Rookie planning an ODST build, NEED CRITIQUE!

FoxtrotZero

Jr Member
Hey guys. FoxtrotZero here. Long time lurker, didn't even know I had an account until I spent all day digging through threads.

If you haven't figured by the title, I'm planning on making an ODST build. I've never done anything quite like it, so I'm doing all the research I can, and I'm looking to get some feedback on my intended methodology. There's a few kinks I need to work out still, as well, so I'm hoping to have those questions answered. I have a little bit of costuming experience, which I'll elaborate on further down, but I've never attempted anything quite this ambitious.

IMPORTANT AFTERTHOUGHT: I seriously wrote a textwall. This is something I've been known to do. If you're really interested in helping me out, I'm going to sincerely ask you read through all my drivel. I've tried to make it clear and to the point. If not, I have added a TL;DR at the end of what I want to do, how I intend to do it, and the specific parts on which I KNOW I need input. If you're just passing through and don't have the dedication and/or stamina for my literary epic, please at least look at that and see if you can help.

I know it's going to be a lot of work, which is why I'm planning on this being a long-term project (like, over the next year or so). It'd be nice to have it done by next Halloween. Despite living in San Diego, I have no real presence in conventions (never even been to Comic-Con, only accompanied some friends to a small one called Anime-Conji a couple years back). Plus, I'm a freshman uni student, and that **** comes first (whether I like it or not), so time and sometimes resources will be thin at times.

So without further ado, I'd like to go through a checklist of the order and method I'd like to go through things, and have some more veteran modelers poke holes in my plan and help me patch them back up.

PRIOR EXPERIENCE

So I've got very little under my belt. What I do have was an attempt to build the NCR Veteran Ranger armour from Fallout: New Vegas. I picked this because, at the time, attempting an ODST was WAY over my head, and I already had a pretty sweet duster. Oh did I ever estimate how hard that would be. The first vest was crudely patterned and cut EVA foam (about half an inch thick) hot glued onto a sweater, and oh boy did it suck.

The Mark II was a lot better. I ripped up the old one, and got a better pattern. I put more detail into the assembly, and the final assembly was stitching with nylon thread, plus some contact cement on the seams and a black plasti-dip coating. I cut off most of the sweater and the back was nylon strapping and some cannibalized backpack straps. Unfortunately, I was still new to the concept of shaping things to the human body, so it was way too long to be wearable.

This past month, in preperation for Halloween, I ripped up everything below the breastplates and started hammering out a shortened pattern. I damn near finished it, too, but I realized the mounting truth first: The Black Armour of the rangers is not realistically designed. It's almost impossible to move in, and between my flexible substrate and no heat gun, the foam plates did not conform. No bending, no twisting, no arms-out-in-front, and if I'd ever gotten the throat guard on, I'd have been unable to sit.

As for the mask and helmet, I never did figure out how to make them. I initially concieved of pepakura modeling it, but the mask is very complicated, with every surface being small, sloped, rounded, or some combination of the three. It also came in multiple parts, it wasn't just a bucket-helmet, so there would have been some way to fasten it all together. By comparison, the ODST helmet is a cakewalk. It's got some intricate parts, but it's all one piece, and it's mostly simple convex curves.

So I scrapped it. Well, I mean, I still have it, and might finish it some day, but I've moved on. I learned a lot, and I decided that, coupled with my need for a hobby (I really enjoyed getting out there and working, and my depleting Steam library agrees), that I'm ambitious and thoughtful enough to work out an ODST BDU.

WORKSPACE


I add this section because, frankly, I don't have a workspace. It's actually what's stopping me from jumping into this prematurely. The Ranger vest was built on top of the washer and dryer in my background, which is impractical for so many reasons I could probably write a book. I'm going to get out there and help clean up my grandfather's garage, which should have some prime working places, as well as enough room to store my WIP armour pieces.

I know I'm going to need a good deal of table space (including an area I can reliably use for cutting things) with a good light source, and if I can get something that will work like a stand, it will make some of my work a lot easier. I don't have a whole lot of tools, and what I do have isn't top shelf. Off the top of my head, I'm probably going to want a new X-acto knife and a nice, dedicated metal ruler. Past that I guess it's "buy it as I need it", so if anyone has an idea for things I WILL need, I'd love to hear it. I'm willing to pay for reliable materials and tools, but I don't have a lot of money, so it's important not to go overboard.

UNDERBODY

This is definitely a suit that needs to be considered as a whole from the inside out. I'll tell you right now I'm going to go with a primarily pepakura build, with as little foam as I can manage, for reasons I'll explain later.

The base layer basically just needs to be a black suit. I figured I'd get a light, black, long-sleeve T-shirt and some rugged black slacks. I'll probably need to make some sort of neck covering, kinda like a dickie I guess, because I don't like the whole exposed-neck thing. For gloves, I'll probably look into buying a set with a nice rigid backhand/knuckle. I know the typical ODST fashion is fingerless, but that's one of the few places I'm considering deviating. I've got a real reliable set of suede Redwings that are grey and black around the bottom, but I read that Gilmortar found a nice set of ANARCHIC black boots with, like, a three-inch heel. I'm not a small guy, but if I'm going to live up to the callsign Kodiak, I'll take every inch I can get. We'll see whether or not I end up buying a pair near the endgame.

TORSO UNDERARMOUR

In my intial concepts, I didn't account for this, but the more reference material and the more builds I saw, the more I realized it's unavoidable. I'm going to need some sort of soft vest-ish underarmour, which will include the bulky sections on the back, the big padding on the shoulder straps, and the neck big collar. I'm primarily going for a Halo 3: ODST style build, but the big bulky Reach collar guard is something I want to implement, because it looks more protective and if I'm going to implement the collar I might as well go big.

I wanted to do a pep build because I want my plates to seem rigid and hard like they realistically should be. This torso thing seems more to me like a stiff, soft armour, probably made of a kevlar-type weave with some ballistic padding. As such, the EVA foam is probably the best building choice. The only problem is I absoultely HATE this ****, and I want to use as little of it as possible, but I'm even more dedicated to this coming out nicely. I know that my fear has mostly to do with the fact that I've had some bad experiences and I'm actually not that great with a dremel tool (I really don't want to try to get a lot of detail in the foam, that sounds like a bitch). A lot of people have made SPECTACULAR foam builds, and more power to them, but despite being the only material I've worked with, I'm not interested in making it my primary material.

I haven't actually seen any designs for the layout of the underarmour, and I'm really skittish about so much as the concept of trying to design it from scratch, but other than the sholder padding (which runs back to the padding over the shoulder blades) and the collar, there's not a whole lot of definition to it. If there are any patterns for it, that'd be nice to know.

I can't see it being more than two layers thick (base layer, plus another one for shoulder pads, and an addon section for the collar), and I'd like the final product to be sort of a one-piece, donned by pulling it over the head and secured with two or three nylon straps on the sides (y'know, kidney area). Ideally I'll put quick-release buckles here, so I can adjust it as I like it and then just use those to take it on/off.

While I'm on the subject, the only other place I see myself using foam as a construction material (I expect I'll be using a significant quantity for padding on the pauldrons/vambraces/greaves, but maybe not the EVA stuff) would be the inside of the thigh pieces, because I'd like a little flex there and it would look good if done right (but for that overlapping appearance I'd probably be better off using something thin, any recommendations?).

HELMET AND RIGID PLATES

Now we're getting to the meat and potatoes of the build. I'm going for a standard issue ODST (but with a bent towards combat engineering and/or heavy weaponry, so I'll just be strapping a lot of pouches and gear on), so nothing special like RECON or sniper pieces.

The first thing I'd like to discuss is the actual manufacturing process, which I understand, but there seems to be a few overlapping method. As far as I can tell, for best results, the procedure is 1) make a pepakura model, 2) resin coat the outside with a brush, 3) apply fiberglass matting and resin to the inside of the structure, 4) apply bondo and sand down rounded/curved areas, 5) repeat step 4 until satisfied, 6) no seriously step 4 is like 75% of this build, 7) prime and paint. If I have anything out of order, it would be good of someone to point it out to me.

The next thing I'd like to discuss is how I'm going to secure the whole thing to my personage. I refuse to permanently mount anything to the bodysuit or soft armour sectinos. I saw a really good post on how to make a rig for MJOLNIR armour sets, and I'd like to follow in that sort of theme. I know it's best to suspend weight from your hips, instead of your shoulders, and people keep telling me this **** gets heavy (though that must be in all the resin and bondo, because I have some fiberglass matting and cardstock and neither is heavy). I'm considering looking into some military surplus stuff, particularly gear suspenders and/or webbing (I'm trying to actually *make* as much as I can, so I'm not going to get a military tactical vest or anything), but I'd need to know if I could make it work with my plans for the soft torso armour.

I'd like the whole thing to be on an adjustable harness, with everything attached two- or three-point by quick release clips, and the reasons are twofold. The first is that I'm not so hyped up and deluded as to think that I'll get everything right the first time. I might **** something up grossly, or I might later decide a particular part isn't high enough quality and want to re-do it. This allows me the ability to remove and replace parts. It should also make donning, doffing, and storing the armour a lot easier. The second reason is that I'm a bit of a pudgy guy, and I'm going to make an effort soon to start to shed some of that pudge. If I lose too much weight, some of my parts (most likely the thighs) might need actual reconstruction, but for smaller shifts, changing the fit of the harness should be enough.

I have a few concepts for *how* this harness should work, but I don't know if they'll play nice with the soft vest, if they'll at all accomplish the stated goal of hanging weight from my hips, or if it will accompadate a method of keeping the pauldrons (and thus vambraces) in place. As such, I'm currently going to refrain from elaborating on my concepts and instead welcome any advice.

As for the exact parts I use, I've seen a few names thrown around. Kirrou's seem to be a favourite, and I see why, but I've only seen one actual thread of the parts, and that was only a certain subset. I haven't yet dug into the database to see what's available, but if anyone wants to tell me what the best parts are and why, I'd like to know.

I intended to start out with a part with the intention that it's a proof of concept, and probably not going to be good enough to be the final product. I was going to make this the chestplate, because it's not extremely complex but it involves the whole process and it's also a good testbed for painting and weathering (as a LOT of decal and a LOT of people's attention go there). After looking through Kirrou's parts a bit, though, I think I might instead use the low-definition helmet. This will be a good introduction to pepakura modeling. It'll also be good practice for scaling, as well as getting one of the most difficult parts right (you can **** up the shins a little bit and not notice, but the helmet also gets a lot of attention). Being the low-poly one also has the double-edged feature of guaranteeing I can't use it in my final build.

Speaking of the helmet, one last thing I want to cover. Faceplate? I want a faceplate with black tint, and I've yet to set my heart on that silver reflective effect (but that might be important, as I want to guarantee I'm not readily visible through the visor). This seems to me like one of the harder and more intricate pieces, and if I were to hand-make it, it would probably be made of flat sections, which doesn't exactly jive with the way it should fit into the helmet. I know there are vaccum-formed ones available, and if the price is reasonable and the quality is good enough, I'm willing to order one.

PAINT, WEATHERING, AND DECALS


This is actually something I've spent some time poring over, and I don't know why. Perfectionism, I guess. As far as I can tell, there are a handful of standard decals. The bottom of the chestplate typically has UNSC painted on in white. The left side of the chestplate has the UNSC globe-and-eagle. Near there, small rotated text reads MK117, because Bungie has to have it's references. The top part of the chestplate typically has the ODST's callsign (e.g. Dutch or Buck, in my case Kodiak - and yes, there's a backstory to it, but the name came first). The left shoulder has a UNSC MED REF patch, which I've seen a few variants on, but as far as I can tell it's literally the words "UNSC MED REF" with the bloodtype (O+ for me), the Optican logo, and a random barcode (can someone say attention to detail? I rather enjoy stenciling, and recently realized I could probably make them a lot neater with some clever cutting of adhesive stencils made of masking tape).

Other than that, people seem to like their chest logos. I threw a custom one together real quick and you can see it as my profile image. It still needs some adjustments, and I'm not completely in love with it (my historical Multiplayer emblem is the sprocket and the phoenix, which I don't think fits here). Mostly I'm not convinced it has enough skulls to be a proper ODST motif. I'm also completely unsure what goes on the right shoulder - officially nothing, but I'm not happy with that. I'm thinking it should probably be a rank and/or a unit (Neither of which am I settled on, but it would probably be a non-com and the 7th Shock Troops Battalion, which served through most of the really cool campaigns like Delta Halo and Installation 00).

I've decided not to attempt the urban camo look, so it'll mostly be matte black. Strong colour is not something I want a lot of, but any colour accents I add (and I think I want some, I just haven't decided where) are probably going to be a dark, flat, cobalt blue (again, reference my avatar). The best paintjob I've seen yet is by a guy who calls himself Breaker. I think he's on the 405th but I don't know his username. If he's shown me anything, it's the importance of good weathering. I understand bare-metal weathering decently (couple layers of gunmetal, disrupt corners, edges, and raised areas with mustard (or hopefully some alternative with less culinary value), couple layers of matte black, remove disrupted areas, clear coat). Like I said, I'm not expecting much in the way of bright colours, so I don't place much weight on the sort of wear-and-tear dark splotches that would show there, but it would be good to learn how to do.

If there are other good opportunities for decals, or some standard-issue ones I've missed, I'd like to know.

ACCESSORIES

This is obviously the kind of stuff that comes last, but I've learned that detais like this are critical to a badass final product, and envisioning that final product is critical to maintaing your motivation. I've got a few concepts for things I'd like to do. The most important one is equipment pouches, probably on the left hip and maybe the right boot. I'm not sure where to buy these, but I'm sure some research will yield the answers. Might want more, but I can't think of where or why just yet.

Next up are attachments like a knife (I could probably pep a decent looking one and paint it gunmetal, I saw a guy do that once, or I could look into buying an actual knife with one of those nice attachable sheathes). I'd place this on the left-side shoulder pad (IIRC, pretty much the mirror opposite of Buck). I also concieved of making a shotgun bandolier (wherein I'd take actual shotgun shells, hollow them out, refill them with the shot and some plaster (but no poweder), and repaint them bright red with the Misriah Armory logo and some flavor text like "12GA TUNGSTEN SLUG"), but I don't know which arm this would go on or even where I'd mount it what with those big vent things on the vambraces.

Grenades! I saw a guy (username escapes me ATM) make some yellow ones into flashbangs using LED light strips. I'd probably make something similar, but just paint them red and mark them as incendiaries, with no real functionality. I could make standard HE/DP frag grenades, but meh, we'll see. The incendiaries have the nice advantage of really just being tubes.

You might notice I'm putting these in the order of importance, the order in which I'd complete them, and the order of percieved complexity. If I've gotten this far, I consider the build beyond complete. Next up is makign an ODST-variant M6 pistol, which I would have to consider a completely seperate proejct. I'd put it on a drop holster on the right thigh. If I complete that, a more substantial weapon is called for, but I don't know what.

FINALE

So there you have it. My entire concept from background to future projects. I'm sorry it's so damned long (over 18k characters!), and if you've actually read it, you're a damned hero. I'm looking for literally as much criticism as I can get, because I insist on going into this well-equipped.

As promised, here is my TL;DR - First time building anything like an ODST BDU, and I want to use rigid (read: pepakura) plates on a nylon strapping harness and a seperate soft (read: EVA foam) torso vest, despite hating working with foam. I need to know what the best pepakure parts to use are, and if there are some patterns or references for that vest. I need to know how to go about making a good visor, or if it's worthwhile to buy a vaccum formed one. I need as much knowledge as I can get on making a harness (up to, but not necessarily including, buying surplus military suspenders/webbing). Also need to know how to get some good gear pouches.

Thanks for entertaining a rookie to the 405th. Here's hoping I can get some good responses, and actually get this done!
 
hej saw your post on reddit,

the wall o text is probabbly the thing holding people back also its been up for less then a day.
We like pictures so post those of your fallout stuff and your work area etc.
so what questions do you want awnsered..

i build my own vacuformer yesterday super easy!
I bought my first visor but from now on ill be making my own.
 

FoxtrotZero

Jr Member
Heh, you're right. I wrote this last night while I was pretty tired, maybe I'll try writing a much, much shorter one. And I guess I thought these forums were more active.

I guess my first question is about the soft underarmour for the ODST BDU. Is EVA foam good stuff to use for this? Are there any sort of templates around for it, or am I just going to have to freehand it?
 
not sure if there are any odst soft under armor templates around, for the odst i usually stick with army clothing, that blends in really well.
you could use a soft underarmor template from a spartan as your base and change/expand from there on out.
 

m00sem4n

Member
Hullo, saw your post but didn't think I'd have much to contribute in the way of pepping and traditional resin armor with the number of much more skilled users on here that prefer it. Although, I am familiar with the process and you seem to have it worked out very thoroughly. You're definitely right about the bondo process, be prepared for that to take longer than expected and going slow with thinner layers will yield much better results. Especially since you sound confident in you painting capabilities so you'd really benefit from a clean canvas, so to speak.

I really just came here to chime in about the EVA though. I am biased, haha, but i do believe that its the way to go for the ODST vest in particular. Its so easy to mount too and if you spend the time shaping it, it will hug your form providing comfort and stability. You'll want it to be as close to one piece of foam as you can get. I think you glanced at my post (can't remember) and my vest is one heavily darted cut out. If you are hesitant with regard to templating that piece I suggest wrapping yourself loosely on plastic wrap and packing tape to catch your shape, then you cut it away and keep making cuts until it lays flat. Then boom, its you in 2-D.

Hope this helps, and I'll be interesting in what you come up with regardless!
 

C8lyn

Jr Member
As you've already seen my thread, you know that I'm using the pepakura/resin method.

I'll have a proper read through this later, because like you, I am studying at the moment and I should really be doing that instead of being on here (whoops!)
I started my build in March, intending to have it done by Halloween this year, but due to a combination of being a perfectionist, learning more on the way and a lack of funds, my progress has slowed quite a bit and I am now looking to have it done by the early months of next year. Plus I just got a job which will help with funds but cut into building time. You can't have everything I guess!
Aiming for Halloween next year is a good target, especially if you want to be producing good quality work on a first-time build like myself. You will make mistakes (I printed, cut, folded and started glueing a shin only to realize it was the same side at the other one..*facepalm*) but just think of them as good practice. Don't try to rush, you're likely to just take your progress backwards by destroying a piece. If you are unsure, ask questions! There are plenty of experienced builders on here who can help you out, as I have found.
 

RobTC

Member
I think part of the issue is that you're trying to look at the whole process at once. That's not really a question so much as the collective experience of the entire 405th. It's too much to deal with at one time and it'll be paralysing.

Like C8lyn says, break it down and take it super slow and ask questions along the way. Those will be very specific and have more specific responses.

If I were starting an ODST build right now, I'd use whatever templates m00sem4n is using (I don't know if he explicitly states that in his thread though) because his build looks awesome, and add in whatever tiny detail he or the original template-maker may have missed. If you're going for perfectionism, it's in the slow and tedious detailing later on.

Final thought for now: you will make mistakes. They may be irritating process mistakes requiring a template reprint or hunting down cyano solvent, or huge I-can't-believe-I-didn't-see-that-that's-three-weeks-and-a-hundred-dollars-wasted mistakes. Accept that ASAP and get going, rather than being frozen by "pre-prep perfectionism" (a condition I know all too well). Taking it slow and asking questions with pictures should steer you far closer to the former than the latter.

Final final thought: instead of Dremeling details into the foam (is anyone really good at that?), slice them with thin craft foam or gouge out a large hole and fill it with pepped detail pieces. You get the ease of EVA macro details, with the precision of resin on the small parts.
 

FoxtrotZero

Jr Member
Hullo, saw your post but didn't think I'd have much to contribute in the way of pepping and traditional resin armor with the number of much more skilled users on here that prefer it. Although, I am familiar with the process and you seem to have it worked out very thoroughly. You're definitely right about the bondo process, be prepared for that to take longer than expected and going slow with thinner layers will yield much better results. Especially since you sound confident in you painting capabilities so you'd really benefit from a clean canvas, so to speak.

I really just came here to chime in about the EVA though. I am biased, haha, but i do believe that its the way to go for the ODST vest in particular. Its so easy to mount too and if you spend the time shaping it, it will hug your form providing comfort and stability. You'll want it to be as close to one piece of foam as you can get. I think you glanced at my post (can't remember) and my vest is one heavily darted cut out. If you are hesitant with regard to templating that piece I suggest wrapping yourself loosely on plastic wrap and packing tape to catch your shape, then you cut it away and keep making cuts until it lays flat. Then boom, its you in 2-D.

Hope this helps, and I'll be interesting in what you come up with regardless!

Yeah, the bondo process is going to take forever, this I know. I'm wondering if you, or anyone else, has any input on whether it's better to fiberglass the inside of the parts, or use rondo? I figure they're both pretty strong, I'm primarily concerned about what's heavier and what's cheaper (I already have some fiberglass matting laying around, but people tell me cloth works better than matting).

As for the EVA, it seems like it would be ideal to have the vest out of foam for comfort and mobility. I'm not worried about this, despite my previous project, because it's mostly one-piece (plus the shoulder straps and whatever I have to do for the collar) and it's literally just a torso piece, I don't have to worry about things like freedom of movement, really. That having been said, for movement, it's rather important that this have some flex and/or a little ability for me to move inside of it, and I'm wondering if I'll be able to do that (as well as be able to bend the parts into shape) using the half-inch EVA foam I have. Is that what you'd use for this, or something else? I'm particularly confused by the fact that the reach models make it look like a semirigid/metallic surface (with the way the paint chips away to a metallic finish), but everything else suggests it's a soft suit.

Chances are, if you're doing a quality build, I've looked at it. Bet it's coming along great. I'll consider that 2D thing. Thanks!

As you've already seen my thread, you know that I'm using the pepakura/resin method.

I'll have a proper read through this later, because like you, I am studying at the moment and I should really be doing that instead of being on here (whoops!)
I started my build in March, intending to have it done by Halloween this year, but due to a combination of being a perfectionist, learning more on the way and a lack of funds, my progress has slowed quite a bit and I am now looking to have it done by the early months of next year. Plus I just got a job which will help with funds but cut into building time. You can't have everything I guess!
Aiming for Halloween next year is a good target, especially if you want to be producing good quality work on a first-time build like myself. You will make mistakes (I printed, cut, folded and started glueing a shin only to realize it was the same side at the other one..*facepalm*) but just think of them as good practice. Don't try to rush, you're likely to just take your progress backwards by destroying a piece. If you are unsure, ask questions! There are plenty of experienced builders on here who can help you out, as I have found.

Honestly, at this point I can't not read everything you type in a glorious aussie accent. But yeah, I get that whole "should be studying" thing.

A big part of the way I intend to keep my sanity through this build is by not holding myself to deadlines. I might say "yeah, I'd like to be able to finish this part today, or this weekend", but that's just stated goals that don't have consequences when I break them. I don't want to hold myself to a Halloween date, or a convention date. Nonetheless, I've seen people with dedication (and more experience) knock these out in a couple months, so if I keep at this (and I'm planning on making it my hobby, so I should be out there pretty often), a year should be a pretty reasonable goal.

And mistakes... happen. I know that. I might not have as easy of a time dealing with it when they happen. But I keep thinking about that final product and I think I'll pull through. And yeah, I'm leaning heavily on the knowledge around here.

I think part of the issue is that you're trying to look at the whole process at once. That's not really a question so much as the collective experience of the entire 405th. It's too much to deal with at one time and it'll be paralysing.

Like C8lyn says, break it down and take it super slow and ask questions along the way. Those will be very specific and have more specific responses.

If I were starting an ODST build right now, I'd use whatever templates m00sem4n is using (I don't know if he explicitly states that in his thread though) because his build looks awesome, and add in whatever tiny detail he or the original template-maker may have missed. If you're going for perfectionism, it's in the slow and tedious detailing later on.

Final thought for now: you will make mistakes. They may be irritating process mistakes requiring a template reprint or hunting down cyano solvent, or huge I-can't-believe-I-didn't-see-that-that's-three-weeks-and-a-hundred-dollars-wasted mistakes. Accept that ASAP and get going, rather than being frozen by "pre-prep perfectionism" (a condition I know all too well). Taking it slow and asking questions with pictures should steer you far closer to the former than the latter.

Final final thought: instead of Dremeling details into the foam (is anyone really good at that?), slice them with thin craft foam or gouge out a large hole and fill it with pepped detail pieces. You get the ease of EVA macro details, with the precision of resin on the small parts.

Yeah, you're right, I realize know that I am. You can't fault me for wanting to have everything down before I start, but you can certainly fault me for asking in the wrong format. And I'm entirely certain that I'll have more specific questions later. I was going to delete this thread and make a new (much more succint) one, but I'm starting to get some responses, so maybe I won't bother. It's really some people's attention I need, so I can ask questions, more than to have them dissect that monstrous OP.

I've gone through the 405th database and grabbed basically everything on ODSTs, I'm going to go through the parts and see what I'm going to keep (e.g., no sniper gear) and what I'm going to use (most of them don't vary much, I think, but the helmets have some significant variance), based on their look and their percieved ease of building. To be honest, though, it's the tediousness of the bondoing that scares me right now, because all the detailing later sounds like the stuff I can't wait to jump into. We'll see if my tune changes when the time comes.

As I said, I've learned mistakes are a part of this hobby, and as I make my way down this road, I know I'll have to learn how to deal with them, too. I like to think I'm pretty driven towards the end goal, so I hope that will help. I'll keep your advice in mind, but I don't think I'll have to do much detailing with EVA foam, since I really only intend to use it for the torso underarmour.



AND SERIOUSLY, THANK ALL OF YOU FOR NOT IMMEDIATELY BLOIWING ME OFF BECAUSE I DECIDED TO WRITE AN 18,000 CHARACTER RANT AT 12:30 IN THE MORNING
I put a TL;DR at the end, which gets straight to the heart of some of my questions, which I will copy (and modify) here:

First time building anything like an ODST BDU, and I want to use rigid (read: pepakura) plates on a nylon strapping harness and a seperate soft (read: EVA foam) torso vest, despite hating working with foam. I need to know if there are some patterns or references for that vest, especially the Halo: Reach one. I need to know how to go about making a good visor, or if it's worthwhile to buy a vaccum formed one. I need as much knowledge as I can get on making a harness (up to, but not necessarily including, buying surplus military suspenders/webbing). Also need to know how to get some good gear pouches. I'd like to know if it's better to use fiberglass or rondo on the inside of my parts (or maybe just the pros and cons).
 

RobTC

Member
Sounds like you've mentally progressed since the initial writing, so that's cool. I've definitely tried to get everything down before I start before, for sure, but mostly I've found what happens then is that you don't start because you can't get everything in place, or burn out a short way in because you've been obsessing without progress for so long.

I'm going to be using Bondo for the first time over the next few weeks. I hope it's as easy as everyone says it is. Of course, I'm using it as localised fill and sculpting on a weapon, rather than giving depth to large scale pep armour pieces, but it seems pretty straightforward from what I've seen. I've done a lot of MDF sanding recently, I don't think Bondo is going to be any more tedious to work with!

I had a final final final thought, btw. For a fairly succinct look at producing body templates and basic EVA skills, Evil Ted Smith is worth the watch if you haven't already. The helmet and the corselet series are very good: https://www.youtube.com/user/evilted40/videos

Helmet-wise, it might be a good idea to buy this first one. If you catch the bug, maybe invest the time and effort in a vacuformer.
 

FoxtrotZero

Jr Member
When you say helmet, I assume you mean visor. Which yeah, I think it might be worth just to buy, because if I try to make it myself, it'll be a plate cut into a bunch of flat sides. Which might or might not work, may or may not look like ****, and definitely won't mesh very well with the helmet itself (I'd have to fill in the empty space with putty or something). I don't think I'll invest in any sort of vacuum forming equipment or anything, as once I finish the ODST thing, I only expect to either make accessories, or remake any ****ty parts. I don't think I'm interested in doing a full MJOLNIR getup, and I don't know what I'd do with multiple ODST BDUs (probably wonder where I'll find the space for them). Which means I wouldn't be doing much costume work until another game worth my obsession comes along (and Destiny sure didn't take up that mantle).

I'll definitely give some of the videos a thorough look before I start the relevant stages. I look forward to seeing how your bondo work comes, assuming you decide to share. I'm still trying to determine if it's better to strengthen with fiberglass or rondo, so tell me how it goes with whatever you intend to use.

And yeah, I realize I've really been spinning my wheels for the past few days, which isn't good. I'm trying to get going in a measured way, and if things go to plan, I'll start cleaning out the garage today to have a workspace (keep in mind it's not my stuff in there, which is why I can't just get up and do it whenever).
 

m00sem4n

Member
These guys have given you some great input, I agree with them wholeheartedly. I think you're lucky to have caught c8lyn's attention, very proficient worker right there. She probably has more to offer on this topic, but as far as I can tell cloth is the way to go (cleaner/stronger/thinner) and rondo seems to produce a heavier build. I think its appeal comes from being able to pour and rotate in order the coat the inside of harder the reach pieces. That's the only time I'd choose it.

Edit: forgot to mention, on the topic of visors, I'll be trying something new in my thread that I'm hoping is cost effective and widely applicable, so when the time comes I'll give you a shout if it plays out well :thumbsup
 

RobTC

Member
Yeah, "one" = visor. Unless you sort of thermoform the plates a bit rounder and somehow weld them together, but I think that would still look pretty bad. Cosplay4UsAll did a visor tinting tut which gave much better results than I was expecting, so you could even get a clear styrene/polycarb/acrylic/whatever can be dyed one of the right shape and size and darken it yourself. Gives you some options when hunting, maybe.

EDIT:
It's just a piece of petg .020 plastic I got off of eBay. I used the same visor template from the helmet pep file and traced out the general shape. From there, I trimmed and bent it into the shape that you see. I practice first with card stock to ensure a proper fit
Intriguing, maybe try that? If it can be bent by hand, maybe formed over a kitchen bowl of some kind...

Ha, currently the only game IPs I'm interested in working from are Halo, Half-Life, Portal, Bioshock and Splinter Cell. I fell off the gamer wagon and I'm not really feeling any inclination to jump back on except for when the occasional Steam sale coincides with my (short) wishlist of old stuff I never got to play, so my inspirations there are limited.

Maybe try and focus on something else non-ODST-related for a day or two (easier said than done once your teeth are in, I know) while until you have some clean space to work in, and then you can attack it with renewed vigour- and probably have some specific questions to get you off to a good start!
 

FoxtrotZero

Jr Member
These guys have given you some great input, I agree with them wholeheartedly. I think you're lucky to have caught c8lyn's attention, very proficient worker right there. She probably has more to offer on this topic, but as far as I can tell cloth is the way to go (cleaner/stronger/thinner) and rondo seems to produce a heavier build. I think its appeal comes from being able to pour and rotate in order the coat the inside of harder the reach pieces. That's the only time I'd choose it.

Edit: forgot to mention, on the topic of visors, I'll be trying something new in my thread that I'm hoping is cost effective and widely applicable, so when the time comes I'll give you a shout if it plays out well :thumbsup

They sure have, and I'm extremely grateful for all the help I can get. I like to imagine trailing my signature in big text through the threads of everyone I look up to is helping me out some. I heard cloth is better than matting (matting is what I have on hand, though, and it doesn't seem particularly heavy, so I don't think I'll shirk away from using it). I've never messed with either, and while fiberglass sounds kinda messy itself, I was at first extremely displeased by the concept of using rondo, since it seems like such a liquidy thing. I can see it's use, though. I'll probably stick to the fiberglass matting I have on hand until that runs out (if it runs out, I'm assuming I'm only doing one layer on the back of every piece, unless someone thinks I need more, and I have a pretty solid amount), at which point I'll buy some cloth.

My main concern, I guess, is getting to reach any given point on the inside of an armour piece. I'm a pretty big guy, though, so the only place this seriously concerns me is the forearms, and maybe the helmet and shinguards. If it all seems like too much, I'll consider switching to rondo for them (though if it's heavier, using rondo on the forearms might not be a spectacular idea).

And I appreciate you keeping me posted, it'll be a little while before I start installing any visors - if I was to buy one, I still don't know where I'd get one. Probably have to check out the marketplace.

Yeah, "one" = visor. Unless you sort of thermoform the plates a bit rounder and somehow weld them together, but I think that would still look pretty bad. Cosplay4UsAll did a visor tinting tut which gave much better results than I was expecting, so you could even get a clear styrene/polycarb/acrylic/whatever can be dyed one of the right shape and size and darken it yourself. Gives you some options when hunting, maybe.

EDIT: Intriguing, maybe try that? If it can be bent by hand, maybe formed over a kitchen bowl of some kind...

Ha, currently the only game IPs I'm interested in working from are Halo, Half-Life, Portal, Bioshock and Splinter Cell. I fell off the gamer wagon and I'm not really feeling any inclination to jump back on except for when the occasional Steam sale coincides with my (short) wishlist of old stuff I never got to play, so my inspirations there are limited.

Maybe try and focus on something else non-ODST-related for a day or two (easier said than done once your teeth are in, I know) while until you have some clean space to work in, and then you can attack it with renewed vigour- and probably have some specific questions to get you off to a good start!

Yeah, I don't have any heat forming tools, and since I'm mostly working with pep/bondo, I don't feel a huge need to buy them, unless they become necessary for what EVA foam I'm using. Welding them is pretty much what I was talking about though, and you're right, there's just no way it's going to look particularly clean. As for taking clear plastic, I know there are a few methods out there for tinting them, I'm sure I can find an applicable one if I need it.

As for bending anything by hand, it's possible, but I'm skeptical. Part of the reason I'm going for a pep build is it allows me templates that I can follow closely, and I like this because my forte is more in "attention to detail" than "freehanding". Two very different methods of making things look good.

To be honest, I'd be really into a good Combine cosplay. Back when I was scrounging for relatively-cheap cosplay options, a CP was a pretty high choice on my list (but would have taken a lot of hand stitching). Maybe some day in the future I'll try my hand at an Overwatch Soldier or Nova Prospekt Guard (but those would mostly be EVA builds, I think. Blegh). Anyway, I hear you about limited inspirations. I'm a pretty big Mass Effect fan, but as of yet there's very little there that I think is worth trying to model for myself. There hasn't been a good IP in a while that I'm interested in. I don't really follow the new Halos (I got out of console gaming, and I'm not a huge fan of the story direction, but we'll see what happens) and Destiny was a complete failure in my eyes.

And I'm supposed to be focusing on my damned work, but that's proving pretty hard as of late. I did get into the garage and cleaned out a decent working area today - was easier than we expected it would be. As soon as I have some spare time, I'll probably get out there and start working (theoretically I have most of Thursday - all of it if I haven't got a calc quiz - but theoretically I should spend most of Thursday on engineering homework, so we'll see what time is left after I do that).
 

surfahbum808

Member
You really have everything planned out from the get go and that's awesome! As for the fiberglass matt versus the cloth, the cloth is definitely cleaner and easier to work with. The matt can get a little "clumpy" at times when you don't spread it out evenly. I like to use cloth simply because I can cut pieces to shape and stick them where they need to be without hassling with a piece of fiberglass. As for rondo, it has it's pros and it's cons. For one like mentioned above it's easier to coat hard to reach places that you would normally get frustrated with using fiberglass. It's also a big time saver, the amount of time you save using rondo is definitely worth it. But on the other side of the spectrum, rondo does make your pieces heavier and in some cases can pool up if you use too much and leave the piece before it "goes off". This can cause the piece to feel off balance (it happened to me on my Noble 6 build...I had to carve out rondo for days before it fit right and felt balanced) and sometimes warp.

Might I suggest maybe a hybrid of the two? On my helmets, I like to lay down a quick layer of fiberglass, let that cure then slush a little thin coat of rondo in it to seal off the fiberglass. I found that it helps cut down on the "itchy-ness" from fiberglass sluffing off during usual wear and tear. It may be a little heavier, but nothing beats being able to take off your costume without having to scratch everywhere.

As for work with foam, you should have some sort of heat gun so that you can shape the foam to your liking. I suppose a hair dryer can work as well, but would probably take a little longer to get the foam hot enough to bend to the desired shape.

Looks like you're on your way to greatness! I can't wait to see how this build turns out!
 

m00sem4n

Member
Did I see a post about you having started pepping test fits or shins somewhere? If I'm recalling correctly you had outlined a process to subdivide complicated builds into manageable chunks..? I could be way off base, I'm running on very few zzzz, but I'd love to see more on how you went about that if it was you!

Edit: lmao its your Sig.. Still though, I'm interested
 

FoxtrotZero

Jr Member
No, that was indeed me. I put together the tester helmet for sizing purposes (and because I didn't use the standard method, it was significantly too small). It also came out a little bit warped, and that might partially be because I haven't bothered to put the actual visor part in (I'll do that eventually, as I intend to use it as a practice dummy for construction and painting techniques). I learned a lot doing that.

Since then I picked up a new set of razors (I'm using sort of a box cutting razor, as opposed to a proper Xacto knife, because I had a nice craftsman one on hand), made by Milwaukee, with some sort of "twice as sharp for three times longer" Iron Carbide blade. It goes through cardstock like butter, and I had to keep the old blade around for scoring (because it's fairly dull). I also switched from hot glue (which was messy and crappy) to using regular craft glue applied with cotton swabs (I can't remember who suggested that, but once you have the technique down, it works pretty well. It takes a little longer to dry, so I often have to hold pieces in place for a while and apply pressure until they stay, and then I'll do some work on another piece or two while that joint dries. It's harder, but the result is a lot cleaner).

I then scaled and printed the shin/calf piece, and am now maybe a third through the pepping process. I went through and broke it into several aprts, in this particular case nine, that are broken into a logical piecewise construction. I did so by selecting and edge-colouring the different groups, and then writing the different colours onto the (already printed) pieces. For the second one I'll probably rearrange the pieces so as to have fewer pages with holes cut out of them.

Here are the coloured patterns. The colors are Red, Dark Blue, Light Blue, Dark Green, Light Green, Turquoise, Pink, Violet, and Orange.
TdGSqRm.png


Just this afternoon I wisened up and printed this out to post in my work area, to help me get everything right. It gives a rough idea of what sections are which, but it's not useful to someone who isn't intimately faimilar with where the groups start and end (not to say it can't be figured out). I ****ed up in making this, because O and DG should be switched
phT0A0N.png


So far so good. I've got the R, DB, V, and almost O groups finished. It's looking like it shouldn't be too hard to assemble once I have them all done. I'm taking progress pics, and when I finish the shin (and thus have something to show) I'll consider starting a WIP thread.
 

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m00sem4n

Member
I also switched from hot glue (which was messy and crappy) to using regular craft glue applied with cotton swabs (I can't remember who suggested that, but once you have the technique down, it works pretty well.
That was me! Haha awesome

That first pic explains, I didn't think to color coordinate edges. Very useful for those complex builds where pieces are meant to be separate components in reality anyway.

I'll keep an eye out for that wip :thumbsup
 

FoxtrotZero

Jr Member
That was me! Haha awesome

That first pic explains, I didn't think to color coordinate edges. Very useful for those complex builds where pieces are meant to be separate components in reality anyway.

I'll keep an eye out for that wip :thumbsup

Heh, I thought it was you, but wasn't sure. You've been one of the biggest helps thusfar.

I had to manually initialize the colour coding because my printer only does black and white (on the upside, toner is cheaper than ink). Hence why on the second piece I'll rearrange the parts for simplicity. If your color does print paper, though, I suppose it would be an option, though the light colours might not show up quite as well.

I have the front sections done, and the height looks about right for my shin, but I'm a little bit on the pudgy side (and I have big feet), so I don't know if they'll just slip on. If that's the case, I'll probably cut the model in half (after resining) and then find a way to reassemble for wearing.
 

FlusherCape26

Member
Word of advice do not pep the armor it is HELL!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! Peping the helmet works but the armor is not worth the time. Just make it with foam dude trust me I've been making an ODST suit for over a year now just use foam
 

m00sem4n

Member
Lol, well that's not what you wanna hear at the onset of a project. Let me just hop on the other shoulder for symmetry's sake.
Do it, pep the whole thing, pep it goood
 
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