WinterHuntsman’s ODST build WIP

First off, hello I'm Winter

This summer I will be attempting to build my first costume ever. Only experience I have would probably apply is with hot glue guns and painting miniatures for D&D.
Im making a full suit of ODST armor out of EVA foam. I did find a template to use (the guy also made videos but don't know if im allowed to share the link) for a Reach ODST. I'll probably follow it too the book but buy a helmet instead of attempting to make one, and likely trying to make the ab plate more like the halo 3 ODSTs with that box shaped thing.

I know I will need EVA foam but I don't know what thickness or type (rolls or tile mats) I should be using.
Besides the heat gun, glue gun, sharpie, and utility knife, are there any other useful tools I should pick up?
What challenges should I expect to face for my first build be it something common, or only a problem for new costume makers?
After the glue dries how carful do I have to be with the glued pieces? Will the bond break at the slightest of bends or do I have a slight margin that the bond will be fine with bending?
Finally, What would you say to yourself if you were making your armor for the first time, or what words of encouragement would you give?

Hopefully what I said makes sense. Im about 3 weeks out from starting this build, and while probably easier than spartan armor (can't remember how to spell it) I'm both excited and nervous.

Thanks in advance and hope to talk more soon
 

he4thbar

Member
First off, hello I'm Winter

This summer I will be attempting to build my first costume ever. Only experience I have would probably apply is with hot glue guns and painting miniatures for D&D.
Im making a full suit of ODST armor out of EVA foam. I did find a template to use (the guy also made videos but don't know if im allowed to share the link) for a Reach ODST. I'll probably follow it too the book but buy a helmet instead of attempting to make one, and likely trying to make the ab plate more like the halo 3 ODSTs with that box shaped thing.

I know I will need EVA foam but I don't know what thickness or type (rolls or tile mats) I should be using.
Besides the heat gun, glue gun, sharpie, and utility knife, are there any other useful tools I should pick up?
What challenges should I expect to face for my first build be it something common, or only a problem for new costume makers?
After the glue dries how carful do I have to be with the glued pieces? Will the bond break at the slightest of bends or do I have a slight margin that the bond will be fine with bending?
Finally, What would you say to yourself if you were making your armor for the first time, or what words of encouragement would you give?

Hopefully what I said makes sense. Im about 3 weeks out from starting this build, and while probably easier than spartan armor (can't remember how to spell it) I'm both excited and nervous.

Thanks in advance and hope to talk more soon
A lot to go on here so lets start with your first questions. Many people here have posted about ANDREW DFT Builds and almost always it is suggested to look at the armory for the foam files provided(LINK) as they will be more accurate. It is suggested you scale them in either pepakura(free) or Armorsmith($30 but easier to scale with).

A big thing you will need is a blade sharpener for that utility knife, also when using foam it is highly suggested to go with contact cement rather then hot glue as hot glue will fall apart. Though I haven't worked with foam yet (helmet is pep then going to foam for armor) I have looked through these threads for the better half of 2 years.
Start with a forearm or something easy with foam because you will probably run into some issues and its a good way to test the waters.

Foam thickness varies based on your style, height,weight. But the consesus is anywhere between 8mm-10mm is a good spot to be based on previous threads. people can correct me if i'm wrong. THREAD LINK
The rest of the questions i'll let experienced foam smithers answer.

Also don't be afraid to look at the tutorial index, it will give you peace of mind to go into it consuming a lot of information.
 
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Thanks I'll be sure to go look at the tutorials page and the armory. Also thanks for the heads up on the DFT build, I'll probably use the armory files then as a detailed build would be nice. Maybe I will find a reach armor set too. Now if only I could find the download button and not those ad that say download.
I know that pepakura would probably make a better armor but I have no knowledge of how that stuff works, and I feel like foam would be something similar to work with, though I could be wrong.
Thanks again for the advice he4thbar
 

xXDashIVXx

Well-Known Member
I like to use contact cement as it is stronger than hot glue and will never break. The foam Mats from harbor freight are perfect, and are usually the cheapest place to get them if you have one near you. Always keep your knife sharp. You will hit a few challenges in the road. My best suggestion is to ask around for help, but at the same time, just do it, and if it doesnt come out the way you like, do it a different way. Dont ponder over something too much, that's why it took me 3 years to build my spartan xD. Keep your knives sharp and have dedication. Keep working through it even if you dont want to, and try and put a few hours into it every week. No procrastination. Did I mention keeping your blades sharp?

Just be patient and strive for excellence! I beleive in you and you got this!
 

Sean Anwalt

RCO
405th Regiment Officer
Hot glue is going to gum up your seams and give you sloppy results. I'd do either contact cement or that 5 second super glue. You'll get clean seams and a better looking build.

Once you get to it pay attention to your seams and make sure you take your time to put everything where it belongs because of you don't the whole build loses quality.

You're going to find that some of the parts fit together weird or are a little funky getting together. Go through other build threads and ask how others have managed. There may also be a tutorial on YouTube.

Get a heat gun too. That way you can pre form the foam before you assemble it, and that will help you as well.

Feel free to check out my build posts to see if they have any good advice. Turbocharizard and Perniciousduke both have great looking suits as well. So does Dirtdives.

Practice your bevel cuts. They are important.

If you have any other questions, please ask!
 

TurboCharizard

RMO & BCO
405th Regiment Officer
Community Staff
Hey WinterHuntsman, this sounds a lot like where I was three years ago but you're way ahead since you're actually asking questions :p

Besides the heat gun, glue gun, sharpie, and utility knife, are there any other useful tools I should pick up?
Some often overlooked tools are a steel ruler and a cutting mat of some sort. The ruler is to act as a guide and keep your cuts straight which makes for easier glue up. The cutting mat helps prolong the life of your blade tips.

What challenges should I expect to face for my first build be it something common, or only a problem for new costume makers?
Motivation is one of the big killers of projects for new builders. ODST armour is a collection of dozens of parts and some small bumps in the early stages often discourage people and stop them from finishing. Keep on chugging. This will be your first costume, it won't be perfect but it'll be yours and it'll be awesome.

After the glue dries how carful do I have to be with the glued pieces? Will the bond break at the slightest of bends or do I have a slight margin that the bond will be fine with bending?
I have an ODST costume that I've actively been trying to destroy through wear and so far the only glue that has let go is between some nylon webbing and the foam of the shoulder plate. Hot glue is surprisingly resilient when used in the right spots. Personally I like to use it as a backer for seams in foam but ExCeLLuR8 and Sean Anwalt are on Team Shoe Goo for this purpose.

Finally, What would you say to yourself if you were making your armor for the first time, or what words of encouragement would you give?
I'd ask myself if I enjoy my free time and sleep. Costuming is hecking addictive and is my major time sink. It's frustrating and stressful at times but being a problem solver and a one person manufacturing team is worth it once the armour goes on and you step onto the convention floor.

Good luck and happy building.
 

ExCeLLuR8

Well-Known Member
Yes just to bounce off what turbo mentioned. Stay motivated, there is tons of help on this forum and support. Attention to detail and just maintaining relentless pursuit of giving it the best effort you can. As far as tools. Very sharp blades! I personally use exacto blades for all cuts. Should cut with very little resistance, to much resistance won't give good clean cuts. Good metal ruler, heat gun, sand paper and sand blocks for cleaning up outter seams using 320-400grit. A Dremel with sanding 320 grit wheels are also very useful. I personally use loctite 5 second super glue for assembly because it's quick. Defer to Angelegend YouTube video for quick visual reference of assembly. As far as backing up my seams for strength, I absolutely swear by shoe goo. It's incredible strong and does not separate from foam once cured. Eva foam is found in a lot of tennis shoes, well shoe goo is meant to bond shoe soles. I coat the entire inside of my armor with it to make all those pieces become "one piece". Makes it rigid yet stays flexible and supports your outer seams visual appearance. I also set my rubber boot soles in to the foam shells using shoe goo and they turned our incredibly strong. Only cons with shoe goo is fumes and cure time. Cure time isn't bad once you get a good system down but the fumes definitely require a respirator and ventilation. Just shoot me over a private message and I can help you out with shoe goo techniques and tips I use. Here is a pic of the inside of my back torso piece and inside helmet showing how it looks. For sealing outer seams before rubber coat I use paintable quik seal caulk then followed up with Rustoleum Leak Seal rubber coat.

20190420_113637.jpg20190422_141211.jpg
 

ExCeLLuR8

Well-Known Member
I also anchor all of my nylon and elastic strapping with shoe goo. It's permanent so definitely get it right the first time and leave extra on for adjustments! This pic the entire piece has been sprayed with leak seal including the shoe goo, but you can see the strap anchor point.
20190422_142100.jpg
 
So much useful advice thanks guys!

So there are some foam templates I saw on the armory that I really like the look of but it’s in a weird file format. Also the peparuka program thing I was told about for sizing, how reliable is it. I don’t trust random programs off the web after a incident a few years back. So if you have a link to a program download that you trust please share it with me.

Finals for school are in one week and once they are over I go into full build mode. Well more specifically gathering materials, then build mode.

Thanks again for all the help!
 

xXDashIVXx

Well-Known Member
So much useful advice thanks guys!

So there are some foam templates I saw on the armory that I really like the look of but it’s in a weird file format. Also the peparuka program thing I was told about for sizing, how reliable is it. I don’t trust random programs off the web after a incident a few years back. So if you have a link to a program download that you trust please share it with me.

Finals for school are in one week and once they are over I go into full build mode. Well more specifically gathering materials, then build mode.

Thanks again for all the help!
Pepakura designer 4 is a trusted program that we all use and used by thousands more. I totally understand where you coming from with this but I assure you it is ok(unless it is a seed waiting to burst open many years later bacauae it was secretly designed by the government or something :b ) sizing is pretty reliable as long as you do the numbers right... cant wait to see your progress in the coming weeks!

 

ExCeLLuR8

Well-Known Member
So much useful advice thanks guys!

So there are some foam templates I saw on the armory that I really like the look of but it’s in a weird file format. Also the peparuka program thing I was told about for sizing, how reliable is it. I don’t trust random programs off the web after a incident a few years back. So if you have a link to a program download that you trust please share it with me.

Finals for school are in one week and once they are over I go into full build mode. Well more specifically gathering materials, then build mode.

Thanks again for all the help!
Pepakura 4 is pretty much what most of us use and it works very well once you get the hang of it. You can download for free but in order to save changes from editing, you will have to buy the one time license of like $30 I think it was. You will need the license to save scaling changes and so forth. To use PDO files from the armory, you'll need pepakura. Think I downloaded right from their website. Other people get into 3D modeling using other programs for foam templates and also 3D printing, I don't have any experience with that. Definitely watch YouTube videos on pepakura alone so you know how to scale, make changes to the files to work with foam and so on. You'll find that "foam" converted files are usually basic and don't offer much game detail. The high definition paper PDO files have more detail but require a TON of edit to make compatible with foam work.
 

Elcorio

Member
So the one thing I didn't see mentioned for tips and tricks is beveling. If I missed it, my apologies. Having built several sets of DFT armor, the one thing I can offer is this. Take your time and practice on scrap pieces first. In his videos, his techniques are sped up to keep the video to a reasonable length. In several of the pieces, you will need to cut the foam at a bevel angle to get the desired look. Cutting bevels in foam is nothing more than an art learned from experience. So grab some scraps, sharpen your blade, and cut and cut and cut until you are comfortable with it. Nothing is worse than spending all that time cutting and shaping a piece only to botch the bevel cut.

Lastly, don't compare your work to others. If you are just starting out, it will take time to hone in those skills, but with every cut, with every bevel, you will get better. This group of people are absolutely phenomenal at encouraging you, helping you out, but most importantly, will be honest in their critiques. There is no way I would have ever finished my build without their outpouring of support, ideas, and opinions on how to do something better or an alternate way.

Looking forward to seeing your build.
 
Pepakura 4 is pretty much what most of us use and it works very well once you get the hang of it. You can download for free but in order to save changes from editing, you will have to buy the one time license of like $30 I think it was. You will need the license to save scaling changes and so forth. To use PDO files from the armory, you'll need pepakura. Think I downloaded right from their website. Other people get into 3D modeling using other programs for foam templates and also 3D printing, I don't have any experience with that. Definitely watch YouTube videos on pepakura alone so you know how to scale, make changes to the files to work with foam and so on. You'll find that "foam" converted files are usually basic and don't offer much game detail. The high definition paper PDO files have more detail but require a TON of edit to make compatible with foam work.
Im fine paying the 30 dollars as long as it is possible with something like pay pal. Also I know foam templates may not give a lot of detail but if I can get the general look, I can free hand the details in with foam scraps. Foam just sounds easier to work with than pepakura, if I'm wrong about that please let me know. Anyways, I'm going to start making an amazon shopping list and start working with the files.
 

Elcorio

Member
I wouldn't necessarily discount the pepakura route. I still have my hopes of pulling off a Master Chief that way, but foam is much easier to work with IMO. You're on the right path though. Armor base w/ thicker foam. Details with thinner foam. Rinse, repeat, on to the next piece.
 

ExCeLLuR8

Well-Known Member
So the one thing I didn't see mentioned for tips and tricks is beveling. If I missed it, my apologies. Having built several sets of DFT armor, the one thing I can offer is this. Take you time and practice on scrap pieces first. In his videos, his techniques are sped up to keep the video to a reasonable length. In several of the pieces, you will need to cut the foam at a bevel angle to get the desired look. Cutting bevels in foam is nothing more than an art learned from experience. So grab some scraps, sharpen your blade, and cut and cut and cut until you are comfortable with it. Nothing is worse than spending all that time cutting and shaping a piece only to botch the bevel cut.

Lastly, don't compare your work to others. If you are just starting out, it will take time to hone in those skills, but with every cut, with every bevel, you will get better. This group of people are absolutely phenomenal at encouraging you, helping you out, but most importantly, will be honest in their critiques. There is no way I would have ever finished my build without their outpouring of support, ideas, and opinions on how to do something better or an alternate way.

Looking forward to seeing your build.
Yes bevel cuts, bevel seams, and bevel edges are so important, valley cuts and folds also important and take lots of practice to get the angles right. It's so easy to cut the angels to much. I actually have found that for me its easier and safer to cut one piece out at a time during assembly. I incorporate so many angles into my seam work that I have to do it this way. I also mark all my paper templates with a series of angle symbols I follow to ensure that I cut the piece out perfect, and if it's not, I start over with a new piece until it's right. Build features of armor in sections to so if you screw up a section, at least youre not building a whole new armor piece. Like shoulders, i build the shoulder plate, bicep, tricep all separate, then final assemble once each section is good. Use the mesurement tool in pepakure during assmbly! Its so important that you measure pieces into place or use register marks so that the piece comes out straight, fits, and is not warpped. I literally messure the piece like my life depends on it during the build out. I also have found that roughing the joint of the 2 pieces of foam about to be joined together at a seam also helps with glue adhesion as well. There are so many techniques out there. Evil Ted has pretty decent tutorials showing various foam techniques. He swears by contact cement, it's all preference, it just takes way longer. Angelengend has a great series of tutorials out there showing a halo 4 mkVI chief build that is certainly helpful as well. Also, build in pairs. Build the shoulders together, forearms together, shins togther while the techniqued you develop are fresh in your mind.
 

Sean Anwalt

RCO
405th Regiment Officer
Yes bevel cuts, bevel seams, and bevel edges are so important, valley cuts and folds also important and take lots of practice to get the angles right. It's so easy to cut the angels to much. I actually have found that for me its easier and safer to cut one piece out at a time during assembly. I incorporate so many angles into my seam work that I have to do it this way. I also mark all my paper templates with a series of angle symbols I follow to ensure that I cut the piece out perfect, and if it's not, I start over with a new piece until it's right. Build features of armor in sections to so if you screw up a section, at least youre not building a whole new armor piece. Like shoulders, i build the shoulder plate, bicep, tricep all separate, then final assemble once each section is good. Use the mesurement tool in pepakure during assmbly! Its so important that you measure pieces into place or use register marks so that the piece comes out straight, fits, and is not warpped. I literally messure the piece like my life depends on it during the build out. I also have found that roughing the joint of the 2 pieces of foam about to be joined together at a seam also helps with glue adhesion as well. There are so many techniques out there. Evil Ted has pretty decent tutorials showing various foam techniques. He swears by contact cement, it's all preference, it just takes way longer. Angelengend has a great series of tutorials out there showing a halo 4 mkVI chief build that is certainly helpful as well. Also, build in pairs. Build the shoulders together, forearms together, shins togther while the techniqued you develop are fresh in your mind.
^
Ditto.

Tamasoft Pepekura designer 4 or whatever the greatest update is. I've had that thing checked several times over the past 6 years, and it has never given me problems. And I'm a paranoid sucker!

Pepakura is great for strength, but in my experience it's a slower process than foam. I would not discount pepakura at all. It's a fantastic way to get a lot of detail. Just go slow with it.
 
Ok I think I have a plan now.
I’m going to stick with foam for all the armor pieces and going to try and use pep for the helmet. Since I don’t know how long this will take, I’ll break it into chunks. First I’ll start small and do the shoulders pieces, then I’ll move onto the chest plate. If I can get those 2 done I’ll be happy. I see the helmet, legs and arm pieces being my biggest challenge with just how detailed they are.

One thing I keep hearing the debate on is glue. I have seen people say a liquid cement, hot glue, or shoe glue. So which is the best for bonding Eva foam?

Going to order the stuff this weekend so it arrives at my house soon after I move out of the dorm, so any last minute useful items are appreciated.
 

Schankerz

Well-Known Member
Personally I like using contact cement for my builds, it holds very very well only thing is it does take a while to cure before you stick things together which doooes get taxing sometimes. Hot glue is the other highly recommended glue a lot of people use and works really well, id say maybe give both a try and see what you like best?

Oh and hello I'm Tristan btw nice to meet you Winter! I looove Reach ODST's and anything Reach really so I look forward to your future endeavors here!
 
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