COMPLETE! "It's About Time!" Starcraft II Jim Raynor Armor *PIC HEAVY*

Re: "It's About Time!" Starcraft II Terran Marine CMC Armor WIP *PIC HEAVY*

That looks so freaking amazing. I really like the look of the fingers.
Can't wait for more foam work XD
Re: "It's About Time!" Starcraft II Terran Marine CMC Armor WIP *PIC HEAVY*

Finally back to foam work! Yipee! Now how to go about doing that... I was honestly stuck. I did some searching and couldn't find a complete/accurate enough pep file. However, looking at the armor sets people have done using pep I could tell it wasn't the tactic I wanted to use. They typically end up very angular which works great for Halo MC's, stormtroopers and of course Iron Men. However, as you can see, This set is very fluid and organic. Lots of curves, not many hard angles at all. I had even extraced the game files and planned on using Pepakura Designer made by Tamasoft and combining that with XRobots' video on converting to foam templates. I spent a while trying to successfully unfold my model but the extracted version wasn't enough detail and mine was WAY to hi-res to work well.

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Therefore! I had to come up with another way to shape my foam into such rounded pieces. Yes, at this point I had decided that EVA foam floor mats would be the way to go. They are cheap(ish) and very readily available when I need more. They run $20 for a set of four 2'x2' puzzle pieces at your local Lowe's. I say cheapish because I had no idea how far or, in this case, how NOT far one pack will go. I'll keep you tallied on the number of sets I've had to buy so far :wacko

Other materials and tools you will need are a heat gun of some sort, a hot glue gun and hi-temp glue sticks, contact cement, a dremel or file, duct tape, cardboard (lots) and a nice sharp razor blade and sharpener. As you know, foam dulls razors really quickly. You could just stock up on loads of blades and swap them out every so often, but I prefer a sharpener because it's quicker, makes the blade sharper than new, and of course only a one-time expense so way cheaper. Also, a breathing mask, safety glasses, and rubber gloves are nice to have. Using a dremel with a sanding bit on foam produces a fine dust that gets everywhere and probably shouldn't be breathed. That goes for the contact cement as well; use it in a well-ventilated area as the fumes can be toxic. Go safety!


OK with that out of the way, I'm starting at the bottom of the suit and working my way up so I don't miss anything and have to come back later. I wasted one square of foam on my first attempt at simply trying to heat and form it into something close to the lower leg. I used a basketball and a football to try and stretch the stuff into shape. NOTE: EVA foam will form very well, but there is a limit on how far it will stretch. either it's not as tight of radius as you'd like or it tears. Rolling foam into a tube is one thing, but trying to get a nice domed surface is much more difficult. I was getting frustrated.

I decided the best way to get the shape I wanted was to have a mold of some sort I could wrap the foam around. I needed something cheap to create my positive from and remembered those wooden dinosaur puzzles that are wood sheet that's cut to slide together perpendicularly. (If that wasn't already a word, by golly it is now!) So I used my Solidworks model to mock up a cross section I could cut out in cardboard. I offset the outer surface a half inch and used that as the boundary for the edges of the frame so that the end product would have the same physical size as the model. I printed off the sections, cut them out, glued them onto the cardboard, cut those out and glued them together.

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I thought I'd try to be clever and just heat up the foam and stretch it over my frame to get the right shape. Save some time right? Not so much.. the cardboard wasn't hefty enough to press against to stretch the foam, so I beefed it up with spray insulation foam and duct tape to try again. Again, not much luck. It was impossible to get a consistant shape and I was terrified to try three more times. Another sheet of foam wasted. (I did end up using those sheets later on for smaller areas so it wasn't a complete loss). Back to the drawing board.

I scoured all my sources for a better way to get the shape I was after and finally stumbled on Evil Ted's YouTube video about how to make a helmet. Check it out HERE. In simple terms, he uses a base that's the shape he wants the inside of the foam to take. A buck simliar to what you'd make for vacuum forming, if you will. Sounds familiar! Then he covers the shape in a couple layers of aluminum foil or plastic wrap and duct tape, scribes cut lines at key areas, then cuts the flat pattern. Transfer the pattern to the foam and "Voila!" Brilliant! Much thanks to Ted for sharing this method!

I removed the duct tape from the cardboard, filled in the gaps on one side with an open-cell mattress pad and carved it to shape. The calves are symmetric so I really only needed one half then flip it over. Next, I wrapped that half in aluminum foil, then went over that with a thin layer of duct tape.

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I cut it along the cardboard outlines because they'd already been so strategically placed, seperated the pieces, flattened them out, cut a few reliefs and traced the pattern onto the foam.

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I cut the pieces out very carefully, heated and bent them each individually so they'd contour nicely around the fram in the appropriate spot, and used contact cement to glue them together. Let me just say, I'm totally sold on the contact cement! Much finer seams than with hot glue and the pieces hold much stronger. I did the boots completely with hot glue and it worked, but if I were to redo them I'd go the latter route. Eventually I got this:


That's more like it! Never let it be said that you can't get complex curves out of foam! I did it again, flipping the templates over to get the mirror image, cut, bent and glued that half, then stuck em both together.

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At that moment, and only just then, I knew I could do this and I'd see it thru to the end. Up until then I still wasn't so sure. but it came out so beautifully i had no doubt after that. Onward and upward!
Re: "It's About Time!" Starcraft II Terran Marine CMC Armor WIP *PIC HEAVY*

This is super impressive so far. I look forward to seeing more progress. The way you're forming all the subtle curves of the armor is really clever.
Re: "It's About Time!" Starcraft II Terran Marine CMC Armor WIP *PIC HEAVY*

Thanks dedguy! Much more to come as I get more time to post.
Re: "It's About Time!" Starcraft II Terran Marine CMC Armor WIP *PIC HEAVY*

Those calves are looking amazing MWiggs. The steps you take to get the perfect patterns really show your skill. Can't wait to see more. And especially how you will handle the knees and elbows.
Re: "It's About Time!" Starcraft II Terran Marine CMC Armor WIP *PIC HEAVY*

Thanks Hop! Loving your HEV suit by the way, you've got some mad painting skills! I may ask for some tips on weathering when I get to that point.

Completed the other calf and used permanent marker to scribe out the lines I'd be going over later with my soldering iron. In case anyone doesn't know, dragging the iron across the foam melts a nice groove into the surface. Depending on how long you hold it in place you can make shallow detail cuts with light pressure or deep melted gross looking holes if you leave it too long. Pic on the left shows what happens when the iron isn't hot enough, pic on the right is just right! (also a sneak peak of what's to come!)

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Speaking of which, following the same method as the calves, I've build the palms of the hands and the forearms. the palms were tricky because I alterred the hand mounts just a bit to adjust the thumb for different positions. I moved the thumb more opposed on the right hand to it could grip a rifle handle better. However this meant the palms were no longer symmetric, which means my form wouldn't work, thus my first free-hand template design was created! I'm still on the fence about how they look but I think they'll do fine. You can see how much lower the hole for the thumb is on the actual piece than what I had planned for the template.

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For the forearms I was able to use my pattern technique again and rushed a pair of these out in surprisingly little time.


At this point I couldn't resist and threw a few of the pieces together to see what they'd look like assembled. These things are huge!


I added a new layer and some embelishments made of 2mm foamies on the forarms to finish them off. What i wouldn't give for a laser cutter right now... xacto knives work well to cut the foamies but it's impossible to make perfectly clean cuts and consistancy is nonexistant. they're close enough tho and I'm hoping that whatever coating I put on this before painting will help hide any weirdness in the edges.

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Re: "It's About Time!" Starcraft II Terran Marine CMC Armor WIP *PIC HEAVY*

Damn, seeing that arm all together is really impressive. Good work dude.
Re: "It's About Time!" Starcraft II Terran Marine CMC Armor WIP *PIC HEAVY*

Those gauntlets look so awesome!
I can't wait to see more, your progress looks really clean (loving the pictures).
Re: "It's About Time!" Starcraft II Terran Marine CMC Armor WIP *PIC HEAVY*

Awesome work, now i'm waiting for the connection between the pieces :)
Re: "It's About Time!" Starcraft II Terran Marine CMC Armor WIP *PIC HEAVY*

Love how this build is shaping up. Thanks for the detailed posts too, they're great to read.
Re: "It's About Time!" Starcraft II Terran Marine CMC Armor WIP *PIC HEAVY*

Thanks for the kind words all! I'm doing my best to be thorough and hopefully help someone out there with a build of their own. If at any point you'd like more information on a specific technique or step I'm more than happy to go deeper into it! Just let me know.

After the forearm I realized I was deviating from my plan of going ground up so I backtracked to the thigh piece. Same method, build the cardboard frame, wrap, scribe, cut, flatten, trace, slice, heat, curve, glue. I got so wrapped up in these I forgot to take intermediate pictures so here they are almost done:

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The hip cover piece was slightly tricky because it was done seperately due to the squares of foam not being large enough, so they don't fit quite as well as I would like. Luckily they're slightly too big so later I can go back and trim them down to size. Also, for extra reinforcement I added a strip of foam all around the perimeter of the top and bottom. The packs of foam come with edge pieces that, when you cut off the puzzle-piece tabs become a beautiful 1/2" square strip that's very bendy. perfect for edging or ribbing!

In my original design (that matches the game screenshots), the hip cover has a second layer that tapers as it goes down toward the knee as shown:


Not the easiest thing do do with foam, but i definitely wanted that look and not just a block glued on the outside. However I wasn't about to sand a whole sheet of foam to a taper, so I came up with another way. I cut out the basic shape I needed and sanded the bevel into the outer edge. Then I traced the approximate shape into the hip cover and sliced a tapered flap about 3/4 of the way around the bottom of the new piece. Push the cut flap in to countersink the new piece, glue in place and BAM! Taper out of foam! I was really surprised it worked so well.

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I sanded the taper around the top a little more and added the screw holes with my dremel.
Next up (as you may have noticed) I skipped around a little more and went back to the top half.
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Re: "It's About Time!" Starcraft II Terran Marine CMC Armor WIP *PIC HEAVY*

MWiggs The photos in your most recent post aren't showing up.
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Re: "It's About Time!" Starcraft II Terran Marine CMC Armor WIP *PIC HEAVY*

Nice work again man! And i know, sanding dense foam results in .... lots and lots of probably not so healthy dusts :). Noticed that when sanding out a channel in my HEV belt. Really clean foamwork btw, your skill for curved pieces is amazing. I never did so many curves in armor with foam before, it doesn't look easy.

Keep up the good work!

Re: "It's About Time!" Starcraft II Terran Marine CMC Armor WIP *PIC HEAVY*

Thanks all! You guys' comments are making me even more excited about this thing. Hope I don't disappoint!

So my first decision of working from the bottom up was been thrown out the window completely. I've modified it to: Major components first, smaller pieces and details later. I bounced back up to the shoulder bells. These turned out a lot bigger than I thought. Impressive to say the least. They took another pack of foam just for these! Followed the same method of course, and the result speaks for itself:

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The little flap thing in the second pic will be mounted with some sort of hinge so it can rotate out of the way as I raise my arm. Also, as you can see I've scribed all the lines on the foam where I plan to use my soldering iron to melt little grooves for detail. Haven't done that step yet, but as soon as I get some ventilation going that's up next. The shape of the shoulders isn't perfect yet, I need to do a little more heat forming to get them just right. Before that happened tho, I moved on to the upper arms. The base shapes were quite simple and I got both of em done in about an hour. Next I cut out the armor plates for the front and did a little detail work on those.

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My workbench is becoming crowded.... I had to clear out even more of my garage so I'd have a spot to stand what I've got done so far.


Now that's a collection!
Re: "It's About Time!" Starcraft II Terran Marine CMC Armor WIP *PIC HEAVY*

Time to build another workbench it seems! fantastic work, by the way :)
Re: "It's About Time!" Starcraft II Terran Marine CMC Armor WIP *PIC HEAVY*

Incredible build! I'll following this thread with great interest!
Re: "It's About Time!" Starcraft II Terran Marine CMC Armor WIP *PIC HEAVY*

Thanks Blackout & TomVDJ!

On that note, I've rearranged my workspace a bit and cleared off most of the pieces. I managed to make a space to set the whole thing up as it comes together off to the side away from where the actual work is taking place. I'm pretty excited about how it's looking! Never thought I'd get this far but SO glad I have! For any of you trying to decide if this is a hobby you want to get into, it's worth the effort people, believe me. :)

I used a sheet of 2mm Foamies foam to add some detailing and kind of cover on the calves and thighs. This made for an awesome rounded transition on the thigh! I'll take a closer picture soon but I'm really proud about how it turned out! High-tack industrial spray adhesive works pretty good for this but you've really got to know where the piece is going before you try to stick it on because it's not coming off after that. Lesson learned the hard way... But I got the right parts cut out and covered and stacked em all up for dramatic effect:


Kind of tricky with no joints yet but I'm stoked about the results so far! Speaking of tricky, up until now I've built everything with my cardboard frame/duct tape method. Next up were the knee caps and I didn't really think the same method was going to work, so I gave it a stab doing everything freehand. I'll tell ya, I was nervous. However, I told myself if I messed it up I still had plenty of extra materials to try again. Don't be afraid to experiment! So far I've found the more creative you get the better the results can be. I started slicing and trimming and in a bit I had this: Then a bit of 1/4" Foamies for the outer trim, again approximated into place. A couple more layers later and I was thinking they're the best looking parts so far.

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For the holes I used Evil Ted's dremel-sanding-rivet method but swapped the bit with a small grinding cylinder where the top is the same grit as the sides. You get a nice clean hole straight thru the foam. I built up the mounts the the caps as well (again freehand, yay) but those required a TON of snading and shaping in order to get them to contour to the calf correctly. After many mock-ups I figured out the mount was way too tall so I cut two inches off the bottom and tried again. Something like this requires much trial and error, and of course patience. Take your time on every little detail because any part you rush will stand out. I believe anyway. I didn't want to glue them to the legs yet because the knee joints had to go in first. Needed the clearance. Next time! Thanks for watching!
Re: "It's About Time!" Starcraft II Terran Marine CMC Armor WIP *PIC HEAVY*

I agree with you, those knee pads are the best piece yet. They look amazing. Your work is so clean and you're getting some amazing shapes out of the foam. Much like Sandbagger's steel Iron Man build I came into this thread dubious that it was even possible, but you make it look like it's not only very possible but also very easy.
Re: "It's About Time!" Starcraft II Terran Marine CMC Armor WIP *PIC HEAVY*

Anything but easy, my friend! But practice makes perfect. I had my doubts too about EVA but it seems to be working pretty close to plan. Thanks for that.

I thought this morning I'd share a fun render I made in my down time. I did it as kind of a geek-tastic tribute to the talent and fandom here on the RPF, and as a small thanks to all the help and guidance I've recieved. I know it's not much, but I hope someone enjoys it. Collective of many of the fan bases here including StafCraft (obvisously) Star Wars, Terminator, Halo, Fifth Element, Aliens, and District 9. I'm working on a second that includes Portal, Warhammer, Megaman, Hellboy, Hitman, and others. Enjoy!


This should be big enough to span 2 monitors @ 1980x1200 rez. If it's not, PM me and I'll send you the full rez version. I'm not sure how attachments are formatted here.

More to come soon!
Re: "It's About Time!" Starcraft II Terran Marine CMC Armor WIP *PIC HEAVY*

DUDE get out of my head! I have been dreaming of this costume for years, and watching your build is like seeing it come to life. Your foam work is looking great so far. All the curves and details are really good. Keep at it, I can't wait to see how it all comes together.
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