AxiomUltra's Mass Effect Project

Discussion in 'Replica Costumes' started by AxiomUltra, Apr 27, 2012.

  1. AxiomUltra

    AxiomUltra Active Member

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    I have been receiving a lot of messages about my N7 armor progress, how it was built, and what I used to make it. So I decided it would probably be a better idea to just post that information here for all to see rather than continue to answer messages one by one! I don't have a blog or another build thread, but if you like my work, would like to see updates on what I do, and have a facebook account you can find me here:


    So I have been wanting to make a set of this armor for a long time, but I just never had a moment to sit down and actually start it. In fact, this project actually began by accident. I wanted to experiment with foam building starting with the smaller, easier parts. Well one thing led to another and then there's an entire space suit sitting in my garage.

    The templates were made by me, from one of the 3D models that are floating around out there on the web. I don't like to just take any old 3D model though and try to unfold/assemble it. I find that it's easier to breakdown most objects into smaller sections. So I take the 3D models and project texture information (typically from reference captured in game as a screenshot) then add geometry to follow the texture information. This allows me to unfold the patterns with minimal distortion -and results in a cleaner, more accurate build. Now while that sounds simple, let me clarify that reworking the models took several hours to do. This isn't just a "build by numbers" project.

    Before I go into the details I would like to thank EvilFX and the rest of the talented artists who pioneered this build method and sharing their discoveries with the materials used. Here is a link to the blog of EvilFX and Volpin which I used for research before starting my project. Thanks!

    N7 Armor Build by Evil FX
    N7 Armor by Volpin

    What is the goal?

    This
    [​IMG]

    Alright, cool. Now lets talk about how to get there. I used those EVA interlocking foam mats you keep hearing about. They really aren't that rare, they just seem to be overlooked a lot and placed in different departments of different stores. Mostly because no one seems to have any clear knowledge of how or when they are supposed to be used. I've found them in Target, Walt-Mart, Harbor Freight, Ebay, and Amazon.

    Templates, Blueprints, & Patterns

    So you have patterns and foam. Wait, you don't have templates you say? Evil FX and Volpin made their own? Oh yeah, there is a really cool guy on the RPF (and 405th I think) Named Narayas that was kind enough to do that for you...


    Be aware that he created those in illustrator/photoshop and he has detailed a way to scale and print those properly on his blog mentioned in his thread. So you'll have to do more reading, sorry bro.

    EDIT - The patterns I made for this costume, as well as many other very good resources from other members can now be found on this forum under the Mass Effect Pepakura File Archive
    http://www.therpf.com/f24/mass-effect-pepakura-file-archive-check-regular-updates-186674

    [​IMG]


    They are pretty simple. There are NO TABS, this isn't a paper build. The only tabs that are active are only active because you are supposed to attach those two parts together to make a larger template to trace on your material.

    Establishing Scale


    I just made a 3D mannequin based off of my own nearly naked body (sorry, you gotta use your own) and scaled that within Maya. Then I take whatever object, in this case the entire N7 Shepard Armor and scale it up to my height. I actually didn't scale the parts individually to fit me. I find that if you scale each part to fit specific areas of your body then you always end up looking like an alien grey. So I took a chance and scaled the entire armor grouped to 72 inches and prayed that it would fit. Turns out that at my height, Commander Shepard and I have similar builds except he has a much smaller head and feet, sucka.

    [​IMG]

    I should also mention that I didn't just take the model as is and scale it up. The model imported triangulated, and since Maya's quad function NEVER works for me I had to clean up the parts manually. I also took the liberty of deleting the under suit and "soft" parts that weren't going to need templates. There were also times where I had to split polygons and change the actual 3D model to properly follow the texture. Thankfully these are problems that you don't have to worry about [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    Using the first image of the thread, along with other turnaround sheets that I made, I was able to print off reference pages to have available as I worked in shop. These gave me good visual ques on how far parts should sit from one another.

    Build Time

    [​IMG]

    As I mentioned before. The project kind of took on a life of it's own. I started with a gauntlet and biceps using left over foam from another project. The next thing I know I'm stealing my girlfriend's dress form to keep all of the parts off of the floor.

    As far as building it, there is no trick to it. The templates only really give you an outline and you have to figure out how to get the part to look the part and fit where it is supposed to. There are no easy answers unfortunately. The best advice I can give you is to take your time, try to build one part every 1-2 days, and constantly look at your reference.

    [​IMG]

    And yes, that helmet is made of foam. The only reason I decided to go with the open face helm initially was so that I could drink my beer comfortably at DragonCon. But, turns out I don't really like wearing an oven on my head very long anyways and I thought that I might be able to upgrade it to the "Breather" version.

    [​IMG]

    Which I could, neat! That helmet is about 118 different parts and took about six hours to build. The entire suit is at about 104 hours for the main assembly.

    It kind of feels like building with LEGOS, only you have to measure and cut out your legos and sometimes they don't fit perfectly together so you just have to force that s*** to work - actually, it's nothing at all like LEGOS. But DO think of each small part as a puzzle [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    Final Test Fit - Yes, that is the battle rifle from Halo. I didn't have my Mattock at the time and needed to see what carrying a prop would feel like.

    [​IMG]



    Updates to come. Thanks for reading and good luck on your projects!
     
    Last edited: Jun 23, 2015
    Spaceboy and tgk like this.
  2. Crank729

    Crank729 Sr Member

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    Re: Hugh's Mass Effect II N7 Armor

    Insanely good man!
     
  3. PariahAU

    PariahAU New Member

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    Re: Hugh's Mass Effect II N7 Armor

    <--- Envious

    great work. can't wait to see the final result.
     
  4. Morgenes

    Morgenes Member

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    Re: Hugh's Mass Effect II N7 Armor

    Thank you for sharing this with us! It's very cool of you to pass on your hard work. Couple of questions immediately come to mind. How tall are you? (So I can have a quick estimate of how differently sized we are)
     
  5. SqueekinOrka

    SqueekinOrka Well-Known Member

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    Re: AU - Mass Effect II N7 Armor

    That is an incredible N7 suit. Just amazing! I'm speechless.
     
  6. Gary Pahls

    Gary Pahls Well-Known Member

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    Re: AU - Mass Effect II N7 Armor

    Amazing craftsman ship
     
  7. itsaplane

    itsaplane Member

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    Re: AU - Mass Effect II N7 Armor

    wow, this is extremely awesome and totally inspiring! Looks just like the real thing!
     
  8. Judge Spartan

    Judge Spartan Sr Member

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    Re: AU - Mass Effect II N7 Armor

    You look like you were ripped from the video game, great work!!!:thumbsup
     
  9. Redtogusa

    Redtogusa Well-Known Member

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    Re: AU - Mass Effect II N7 Armor

    Excellent work mate. I love the design of the Mass Effect armor and you've done a great job of replicating it.
     
  10. Canobi

    Canobi Sr Member RPF PREMIUM MEMBER

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    Re: AU - Mass Effect II N7 Armor

    Epic!! I love the detail you've manage to get into it :thumbsup
     
  11. Sluis Van Shipyards

    Sluis Van Shipyards Master Member

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    Re: AU - Mass Effect II N7 Armor

    Very cool! That's one of the best I've seen so far.
     
  12. zookone

    zookone Well-Known Member

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    Re: AU - Mass Effect II N7 Armor

    Your foam work is fantastic! def. gonna' follow this thread!
     
  13. DuneMuadDib

    DuneMuadDib Sr Member

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    Re: AU - Mass Effect II N7 Armor

    That is incredible. Well done.
     
  14. jango trooper

    jango trooper Member

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    Re: AU - Mass Effect II N7 Armor

    Brilliant costume!
     
  15. rowwlok

    rowwlok New Member

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    Re: AU - Mass Effect II N7 Armor

    I have to say this is awesome. I saw another pattern I was going to try and found this while looking for the helmet. I am more comfortable with Pepakura so i will probably do this one instead. Yours looks awesome. Thanks for sharing.
     
  16. Phaleure

    Phaleure New Member

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    Re: AU - Mass Effect II N7 Armor

    Amazing work, I love to see that you made a helmet out of foam. It gives me the courage to use it for some less then obvious builds too.
     
  17. mckilla

    mckilla Active Member RPF PREMIUM MEMBER

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    Re: AU - Mass Effect II N7 Armor

    Bro, This is EPIC!
     
  18. NexusFX

    NexusFX Well-Known Member RPF PREMIUM MEMBER

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    Re: AU - Mass Effect II N7 Armor

    holy crap...good dude
     
  19. HawkBlade

    HawkBlade Member

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    Re: AU - Mass Effect II N7 Armor

    Great work!!!
     
  20. CDub

    CDub New Member

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    Re: AU - Mass Effect II N7 Armor

    This is awesome! NJ man!
     
  21. Ki Djowac

    Ki Djowac Active Member RPF PREMIUM MEMBER

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    Re: AU - Mass Effect II N7 Armor

    Amazing work, looking forward to seeing more !:thumbsup
     
  22. ne0ven0m

    ne0ven0m Member

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    Re: AU - Mass Effect II N7 Armor

    Looks outstanding! I hope I can stop by whatever Mass Effect group meetup/photoshoots are planned for this year's D*C.
     
  23. andr3w1sh

    andr3w1sh New Member

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    Re: AU - Mass Effect II N7 Armor

    Awesome build, and awesome model work. Any chance you could take a stab at the Cerberus Armor from ME 2? PM me if you want.

    [​IMG]
     
  24. CDub

    CDub New Member

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    Re: AU - Mass Effect II N7 Armor

    * this is cool! Great job!
     
  25. Itsanonsense

    Itsanonsense New Member

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    Re: AU - Mass Effect II N7 Armor

    Absolutely fantastic! :eek:
     
  26. zombie geek

    zombie geek Member

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    Re: AU - Mass Effect II N7 Armor

    :-O wow :-O
     
  27. Aeronnz

    Aeronnz New Member

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    Re: AU - Mass Effect II N7 Armor

    This looks amazing. Can't wait to see it all painted and finished!
     
  28. AxiomUltra

    AxiomUltra Active Member

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    Re: AU - Mass Effect II N7 Armor

    Thanks everyone!

    Here is somewhat of an update on the project/s:

    So while also working on another 3D rifle, along with the two costumes I need to get done, I have slowly been working on developing this little guy.

    The model was sculpted in ZBrush and broken down into several parts. Each part is a Dynamesh 3D object. I plan on laying them out as a sheet and combining them together with smaller dynamesh cylinders - forming a layout similar to a model kit.

    [​IMG]

    So, hopefully that will all work out. I have ordered one of Zander's AMAZING Mattock kits, bought all of the painting supplies, and am anxiously waiting to get started on that.

    The N7 Armor is halfway sealed and ready for painting. Not much to show on that front. I will be uploading images of everything once I get the new ear parts installed on the helmet. Speaking of which..

    I sculpted (the biggest breath mints in the world) as one friend said and had them printed up.

    [​IMG]

    The price was good and the quality was better than expected. I had to sand everything down before casting the parts but everything came together perfectly.

    I have also had to start on the Ashley armor for my girlfriend. All of the patterns are unfolded and ready to go. We actually got the arms finished in a couple hours. Pics on that are coming as well once we can do a test fit.

    [​IMG]

    Thanks all!
     
  29. AggieChick42

    AggieChick42 Active Member

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    Re: AU - Mass Effect II N7 Armor

    Did you use a template to make your helmet? That thing is INSANELY good and I want one to... :cry I don't have photoshop so that website is pretty much crap to me at this point! grrr
     
  30. AxiomUltra

    AxiomUltra Active Member

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    Re: AU - Mass Effect II N7 Armor

    Thanks! Yes I used a template. There is actually a link under Narayas' patterns for the ones I did in the first post. They are pepakura files without tabs, designed for foam.

    New helmet pic! Installed the new ear parts. Looks much better!

    [​IMG]
     
  31. P4r4dox86

    P4r4dox86 Well-Known Member

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    Re: AU - Mass Effect II N7 Armor

    Wow, that's looking fantastic man!
     
  32. AggieChick42

    AggieChick42 Active Member

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    Re: AU - Mass Effect II N7 Armor

    AxiomUltra, Now that I have that software I will try to download those patterns from that website... hopefully I can get the Fem-Shep stuff!
     
  33. GakAttack

    GakAttack New Member

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    Re: AU - Mass Effect II N7 Armor

    Wow, this is mind blowing. How mobile are you in the suit?
     
  34. AggieChick42

    AggieChick42 Active Member

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    Re: AU - Mass Effect II N7 Armor

    Am I just blind? Why can't I find the link you mentioned? :facepalm
     
  35. AxiomUltra

    AxiomUltra Active Member

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  36. AggieChick42

    AggieChick42 Active Member

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    Re: AU - Mass Effect II N7 Armor

    Thanks!
     
  37. Sakara

    Sakara Well-Known Member

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    Re: AU - Mass Effect II N7 Armor

    The fit on that armour is perfect!
     
  38. AxiomUltra

    AxiomUltra Active Member

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    Re: AU - Mass Effect II N7 Armor

    Thanks everyone!

    New Updates! Paint'n'stuff

    [​IMG]

    First attempt at the N7 logo. Just colored construction paper covered with clear resin and then cut on the scroll saw into the properly sized rectangle.

    [​IMG]

    Finally, a use for the super lame double sided tape I've had sitting around. This emblem was just a test to see if the size was correct. I'm working on a second draft with brighter colors to be permanently attached.

    [​IMG]

    So for this weekend's To-Do's:

    -Finish sealing the legs & shins then give them a base coat
    -Install the belt connecting the upper legs to the chest core
    -Create N7 emblems for the helmet
    -Create a new visor for the helmet
    -Figure out how to install the new LEDs I bought
    -Paint the signature stripes down the arm
    -Begin weathering all parts
     
  39. Wheatley

    Wheatley New Member

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  40. benjyfrog

    benjyfrog New Member

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    Re: AU - Mass Effect II N7 Armor

    Amazing !!!
     
  41. AxiomUltra

    AxiomUltra Active Member

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    Re: AU - Mass Effect II N7 Armor

    Thanks!
    Those are the ones, yes. I buy mine locally unless I need a particular color.
     
  42. msleeper

    msleeper Sr Member

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    Re: AU - Mass Effect II N7 Armor

    It's like 107 in Atlanta today, I can't believe you have motivation to do anything. It's so humid where I'm at. All I want to do is sit in front of a fan.
     
  43. AxiomUltra

    AxiomUltra Active Member

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    Re: AU - Mass Effect II N7 Armor

    LOL yea it's pretty rough outside today. I'm having flashbacks from when I was stationed in Okinawa. Just missing the giant snails and tiny cars..
     
  44. Christopher

    Christopher Member

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    Re: AU - Mass Effect II N7 Armor

    Hey it's like 3 degrees Celsius here in Melbourne today. I don't even want to get out of bed let alone work in the freezing garage
     
  45. Canobi

    Canobi Sr Member RPF PREMIUM MEMBER

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    Re: AU - Mass Effect II N7 Armor

    Tesco's also do 8mm foam camping matts for £4.50 ish.
     
  46. Wheatley

    Wheatley New Member

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    Re: AU - Mass Effect II N7 Armor

    Good call. They don't have much of the faux carbon fibre textured mats it seems, but that stuff is great for added layers
     
  47. LoveofCountry

    LoveofCountry Member

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    Re: AU - Mass Effect II N7 Armor

    What paint scheme you going for Axiom? Side Stripe color? Double middle stripes trailing off the chest?
     
  48. AxiomUltra

    AxiomUltra Active Member

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    Re: AU - Mass Effect II N7 Armor

    I haven't decided yet, but I'll probably just end up trying to replicate the red/white stripes down the arm since this is the first time I've built anything like this. I'm going to use Acrylic paint for those, and the stripe on the helmet as well. I just need to build up enough motivation to go into town and get the rest of the supplies now.:)

    I finished the N7 emblems. It took a couple tries to get a bubble-free finish but it all ended up working out. I attached one to the chest and two smaller emblems to the helmet sides. (barely visible in pic, sorry)

    I also did a quick test run for the visor which actually turned out much better than I expected! I first modeled the visor base in 3D and extruded the sides so that I would have a pattern to cut some styrene support guides from. I cut the main outline of the visor first on a scrap of foam, then mounted the guides to hold it's shape. I then used the foam "buck" to heat form a piece of plexiglas (outside in 106 degrees with a respirator) :lol

    Fun times
     
  49. PaulBoekhoff

    PaulBoekhoff New Member

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    Re: AU - Mass Effect II N7 Armor

    Fantastic!
     
  50. Thievius Sisko

    Thievius Sisko New Member

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    Re: AU - Mass Effect II N7 Armor

    Oh my goodness this is AMAZING!!!
     

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