Sunday, March 20, 2011

HALO Marines

A while back, I was contacted by another maker asking if I'd be willing to trade one of my Sniper Rifles from Halo 3 for a few sets of his vac-formed marine armor.  For those of you who don't know, the UNSC Marines are the other troopers that you see all over the place in the HALO games.  They look like so:

Looking at how well his armor came out, I agreed to the trade.  But there was one problem: he doesn't make helmets.  While not all of the Marines in the games wear helmets, I decided that I would need helmets.

Undaunted, I surfed my way over to the halo costuming wiki, downloaded the HD Marine helmet Pepakura file, and a few short hours and half a bottle of wine later I had the Pepakura build knocked out.

The next day, I went ahead and coated the outside of the helmet with a thin layer of polyester resin (aka hardware store fiberglass resin):
Marine Helmet Pepakura and Resin

Once the polyester resin had cured on the outside, sealing up all of the small holes where things might leak out, I went ahead and reinforced the inside with some black casting resin:
Marine Helmet Reinforced

I added the black pigment to make it easier to see where I hadn't managed to slush the resin on the inside of the helmet.

(NOTE: you could just as easily go ahead and lay fiberglass mat and resin on the inside instead of the casting resin if you wanted to just use the pep model as a wearable prop.)

Once I'd built up enough thickness for the helmet to have some strength, it was time to start the bondo work.
Fairing Marine Helmet
Since it's a pretty simple helmet, it only took a couple of passes to get it all smoothed out:

Then I sprayed on a coat of primer to make sure it looked right:
Near Done Right Quarter

Staring at the reference images too much, I noticed a handful of details that I hadn't already incorporated, such as the little rectangles on the ears and the area under the brim that stands proud by about 1/8th of an inch:

With the primer appropriately smoothed out, I sprayed on a layer of truck bed liner to the areas that would end up painted black:
Marine Helmet Texture

Ear Cap Details

Then it was time to start the moldmaking.  Step one was building a mold wall and brushing on a print coat of AM128 moldmaking silicone from Aeromarine Products to pick up all of the surface detail:

Marine Helmet jacket mold start
With the first coat cured, it was time to build up some thickness with brushable silicone instead of the plurple pourable stuff:
Marine Helmet Jacket Mold Contd

Then a fiberglass mothermold:
Marine Helmet Mothermold Left

Once the first half of the mothermold was cured, it was time to flip the whole thing over, pull off the mold wall, apply a generous coat of mold release agent to the silicone, and repeat.  Here's the completed mold:
Marine Helmet Mold and Master Bits
Tragically, the prototype helmet (left) did not survive the mold removal process.

Finally, here's the first rotocast copy:
Marine Helmet Test Fit 2

Marine Helmet Test Fit 1
When I get back from my nuclear adventure in East Asia, I'll get a handful of them painted up.

Stay tuned...



  1. Nice teaser w/ the 40K helmet in the background :D

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  3. I know I may not see an answer for some time, but do you also use Aeromarine resins along with their mold materials?

  4. I use the Aeromarine Products casting resin, yes. Even with the shipping cost, they're less costly than anything I've found locally. If you're trying to decide whether or not their "jet black" casting resin is worth the extra cost, I've found it is.

    My microballoons, Cabosil, and milled glassfiber I get from nearby TAP Plastics because I can pick them up locally and the massive sacks that I buy there tend to last for a year or two at my miniscule level of productivity.

  5. I have decided to TRY to make my own Halo helmet, do you have any tips on working with Fiberglass similarly to what you have shown here? Also why and how you use bondo, is it for a little more strength or for detailing?