Helioskrill Foam Armor Build Tutorial! (Pics included!)

Discussion in 'New Recruits' started by CommandoTNT, Jul 11, 2016.

  1. CommandoTNT

    CommandoTNT

    Hello my fellow Spartans, Marines, ODST, and other such Halo people. I am finally back and ready for action!

    So, to start off my name is Justin aka Spartan Justin 1013. I started a Halo 4 Warrior foam build a while back, which ended up being put off and slacked on. I kept getting distracted by work, school, Halo 5, sleeping, eating, exercising, and various other distractions. However, I recently attended my first convention ever. SUPERCON MIAMI 2016! It was amazing, and I brought along the Halo 4 Warrior helmet I clumsily put together. But what could you expect from my first ever completed piece. While I was there though, I kept wishing I had finished my suit. So here we are, back with a passion! This time around I will be working on a suit of armor from the latest Halo, Halo 5. It's the Helioskrill armor and I chose this one because it is unique to me and also is based on one of my favorite races in the game. The Sangheili! And to go along with it I will be making a Carbine and combat knife etched with sangheili markings.

    A little backstory I made to go along with the armor. I am a Spartan stationed on the planet of Sanghelios. Of course it makes sense that I wear the armor that was crafted with the help of a Sangheili. My mission there is to help make sure that piece is being kept between The Arbiter's forces and the civilian population of Sanghelios, as well as to keep watch of any sign of rebellion or invasions by covenant remnants or other invaders.

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    To start off, I have been watching tons of informative videos by many different and awesome fabricators. They have lots of tutorials if you guys have any questions about making armor with foam. If you have any questions for me about my build or foam building in general, feel free to shoot me a message and I will try my best to help you! The people I have been watching are James Bruton from Xrobots, Ted from EvilTedSmith, and Bill Doran from Punished Props. There are various other little videos I've watched but to cite them all would take a whole day so I am just giving a big shoutout to all of them in general. Thanks!

    Now, onto my build. I'll start off the materials I will be using for this build:

    • EVA floor mat foam 6mm (Bought in a roll from Sears)
    • EVA foam 12"x18" sheets 5mm, 3mm and 2 mm (Different colors from Hobby Lobby)
    • Barge contact cement (Preferred method of gluing)
    • Mini high temp glue gun and high temp glue sticks (For small pieces and repairs)
    • Heat gun (For molding and shaping pieces)
    • Cutting mat (So my table doesn't end up looking like a cat on catnip went crazy)
    • Steel 15" ruler (Extra 3" just for convenience)
    • Xacto blades and box cutter
    • Pen, pencils, sharpies, and other such writing devices
    • Cardstock
    • Regular printer paper
    • Computer and printer
    • Latex gloves (When gluing)
    • Organic air mask (When using chemicals such as Barge or Plastidip)
    • Eye protection
    • Hard plastic and tint for the visor
    • DAP Kwik Seal Plus for sealing cracks in the armor
    • Modge podge and water mix for sealing foam
    • Plastidip for extra sealing on the foam
    • Spray paint
    • Various other supplies as needed

    I think that covers all of my supplies. As for the armor building itself, I will be taking you guys along on the journey with me. I will be providing pictures and explanations of everything I do (I will try my best to post as often as I can, but it might be weekly due to work and school and other things I have going on at the moment.) Below is a picture of my workspace :D

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    On to the first update!


    So for this build I will be using foam and pepakura. I will also be utilizing the actual 3d models provided by various modelers and Chernobyl. Thanks guys!

    My method for doing this will be using a couple of different programs. The first program I will be talking about is Blender. This is a 3d modeling program I got for free online. I just literally google searched Blender 3D and it popped up on the first link. I then took the .OBJ file located in the file archives for the Halo 5 Helioskrill armor and exported it into the program. Once it got exported in, I just deleted every part of the file except for the one I wanted to save, then saved each individual part into their own separate file which I then exported back into a .OBJ file. (
    i.e. Helioskrill Torso, Helioskrill Thigh)

    The next program I am going to talk about that you probably have heard about is Pepakura designer. I use this to actually plan out my templates. I take the .OBJ files I saved individually and load them into Pepakura Designer. From there I unfold it, modify some settings, and get to fixing it up! (Trust me it can be a MESS). I rearrange and modify the template so that it is "foam friendly", due to the fact that pepakura is actually designed with paper in mind. Basically I just account for the thickness and flexibility of the foam and create my own custom templates for the armor.

    Once I modify the armor to the specifications I'm happy with, I print it out on regular printer paper. This is due to the fact that card stock is too thick to use in my printer. I then take the template from the paper, cut them out, and trace them onto the card stock. The reason for tracing it on to the card stock as well is because it gives me a thicker, more durable template I can reuse if I need to remake a piece of armor or to use in the future if I ever need it. I make sure to mark on the templates with a sharpie which side of the body the armor is on, as well as other markings that help me to line up the pieces.

    Next I trace the card stock templates onto the EVA foam. Which thickness foam I use depends on which part or piece of armor/detail I am making. I use a sharpie to trace it on, and an Xacto blade to cut it out of the foam. From there I cut beveled edges or whatever else I need to in the foam, as well as use the heat gun to shape it if it needs a curve. From there I lay out all the pieces I cut out for a specific piece so I know where I need to glue, and get setup outside for the contact cement. This is where the heavy duty stuff comes in. Make sure you have a mask because the vapors are pretty strong and toxic, as well as gloves because it can get messy!

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    The way the contact cement works is you have to apply it to both of the surfaces you want to glue together, let it dry for about 5-10 minutes depending on the temperature and humidity of your location, and then when it is dry but still tacky, that's when you want to stick them together! Be careful because once you stick the cement together it will not come apart. Make sure you have the pieces right where you want them to be!!!The reason why I prefer contact cement over the hot glue, is because I like the durability and the flexibility of it. I also like that I don't have to hold it in position while it cools, which sometimes throws my seam lines off. Don't get me wrong, I made my whole first helmet out of foam and hot glue! But I just prefer the cement now that I have tried it and the hot glue for repairs or detail work that the cement would be too hard to handle.

    And that's basically it for the basic construction of the armor! Once I finish the base suit, I will get into the sealing and painting when I start that part. I have decided to work my way bottom up, from the feet to the helmet. I suggest for the newer builders to start on easy pieces, because if you start out with a complicated and big piece you might get burned out. I know I definitely did! I have already started the feet and am almost done with them, moving onto the shins next. I am trying to make this as close to 100% game accurate as I can, probably around 99% accurate. Of course with my own colors and style added into it. :)

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    This is what I have so far of the feet, and only a couple days work with getting my files and templates setup. I have been a bit busy the past couple weeks but I have a lot more free time now and am hoping to get this done in time for Dragon Con if I'm able to go. I would love to wear this there! Feel free once again to ask me any questions or to just follow along with me as I progress through my new project. Thanks everyone for taking the time to read!

    P.S. I know this isn't a very detailed tutorial, I was intending on just doing my build but threw in a little advice here and there for the newer folks. If anyone has any more detailed or in-depth questions about how to use or do something feel free to let me know! Maybe after my build I will make an actual detailed tutorial for you guys....once I get a bit more experienced hehe.


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    Last edited by a moderator: Aug 2, 2017
  2. CommandoTNT

    CommandoTNT

    Update #1:

    Progress progress! So, I've decided to do updates to this thread twice a week on Mondays and Thursdays after class. That way I can hold myself accountable to staying on target and making sure I can see myself progressing. I know I know you guys probably just want to see progress pics. Well, here they are!

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    I finally finished the foot armor! Not gonna lie it looks pretty sweet. I did realize though that the underpart near the heel of the shoe needs to be cut out, because it wasn't able to be stepped on and was deforming the shape of the rest of the piece. Little modifications after you build the piece are handy dandy! :D

    I also made a homemade craft mat that helped me when I was gluing, as seen in the pic below. Trust me it helps A LOT. All I did was take two pieces of card stock, set them side by side, and duct tape the whole thing front and back. None of the glue sticks to it now when I am trying to glue pieces together, as opposed to the napkins I was using before haha.

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    I also took a couple of pictures comparing the hot glue and the contact cement. I originally used hot glue for one of the claw spikes in the front of the foot armor, then switched to contact cement after. As you can see, the seams are definitely cleaner and neater with the contact cement. Even though it may not be that much of a difference, I like the cleanliness of it too. Not to mention I am a bit of a perfectionist hehe. The hot glue is on the left and the contact cement is on the right side.

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    ...and that's it...oh who am I kidding. More progress!!!

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    I started working on the shin armor. I got the templates ready, cut them out, and began working! What you see in the pictures is the base of the shin piece, there are a couple of add on pieces on the front and back I need to add in. As well as details in the holes in the side of the piece. I only made the right side first to test the fit, and it is a bit big. However, this allows me to get my foot through the opening and put on the piece, and is not so big that it looks goofy. I will probably add some foam padding on the inside to help it fit snug on my leg and not move around.

    Well, that's all I have for you guys today! Thanks for reading and I look forward to hear from my fellow Spartans!

    P.S. Sorry for the double post. I had no replies to my first post and I wanted to update you guys on how things were going. :)



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  3. SI3RRA 117

    SI3RRA 117

    Looks like a great start. Your cuts nice and clean and te barge cement looks like it's working well. I'm nervous to try te barge cement I often find I will cut too much of an angle in a lot of my pieces so I'm often compensating with the hot glue to get the right angle on my joints. I don see getting that wiggle room with the barge cement. Keep up the great work look forward to the updates I've always like the helioskrill armor. You planning on foaming the helmet?
     
    CommandoTNT likes this.
  4. CommandoTNT

    CommandoTNT

    Thanks Sierra! Yeah I see what you mean about the hot glue giving some wiggle room. I plan on using it for those pieces that I need to bend or flex into weird positions, but as far as the angles I try to cut everything as clean as I can from the start so the proportions are right. If you practice your cuts more often it will help you out greatly! :D As for the helmet I haven't really decided what I should do. I am still trying to figure out the visor and everything because it's so oddly shaped. Anyone have suggestions as to how I should go about making the Helioskrill helmet? Might consider using resin if that way is better than foam.
     
  5. SI3RRA 117

    SI3RRA 117

    I agree with you on the helmet. I've never tried in foam but from what I've seen they seem pretty tough. I cheated with my build on the helmet, but I hve pepped one too and I think that might be your best bet. And for your visor you may be able to do what I did. Looks like it might be close but I used a pair of bubble frameless ski goggles. They have a nice contour to them and if you can reseal the 2 layers they are fog resistant. You just won't get your shapes in the visor I think without vacuum forming, something I have yet to try. https://www.amazon.com/gp/aw/d/B0177XS8PG/ref=ya_aw_oh_bia_dp?ie=UTF8&psc=1
     
    CommandoTNT likes this.
  6. Raddnwulf

    Raddnwulf New Member

    Lookin' good, man. Lookin' real good!! I'll keep a close eye on this as I've yet to see a Helioskrill build, so this should be exciting. Who knows, maybe your go at this armor set might motivate me to have a go at it as well haha. Helioskrill is definitely one of the odd-ish (pun intended) looking of the new armor sets but cool looking nonetheless!
     
    CommandoTNT likes this.
  7. CommandoTNT

    CommandoTNT

    Haha thanks Radd! Yeah I definitely like the unique look and lore to the Helioskrill armor. And by that pun I'm guessing you've also been playing Pokemon Go? :D

    Wow thanks for the link Sierra! Your advice really helps out a lot. I was looking up vacuum forming but it seemed too expensive and labor/time expensive for me at the moment. I also have to figure out how to make the visor have a one way reflection and color tint. Not sure the best product or technique to use for that.

    Update #2:

    Back for another update guys! This one unfortunately is rather small. I ran into a couple of speed bumps. One was the fact the my table legs broke and now my table is dwarf size...(I feel like a 5 year old kid sitting at the side of it) so I need to get that fixed ASAP. Another thing is I thought I had gotten the scaling all wrong on the shin part I was halfway done with. It turns out I went about 10mm too big, but that is really negligible and not worth starting over for. Also I had to modify the part because I was making unnecessary parts that were showing up in the pep file as actual parts, but turned out just to be holes in the armor. So, even after all of those things in addition to working over the weekend and having school work to do.....I still managed to complete the base of my other shin and a couple other attachments!

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    Also just to show you guys which foam I use, I bought this huge roll at Sears. It was on sale for about 25$, really good deal and definitely worth your money.
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    Below is the next piece I am working on for the shin. As you can see, there is a beveled edge on the opening near the bottom. This was created by using the beveling technique (cutting at a slant on the edge) but by also having the backside facing upwards as you bevel it as seen in the right picture. I am going to sand and clean up the rough edge later on once I finish the whole piece. Also one important tool I forgot to mention is a Dremel! I don't use it very often, but when I do it is highly helpful. It can be used to sand down edges and clean up rough spots, as well as make indentations and other piece of detail on your armor.
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    Now once again that is unfortunately all I have for you guys tonight. But I wanted to post anyways since I said I would be posting on Mondays and Thursdays. It helps me keep myself accounted for and make sure that I don't fall off track. :) I might post again before Thursday however, maybe tomorrow or Wednesday as I have a bunch of free time during the next two days. Hopefully I can get the shin pieces all done and start working on the knee pads and thighs! See you guys soon!

    P.S. If you have any advice with any methods you think are better or more beneficial than the ones I'm currently using, feel free to input advice. I LOVE learning new things and would appreciate any help at all!

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  8. CommandoTNT

    CommandoTNT

    Update #3:

    Hello everyone! I'm back with another update! In the past couple of days I decided to try out building another more simple piece. The gauntlets.

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    This is because I also tried out a new scaling and unfolding technique. What I discovered with the foam I am using, is that since it is only about 6mm thick, I don't need to give much extra "working room" when I go to scale the piece in pepakura designer. So I scaled the gauntlets to my exact forearm length and walla! The length was almost perfect and allowed me to bend my arm at the elbow, as well as still giving me extra room inside the piece to put LEDs or padding. It wasn't TOO wide or long, which I think happened with the shins I made. Also, I tried unfolding the model in circular strips rather than the vertical ones I used for the shin, and that allowed me to glue the pieces better as well as put in any curves or folds I needed to. I made the pieces bigger as well to avoid having to cut and glue together a ton of small pieces creating seam lines everywhere. I used the alignment marks technique. I lined up my pieces so that none of the borders were on any edges, and printed out the pages, cut off the edges of each side of the paper that had intersecting pieces, and taped the paper together. Then I cut out the larger templates and put it directly on the foam to trace and cut out.

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    And don't forget to mark your pieces so you know where they go!

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    I also highly recommend heating up your foam pieces with a heat gun and curving them to the desired shape before you construct. Not only will this help you glue the pieces more easily, but it will also heat seal your foam.

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    Here is how they turned out.

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    I also started with some of the smaller detail pieces, and plan on finishing the scale like pieces in the next day or two. Along with all of the minor details such as bevels, curved edges, and other indentations and such.

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    Also one final thing. I am SUPER EXCITED because I just ordered a product called Creature Cast Rubber. I don't know if any of you have heard of it before, but I just discovered it and apparently it is the new best way to seal foam. I will be trying this out on a test piece of foam once it's delivered to me and I shall notify you guys on the results of it. It was about 56$ plus shipping so about 70$ total for a gallon of it. It might end up being cheaper and much easier though than the plasti-dip and pva glue method, considering it takes about 3-5 bottles of the plasti-dip for a whole suit. I will keep you guys posted and hopefully it will help everyone else trying to make foam armor with a much easier and higher quality sealing method!

    Until next post! Take care guys and as always thanks for reading! :)

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    Last edited by a moderator: Aug 2, 2017
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  9. Bimbie

    Bimbie New Member

    Looking good.
    Have you gotten your table fixed?
     
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  10. Raddnwulf

    Raddnwulf New Member

    Haha yup. Long time Pokémon fan here! X^D but hey! I'd like to give a little input on what kind of visor you can use for when you get to the helmet part of your build. It's this store in Etsy called Icon Props and they have these colored sheets that can be used as visors. They have a good selection of colors and they even have the hex pattern on them. Here's the link: https://www.etsy.com/listing/247993...&ga_search_query=halo visors&ref=sr_gallery_9

    They've got a ton of good reviews so they must be doing something right lol.
     
    CommandoTNT likes this.
  11. CommandoTNT

    CommandoTNT

    Oh wow Radd! Thanks so much for that link. I am definitely going to order and try out one of those once I get closer to finishing my visor. :D

    Yes I did! I actually got some tall spaghetti O's cans and put them under the legs of the table. It's a decent temporary fix, but it works. No more breaking my back lol. :p

    Quick update guys!

    I know I've been gone for a while, but I have been busy with work and school, as well as packing for the trip I am leaving for tonight actually. I am going to New York to visit family, so that should be fun! :D I will let you all know how it goes. I wanted to make a quick post before I left and just let you guys know that I am diligently working on the armor still.

    First off, I switched to 9mm foam for most of the base pieces of my armor. I also added a texture layer to the pepakura files, with help from Chernobyl :D, so that when I print out the template, I can see where I need to add details and cuts. I have started working on the torso as well.

    I got the creature cast in! It's the new rubber sealant that I purchased. I will test it out on a piece as soon as I get back from vacation and let you guys know how it turns out!

    I have a new deadline! There is a con called Animate Florida, being held in Fort Lauderdale. It's September 16-18, and I am going to try and finish my armor by then. It's always good to have a set date that you try to finish a project by, or else it's harder to hold yourself accountable in my opinion. So I will be working in turbo mode from now on!

    Sadly I have no pictures in this update, and it's a short one as I am leaving in about 2 hours to the airport. I will have pics in the next update for you guys, and as always once I finish unfolding the parts of the armor I finish, I will be uploading them onto the 405th archives for you guys. Thanks for reading! :)
     
    Chernobyl likes this.
  12. SavedbyGraceG12

    SavedbyGraceG12 Well-Known Member

    Hah, was gonna say that it would be good to share your Unfolds in the File Archive. But you've just mentioned that you would. :) Excellent foam work, I'm definitely excited to see the rest of the build! I'm not to big of a fan with the style of the Helm, but the rest of the armor is pretty rad! Keep it coming, and God speed to you!
     
    CommandoTNT likes this.
  13. Raddnwulf

    Raddnwulf New Member

    No problem! :^D I've been eyeing those visor sheets for a while now, since I'm finally getting around to finishing my recruit helmet lol.
    I've also seen people use the plastic from 2-liter soda bottles as another alternative but I'm not exactly sure how the tinting process would be like..

    Anyway, keep shelling out updates!! Looking awesome so far!
     
    CommandoTNT likes this.
  14. CommandoTNT

    CommandoTNT

    Update #4:

    I'm baaaaaaackkkkkkkk!!!!!

    Hey everyone! I'm back from my vacation and guess what, I also just graduated! The vacation to New York as well as finals for school ate up so much of my time I had none to work on my armor. But since I just graduated this past Friday I had the weekend in between work to make some more progress on my armor! So, after eyeing it for a while I decided to attempt the torso. And here how it looks so far! Keep in mind most of the Sharpie lines are from old templates that I never ended up using so it isn't part of the actual piece, they'll be covered up when I seal it and paint it.

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    Keep in mind this is just two days' work, my speed in this build has been accelerated greatly. I found the biggest way to make good progress in a build is to just jump right in, it's ok if you make a mistake along the way. I messed up a piece trying out a technique and had to redo it, but that way I learn and do things faster now that I know how to do them.

    Planning on finishing the torso and a couple of other pieces by the end of the week.

    Also, I tried the Creature Cast product, and it didn't work out as well as I had hoped or planned. Just a forewarning to you guys. I don't know if I used it wrong or not, but like the instructions and creator said, I just brushed it onto the foam. I tried one coat, and it ended up very uneven and some parts still had the foam texture to it. I then tried a few light coats and it was all just uneven as much as I tried to spread it out evenly and thinly. It came out a bit of a mess :-/. Not trying to bash a product but if anyone had some tips for using it or some other experiences with this product I would love to hear about it. For now I will probably just stick to the basic pva then plasti-dip sealing method.

    Well that's all for now! I'll see you guys soon in the next update. I'll try to make updates as often as possible. As always thanks for reading!! :D

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    Last edited by a moderator: Aug 2, 2017
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  15. nerdman234

    nerdman234

    My thought process too. Foam is so cheap that mistakes are just time, and I find the mistakes make my work better in the end.
     
  16. Shon

    Shon New Member

    Could you post the specific .obj files that you used
     

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