The Return of Hobbitdude; or, yet another Sean Bradley ODST Build

Hey all!
I'm back after about 3 years, last time I posted I was working on a Halo 4 MJOLNIR build done entirely via 3d printing. I'm still chugging away at it, but in the meantime I wanted to do an ODST armor build. I considered my options, and decided the Sean Bradley kit was the most cost effective and fastest method. I no longer have a garage to work in (in fact I've moved clear across the country) so I'm using a local makerspace in my city to do the work. I decided to print the helmet on my own so I can customize the sizing and feature more easily.

Here's the model I'm using:

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Laying out all the pieces:

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Sean recommends using 80-grit sandpaper to roughen the interior surfaces so the fiberglass can adhere, but the guy who runs the space had an idea:
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Using a wire cup brush on the drill press, I cut the roughening time down to like 20 minutes versus the hours and hours it would've taken by hand.

After a day spent trimming all the pieces with a Dremel, I moved on to fiberglassing:

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Next week, I'll be able to start assembly and fitting. Potentially getting ready to prime as well, but I don't want to get ahead of myself. I'm going to also make a bold move and attempt to mold/cast the buckle details Sean provided in aluminium, add a little bit of authenticity to the detailing.
 
Day 4!

I spent most of today riveting. I have assembled as much as I dare, and will save the rest of the assembly for after priming and painting. I'll have to be really careful not to scratch the paint job, but if I take my time it shouldn't be that bad.

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I ran out of rivets TWICE yesterday, so I decided to buy 150 at a go. I'm not screwing around!
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The belt pieces are seen here. I only fiberglassed the butt plate, since that's where I'll be putting weight on if I sit in a chair or whatever.

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These are the buckles in their mold. Next week between primer coats, I plan to remove these and cast the wax versions, clean those up and get them ready for casting in aluminum.
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The completed forearms.
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For the forearms, I ran into a bit of an issue where the hand hole is too small for my hand. So what I chose to do was rivet one side permanently, and have the other able to "hinge" open. I riveted 1 side here, and have done a bolt and nut combo on the bottom so I can undo and securely redo the closure.
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You can see here, I use epoxy to secure the nut to the reinforcing scrap piece. I bolted it shut before it fully cured, so it'll fix in place.
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Completed chest pieces. I didn't fiberglass the accessory "pouches" since I didn't deem them really structural in any way.
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I plan to mask off the strapping here, but the (almost complete) back and back neck piece.
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I've added the waist side plates, and did a quick test fit of the neck with velcro and 1-inch webbing. The velcro adhesive wasn't worth a damn, so I'll have to epoxy or sew the velcro to the webbing.

Until next week, when I should be priming and painting!
 
Day 5!

I spent most of today priming, and assembling the helmet.
I'd initially assembled the helmet with super glue, but I had an incident last night where I knocked it off of my desk and it broke all of the super glue bonds.
Sooooo...I went with hot glue to redo it, and it worked a treat. It is a strong but flexible bond.
I'm probably going to use it from now on for 3d printed objects.
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Before the first of 3 prime coats.
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Initial primer coat. I sanded out the major flaws after this and put on 2 more coats.
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Finally, a look at the helmet. I have fiberglassed it, but have a lot of bondo-ing and sanding to do before it can look as good as the rest of the armor.
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The first wax castings for the buckles. I have to do this a few times more before I can be ready to put these in investment, bake out the wax, and cast in aluminum.
Until next time!
 
Day 6.

Today mostly consisted of color coating.
I also began Bondo work on the helmet, it's going to take many cycles of filling/sanding to get just right.

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The gray buckle detail is the version Sean sent me cast in Smoothcast 300, the white is the wax casting I made. This came out just fine, mostly because it is one solid square-ish block as opposed to the buckle below.

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Unfortunately, this buckle suffered setbacks. The long thin portions cracked to pieces when I tried to get them out of the mold, and even when we tried with nigh-machining wax, it still broke. I may have to simply paint the plastic buckles silver and be happy with that. At least the calf buckles will be in aluminum.

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Sean recommends a "gunmetal gray" base coat, but the color I chose from Lowes has this nice hint of bronze to it that I dig. I'll spend this week considering what color accents to mask and paint on. I'm thinking a dark blue on the shoulders, chest plate, and thighs, but what pattern I have yet to determine.
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DefineLuck

Member
Looks like a solid kit. And you’ve made some great progress so far. I’m biased to blue so I think that’s a good choice for a secondary color
 

TurboCharizard

RMO & BCO
405th Regiment Officer
Community Staff
Word of warning for you, that hot glue is going to become one hell of a pain when it comes to sanding and surface finishing. If you're using power sanders of any sort it'll heat the glue and best case scenario melt it and mess up your sanding pads, worst case scenario of weakening the bonds and splitting a seam or deforming it.

CA glue and other superglues work best on flush joints that have roughed up mating surfaces, if you have a bit of a gap it's best to use a two part epoxy or similar adhesive that is strong and has volume to it. A good example is LePage 5 Minute Epoxy (readily available in most hardware stores) and has a bond strength that'll outlast the helmet base material in most cases.
 
Word of warning for you, that hot glue is going to become one hell of a pain when it comes to sanding and surface finishing. If you're using power sanders of any sort it'll heat the glue and best case scenario melt it and mess up your sanding pads, worst case scenario of weakening the bonds and splitting a seam or deforming it.

CA glue and other superglues work best on flush joints that have roughed up mating surfaces, if you have a bit of a gap it's best to use a two part epoxy or similar adhesive that is strong and has volume to it. A good example is LePage 5 Minute Epoxy (readily available in most hardware stores) and has a bond strength that'll outlast the helmet base material in most cases.
I'll keep that in mind, I was going to do most of the sanding and shaping by hand anyway but since I've fiberglassed the inside of the helmet now, I'm not terribly concerned about the hot glue holding together.
 
And on the seventh day, he rested...

Not really!

Started the shaping of the helmet after that initial application of Bondo, and did the accent painting.

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The first run-through with the orbital sander went pretty well.
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This is after 1 coat of primer, I did mostly hand sanding for this part and used a Dremel for knocking off some of the bigger chunks of filler.
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From this point on, I'll mostly be using glazing putty to fill, it sands much easier than Bondo and I can use it in smaller portions, which makes it last longer.
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It's getting there!
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This shade of blue ended up going really well with my base coat color.
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I think I have the hang of the "masking" thing now.
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This is all of the blue I'll do on the arm, I don't want to over-do the accent panels.
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I might do the thigh buckle in the same shade of silver I'll paint the shoulder strap and shin strap buckles in, for overall consistency.
 
Day 8.

Today was further shaping of the helmet, and learning to sew.
The sewing was for the strapping, of which I managed to get the legs done.
They're pretty much ready-to-wear!
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This is the first piece of anything I've used a sewing machine for.
After some practice, I got the hang of the simple stitching the straps will require.
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Like so.
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The first toe cap.
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And both finished! These are the first pieces to make it to completion.
I do need to add some foam or other muffling material because at the moment I sound like the coconuts at the beginning of Monty Python when I walk around.
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Some more stitching on the 2-inch webbing for the thigh straps.
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Blurry photo, but this is the left thigh piece completed.
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And both sides.
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For the calf strapping, I'm using the Smoothcast 330 buckles Sean provided.
I drilled out (carefully) a shallow hole and squeezed a nut inside, so I can bolt this on over top the strap and keep it from moving around.
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As seen here, I drilled through the calf piece, and these bolts run through to the nuts installed on the buckles.
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The finished assembly.
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The completed calf piece. I have so 1 inch foam padding on the inside for both comfort and fit.
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The legs are complete!
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This is a pre-visualization of the chest piece logo my friend whipped up for me.
He has access to a vinyl cutter, so he'll be making this for me.

Until next week!
 
Day 10.

Sewing. So. Much. Sewing.

My main focus today was making the shoulder straps and fitting them to the chest/back piece.
Hopefully by Sunday night I can have the body armor pretty much strapped up and ready to wear, and I can focus entirely on getting the helmet done.

Does anybody have a go-to technique for attaching foam padding to fiberglass, for the inside padding of armor?

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I added some flat black to the lumbar section here, I'll do the same sort of detailing for the forearms soon.
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Laying out how I'll assemble the straps. Sean suggested a tool belt attached to his foam pads, but I just layered the webbing I've already bought to achieve the same effect.
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Black thread on black means you can't see where I messed up!
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And the fully assembled straps.
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Padding still needs to be added so it fits more snugly, and I need to attach the straps to the back neck piece so they don't want to drift off to the sides when I move around.

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Day 11/12!

No post yesterday, I got busy doing other things.

Saturday consisted of mostly fitting the hip assembly together, and figuring out how the padding will work.

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The completed belt.

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Blurry, but the padding for the forearm is now installed.
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I only have to epoxy the front shoulder buckles to the chest plate, and add triglides to the thigh strapping.
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Sunday was all helmet work.
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My buddys' sense of humor when I sent him a picture of the helmets progress.
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Some last-minute touchups before the color coat.
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Some black accenting first. I sanded off the runs before proceeding.
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And the painted helmet! Still needs the visor (on order), and interior padding.

Almost done with the whole suit!
 
Day 13.

Minor update today, got surprised with a mandatory Saturday at work.

The visor arrived!

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I decided to use magnets to hold the visor in place, for ease of swapping
I lined the opening of the helmet with foam as well so the visor isn't scratched as easily when being installed/removed.
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Obligatory mirror selfie.
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Almost there!
 
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