My Advice For Noobs

Eihort

New Member
Okay. I'm seeing a ton of threads on here from people wanted to know how to get started doing this.

I'm one of them.

But here's some advice from someone who knows just enough about this to really understand just how hard and difficult this can be at the worst of times. Okay sure, you'll eventually get that cool armor and anyone here who's made one will tell you that it's sooooooo worth the time and effort, but I always like to start with all the negatives first. Here are some cold hard FACTS that you won't be able to escape if you are starting with nothing like me.

1. This is going to be expensive.
For some of you, $100-$200 isn't that much at all. For others, it's quite a bit and might break the bank. This figure is right at the line where the quality of the armor drops off dramatically when you start spending less for most people's standards (or at least mine anyway).

2. You WILL screw something up.
Not a matter of if, but a matter of when. If it's pepakura then I'm sure you'll print it the wrong size at least once. Or you'll screw up the fiberglass mixture and end up with a gooey mess, or maybe you'll screw something up with your silicone and end up with a bad mold casting. The name of the game here is baby steps. Start with a hand cover or a shoulder pad. Something small. Perfect your techniques on those before moving on to something like the helmet.

3. There are *no* step by step instructions availible for everything.
A lot of these tutorials are printed to give you the basic concepts that will allow you to finish the rest of the pieces yourself. You're not going to see assembly instructions, only theory.

4. What is availible is more than enough.
What I found on the site before I even registered was more than enough for anyone to get a decent start in this. You have to actually get up off your bum and attempt the simple tutorials here. There is no absolute "right" and "wrong" way. The directions you do get on the site, especially about safety handling some of these materials MUST BE ADHERED TO OR YOU COULD SERIOUSLY INJURE YOURSELF OR OTHERS AROUND YOU. We're not kidding. As someone said, these things don't kill you right away, but twenty years from now when the doctor gives you the bad news about a cough that just wouldn't go away.

5. Don't start right off trying to do molded armor.
Don't give me that crap about starting with molded armor. Those that do the molded armor, have been doing similar work for years. It's hard to do well and requires a very high degree of skill. If after reading all the tutorials on the site about molded armor you're *STILL* unsure how to even start, please don't ask. I got started in molding with doing casts of tiny miniatures for gaming. I screwed that up all the time, and I had someone with me the entire time teaching/showing me how to do it. You're never ever going to get enough instruction on the forum how to do it from scratch, starting from zero experience or ability. You should really invest in some video DVDs on the subject due to it's complexity. If the DVDs are too expensive, then I think you need to re-evaluate your ability to afford the materials required. After that, do some extremely simple projects (like a soda can) to familiarize yourself with the materials and procedures involved.

6. This is going to take a lot of time
Just like any new skill, it'll take weeks even to get something you'll like. You're going to burn through materials like you wouldn't believe. Add 25-50% of the required amount to your supplies just in case. Even then, you're going to find yourself starting all over at least once because of errors. It's fustrating after you spent all that time carefully cutting out the pep and gluing it together, that you mess up with the resin and turn the thing into a gooey mushy mess. Print it out, and glue it all over again.

7. It's going to take a lot of space
This is not apartment friendly. Heck, I'd even say it's not exactly wife friendly either. If you don't have a garage and/or a nice back yard to spread this stuff out in, then don't start, for safety's sake. See part of #4 for more details. The last thing anyone wants is exposing people who have nothing to do with your project to potential harm. We especially don't want you hurting yourself. No set of armor is worth that.

There you go. Some simple cold hard facts about making your own armor starting from zero experience and zero materials. There are no short cuts around these, period. Don't ask for them. On the plus side, this can be an extremely rewarding hobby, as once you learn how to make Halo armor, the sky is pretty much the limit on these sorts of things. You'll find that you can make all sorts of cool costumes and other things. If you even take the time to start making your own designs, you could even sell them for others to enjoy (on your own site of course. :) )
 

mikeattack

New Member
Eihort said:
1. This is going to be expensive.
Already close to $1k. Not even half way.

2. You WILL screw something up.
Already screwed up sculpts a few times. Almost spilled OOMOO all over my work bench. Note - nitrile gloves and appropriate mask recommended...oh, and did I mention proper ventilation.

3. There are *no* step by step instructions availible for everything.
True.

4. What is availible is more than enough.
Search feature is your FRIEND.

5. Don't start right off trying to do molded armor.
Depends. If you are willing to put the TIME and EFFORT into educating yourself about the materials you are using, you can do a decent job. This is the first time I have ever sculpted/molded/cast anything. Check out my gallery. Yes, difficult at first, but not discouraging if you are willing.

6. This is going to take a lot of time
Amen. No matter what path in life you are on now. Life will supercede this hobby. Only advice is to keep at it. You will learn techniques along the way that will reduce the process time - for the next time.

7. It's going to take a lot of space
Yes. I already park my car outside of the garage and I have an extended workshop. Luckily my wife puts up with my madness.
Thanks, however, for the reality check. Now off to finish the rest of the sculpts.

Finish the Fight.
 
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Adam

Community Founder
You have come to the right place my man, said well... Everyone wants "the cheapest armor available, but I don't want crap". Well, that is what you get when you buy the cheapest available. There is no "real good" armor for under $800 that is all.
 

falcon NL

Well-Known Member
Eihort said:
1. This is going to be expensive.
Thats for sure, if you are planning to do a pep model the cost will be significant less then a molded armor. Clay,brush-on rubber,jackets are a tad expensive. The polyurethane will be the cheapest of them all (Depending on want kind of polyurethane you will use)

2. You WILL screw something up.
Yep..but there are ways to to make the risk less.
- Make a list for your self with what to do, try to make it clarifying but detailed
- Set the things in the order that you are going to use them.
- read, read, and read again before doing things.

remember: You can't do it twice, think before doing


3. There are *no* step by step instructions availible for everything.
All the things you need to know are in the stickies, and in the stickies there are step by step tuts. Where not going to hold your hand and walk you trough you project.

4. What is availible is more than enough.
This site has a lot of info about molding and pep. A little more about pep then molding but thats just because pep is more pepular ( ;)). There is also other sides on the net that explain mold making. When i was just a little falcon i found this,
http://www.studiocreations.com/howto/stormtrooper/index.html

For the newbies out there that want to do something like this, read a lot and start small.

5. Don't start right off trying to do molded armor.
Don't give me that crap about starting with molded armor. Those that do the molded armor, have been doing similar work for years. It's hard to do well and requires a very high degree of skill. If after reading all the tutorials on the site about molded armor you're *STILL* unsure how to even start, please don't ask.

Some people are still are asking: what kind of clay do i use, how much clay, what kind of sculpting tools will i be needing. If you are asking these question i recommend you stop trying to make a model, if you still don't know the difference model, mold, jacket you need to do some more research. You will spend a lot of money and time on something that you will not be happy about.

6. This is going to take a lot of time
If you are looking for something that is fast and cheap....don't start. Even a pep model need time and devotion.I'm working on my ODST helmet for a month now and I'm still not happy about some little things. Ask BlueRealm how much time he spend on his helmet...

7. It's going to take a lot of space
Make sure the room that you will be using, has some good ventilation. You bedroom isn't the best place to work, needer is you kitchen table. You need space, and a place where people don't bother you all the time(like cats, so they don't lick you fiberglass). A good clean surface is always plus. Always use a respirator when you are working
just my two cents...
I'm pretty sure this threat needs a stickie. ;)
 
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blakiki

Jr Member
So how much would you expect a pep suit to cost? (cardstock, resin fiberglass, moto shield, anything else)
 

Justin2K7

New Member
I disagree about not starting out with molding. I'm not saying you won't mess up but you have to start some where. For me personally I don't find pep satisfying and I really want to learn to mold for other reasons than just the costume so I think it will be worthwhile to start with molding. There is only one real word anyone new needs to know. Research.
 

cys920622

Member
blakiki said:
So how much would you expect a pep suit to cost? (cardstock, resin fiberglass, moto shield, anything else)
up to $200
maybe even more if you go for accesories
 
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CGClone

Member
The Jutty said:
I disagree about not starting out with molding. I'm not saying you won't mess up but you have to start some where. For me personally I don't find pep satisfying and I really want to learn to mold for other reasons than just the costume so I think it will be worthwhile to start with molding. There is only one real word anyone new needs to know. Research.

If you want to learn to sculpt and mold, start out with small stuff.

If you were going to sculpt everything from scratch, then mold it, then cast it, youre going to spend over $2-3,000. Most people dont have that kind of scratch laying around. Thats if youre doing it right. There are short cuts, but you will pay the price. Start small, work your way up.
 
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roadblock83

New Member
2. You WILL screw something up.
Not a matter of if, but a matter of when. If it's pepakura then I'm sure you'll print it the wrong size at least once. Or you'll screw up the fiberglass mixture and end up with a gooey mess, or maybe you'll screw something up with your silicone and end up with a bad mold casting. The name of the game here is baby steps. Start with a hand cover or a shoulder pad. Something small. Perfect your techniques on those before moving on to something like the helmet.

If your making armor for Halloween go ahead and start with something small. But be sure to do the helmet soon to follow...No sense building all the easy stuff if you wont have a helmet done.
 
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Spurks Donut

Active Member
This thread has earned the sniper seal of approval :p



Seriously though, what he says is true. I'm making a pepakura model, and even it's difficult. DIFFICULT. Can be expensive too...


Visors for helmet: upwards of $30
Underarmor: $40 for the pants, upwards of $80+ for the top body armor
Cardstock: $6 for 150 sheets
Utensils for cutting: $10 (good scissors and pen-blade)
Fiberglass resin: $35
fiberglass cloth: $5

Those are some of the cheaper stuff, and it's already upwards of $206 just for pepakura.

The vest I'm getting is nearly $100 for the top and $50 for the pants. I'm also taking my time, and i'm REAPING with the benifits of taking my time. My armor so far looks very well done, and I can't wait to finish it... while taking my time :p




In short, it will be a long, hard, expensive process. If you think you can handle it, don't do it. Only do it if you know you can stick with it and finish it. Otherwise it's money better spent on family, computers, houses, rents, etc.

Luckily, I got money to spend :D I'm 18, in college, got a good job, and still with the parents. No bills for me.
 

zeronifty

Jr Member
excellent advice!


As for starting out with molding I cant agree with you more, if you have no experience then it is strongly suggested you start out small or with Pep. I worked in a body shop a few years back so I know the basics of using fiberglass and bondo and such and took several classes on sculpting back when I was attempting to be artistic and I still feel like I dont have the experience to do molded armor. First thing to do is research EVERYTHING any little bit of info will help you later on go down to your local high school, alot of them have pottery and sculpting classes and many of the teachers are always willing to help out people who are interested in the art many know the finer points of molding as well I know the teacher at my old high school did she was a valuable resource for me.
 

shadow74

Jr Member
If you really wanted to start with molding the armor, I would say the hand peices would obviously be the best to start with.

Just my opinion
 

tsau mia

Member
I've just started my pep project, and I'm starting with a helmet. I have a knack of doing things that people say are too hard to do.
So far, with all of my research of price options, this is what I'm looking at because I'm starting at NO supplies:

cardstock for helmet, printed and everything: less than $1 (go to a print place at a college or high school, its CHEAP!)
respirator: $20 at Fred Meyers
dremel: $60 at fred meyers
jar of fiberglass resin: $15 Ace Hardware
hardener: less than $5 Ace Hardware
fiberglass cloth: upwards of $5 depending on how much.
sander: about $40
visors to do a double visor: $60
led's: $20 @ $5 each
fans: $15 @$7.50 each
wiring and batteries and battery box: $15
which at the end of your project of doing just a helmet is over $245 dollars. Don't expect this to be cheap. You do however, get to keep the respirator forever, along with the dremel and sander, which are all good investments. Oh yeah, don't forget buying a ton of cheap paintbrushes. That'll cost you another $15- $20.

Hours: so far, 5 to find a computer, print, get cardstock, scan and reprint
6 just for cutting and pasting
and another ten or twenty just looking at all the threads on this site. It's good to do during classes that are Gen Ed.
 

Twitchfmx8811

Well-Known Member
This needs a BIG BOLD sticky in the noob section. (or even make it to were every person reads it before they can post :p jk) ( :cautious: but seriously)
 

MysticLegend

Jr Member
TwitchFMX8811 said:
This needs a BIG BOLD sticky in the noob section. (or even make it to were every person reads it before they can post :p jk) ( :cautious: but seriously)
No.....seriously, I would agree with that.
Heck, I read it, and that only took about 3-4 minutes. I think there'd be a lot of saved questions if everyone had to read something like this after/when they signed up.
 
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