Gray Fox MGS1 Build

Mach1matt

Member
Hello All. This is my first post, and first build. I am planning on building as close to a replica as I can of the Gecco Gray Fox figure. I've been lurking for a few years, looking at all the incredible works of art all of you create, and decided to try my hand at it, after watching a play through of Metal Gear Solid on YouTube. I came across Diegator's original thread and was blown away at what he created. I searched all over the net for Pepakura files for a MGS1 Gray Fox, only to come up empty handed. There are however, plenty of Play Arts style files. I just have an affinity to the original style. It reminds me of the good old days of playing MGS1 on the PS1. With that being said, I decided to try my hand at making my own Pep files. I watched a bunch of videos on using Blender for 3D modeling helmets, then found some awesome reference photos from an Amazon listing for the figure.
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I then had a crash course in using Blender and came up with a render for the helmet.
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I then exported to Pepakura Designer and unfolded. Ive never tried to unfold before, and it was definitely a challenge.
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I had a few issues assembling the helmet. Even though I modeled the helmet using a mirror modifier, there were differences on each side in random places. For example, the rounded recessions for the "sensors" in the lower jaw and elsewhere, the right side of the back plate and few other areas weren't symmetrical. I had to correct it as I went along. I got the helmet glued up and did a test fit. There should be room on each side for servos.
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I then finished the pep helmet out and moved on to resin and fiberglass.
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In the next few days I intend on starting to Bondo the helmet. Its been a crazy amount of time and energy in the last two weeks and I can't wait to progress farther with it. I really hope to motorize the faceplates and forehead, but I'll need to research all of that when the time comes. Thanks for checking out my project!
 
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George

Master Member
Hi Matt,

the start of your project looks promising ! I loved the first game and played it often.
Can't wait to see the rest of your progress building the suit (the rest of the files can be found here - courtesy of laellee ):
 
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Mach1matt

Member
Thank you George for all the kind words. I’ve never attempted a build like this and appreciate the feedback. I appreciate the links to the files, however, I plan on attempting this build from a completely different angle as far as the suit goes. I won’t disclose it at the moment as I’m not done researching if the method I want to use even works. I managed to spend the last two evenings cleaning up stray fibers with my Dremel and laying the first two layers of Bondo on the main shell portion of the helmet. I’m following a tutorial from the Boochieboy YouTube channel as far as bondo work goes. He recommended bondo-ing one section at a time, skipping the adjoining section and doing the one past it, and then filling the middle section in afterwards with a flat block to keep the planes level. Unfortunately I’m limited by the amount of daylight I have to work on the helmet during the week. I may try to build a downdraft sanding table so I can sand inside my storage shed and use my shop vac to collect bondo dust. Anyways, I’ll keep progressing the build as time permits. Thanks again for checking out my build!
 

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Mach1matt

Member
Hello all, it’s been a long time since I’ve updated this. I’ve been extremely busy with work. I’m a construction inspector for the state and we were finishing up a bridge project. I made a duct tape mannequin (which was the most AWFUL thing I’ve ever had to endure), and bought a body suit to start making paper templates of the armor. The first helmet ended up being a bust. It’s making for a nice stand in while i make armor templates. It was a little small and warped during the fiberglassing stage so I had to start over. I reprinted it and went through the stages again, and fiberglassed it today. I used a metal coat hanger to keep the neck shape and tooth picks to keep the eye planes right as I fiberglassed it, which is what distorted last time. I’ll be updating more regularly being as work has slowed down.
 

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Mach1matt

Member
Good morning everyone. I’ve made quite a bit of progress on the helmet in the last few weeks. The fiberglass stage was more successful than the last attempt. I then moved on the the bondo stage…again. I started with the main shell of the helmet, taping off the other areas as to try and keep my edges nice and straight. After many nights of applying bondo and sculpting, the main shell was pretty close to done.
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I moved on to the forehead next.
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I got it close and then did the faceplates. I had to test out the red lens for cool factor.
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I used my cheap needle file set and cleaned out the channels between the different pieces of the helmet. I’ll perfect them once I use spot putty. I cleaned up around the eyes and drilled out a few of the “sensor” holes.
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I still need to bondo the neck plate and build up a few more areas, which I plan to do tonight. I’ll update as I progress more with the build. I hope everyone has a wonderful thanksgiving!
 
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joberg

Master Member
Very good work so far; I saw that you used fiberglass +resin for the inside. Another trick is to use "Rondo": Resin + Bondo.
You basically pour it inside the helmet and moving it around as to cover the whole inner surface...a little like a slush-cast (y)
Eager to see your next update!
 

lmgill

Sr Member
Very good work so far; I saw that you used fiberglass +resin for the inside. Another trick is to use "Rondo": Resin + Bondo.
You basically pour it inside the helmet and moving it around as to cover the whole inner surface...a little like a slush-cast (y)
Eager to see your next update!
I have wondered why people don't use this technique when making these types of card stock patterns. If you tape your pattern together on the outside, this makes it easier to assemble, and you can then put a layer or two of PVA on the inside of, what is now your paper mold. Once released, slush "Rondo" (Bondo + polyester resin) on the inside, perhaps add a layer of glass, then peal off the paper. The resulting part with be an even thickness and relatively smooth, making it much easier to sand the exterior to the desired finish.
I have made many parts in a similar fashion using foamcore to make my "mold". You can also add stiffening ribs to the outside to help maintain the shape. In addition, you can use clay on the inside to radius corners.
 

Mach1matt

Member
Very good work so far; I saw that you used fiberglass +resin for the inside. Another trick is to use "Rondo": Resin + Bondo.
You basically pour it inside the helmet and moving it around as to cover the whole inner surface...a little like a slush-cast (y)
Eager to see your next update!
I appreciate it! I haven’t heard of that technique before. This is my first project like this, and I’m kinda learning it as I go. I like the idea though. If I do something else in the future I’ll definitely try it!
I have wondered why people don't use this technique when making these types of card stock patterns. If you tape your pattern together on the outside, this makes it easier to assemble, and you can then put a layer or two of PVA on the inside of, what is now your paper mold. Once released, slush "Rondo" (Bondo + polyester resin) on the inside, perhaps add a layer of glass, then peal off the paper. The resulting part with be an even thickness and relatively smooth, making it much easier to sand the exterior to the desired finish.
I have made many parts in a similar fashion using foamcore to make my "mold". You can also add stiffening ribs to the outside to help maintain the shape. In addition, you can use clay on the inside to radius corners.
I appreciate the insight! I’ll definitely try this on my next project!
 

joberg

Master Member
I appreciate it! I haven’t heard of that technique before. This is my first project like this, and I’m kinda learning it as I go. I like the idea though. If I do something else in the future I’ll definitely try it!

I appreciate the insight! I’ll definitely try this on my next project!
Imgill said it better than me. You can also look at the Marvel page: IM building for example, using those techniques that Imgill listed;)
 

Mach1matt

Member
Good morning. I didn’t have a lot of time this past weekend to work on my build, due to the holiday and all, but I did manage to get a few hours in yesterday. I sanded down my initial layer of bondo on the neck plate and a few areas on the faceplates that needed built up.
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Of course I couldn’t resist light up the lens again, haha.
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I started building up the “eye socket” for the lens, so that I sits flush behind the forehead and faceplates. I just taped a piece of cardboard covered in masking tape and shaped it with a small bondo spreader.
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I used my dremel with a small sanding barrel and started shaping the socket. I need to go back and round over the sharp corner by hand.
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There’s a little detail on my reference photos that I overlooked initially. It’s right on top of the neck plate’s top joint. I laid it out and scored some lines with my needle files but I need to revise the backside, as it is supposed to taper slightly. I’ll cut this section out and use lexan or something to make it a recessed area. Besides, it could also double as the lip that the neck plate attaches to. I plan on making it hinge outwards on both sides and being held closed with magnets. Kind of like a “double door” approach.
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All in all I feel like it’s coming together. The major bondo work is pretty much done. I’m trying to decide if I want to make a mold as a plan B if this thing acts crazy when I cut the sections out. I just really like the weight of this thing so far. Feels hefty. I can’t make the sensor hole recessions before I cut the forehead and face plates out. I have no way of cutting that small of a radius. Tonight I plan on using spot putty to clean up all of the different panel lines. I’ll update as I progress. Thanks for looking, everyone!
 

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Mach1matt

Member
Hello all, last night I finally came up with a solution to a piece of the build that has been baffling me. I’ve been pondering how I would make the “sensors”. While going through my bins of random bolts, washers, and miscellaneous things, I saw some electrical wire nuts. They looked incredibly similar in size to the holes I drilled into the helmet.
After sanding off the “wings” of one of the 5/8”OD wire nuts, they fit PERFECTLY. They even have the tapered look to them like the reference photo shows.
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I shortened them and took a 1/4” socket cap screw and placed it inside the wire nut.
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Aside from rounding the edges and blending it, I am extremely pleased how it turned out. Using a 5/8” forstner bit ensured the holes were very round to begin with. That’s all the progress I made last night. I’ll update again soon. Thanks!
 

joberg

Master Member
The electrical wire nut is not bad...you also could invest in trapezoidal drill bits that will make the hole look like a funnel (in the original design);)
Another trick to have perfect circles is to wrap sanding paper around a wooden dowel (the size of the hole, of course) and to sand it that way by simply turning it inside until it's perfectly round.
Eager to see your next update.(y)
 

Mach1matt

Member
The electrical wire nut is not bad...you also could invest in trapezoidal drill bits that will make the hole look like a funnel (in the original design);)
Another trick to have perfect circles is to wrap sanding paper around a wooden dowel (the size of the hole, of course) and to sand it that way by simply turning it inside until it's perfectly round.
Eager to see your next update.(y)
I appreciate that. I’ll definitely be using the dowel trick when I finalize the sensor holes.
 

Mach1matt

Member
Good morning. Well, I took a leap and committed to a stage of the build I was dreading, I started cutting loose all of the pieces. I bought some small circular saw blades from Harbor Freight which worked okay for the most part. I ended up having to also use a diamond cutting disk due to thickness in some spots. I first cut the neck plates off, so I could verify that it still fits my head.
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I then mocked up how I plan on using hinges with some duct tape. I’ll be using small magnets across the top and at the middle joint to keep it closed.
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I then moved on to cutting the faceplates loose. Definitely nerve wracking taking a dremel to this thing I’ve spent so many nights on. Cutting around a curve was challenging. I had to clamp a fine tooth jigsaw blade with a pair of vice grips to create a makeshift handsaw to cut the corners free. It was crude, but ultimately worked. All went well, aside from having to dress up the cut edges, but from what I can tell the pieces didn’t distort.
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The last thing I messed with before calling it a night was taping the faceplates to the side of the helmet to simulate them being open.
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All in all I’m proud of the progress the last few days. Tonight I plan on cutting the forehead and the access panel on the back loose. I want to partition off the access plate on the back and house the electronics. Speaking of, I need advice on electronics. I bought an Arduino Uno kit to learn some basics. I’m pretty sure the Uno will be far too big to fit under that panel. What would be a good, smaller alternative to be able to run a push button switch, either single led or 7-neopixel disk, and 3 small servos. I know the servos need to be no more than 1/2” thick. What are some good ones that you guys have used or could recommend? 180° rotation should be fine. I appreciate the help in advance. Have a great day!
 

Mach1matt

Member
Hello everyone, and Happy New Year! I have made a lot of progress since my last update. I cut all of the panels out, aside from the back access panel.
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I then made four-bar hinges for the neck plate.
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I then moved on to making the hinges for the forehead. I made the side hinges out of aluminum flat bar and made a dummy servo as I waited for my real ones to be delivered.
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Once my servos came in, EMAX ES08MA2, I made some servo brackets out of some simple small steel “L” brackets from Walmart.
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I then moved on to the faceplates, and my did I underestimate how frustrating they were going to be. After quite a few different designs, I ended up with this one.
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Here’s how it looks all opened up.
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As far as building goes, that’s as far as I’ve made it, but, I have pretty much finished all the coding as well. I’ll make a separate post for that.
 

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Mach1matt

Member
As I stated in the previous post, here’s a preview of the helmet in action. I cannot begin to describe how amazing it was seeing it run for the first time. I have never attempted anything of this magnitude before. I have ordered the rest of the electronic components I need to finalize it (I hope). I’m hoping to have the helmet primed Thursday night, and will begin installing the electronics on Sunday. Thank you all for checking out my project over the last 4 months!
 

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joberg

Master Member
I cannot see the vid on my computer. While I'm far from being someone versed in electronics/servos (I admire you trying to make this helmet with moveable parts(y)), I have to remind you that your lines and closing seams have to be very straight! That's why those type of "Industrial-Machined-helmets" (Iron Man, Gray Fox et all) have to be sharp in terms of those details. You could use Dymo Tape to apply onto the helmet to guide you when scoring the lines (with files, for example) and try to make guides for your Dremel blade to make sure that it's not done "free-hand".
I know, it takes more time to build these guides, but the final result is worth the effort...don't rush it;)
Eager to see your next update and Happy New Year to you and your family :)
 

Mach1matt

Member
I cannot see the vid on my computer. While I'm far from being someone versed in electronics/servos (I admire you trying to make this helmet with moveable parts(y)), I have to remind you that your lines and closing seams have to be very straight! That's why those type of "Industrial-Machined-helmets" (Iron Man, Gray Fox et all) have to be sharp in terms of those details. You could use Dymo Tape to apply onto the helmet to guide you when scoring the lines (with files, for example) and try to make guides for your Dremel blade to make sure that it's not done "free-hand".
I know, it takes more time to build these guides, but the final result is worth the effort...don't rush it;)
Eager to see your next update and Happy New Year to you and your family :)
Thanks for your input. I may try and create a YouTube channel for the videos and embed them that way. You’re completely right about the edges. I tried to cut them as straight as I could, but some of the radiuses were very difficult to cut smoothly with the cut off wheel. I fully intend on addressing them before I apply primer and paint. I just wanted to try and ensure animating it wasn’t something I was incapable of. I have to make another revision to the faceplate swing arms, as the screws pulled out yet again last night on one of them while working on the “sensors” in the forehead. I’ve got a plan to fix it with bigger and better fasteners. I will use your advice and take my time though. I’m really eager to finish this thing and move on to the suit. I haven’t set a deadline to finish it, other than maybe this Halloween. Completely doable I think. But thank you for your kind words!
 

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