The video game franchise "Halo" has generated a strong cult following among its fans, and many have attempted to reproduce the iconic Spartan armour worn by the game's various characters, as well as many other in-game props. The most cost effective method of producing a "Halo 3" Spartan costume is the paper-folding or pepakura method, whereby a model is made out of intricately folded card stock and then coated in layers of fibreglass and resin for durability. The set of armour is then sanded and painted, producing a realistic and lightweight reproduction.
- Skill level:
- Moderately Challenging
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Things you need
- 1 ream of heavyweight card stock
- Pepakura blueprints
- Pepakura file viewer
- Aqua-resin or fibreglass resin kits
- Epoxy putty
- 2 metres (2 yards) of fibreglass mat or a roll of fibreglass cloth
- Nylon webbing and plastic buckles
- 120 cm (4 feet) adhesive Velcro
- 3 sheets of 2.5 cm (1-inch) foam padding
- Black cloth gloves
- Black thermal underwear shirt and trousers
- Spray paint
- Spray-on black primer
- Metallic silver paint
- Motorcycle helmet visor
- X-acto knife
- Cutting board
- Ballpoint pen
- Latex gloves
- Hot glue gun
Search online for a free Pepakura viewing programme such as Pepakura Designer by Tama Software Co. Download the executable files and install the programme on your computer.
Search online for Halo 3 Spartan Armor Pepakura files. 405th Infantry Division is an online community for "Halo" armour enthusiasts and has many links to blueprints for various styles of armour. Choose a blueprint file and save it to your computer. You will need a blueprint for the following pieces: helmet, chest, backpack, left bicep, left forearm and hand, right bicep, right forearm and hand, crotch and hindquarters, left thigh, right thigh, left calf, right calf, left foot and right foot.
Open the Pepakura file with your Pepakura viewing programme. You will see the 3D model of the armour pieces on the left and the expanded view of the printout sheets on the right of the window. Most armour models will be scaled for a person about 6 feet tall, but you can adjust the size of the armour in the options tab. Once you have properly scaled the armour pieces, you can click and drag the blueprints in the 2D printout window so that all pieces fit evenly onto single sheets of paper.
Print out the scaled Pepakura armour pieces onto sheets of heavy-duty card stock. Make sure the edge I.D. option is configured, as this will help you piece together the puzzle-like armour. Always print in colour, as many designers use colour coding to indicate which edges line up.
Downloading and printing Pepakura
Cut out each piece of armour from your sheets of card stock with the X-acto knife or scissors. Always cut on the outside of the lines.
Pepakura models usually designate between inside folds or "valley folds" and outside folds or "mountain folds" with either solid or dotted lines. Solid lines indicate mountain folds and dotted lines indicate valley folds. Start with one piece at a time and line your ruler up with a fold line. Use one colour pen for mountain folds and another for valley folds. Press down hard on the pen and make a score line over the original fold line.
Repeat the scoring process for every line in a given section of armour. This is a very labour intensive process and should be done slowly and carefully. It may take several days to fully score a set of armour pieces.
Cutting and scoring
Pepakura designers usually organise their armour sets so that similar or connecting pieces are printed in the same order, so try to keep the pieces near to the ones they were grouped with. Begin the process of folding along each of the lines that you scored, remembering to fold lines you marked as mountain folds to the outside and valley folds to the inside. Work in sections, completing the folds on each component within a single piece of the armour at a time, such as the helmet or torso section.
Every edge has a number printed on it which corresponds to another edge with the same number. Begin to line up the edges and tabs using the number system and join the pieces together with a small amount of hot glue. Since the paper will be reinforced, the hot glue does not have to be too secure, so don't use too much on a single joint.
When you have completed a single component, set it aside and begin to fold and glue the next component. Be patient during this process, as it can take many hours to fully assemble a single piece of armour. If you make a mistake, you can go back to your Pepakura designer, print off another copy of the component you need and repeat the scoring, folding and gluing process.
Folding and gluing
Mix a small amount of Aqua-resin or fibreglass resin in a disposable dish or plastic bowl with its corresponding hardening compound (follow the directions for the particular brand you are using). It is best to work in small batches because the resin will dry quickly, wasting any material that you have not had time to apply.
Put on a pair of latex gloves and work in a well ventilated area, as the fumes from fibreglass resin can be very toxic. Using a brush, paint a thin layer of the fibreglass resin onto the inside and outside of each piece of armour. Avoid using too much, as the paper will soak up the extra resin and become limp. Allow the first layer to cure for the recommended time (24 hours in most cases). The card stock armour should be stiff and feel like plastic to the touch when the resin is dry. Repeat this process for each individual piece of armour.
Cut your fibreglass mat or cloth into small squares or patches, roughly 5 cm by 5 cm (2 inches by 2 inches). Mix a small amount of Aqua-resin or fibreglass resin according to the supplied instructions. Dip pieces of fibreglass mat or cloth in the liquid resin one at a time, or paint both sides of the pieces with a brush, and apply the cloth directly to the inside of the armour component you are working on.
Smooth the piece of cloth down with your fingers and make sure it is making contact with the entire inside surface of our paper armour. You may wish to paint some extra resin on top of each piece of cloth as well to ensure a strong bond. Continue to dip or brush resin on to fibreglass and apply it to the inside of the armour, much like paper mache, until the entire inside is covered in a layer of fibreglass cloth or mat. Allow the piece of armour to cure for the recommended period of time.
Repeat this process until each individual section of armour has reinforced with fibreglass cloth and liquid resin and allowed to dry. Always work in small batches so as not to waste the quick-drying resin, and only apply fibreglass cloth to the inside of the armour pieces.
Coating Pepakura with resin and fiberglass
Choose a shade of spray paint for your armour. You may wish to review images from the game to help decide on an accurate and attractive colour scheme.
Spray each piece of armour with a coat of flat black spray-on primer and allow the primer to dry for several hours.
Spray a light coat of your coloured spray paint onto each piece of armour. You do not want a very thick coat in most areas, as this will look flat and dull. By varying the amount of saturation you can create the effect of detail and contrast. For example, apply more paint to the large flat areas and less around the edges and creases in the armour, allowing some of the black primer to show through the top coat.
Take a brush and dip it in metallic silver paint, then wipe off most of the paint onto a rag so that the brush is effectively dry. Lightly brush over edges and areas of detail to create the effect of brushed metal. Use this technique sparingly to bring out intricate detail.
Priming and painting
Put on your thermal underwear and black cloth gloves. Begin by holding sections of armour up to their corresponding body parts and determine how they will have to sit on top of your suit in order to fit comfortably.
Cut pieces of 2.5 cm (1 inch) foam and place them between your skin and the piece of armour you are fitting. If the armour looks like it is sitting on you accurately (for example, it is not too high) and it feels comfortable, glue the piece of foam into position with your hot glue gun.
Cut two pieces of nylon webbing large enough to fit around the body part you are covering with armour (for example, the right bicep) and glue the ends to the inside of the piece of armour. Attach buckles to the loose ends of these pieces and check the fit by placing the armour on your body and snapping the buckles closed. Repeat this process so that each piece can be secured to your body with nylon straps.
For smaller pieces of armour such as the hand pieces, you can attach strips of adhesive Velcro to the back of the foam on the inside of the armour and to the back of the glove. Fit the Velcro to the glove while it is still on your hand to ensure it sits correctly. This will be much easier to attach and detach than nylon webbing, and because the pieces are relatively lightweight, they will not fall off easily.
Finally, add the motorcycle visor to the helmet by sliding it into the open cavity and tilting it so that it is in place. Secure with hot glue or epoxy putty.
Fitting and adjusting your armour
Tips and warnings
- The process of crafting "Halo 3" Spartan armour can be incredibly time consuming and take up to a year to complete. Be patient and work on the project over a long period of time to avoid fatigue, strain and boredom.
- There is a wealth of information on the process of crafting "Halo 3" Spartan armour on the Internet. It will save you a lot of time if you do your research in advance.
- Always use gloves when handling fibreglass and fibreglass resin and always work in a well ventilated area to avoid build-up of toxic fumes.
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