Photo by PostConBlues
So after a long absence, I've decided to return to the world of Halo costuming. A combination of meeting some local Halo cosplayers as well as Halo: Outpost Discovery reignited my interest. I debated between doing Vale or the Halo 2 ODST, but after various commitments severely limited my timetable, I decided to go with the H2A (aka Insurrection era) ODST, which has been a dream build since the design first appeared.
An updated version of my very first costume (left) with my latest one (right)
As much as I love the classic H3 design, there's always been something lean and mean about the H2 look.
The initial starting point was Sierra 107's commissioned model and files. It would have been incredibly difficult to finish without these, and I certainly wouldn't have had the time to polish things up as nicely without them so thank you very much for that.
Jack's Filesthe chest is unfolded, while the shoulder and shinguards are not - the helmet is also too hi-res for Pep, so I would recommend 3d printing it.
The chest is hard to scale, so I would recommend that yourself or your partner don't use the standard measuring method for pep files, instead use the "measure distance between two points" tool in Pep to measure the length from the highest point on the neck collar to the lower back piece (where the knife sheath is placed), and from the lowest point on one shoulder guard to the opposite shoulder guard.
Lastly, I've included the disruptive camouflage pattern that is on the uniform in the event you want to create a custom undersuit/custom uniform based on the base layer.
Being the Luddite that I am, I decided to forgo 3d printing the helmet and do it with good 'ol fashioned fiberglass (c). I'll be uploading my own unfolds eventually (and a reduced polgyon helmet), but the way I approached the unfolds is somewhat unconventional. I'm an experienced enough builder that I felt comfortable tackling a lot of the details by hand.
A lot of the details were intentionally left off,especially stuff like ridges and tubes, as those could be done with carving or styrene later. If anyone has ever sat in on any construction panels with me, this is part of the reason I'm a huge advocate for learning traditional building techniques, as you can apply them to fiberglass, foam, and even 3d printing to create details.
I specifically opted to plan for working in fiberglass because I like the strength and feel, as well as the ability to get a nice finish.
Scaling was eyeballed with the pepakura measuring tools and using various references. For example, the helmet scaling is specifically based off of the size of a MICH military helmet that fits me well, as I wanted to have a similar fit.
Testing to see how it fits on my head. You can see how it resembles a low profile military helmet at this point in terms of dimensions.
Pep process. Note how I'm intentionally leaving some details off, such as the cutouts in the rear. Where there are supposed to be grooves, I merely extended out the pep file by the distance of the groove.
Another shot. You can see my low poly Vale tester helmet, as well as more of how I skipped doing certain details in the pep stage.
Moved on downstairs to watch some movies while I worked. Started with Rush Hour, but by the end I was just binge watching She-Ra
Getting a feel for how the helmet looks with the closest thing to the H2A vest I had lying around: an old PASGT flak. I place a huge emphasis on the overall "feel" of a costume, and it dictates a lot of my approach to scale and finish.
I probably got a little too lax with pepping. The helmet was done over the course of 14 days. The chest would be quicker, being completed in about 2 days.
Another "feel" test. I only pepped the bottom portion of the shoulders. Since the top was mostly flat, I would be doing it in wood.
Cheated at the end and used masking tape to block some pieces in place. I mlade the mistake of not remembering to remove the tape after glassing/reinforcement though, which really hurt me when it came to bondo, as it could lift off, taking the bondo with it. Great for doing some neat bondo tricks, but not great if you didn't plan for it.
Brushing on resin. I opted to use more expensive epoxy for several reasons: less toxic, convenient pumps for smooth-on brand epoxy, low shrinkage, increased strength.
Here's where i made a mistake. I should have put the masking tape on the inside, and I should have peeled it off when I finished. Also, the center piece is actually off center, which I failed to notice.
Resin on the shoulders and visor. I planned to make quick bucks out of them for vacuumforming.
I brushed in a layer of rondo aka polyester/fiberglass resin and bondo mixture. Bondo is polyester resin with filler, so mixing the two makes a runnier bondo. This helps to ensure that tight corners are filled, reducing the chance of bubbles when laying glass. However, I cheaped out and only did one layer. I should have done more, but my schedule was getting severely truncated, and I was probably overly concerned about weight (which ended up being a non-issue). Cutting corners always costs in the end though.
Nobody likes fiberglass. Nobody.
Note the use of skewers to help ensure the chestpiece doesn't warp. I did two coats of epoxy mat. Three probably would be ideal, but like I said, nobody likes glass.
In the interim, I built some framesso that I could backfill these with expanding foam. However, in my laziness I did not glass these, which ended up being a mistake as they did not hold their shape properly when foam filled. But I feel kind of itchy even just thinking about fiberglass.
Basic trimming of glass parts was done and then I rinsed out the parts to try and wash away excess glass dust. There was minimal warping on the helmet. The chest piece was "stretched" with mixing stick braces so to make sure it didn't shrink as the epoxy hardened.
Making sure I can still fit everything. It's snug, but it fits and the silhouette looks good!
Foam filled vacform bucks. I used loctite expanding foam at the recommendation of another builder as it's a bit denser. However, as you can see it bulged out the pieces a bit, since they weren't reinforced with glass. Additionally, some of the foam didn't cure fully since it needs to be exposed to moisture, so I had to poke holes with a skewer to get it to finish. In the future I should take the time to spritz water on the interior, as well as glass for rigidity.
Test fitting the visor. Close fit!
Body work on the chest. Note I added some shapes with bondo that weren't in the original model on the upper chest. The chest ended up taking longer than the helmet for body work because I went really thin with the glass in some parts.
Look, no one actually likes working with fiberglass. People just like the end result.
You can see how off center that middle piece is now.
Sanding for days! But not too many because it's crunch time. You can see where I'm down to my second layer of glass in the black spots. I really should have put in more rondo.
Vacform buck of the shoulders! Not perfect, but good enough, as it was primarily done to save me time.
Lots of body work. Some good power sanders and a steady system to ensure you're always working on something (and subsequently zero rest) keeps things rolling. Also made progress on the visor buck.
I had promised Anvil station folks I would make them a turret,but with my timetable, I had to look for a shortcut. So I dug up an old resin cast of an AndrewDFT styorofam carved M247 I had lying around. They were both broken in the center, so I used a metal plate to join them and then did a lot of body shop work. Because I really wanted it to look more like the Halo2A variant, and to add my own touch to it. In hindsight I should have used wood rather than bondo, but oh well. I'll remake this entirely at some point from scratch.
Cutting out the other portion of the shoulders in MDF wood. Wanted to vacform them, but couldn't quite figure out the best way to tackle that, and knocking two out by hand ended up being the faster option.
Squished some bondo to ensure a tight fit. Normally you'd put some kind of release barrier like cling wrap or vaseline, but I was in a rush. Not the best idea, but oh well. It worked, and the visor ended up being a pretty good fit! Also around this point I realized I should have been drawing the detail lines with sharpie or something, because most of them are no longer visible.
A side by side with my first helmet.
For those curious, here's my old old thread:
Odst - Trooper's Thread Of Stuff
Going to pause here for the night and get ready for work in the morning! Will finish up this thread tomorrow.
New hat vs Oldhat