Tutorial: ODST Visors (and other useful info)

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Hugh Holder

Well-Known Member
I thought I'd share some information with you guys about my experiences in making ODST visors. I wanted to include this information on ZakuAce's thread but he has PMs turned off and there was no email I could find to ask him if it was cool. And it looks like he hasn't been around since September. So I guess a link to his tutorial will have to do for now, thanks Ace!

Basically the attack plan and information is the same, but here I want to go a little more in depth with the process and materials used. I also want to address some common questions/misconceptions about what can and cannot be done to create this effect.

The ODST Visor:


My ODST helmet. The blue is very vivid because I have no flash and had to use a wide aperture. It's much darker in person, but the good news is it takes photos pretty well!


The problem with the ODST visor/helmet is that there are so many variants that making a "one for all" tutorial would be a huge pain. So this information is going to be targeted towards the ODSTs from the third Halo game.

The Look:


ODSTs from halo 3 have a diffused blue tint with a polarized surface. The same goes for the ODSTs from Halo 3: ODST except that special division of troopers have a more diffused grayish blue.


There are actually two effects going on here. You have a base polarized effect on the inside (slightly mirrored finish with a bit of distortion) and a color coating on the outside.

If you keep the two elements separate you have a lot of room to experiment with different color options. So basically, you use a basic chrome silver tint as your base with whatever color you want on top = colored visor of your choice.

Making it happen:

So here are the elements that I personally used.

1. The plastic sheet - You need a plastic sheet that is thick enough to hold it's shape but thin enough to be folded without breaking. Some members use acetate which works fine, I use this:


9"x12" plastic sheets at .03" thickness

Finding plastic sheets that are .03" thick isn't really that hard, but finding them at 9x12 inches can be. You don't want to go any smaller than that because the visor template won't fit all of the way and you will have more pieces to deal with. This pack comes with two sheets, perfect for one person that needs a backup.

2. Window Tint - A lot of people have a problem with window tint, but the stuff is perfect for this sort of thing. The reason that everyone hates it I imagine is because they tried to apply it to a complex curved surface (vac-formed visor) and failed miserably.


Gila Industrial building tint. 50% Light Transmission Basic Silver

This has limitations of course. First of all, you have to apply this to A FLAT SURFACE ONLY! That means no visors you already built and no vac-formed visors. Sorry, it simply won't work. Even if you can avoid the water bubbles you will have wrinkles and it will look bad.

Application Solution is essential, sorry I didn't take pictures. Gila sells an application solution set which comes with a spray bottle and plastic squeegee. You really need to get this stuff because it allows you to easily lay out the tint and work out all of the bubbles and wrinkles.

How to use - Clean off an area on your kitchen counter and lay your plastic sheet on it. Follow the directions and don't be afraid to soak that sheet and tint with the application solution. Used a paper towel to clean up the excess and let it dry.

DO NOT USE WINDOW CLEANER - Windex etc. will have a reaction to the application solution and window tint. Don't use it. The application solution or water will work fine for cleaning the plastic sheet.


Curing - You will want to let the tint cure with the plastic sheet for 12 hours or more. If you start cutting and folding too soon then the tint will most likely wrinkle up or peel off. And if you mess up then it's really hard to salvage, work slow!

3. Paint?- Your outer coating and what will determine your visor color, or hue. In this process it's smarter to keep the tint side of your plastic on the inside so that you are painting the other clear side of your plastic. Though there are pros and cons to this. If you keep the tint on the outside you are safer from causing wrinkles and distortions as you fold, but I don't know how the paint will affect it.


Krylon X-Metals. Thanks to Sigma-LS for recommending!

When to spray? - I prefer to spray after I cut and assemble the visor, but you could very well paint the flat sheet before hand if you want.

Can't I just get a colored sheet of plastic? - Sure, but you may have to special order it from a plastic company. I could not find a company that sold a suitable blue plastic sheet at a .03 inch thickness, or even at the right size. You could bypass this step altogether but the X-metals paint creates a nice diffuse for the mirror chrome and helps it match the game look. Your choice!

Applying - Keep it light! VERY light! This stuff will severely limit your clarity fast if you aren't careful. You only need a light mist to get a proper ODST game look. Always move the can as you spray to avoid blotchy patches.

Vac-formed visors vs. Hand-Built

I personally think Vac-formed visors are great if you plan on making a WETA or other live action based ODST because they just darken their visors. The problem with a preformed visor is there is no easy way to get a polarized mirror finish without a lot of excessive equipment and/or money $$$. And sorry guys, I don't love this hobby that much!

Cant I just vac-form the plastic sheet + tint? - I don't know the science behind the vac table stuff, but I am pretty certain that the window tint will have an adverse reaction (cracking/shifting) on the surface of the plastic at extreme temperatures. If anyone can get it to work right and have it look clean then please feel free to share!

I feel that by building the visors by hand you have a lot more control over how sharp and crisp the folded angles are. And a lot of the time you tend to lose those that sharpness on a vac table. Though you sacrifice details like a proper lip, I guess it just comes down to personal preference. :)

Thanks for reading, if you have any tips/questions/suggestions feel free to post. In the meantime you can check out my ODST Build Thread for other updates and information.

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I have seen many of these and it looks to be the way to go! I am just consistently confused by how the painting is supposed to work. I would be extremely apprehensive about it since I could just blot out the whole visor by mistake!
The exterior appearance is great. How is the visibility from the inside? You have any photo shots showing the visibility from the inside out?
I think it looks great with the bright blue visor. Almost like a fancy motorcycle helmet or something.

Also this is probably how I am going to make my ODST visor... whenever I get around to making and ODST suit.
nice thread dude love it by the way look at the halo odst troopers knee is all messsed up when he is kneeling laugh out loud im going to try this dude hope it works well
With Hugh Holder's permission, I am adding a small ODST visor tutorial of my own, except I used perforated metal. We exchanged PMs, and we agreed that instead of making separate threads, it would be more beneficial for everyone to have the info in one thread.

As I said, I used perforated sheet metal. There are many places to buy this online in both steel and aluminum, or you can do what I did and pick up a sheet at Home Depot for $18. The bad news about the Home Depot sheet is the metal feels cheap, like some sort of pot metal. Shouldn't be a problem for most armorers, though.

Next step is two print out the pepakura visor to your helmet. For my helmet, the WETA ODST, the pages are 2-3 IIRC. Cut out the parts and glue/tape them together, but DO NOT fold them! lay them flat on the perforated metal and tape down ALL the edges. That way, the paper can only peal away from the metal after you've made your cut.

To cut out the piece you could use a pair of crummy scissors (don't use good ones because the metal will ruin them) or you can get a set of snips at Harbor Freight for $3. I personally used a set of Duratrax RC car body scissors I've had forever. They work great on very high gauge metals, better I'm sure than the previous two options.

Once the visor is cut out and folded, you must secure it inside the helmet. Don't worry about any loose tabs in the middle of the visor, the edges will give all the rigidity you'll need. This is also the point where you could paint your visor if you so desire, I just left mine black. I used to nuts and bolts on the very edge of the visor to give most of the support, and reinforced a tab or two with simple hot glue (sorry for the blurry pics).


And you're done!

This is just another option for the tricky ODST visor, you'll have to look at each method yourself and decide what is best for you.
Actually, it's a great idea, but you should probably re-do the unfold so that it looks more like hugh's, 2 longer pieces that join. Saves from some unsightly seams and makes visibility better. Just a suggestion.
Actually, it's a great idea, but you should probably re-do the unfold so that it looks more like hugh's, 2 longer pieces that join. Saves from some unsightly seams and makes visibility better. Just a suggestion.
No, hear ya man. I just have never unfolded anything in my life! The helmet (and visor) downloaded that way, so that's what I used. If anyone else has a different unfold and wants to try it, I'd love to see! It would probably look cleaner.
Just use the seperate edge tool. It would consist of 3 parts: top row, middle row, bottom row.
top is the row (all are horizontal) is the one with the 405th logo, middle is the large piece, and the bottom row is very small. Join on those edges, and print it out again. It should work great! The current unfold is best for pep, but modifyin gthe unfold is essential when you change materials. (in some casees)
I dont like way the metal looks.......... i dunno, its just odd. anyway....
Lol i went down to Harbor freight and ive been usin those awesome little flashlights too.
Im still pretty sure its a camera, being called the RS remote sensor, and never being "on"
Ok Hugh....

Plastic Check.... Gila film check.... Application Solution check..... Krylon blue (major headache to find) check :)

So I removed the protective film that was on my plastic sheets.... and cleaned both sides with Windex to make sure it was good
and clean.... cut the film to correct size (8 1/2" x 17" for me) .... took a bit to figure out that the film had its own protective layer...
and you have to be super safe after you remove it... man that stuff is sticky..... Next sprayed the plasitc liberally with the application
solution and the film.... and slowly applied... sqweegee-ing as I went... Had few air bubbles but took my time and worked them out....

Then I flipped it over and noticed that the lil bit of application solution still there between the film and plasitc was milky and blotchy....
Kept working it but it would NOT go away....panicked and peeled the film back off....

so my question is this... If I had left it alone and allowed it to dry.... would that have went away?

Try number 2 later today.... hahahahaha

I love playing on these weekend projects :p

No window cleaner

Hey Cujo,

DON'T USE WINDEX!!! Sorry I should have detailed that. The application solution bottle says that it will have a reaction to window cleaners. The application solution itself is a cleaner so just use that or water.

That said, minor water bubbles aren't that big of a deal. More often than not they dry up clear. The solution may just be on the bottom side of the plastic so it would be a good idea to keep picking the sheet up and drying the underside/counter top periodically. Air bubbles should be the biggest concern.

Remember it takes a good while for the tint/solution/plastic to cure together fully.

But yea, don't use window cleaner!
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Leave it to me to goof the whole process :p

I'll clean it up thoroughly with the application solution... and then try again this evening...

I'll let you know how it goes :)

If there is some of the solution it will dry after a while.

Window tint is just like vinyl. It takes time for it to fully cure to the surface, give it at least a day, especially if you used application solution. When I got my windows tinted they said not to put the windows down for two days. Once it is cured it should look great, it just requires some patience.
Vac molding is my thing, so say I were to buy a 1'x1'x1/2" piece of plexyglass, then heat it and vacume mold it, would anyone know how much of the the thickness (the 1/2") I would lose from elastic deformation? Need an engineer here or someone that's obsessed with math.
1/2" thick is going to be hard to work with. I doubt youd lose much thickness other than where it stretches to bend. I used 1/8" and it was tough to get right., Far more fails than wins.
I have my own heating station and vacuming system, Iv worked with 1" thick before, and that was a real SOB. I need it to be atlease 1/2" thick so it can take small impact.
Alt visor solution

Ran into the visor problem. Used your file for the patterns and two different plastic sheets to attain what I believe will be a great look – same technique but without paint.

The first sheet is a simple blue see-through document protector. The second is a clamp binder, clear with a silvery tint. It’s a little thicker than the document protector but is pliable. When placing the blue over the silver the visor colour is blue BUT by placing the clear silvery cut-out over the blue, it shows a bluish/silver tone. I will glue the edges and affix the visor to the helmet. I can clearly see to walk about but reading is difficult - didn't have my glasses on. These were purchased at Staples and cost me less than CDN$7.00. I have a couple of photos of the cut-outs but can't figure out how to insert by URL. Abide with me I'm old enough to be grandfather to most on the site and father to all!

Blue plastic document protector shows E310L barcode 0 65479 07653 6 - however any document protector in your colour choice will do. Clamp binder item 36194 shows 10765-CA barcode 7 18103 01233 1. Thanks again for a great job!
Semipro, I dont think you need the window tint, it was just added for color. Also so people cant see inside your visor but you can see out. Its just an extra :)
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