Custom Foam - Arctic Mandalorian - WIP - Pic Heavy


Active Member
Hi All,

My buddy and I have decided to make some sets of custom foam Mandalorian Armor. As you may or may not be aware, EVA foam is forbidden by the Mandalorian Mercs as a build material. With that in mind, this costume will be built 100% for my personal enjoyment. We will not be applying for any official status when we are finished.

We live in Buffalo, NY, and the local Star Wars Fan Force - The Northridge has an entire group of "Snow Mandos". We have taken our inspiration from them. To start off I found the pepakura files readily available here on the RPF. After printing them out, and starting to cut them out with scissors (which is extremely painstaking and time consuming - PROPS to anyone who uses this method!), I decided that since this costume will not be "official" that I could just free-hand some drawings on poster board, and go from there.

I have a really great Boba Fett shirt that I used as my inspiration.

20150407_173749 by bobby_whalen, on Flickr

Since my posterboard was black I used chalk for the drawings. Here's how they turned out...

20150401_002919 by bobby_whalen, on Flickr

I found these grey jumpsuits at Ollie's Bargain Outlet for $20.

20150401_002858 by bobby_whalen, on Flickr

I found these used Mukluks at the local Army/Navy Surplus store for about $25.

20150331_122904 by bobby_whalen, on Flickr

These gloves were $1 at Walmart.

20150401_002822 by bobby_whalen, on Flickr

I found these cell phone cases for $1 each at Dollar Tree.

20150401_004947 by bobby_whalen, on Flickr

For the knees I found some images online that I could print out on scrap paper. For the shoulders I just free-hand drew those...

20150401_165431 by bobby_whalen, on Flickr

Another cool accessory for the belt. About $8 from the surplus store.

20150401_003147 by bobby_whalen, on Flickr

The belt itself was about $4. (The tag says $9.95, but all used merchandise is always 60% off...)

20150401_002841 by bobby_whalen, on Flickr

These balaclavas were actually full price since they were new. $9.

20150401_141553 by bobby_whalen, on Flickr

Here's a look at how my parts first began to come together.

20150401_162400 by bobby_whalen, on Flickr

We ordered these super cheep Jango Fett helmets to use. They were $34. LOTS of modifications will be needed to bring these up to speed.

20150406_141601 by bobby_whalen, on Flickr

The forearms were the first part I started to build. KG stands for "Kevin's Gauntlet".

20150401_161036 by bobby_whalen, on Flickr

Got the basic shape down. Then started trimming from there...

20150401_151326 by bobby_whalen, on Flickr

20150401_161101 by bobby_whalen, on Flickr

20150401_161109 by bobby_whalen, on Flickr

Just kept adding layers of foam until the forearms started to look more like Boba's...

20150405_015957 by bobby_whalen, on Flickr

20150405_051127 by bobby_whalen, on Flickr

Next I traced the posterboard patterns onto the foam. I found that one of the keys is to trim the edges of the foam. Once everything was cut out I used my Heat Gun to shape the foam and "heat seal" it.

20150403_155554 by bobby_whalen, on Flickr

Little bit of fitting...

20150403_212416 by bobby_whalen, on Flickr

Before and after shots of the back. The one on the left is just flat foam. The one on the right is sculpted using heat.

20150403_194754 by bobby_whalen, on Flickr

Lots of coats of Plasti-dip to get a good seal and finish. For 2 sets of armor, we have gone through about 5-6 cans of Plasti-dip. Not that cheep at $5.96 per can at Home Depot.

20150406_150456 by bobby_whalen, on Flickr

Here we are after a few coats.

20150407_002014 by bobby_whalen, on Flickr

Now on to the helmet...

20150406_142019 by bobby_whalen, on Flickr

I started off by taping the visor. I am going to try and use the existing visors to save some money, but we'll see what happens...

20150407_170214 by bobby_whalen, on Flickr

20150407_170244 by bobby_whalen, on Flickr

Since this lid is 2 pieces, the next step will be to attach the two halves with some JB Weld.

20150407_170324 by bobby_whalen, on Flickr

20150407_170226 by bobby_whalen, on Flickr

That's all for now. More updates soon!


Active Member

Loving the way the shoulders turned out. Adding the layered Mando symbol gives it some depth...


Active Member
This is my first Mando build, and also my first attempt to complete a 2 piece helmet. Since this is the "Deluxe Rubies Jango Fett" helmet, and it comes in 2 pieces it has earned the nickname J2P on some of the costuming sites...

As it is my first build of this nature, I have made some mis-steps. I would like to briefly talk about them for a few moments, and hopefully save other from the same mistakes.

For my first mistake, I took the two halves of the helmets, and simply taped them together with painters tape while I started work. This is fine, but then when I decided to permanently joins the two halves with JB Weld I didn't add another material. I was thinking that the JB Weld would adhere to itself, and that if I just used a larger amount of it, that it would build up and hold. Wrong.

When it dried I tested it by flexing it a bit. The JB Weld immediately snapped away from the helmet. With almost no pressure. So, this led me to try Zap-A-Gap (CA+ Glue) and Zip Kicker. This also failed. I was not expecting either of these products to fail.

So, I went to an old reliable: I used high temp hot glue, and some 1" nylon webbing strips.

20150409_234715 by bobby_whalen, on Flickr

With the webbing strips held in place with some hot glue I added JB Weld over the webbing. This seemed to work very well. However all that JB Weld was making the inside of the helmet smell pretty bad.

So, I used some leftover plastic strips from the TK I am still building (it may be an eternity before it's complete). I attached the small plastic strips in between the nylon webbing using E6000 and some magnets. Now E6000 worked great! However, this meant no work for 24 hours while it dried.

20150408_131805 by bobby_whalen, on Flickr

20150408_131800 by bobby_whalen, on Flickr

Fast forward 24 hours, and everything looks good. The two halves are nicely joined together, and I'm ready for the next step.

And, another mistake.

So, for the seam on the outside I opted to use Bondo bumper repair to fill in the gap, and create another strong bond. Since I'm building 2 helmets, I am enjoying these before and after shots. Here is a look at the areas being sanded.

20150409_221139 by bobby_whalen, on Flickr

20150409_221405 by bobby_whalen, on Flickr

6 minutes working time, 30 minutes to cure.

20150409_221420 by bobby_whalen, on Flickr

Sometimes I get take out food, and sometimes I eat it without ever using the knife that they almost always give you. So, I have a bit of a collections of plastic knives. I'm going to use these for mixing, and possibly some application.

20150409_221556 by bobby_whalen, on Flickr

I only had this one disposable dish, and I thought that I might need it several times. Therefore, I lined it with aluminum foil. That way I can replace the foil, and have a clean mixing bowl over and over.

20150409_221757 by bobby_whalen, on Flickr

Quick look at my workbench. I threw down that scrap of plywood to keep it relatively clean.

20150409_221804 by bobby_whalen, on Flickr

All prepped and ready.

20150409_222151 by bobby_whalen, on Flickr

I followed the directions on the first helmet, and the results are good. I applied extra pressure along the seam to ensure that some of the material got inside of it.

20150409_222824 by bobby_whalen, on Flickr

20150409_222837 by bobby_whalen, on Flickr

20150409_224634 by bobby_whalen, on Flickr

Mistake #2. Remember earlier, when I was boasting about building 2 helmets with before and after pictures. Well, I totally forgot to sand the second helmet in preparation for the Bondo Bumper Repair Kit. The results were not good. You MUST sand the area to be "repaired" or it will fail.

20150409_231826 by bobby_whalen, on Flickr

The helmet on the right was properly sanded prior to adding the material. The helmet on the left was not sanded at all prior. Obviously, don't do this. Haha.

20150409_232153 by bobby_whalen, on Flickr

Now, a do-over...

20150409_233215 by bobby_whalen, on Flickr

More to come.


Active Member
Now, I'd like to ask some advice. I keep Google searching different combinations of "Helmet, Bondo, Rondo, Resin, Plastic, J2P, etc..." and I can't seem to find a consensus. Is it okay to use Bondo Body Filler on a helmet like this, or will it just eventually crack, and break off? Should I use Rondo? Or, maybe Rondo the inside? I would really appreciate some direction if anyone has any advice to offer.



Active Member
I like the work so far! Nice to see someone else from B-lo on here. I'll be following this, as I want to make a mando for my son (4 yrs) I hacked one together for the Bisons game last year, but I want to up his game. Cheers,

Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk ImageUploadedByTapatalk1429358682.393570.jpg


Active Member
Okay, sorry for the delay in updating, but I've been extremely busy lately.

As for the helmets, the process was:
-e6000 tiny abs strips inside
-add nylon webbing over internal seam
-add JB Weld liberally to nylon webbing and plastic on inside of helmet
-Bondo bumper repair on the outer seam
-Bondo body filler over the top of entire outer seam
-feather Bondo body filler across large parts of the outer helmet

Once the Bondo starts to harden a bit i started sanding. I didn't wait too long before I started this step. Maybe 6 minutes. It all comes down to how much hardener you add to the body filler.

20150418_014038 by Robert Whalen, on Flickr

20150418_014044 by Robert Whalen, on Flickr

Notice that I used a sanding sponge with an angled edge to it. I found this extremely helpful. I started with more coarse grit sanding sponges slowly graduating to more fine. I ended up applying somewhere around 5 coats of body filler to the exterior of the helmet to establish the correct shape and smoothness.

20150418_020626 by Robert Whalen, on Flickr

20150418_020633 by Robert Whalen, on Flickr

Once I finished with the body filler I used a cheap high build primer filler that I found at Harbor Freight Tools.

20150418_022209 by Robert Whalen, on Flickr

20150418_022347 by Robert Whalen, on Flickr

Side by side before and after...

20150419_232402 by Robert Whalen, on Flickr


Active Member
Once the lids were coming along I started to get the armor closer to being finished.

20150421_113319 by Robert Whalen, on Flickr

Good WIP photo for the buckets...

20150421_122210 by Robert Whalen, on Flickr

20150421_122254 by Robert Whalen, on Flickr

20150421_130107 by Robert Whalen, on Flickr

20150422_003603 by Robert Whalen, on Flickr

Here's a nice shot of all the paint that ended up in the project...

20150422_141041 by Robert Whalen, on Flickr

So, Kevin and I wanted similar color schemes, but also distinctly different. I went with a nice hammered bronze and copper for my accent colors. Kevin's colors ended up being silver and blue...

20150422_144250 by Robert Whalen, on Flickr

My helmet is on the right. First I sprayed both helmets inside and out, flat black. I wanted the inside to look finished as well when it was all done. Next I sprayed my helmet the Copper color that I wanted to be the color for the cheeks, ears, back, and range finder.

20150422_151816 by Robert Whalen, on Flickr

I let that dry for over 24 hours before taping over it.

20150423_142446 by Robert Whalen, on Flickr

20150423_142454 by Robert Whalen, on Flickr

20150423_142504 by Robert Whalen, on Flickr

Once the tape was in place, mine got hit with the copper, and Kevin's the silver...

20150424_112803 by Robert Whalen, on Flickr

I didn't get a photo of the next step, but I waited another 24 hours, and added more tape. Finally, the white coat went on last...

20150424_213623 by Robert Whalen, on Flickr

When the white paint was dry enough to handle I started CAREFULLY removing the tape. very slowly, and very deliberately...

20150424_213623 by Robert Whalen, on Flickr

20150424_213648 by Robert Whalen, on Flickr

20150424_235116 by Robert Whalen, on Flickr

We were quite pleased with the results. We felt that the two Mando's could belong to the same Clan, but weren't necessarily twins.

Next, we started weathering. Man, this is a tough step. To take something that you so carefully painted, and add damage is hard to get over. The first bit of weathering we did was a technique called "dry brushing". If you Google search "Dry Brushing" you'll find some great tutorials on youtube. Basically, you hold a cheap, disposable paint brush in one hand, and the spray paint in the other hand. Spray the spray paint directly onto the brush. Then immediately drag the damp brush across the edge of the part that is to be weathered. This can be a slow process until you get the hang of it, but it really adds some great looking scratches to the armor...

20150425_022141 by Robert Whalen, on Flickr

Here's a look at the dry brush technique on the gauntlet and hand guard...

20150425_022615 by Robert Whalen, on Flickr
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Active Member
I found this old Batman dart gun at the local thrift store for $2. Here's a look a coat of grey primer...

20150501_122826 by Robert Whalen, on Flickr

Next I wanted to cover up the Batman logo. So, I just used some 2mm craft foam, and hot glue...

20150501_122834 by Robert Whalen, on Flickr

20150501_123306 by Robert Whalen, on Flickr

Next, I painted the whole blaster silver. Then waited again, and taped off the trigger and the small part on the stock. Then hit the whole blaster with the copper color...

20150503_013325 by Robert Whalen, on Flickr

20150503_013337 by Robert Whalen, on Flickr

Then I used another weathering technique that I learned on youtube. I used a cheap acrylic black paint, and brushed the paint over an area of the blaster. Only a small area (like 3"x3"), and then immediately wiped the paint off with a rag.

The weathering ends up looking gritty, and used. It's perfect for a Mando...

20150503_231826 by Robert Whalen, on Flickr

I loved the way that this turned out. So, I immediately did the same procedure to all of the armor parts...

20150504_151625 by Robert Whalen, on Flickr

20150615_031905 by Robert Whalen, on Flickr

20150615_032140 by Robert Whalen, on Flickr

20150615_032154 by Robert Whalen, on Flickr


Active Member
I wanted to make sure that the helmet fit me right. There's nothing worse than wearing a costume that has a "bobble-head" feel while you are cosplaying...

To address this I made some template out of craft foam to match the interior shapes of the helmet...

20150424_044035 by Robert Whalen, on Flickr

20150424_042043 by Robert Whalen, on Flickr

Kevin's head is bigger than mine. So, I customized each helmet accordingly. Kevin's helmet used only 2mm craft foam in some places while mine ended up with 2 layers of EVA anti-fatigue mat in some spots. But it's all about the comfort of the person wearing it...

20150424_112845 by Robert Whalen, on Flickr

Since I already had an Aker Voice Amplifier from my Iron Man costume I figured I would incorporate it into this Mando as well.

20150619_011626 by Robert Whalen, on Flickr

I just set the Aker down on the 2mm craft foam, and flipped it over and over - tracing each side when I flipped it....

20150617_230504 by Robert Whalen, on Flickr

After a bit of paint and weathering I think this "home-made" pouch looks pretty good alongside my $1 Dollar Tree cell phone cases...

20150618_005257 by Robert Whalen, on Flickr

I just hot glued a couple of nylon webbing straps with velcro into the helmet to accommodate the Aker mic...

20150615_035610 by Robert Whalen, on Flickr


Active Member
Finally made the cape from some faux fur from Hobby Lobby... It started off as a 36"x30" cape, and was trimmed, and hit with some weathering to look like a pelt...

20150616_002723 by Robert Whalen, on Flickr

20150616_003305 by Robert Whalen, on Flickr

20150616_012036 by Robert Whalen, on Flickr

Still a few more details to sort out, but we did get a chance to take our Mandos "out for a spin". Our local Star Wars Fan Force - The North Ridge - produces and performs to a sold out crowd every year for the Buffalo Bisons. Kevin and I got to take some photos on the field at Coca-Cola Field during a dress rehearsal for our upcoming event on July 18th this summer...

If you are in driving distance to Buffalo, NY I suggest that you consider getting tickets for the game. Should be a blast!

I like to think that I'm Sam Jackson, and Kevin is John Travolta... "SAY WHAT AGAIN!"

FB_IMG_1434720389245 by Robert Whalen, on Flickr

DSC_0188 by Robert Whalen, on Flickr

DSC_0189 by Robert Whalen, on Flickr

DSC_0201 by Robert Whalen, on Flickr

DSC_0204 by Robert Whalen, on Flickr

DSC_0236 by Robert Whalen, on Flickr
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