Destiny Vex Titan - A Returnee Retrospective


New Member
Hi Everyone, first time posting here on RPF and let me say that this is an amazing community of insanely talented people!

I'm Alex, and I wanted to share some of my Destiny Vex Titan build from last year, as a bit of an after-project retrospective. I call it a 'returnee' retrospective because, although this is the first for me on this forum, this costume represented a return to making costumes/props for me after a very long absence. Long ago in the murky past, I was one of the first small group of members of a little site called 405th (I see now its in the RPF bubble!). Back then, myself along with several other members were using a novel paper unfolding program from japan to make patterns for fiberglass armor... And MAN has that come a long way in the last decade or what?!

But, university, and then the video game software industry being as they are, there were many things that kept me discouraged from starting any kind of ambitious costume for a very long time. Fortunately last year I finally felt the time was right to dive back into the hobby, and I had long eyed the unique style of Destiny as a source of many awesome costume ideas. So I want to share the result of my return and my experience of getting back into this hobby after a decade or so!

Also, Watch This Space! I have a new and much more ambitious project in work for 2023, thread coming soon!


First off, here are some shots of the finished costume. It was built/painted in about a month and a half before DragonCon 2022. The armor, paint, electrics and weathering were all ad-lib from a combination of pepakura files and visual references found online, with the goal of looking like a titan which had been consumed by the vex and was slowly rusting away.

I didn't make any of the cloth parts myself because I am bereft of sewing skills and anyway did not have enough time. Additionally the gun prop was purchased online. Initially I had planned to 3D print a gun to paint but again time was my enemy, and I opted for the Amazonian variety of mail-order prop. I had truly forgotten what that pre-con panic work cycle felt like... ahh...

The armor was built with EVA foam, and this is where my retrospective really begins. The pepakura portion of making patterns was extremely familiar to me since I had actually used those skills to make templates for other things over the last several years. Really the first big surprise was being able to get my hands on materials so easily. I can remember long ago digging through the back of some local hardware store, trying to find a foam mat that might be useful when cut up, or buying fiberglass and resin from an automotive store. Imagine my surprise when I walked into a local craft store and found an entire shelf full of various thickness and shapes of EVA foam, adhesive, sealer, putty, all for the express purpose of building costumes.

Enough to make a grown man cry....

*Ahem* anyway, I was pretty clumsy at first with the foam because I was not used to cutting at angles to get the right bond, but eventually I got the hang of it and from there it was off to the races!
DC_22_Foam Parts (1).jpg
DC_22_Foam Parts (7).jpg

One thing that I found a very welcome refresher was the use of a heat gun for forming this foam, as it responds much more readily, and retains shape much better than the old EVA did. Once I got the hang of how much it could bend I was ditching split lines from my pepakura patterns at a rapid pace, and it is really amazing how much shaping power you have as long as you don't overheat things.

Towards the end I free-handed some pouches to attach to the belt, which I fitted with magnets for the closures. This ended up being very handy and made me think more about integrating storage into my future costumes. You don't realize how much junk you walk around with at a con until you have no accessible pockets for it!
DC_22_Foam Parts (8).jpg
DC_22_Foam Parts (2).jpg

Another new thing for me to get used to was filling seams and edges with putty. Above I have pictured the helmet in the process of this. It was interesting how sand-able the combination of putty and foam is and, after all was done, you can get a very impressively smooth surface as long as you mind your edges. This kind of detail I used to sculpt out of Bondo on fiberglass, and let me tell ya, I found the foam way MUCH better! I really didn't get to explore just how detailed it is possible to get with this foam, mostly due to time constraint, but I look forward to pushing the limits of that in future projects.

DC_22_Paint (1).jpg
DC_22_Paint (2).jpg

When I first got into costuming, I used to loathe painting and just reached for the nearest spray-can. I think maybe that was because I was art-loaded and somewhat tech-less during grade school though, because in this case I very much enjoyed the process of replicating my chosen material reference shown on the left. Alternatively, time in the game industry may have simply made me overly critical of low resolution textures...

For this look I first went with a mixture of copper and gold in several layers, threw on some thinned paint in the seams for occlusion, and then went at it with a sponge and wipe to get that grimy black/brown feel. Separate from this, I then went back and added the teal oxidation. Really key to this is that rust or oxidation has noticeable texture, and to replicate that in paint I first mixed a color I was satisfied with and then added some baking soda, making the paint chalky. This I applied in various places to give the oxidized effect. Considering real copper can have a very blue shade to its rust, I then made a very thin wash in a much brighter blue, and hit the places where the rough paint was to give some more color depth. I was very pleased in the end with the result.
DC_22_Paint (3).jpg
DC_22_Paint (4).jpg

For the finishing touch, I bought some LEDs which I wired with a watch battery inside the helmet. To get the diffuse light look, I used a semi-transparent foam for the eye centers. In the future I would like to try staining this foam a color though, as they're very plain white when the LEDs are off. Another area I'd like to improve is the blackout inside the helmet. I used a head sock to mask my face and eyes, but I would really prefer some option that gives more vision, and better air flow. If anyone has anything that works well and is flexible to take the shape of helmets, I'd be interested to know.

So that's a short retro on my Destiny Vex Titan build. Overall I was really pleased to get back into the hobby and very happy with how much more accessible and usable materials are these days. After I recovered from the late-year costume party season, I immediately went all-in working on a 3D model for a much more ambitious build, which I look forward to sharing with you all soon!

Cheers! ~Alex

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