, hard plastic. But, getting the right blade thickness with foam while still keeping it sturdy is kinda tough. Gluing 2 layers of 5mm together would provide enough strength structurally, but would be way too thick. And I'm not sure how successful gluing 2 or 3 layers of 2mm foam together would be, because there's a lot of beveling/sculpting and I find my glues don't dremel very well. And using a single layer of 5mm foam would be too flimsy. Any ideas?
When it comes to foam knives your really don't have much choice but to make it thick.
I made one by layering 2 bits of 5mm foam and then 2mm on either side to give the handle some meat.
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There is some wobble but, considering its a toy knife it won't hurt anyone.
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Some cons don't allow prop knives to be removed from the sheath so, I added anelastic strap (like a peace knot) to keep it secure.
 

CMYKey

Jr Member
When it comes to foam knives your really don't have much choice but to make it thick.
I made one by layering 2 bits of 5mm foam and then 2mm on either side to give the handle some meat.
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There is some wobble but, considering its a toy knife it won't hurt anyone. View attachment 290350
Some cons don't allow prop knives to be removed from the sheath so, I added anelastic strap (like a peace knot) to keep it secure.

Hmm yeah, a more realistic blade width might not be feasible. I was thinking of maybe sandwiching something stiff between the two foam layers as a support, even like a thin dowel or something to prevent it from flopping around.

Con policy is a good point too, knives can be tricky. I've considered just making a sheathe with the handle sticking out because I mostly want it for decoration anyway, but not being able to unsheathe the knife at all is a bit of a bummer.
 
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RogueOneSpartan

Jr Member
Well, I have experience with model aircraft making and most of a model plane is made of balsa. So, about 1-2 mm thick balsa strips are meant to be flexible, because of the curve of the wing, balsa strips and sticks thicker than 2 or 3 mm are used for the inner structure, so these should be stiff enough for your knife and lighter than foam.
 

CMYKey

Jr Member
Excellent call on the balsa wood! I got my hands on some 3/32" balsa from Michaels, and after some lots of trial and error, I now have a combat knife.

I first printed AndrewDFT's template at 100% and it was pretty huge, so I reduced it by about 10%, making the length of the blade around 20cm (which is the correct length, according to the Halo wiki). I cut the balsa as one piece, and layered my foam pieces on top of it. I found that the balsa didn't bevel well without splintering, so I cut the wood layer shorter along the tip and the sharp side, joined the foam together, and dremeled away to get a sharp edge with just the foam. The edge was a bit flimsy still, so I brushed some superglue along the edge and the tip to reinforce it (as seen in this video). I cut the guard as one piece, cut a slit in the middle, and then slid it over the wood handle and glued it in place. The same thing was done for the butt of the knife.

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(first photo was from a failed attempt, but the general idea was the same for the successful one)

I made the sheath by gluing the edges of two foam pieces together, and then added depth with more layers, making a nice craft foam sandwich.

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The 3/32" balsa worked great. Obviously if you try to bend it with your hands, it's going to flex, but it doesn't wobble when you wave it around like a maniac. The blade ended up about 1/4" thick.
 

Callianis

New Member
Looks like you came up with a great solution :) I was going to suggest some wooden skewers, popsicle sticks or a "plate" of plastic (eg cut from something like an old CD case).

Your other idea of just a handle and sheath (no blade) as a single item is a good one too and one that has occurred to me as I want a knife for my upcoming ODST build.

RTX Australia made me zip tie my Jaune Arc sword into the scabbard because it was 3D printed and they were concerned about the tip.
 

CMYKey

Jr Member
Looks like you came up with a great solution :) I was going to suggest some wooden skewers, popsicle sticks or a "plate" of plastic (eg cut from something like an old CD case).

Your other idea of just a handle and sheath (no blade) as a single item is a good one too and one that has occurred to me as I want a knife for my upcoming ODST build.

RTX Australia made me zip tie my Jaune Arc sword into the scabbard because it was 3D printed and they were concerned about the tip.

Skewers are a good one! I used some wood skewers to add support in the handles for my Alien flamethrower, and they worked like a charm.
 

CMYKey

Jr Member
I found my motivation (it was inside me the whole time) and came out the other side with one shin. This one was a lot of work and to be honest, I'm not really looking forward to doing the other leg.

Some progress and the (almost) final product:

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And... it fits! Hallelujah! It's pretty snug and takes some effort to get in and out of, but proportionally I think it looks pretty good, and mobility is no problem. A liberal application of Shoe Goo on the seams to ease my mind about the tight squeeze, and baby I've got a shin.

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Truthfully, this was an ordeal. There's plenty of mistakes and shortcuts that I'm not really proud of. But, I learned a lot, and it was a great feeling once it was all done and not a total disaster.
 
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