Tali'Zorah Build *Pic Heavy*

Discussion in 'Replica Costumes' started by MightyMuffin, Jul 23, 2015.

  1. MightyMuffin

    MightyMuffin New Member

    Trophy Points:
    Hello RPFers!

    As many that have come before me, I am a long-time lurker, first-time poster.

    I recently decided to undertake a project I've been wanting to tackle for a while now: Tali'Zorah from Mass Effect. I'm a stickler for detail, and seeing as I'm around the same height/build as the character, I thought she'd be a great choice. I'm starting off with the construction side of the project (helmet, armour etc.), and will be moving on to sewing later.

    Opening thoughts

    I found various references for character model, and crunched some number until I could figure out exact measurements for various parts of the costume scaled to a 5'7" woman (Tali's height, and mine).

    Front view:


    Back view:


    Please excuse my scrappy doodles, I'm staying with family for my summer hols, so my graphics tablet is several hundred miles away! The circled parts will be 3D printed, the helmet sculpted from a pep file then a mold taken and cast in resin, and the remaining armour parts will be crafted in Worbla (love the stuff). That tricksy little part labeled "tackle later" is something I'm going to have to have a real think about... not sure whether to model and 3D print two separate parts, the parts already joined or whether to craft them by Worbla. I need to find some better references for the back of Tali in general; if anybody knows any they could point me in the direction of, I'd be most grateful!

    Construction I- Helmet

    Simple, straightforward, nothing much to add here. I used 200gsm cardstock, superglue and a little patience...



    On the head.... (I have an unusually big noggin' :/)


    As you can see from the pictures, no breather was pepped. This is because I've 3D modeled the breather module for the front of the mask. The "flashy sound bit" (the bit that lights up when she speaks? There must be a better word) will be cast in clear resin with a sound-responsive LED.

    Resin-ing and fiberglass has been happening this last week.


    For strengthening the card model, so-far I've used: David's Fast-Glas tissue from Halfords and EL2 epoxy resin and fast hardener from Easy Composites. The smoothing and detail will be done with Isopon P38. I've been scaring the family heading out-back in my respirator and coveralls the past few days...

    So, I have a question. I'm having issues getting the fiberglass tissue to adhere to the inside of the helmet using the epoxy resin. I'm using a dabbing motion, but even when the tissue is saturated it's threatening to lift right of the model before hardening. Any suggestions?

    All the best, thanks for reading, and I hope this hasn't bored you too much!


    VioletSun and Rogviler like this.
  2. WereDrelf

    WereDrelf New Member

    Trophy Points:
    Nice! Looking forward to seeing your progress on this.
  3. MightyMuffin

    MightyMuffin New Member

    Trophy Points:
    Hello again.

    Almost a year and a half later, I'm back with an update. The last year of university took its toll on me, so I haven't been able to craft in a long time... but I've graduated now, on a gap year, and able to jump back into the game head first!

    Over the last couple of weeks I've pulled the Tali build out of retirement, havingfinished the modelling of the 3D parts, and making a good start on her necklace/chest armour.

    Construction II- Belt buckle and clip accessories

    Taking the lead from user GingerLiz, who posted a Tali thread here a while ago, I modelled the belt buckle, hood clips and harness clips in Tinkercad. Tinkercad is an online platform for modelling relatively simple 3D designs (a lot easier to learn than other open-source 3D rendering software such as Blender). These were the designs I came up with, modelled from the scaled up dimensions taken from the character model in the first post.

    Belt Clip:

    The belt clip is modeled as one part, with a rectangular hole running through the middle to fit through the fabric belt.


    FullSizeRender (4).jpg

    FullSizeRender (5).jpg


    FullSizeRender (3).jpg

    Hood Clip:

    The hood clip is created in two pieces, so that they can be glued together separately once the ends of the fabric hood attachment have been glued into the hollowed out section.

    Side 1:

    FullSizeRender (6).jpg

    Side 2:

    FullSizeRender (7).jpg
    Finally, the disks to go over the back of the harness were created.

    Back disk:

    FullSizeRender (8).jpg

    These were then uploaded to in a single file to 3dprint-uk, who I found to be the most economical way of printing the parts here in blighty. A quote from a local printer came out at over £200, whereas I ended up paying £40 with 3dprint-uk, as they operate on an X-Y-Z pricing structure, pricing the print by the volume of the file submitted, rather than each individual part.

    This was the final file:

    VioletSun likes this.
  4. MightyMuffin

    MightyMuffin New Member

    Trophy Points:
    Construction III-

    Parts now sent off to print, I could concentrate on some good old, hands dirty crafting. I decided to start with all of the non-fabric aspects of the project first, mainly because they're the bits I find most rewarding. I began work on the neck pieces.

    Here are the references for Tali's neck armour that I was working from:

    IMG_6392.PNG Tali's_heart2heart_in_shep's_quarters.png

    I'd say the second image is a truer representation of the colour, for some reason the first image looks slightly green, but it does give a good idea of the texture.

    I took a clingfilm and masking tape cast of my neck to ensure a close fit, and created the pattern from that. Unfortunately I don't have a picture of this step, but the process is detailed in a lot of craft foam armour tutorials online.

    The pattern was then transferred to 1/4" foam and the details were scored in with a craft knife, before using a heat gun to open up the scores.


    ^^ A close up of the foam stage, unfortunately picture-bombed by my less-than-stellar old stove.

    The next step was the coat the foam in Worbla (a thermoplastic) and heat form it to the shape of my neck.

    IMG_6315.JPG IMG_6318.JPG

    you can see in the second image that I formed the Worbla with a slight outwards curve, to mimic the way Tali's necklace lies in-game.

    Several coats of gesso and sanding later here is where I arrived:


    The piece was ready for painting! Yay!

    here were my supplies:


    The piece was first given a few coats of the Plastikote Gold Leaf as a base layer:

    IMG_6429.JPG FullSizeRender (9).jpg

    I unfortunately only have pictures of the piece on myself at this point, but at least it gives you an idea of the scale and fit.

    Finally, an hour or so later, I was fairly happy with the product:

    FullSizeRender (10).jpg

    My question at the moment is, do I give the piece a glossy varnish or set it with a matte spray? I kind of like the weathered rough look, but depending on the in-game image the necklace can look a lot shiner. What do you guys think?
    LeClubNerd and VioletSun like this.
  5. Sluis Van Shipyards

    Sluis Van Shipyards Master Member

    Trophy Points:
    It's hard to tell because games have a glossy look to them. I'd probably give it as matte look as you can. I like the more weathered look though. OTOH, their suits are probably extremely well maintained (as they can) because they die otherwise. I think either way it would look correct.
    MightyMuffin likes this.
  6. STLAssassin

    STLAssassin Active Member

    Trophy Points:
    Subscribed. My wife wants to do this one but I have no clue where to begin with the clothing parts. LOL Give me armor and props to make any day.
    MightyMuffin likes this.
  7. VioletSun

    VioletSun Member

    Trophy Points:
    Amazing work so far! Happened to notice you're in the UK...don't s'pose you'd be bringing this to May MCM? There's definitely going to be a group of us cosplaying Mass Effect characters :D
    MightyMuffin likes this.
  8. MightyMuffin

    MightyMuffin New Member

    Trophy Points:
    Thank you STLAssassin! Luckily fabric/sewing is the easy part for me (although not my favourite!), so I'll make sure to post step-by-steps

    VioletSun- that's awesome that you're going to MCM May! I'll definitely be there (I work just about every con in the UK) and if Tali's finished I'm hoping to enter the masquerade. Who are you cosplaying?

    My 3D printed parts arrived today- I'll make a proper update post covering them tomorrow!
  9. MightyMuffin

    MightyMuffin New Member

    Trophy Points:
    The 3D Prints

    So, the 3D prints I ordered arrived yesterday- yay! I was so excited I made my boyfriend bring them to the pub for me after work... I couldn't wait.

    The Results

    What can I say... The results surpassed all expectations! Straight out of the box there was still a little dampness and powder on the prints from the SLS printing, but the results were fabulous. I couldn't find any detectable layer lines, even on close scrutiny, and the surface texture was smooth (much like a soft mint). Now for some pictures of the results.

    This was the part I was most worried about, as it was the most detailed and contained a hollow section, and it surpassed all expectations. This was the only piece to show any significant straight lines, which were only visible on the extreme curves on the ends of the piece. This was easily fixed by sanding.

    FullSizeRender_1.jpg FullSizeRender.jpg

    The corner before sanding...


    The corner after sanding <3

    FullSizeRender (11).jpg
    Back Clips:


    Hood clips:

    FullSizeRender_5.jpg FullSizeRender_6.jpg FullSizeRender_7.jpg FullSizeRender_8.jpg

    Reference pictures for parts:


    Now onto priming, painting and weathering- very excited!
  10. VioletSun

    VioletSun Member

    Trophy Points:
    I'm going to be cosplay as Ashley Willams (going to be doing the ME1 Heavy Phoenix armour), the group also has a FemShep, Miranda, and Garrus to my knowledge.
  11. MightyMuffin

    MightyMuffin New Member

    Trophy Points:
    Fabulous! Even if I can't cosplay that con, I'll keep an eye out for you all :) I'll be working on the Travelling Man stand (it's the huuuuuge comic/boardgames &manga stand in the main hall).

Share This Page