So my EVA foam came in the other day. Wohoo! Means I can start with the fun and experimental process of building Halo armor out of foam. I say experimental because I’ve never used EVA foam before for costuming or armor building. I tried the cardstock paper/Pepakura method and lots of people get amazing results with it but I had a few issues with it:
1) So many tabs
2) Easily warps
3) Can’t easily customize the size
4) If you screw up, ooops…
5) I live in a small Boston apartment. No room to do the resining and bondoing, etc.
Foam, on the other hand, is a bit more to my taste. I can customize each piece to fit me the way I’m built and not try to force a presized file to fit me with scaling. Also, if I screw up I can easily just cut that piece out again or reshape it as needed, depending on the issue. And since the foam is already pretty rigid it’s a lot easier to finalize. So those are my thoughts on that.
Over the weekend, the girlfriend and I decided to take on a simple and easier looking part of the Halo 4 armor first — the tailbone armor. I found some great Pepakura files for the tailbone armor on the 405th and tried turning that file into something I could then use with foam via TheSuperHeroTutorials vids. but even after following Stealth’s ideas that butt piece was still to complicated to turn from paper, so we decided to just draft our own pattern ourselves. Here’s a screencap from the game of what we were aiming for:
Note: There are different tailbone/butt armor in the game. It changes when you change the leg armor, so play around and find the one you like for foam crafting.
More after the jump…
We started with the butt armor since it’s simple shape and will let us get a handle on how to cut and use EVA foam. So we started off by taking measurements to get an idea of how big the armor needed to be. For me it was a 7″x6″. We sketched out all the main parts and cane up with our template and cut out the basic shape.
This is our top, base layer. I didn’t get a screencap of it but if you turn the Spartan sideways you notice that the piece is fatter up top so it lays flush with the lower back and butt at the same time. To do this we made two smaller wedges to get the right thickness. So after figuring out those dimensions we had to cut a slope into the foam. I watched Dracks Foam techniques which were great in general and we tried the angle cut technique he used but because of how big the area we had to angle cut it didn’t work well. It was pretty rough. Here’s how that process looked like with end results.
Luckily that’s all on the back so no one will see it out of this blog post. And if I really hate it I can just add some craft foam to cover it. Craft foam covers all mistakes.
So this piece is now three layers thick, or 1.5″ thick since I”m using 1/2″ foam.
After that it was simple adding on the details. First we started off with adding the larger raised bits in the middle and then some craft foam detailing.
After that, I started covering the middle raised area and the edges in craft foam to make it a little neater. And voila! we end the weekend with one foam tailbone armor.
To get nicer folds with the craft foam I drew a line where the bend would be and then scored it like I would with cardstock paper. It helps get a little crisper angle than just laying it on and doing it as you go, I think.
And a quick glance at the game version and my unpainted foam version:
Not bad for a first try at using foam while creating my own pattern. I might add craft foam sides to the bottom piece in the middle there if my “EVERYTHING NEEDS TO LINE UP AND BE EVEN” OCD kicks in but for now it’s good enough.
So, this is done until I”m ready to seal, prime and paint, unless some other inspiration hits me on how to add in fun little details into the foam. But I’m happy how this first foam armor attempt went.
Next up: Handguards and knees.