Introduction: Commander Shepard Steel Reinforced Uniform - Mass Effect 3

Picture of Commander Shepard Steel Reinforced Uniform - Mass Effect 3

Hi All,

This is my second year making an "epic" Halloween costume. I started work on September 21st 2012 and finished on October 30th. 

I based my costume on a uniform from popular video game Mass Effect. It specifically reflects Commander Shepard's non-combat uniform used by default in the opening mission of Mass Effect 3.

That said, I had a few design goals this year which predominantly focused on functionality and robustness. This lead me to select steel reinforced heavy denim, for the armour, finished with a leather-like laminate fabric. 

The uniform is 7 pieces: Boots, Pants, Under-shirt, Dress Shirt, Lower-Body Armour, Upper-Body Armour, and Belt.
Out of all this, only the Boots are store bought along with under-shirt (a t-shirt) which I altered to make the Turtle-neck. 

For my tutorial, Step 1 contains a step-by-step tutorial on how to create a fabric-sheet metal armour construction. This was my secrete ingredient for this project. If you continue to steps 2 - 8, I give a quick overview for each piece of my uniform.

I hope you can find this information useful in your future construction endeavours!

Best Regards


Step 1:

Picture of

Step 2: Boots

Picture of Boots

Material: All Man-Made Materials
Colour: Black
Special Features: Store-bought
Steel Plating: NA
Skills Req: internet shopping

Step 3: Under Shirt

Picture of Under Shirt

Under Shirt
Material: cotton t-shirt + nit cotton turtle-neck
Colour: black
Special Features: t-shirt was bought and altered to remove stock neck finishing. Turtle-neck is a three layers construction with an elastic running through. Two buttons that attach to the Dress Shirt collar to keep it standing and rigid.
Steel Plating: NA
Skills Req: sewing

Step 4: Dress Pants

Picture of Dress Pants

Dress Pants
Material: light denim + cotton bias
Colour: Blueish
Special Features: Waist elastic. Zipper. Foot loops.
Steel Plating: NA
Skills Req: sewing

Step 5: Dress Shirt

Picture of Dress Shirt

Dress Shirt
Material: light denim + cotton bias + interfacing (5%)
Colour: Blueish
Special Features: Button straps on sleeves to hold when rolled up. Plastic reinforced collar for rigidity. 
Steel Plating: NA
Skills Req: sewing

Step 6: Lower-Body Armour

Picture of Lower-Body Armour

Lower-Body Armour
Material: Heavy denim + Leather-Laminate + Steel
Colour: blueish and black
Special Features: 4 extruding pockets. Steel plates under lower pockets.
Steel Plating: 20%
Skills Req: sewing, sheet metal work

Step 7: Upper-Body Armour

Picture of Upper-Body Armour

Upper-Body Armour
Material: Heavy denim + Leather-Laminate + Steel
Colour: blueish and black and yellow emblem
Special Features: 100% steel plated. 2nd layer of steel plates over chest.heart area (see tutorial in "Step 1 - Slide 19"). Armour divided into thirds to allow bending. 
Steel Plating: 100% + 15% over chest.
Skills Req: sewing, sheet metal work

Step 8: Belt

Picture of Belt

Material: Heavy denim + Leather-Laminate + Steel
Colour: blueish and black
Special Features: Steel plates supporting central clips
Steel Plating: 20%
Skills Req: sewing, sheet metal work


Kenton_Driggs (author)2016-03-18

Can you use aluminum sheeting instead of steel? Do you have an estimate on what you spent on materials for the hand made parts?

Cmdr. Vik (author)Kenton_Driggs2016-09-22

Wow! Looks great! I'm shocked at how similar the fabric is and everything. I'm kind of jealous of your gun haha... That's the one thing I didn't get to :P

Cmdr. Vik (author)Kenton_Driggs2016-08-23

Aluminium should work just fine. My supplier worked with steel, so I had a bit of a discount. Cost wise, it's a bit hard for me to estimate as I had to buy a lot of the tooling to be able to even attempt making this... sewing machine cost me a leg for example. But I'd estimate around $500 for fabrics, hardware, and the steel.

AmyA40 (author)2016-01-18

Awesome job on this! My husband and I are hoping to actually try and make one for each of us for our local comic con in September and had some questions for you. How are the shoulders on the armor attached? Are they connected to the back or the front? And with the metal pieces in the upper body armor, are they all horizontal or are some vertical? And there are 3 in front and 3 in back, right? Thank you!

Cmdr. Vik made it! (author)AmyA402016-08-23

Sorry for not getting back to you sooner... A1&2: The shoulders via a semi complicated strap system to insure that they stay in the right position (regardless of the wearers movement, jumping, running etc.) and so you can separate the front and back armour pieces. I've attached a picture so you can see. A3: Front armour have three horizontal metal pieces and and additional two separate pieces, one per each side of the chest. The back only has three horizontal pieces. God luck with your armour!

AmyA40 made it! (author)Cmdr. Vik2016-08-27

Thanks for attaching those pictures and answering my questions. We ended up tweaking things a bit - have the front and back pieces attached to each other with a denim strap that has velcro that sticks to velcro on the front pieces. And loops under the shoulder pieces that keep it attached to the hidden "shoulder strap". Also put up two pictures of my completed one - largely based on what you put up here. Couldn't have made it without your tutorial. Thanks for making it as detailed as you did. I'm hoping to get my own written up and I'll be sure to link to yours, since I'm using a lot of your ideas/design.

KristopherM2 (author)2015-11-12

Most important question: How much would it cost for you to make one for me?? ??

Garrus (author)2013-04-03

Best Shepard suit I've seen but what do I know I spend most of my time doing calibrations.

Cmdr. Vik (author)Garrus2013-06-09

lol. Thanks!

ayliepx (author)2013-04-21

Dude, awesome suit!
Do you plan on writing a complete tutorial in the future?

Cmdr. Vik (author)ayliepx2013-06-09

Maybe. The problem is that I didn't take pictures throughout the project. It would be a written walk-through with some of my poor sketches for visual support :P

The Rambler (author)2013-03-19

Woah, this is super cool. I can't believe I missed seeing this in the contest.

Have you found those boots to be a worthwhile purchase? I'm looking for boots that I can modify and it's always hard buying things like that off the internet.

Cmdr. Vik (author)The Rambler2013-03-19

Hey, thanks.

I think the boots are great value for the price. I got them at "". Though I made sure to contact them first about the diameter of the calf and the exact foot size. The only other thing was that the default sole is a bit rigid, but I'm sure it can be switch out with something more comfortable.

Tomdf (author)2012-11-15

Great costume and documentation. Thumbs up!

nhormell (author)2012-11-12

dude this is amazing you should take it to comicon

Cmdr. Vik (author)nhormell2012-11-12

Thanks! Comicons are the plan! I just need to wait patiently for the next one in my area..

the_real_mccoy_ (author)2012-11-11

Great work! 4 koala thumbs up!

MonkiMan (author)2012-11-11

Just amazing! I am incredibly jealous!

jessyratfink (author)2012-11-06

Fantastic work. :D

Miss_Kira (author)2012-11-06


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