This build was by far the most detailed costume/prop I have ever attempted to create. But, after its completion it was also my most satisfying and rewarding. The entire build took over 3 months and 300 hours of blood, sweat, and super glue :)
Before we begin let me say some of the products that are used in prop building can be bad for you :(
So be safe!!!
Always wear eye protection, wear gloves, and use a respirator when needed.
Lets get started!!!!
Step 1: Reference Material
As with all of my prop builds reference material is key. When you start to think about making a prop from a video game, movie, etc. Always try and find as many reference images as you can. For this costume I actually played through the game back to where Isaac gets the Level 3 suit. I took numerous screen shots and posted them all over my basement wall for reference and inspiration. The great thing about having a game is you can rotate the camera around your figure to get a good look at every angel. Knowing that the RIG would be one of the most detailed parts I made sure to take lots and lots of pics.
Head Form from CFX
Monster Clay http://amzn.to/2mIaecs
Smooth-On Rebound 25 http://amzn.to/2mIaecs
Smooth-Cast 65D http://amzn.to/2mIaecs
Plasti Paste http://amzn.to/2mIaecs
EVA foam 1/2" and 1/4" http://amzn.to/2mIaecs
Craft foam 1mm-3mm http://amzn.to/2mIaecs
Loctite Super Glue http://amzn.to/2nn2ycQ
Liquitex Heavy Body Acrylics http://amzn.to/2nn2ycQ
Green LEDs and Coin Ballery holder - 2032 battery http://amzn.to/2nn2ycQ
Plasti Dip Rattle Can http://amzn.to/2nn2ycQ
Upholstery fabric http://amzn.to/2nn2ycQ
Painters Tape http://amzn.to/2nn2ycQ
Step 2: Building the Helmet
Because of the detail I want in this helmet I decided to make a junk mold. This is where you make a casting that you will refine and add your details to, then cast it again for the final product.
I started with my head form from CFX
These are great for sculpting and casting right off of them. Now they are designed for mask displaying so the scale is a little smaller than normal. Make sure to take that into consideration as you sculpt it out.
I again used monster clay from Monster Makers
This clay is awesome!!! It's easy to work with and will not mess with your silicone mold later on.
Basically at room temp it is fairly hard (great for detailing). A heat source must be used to make it malleable. I have a small convection oven in my shop that I use to melt down the Monster Clay. Once the clay is soft I started applying it in small clumps to rough out the basic shape of Isaac's Level 3 helmet. Once the shape is pretty close I will use kidney tools to smooth out and control the surface. Remember it doesn't have to be perfect here we are just getting the basic shape to build upon.
Once the clay is correct you want to make your silicone mold. You definitely want to wear eye protection, a respirator, long sleeves, and gloves from here on out.
I like to use Smooth-On Rebound 25 for my jacket mold. You will want to apply this using chip brushes in 3 to 4 layers. The first 2 layers being the most crucial as these are your detail layers. Layers 3 and 4 are just bulking out the silicone so they don't need to be as pretty. You will also notice the plugs at the top of my helmet. Those are for the mother mold to be able to lock around the jacket mold. That will keep the silicone mold the shape you want. I made the mother mold out of fiberglass and used wing nuts to keep the 2 halves together.
Step 3: Refining the Helmet Cast
Smooth-cast 65D works very well for roto and slush casting. Once the blank is out, it is time for the Bondo and details to be attached. Bondo is applied in several thin layers to build up a base that can be sanded and filed to achieve the desired look. I purposely did not make it completely smooth because I wanted the pits and scrapes to show since he is supposed to be an engineer. I sanded it using a orbital hand sander that you can get from just about any hardware store.
The line details at the top of the head were made by using pin files very slowly and very carefully. The final picture shows the helmet with the rib detail along the neck guard and the blocks sticking off the back and top. The ribs on the back were made by cutting styrene in small strips and gluing then to the bondo one by one. The blocks are balsa wood that has been sanded and glued into place. From here the entire helmet gets a couple coats of Krylon red primer and is wet sanded to make the raised areas smooth.
The front faceplate was cut out of MDF, primed and molded flat. The plates get the curve by pulling them out of the mold before they completely cure and wrapping them around a metal trash can.
Step 4: Prepping and Painting
For the paint process I always use a self etching primer to prime the resin blank.
This will allow the additional layers of paint to adhere properly.
Once the primer has dried rattle cans are sprayed in very light layers 6-10 inches from the surface to pick up subtle variations in the reflective metallic paint. Krylon Metallics and Rustoleum Hammered metals are used one on top of the other. Once the base colors have been applied I will hand wash the entire piece with Liquitex Mars Black acrylic to "age" and "weather" the helmet. Then I will go back and dry brush Antique Copper and Silver Steele on the highlighted areas.
Step 5: Wiring the LEDs
LET THERE BE LIGHT!!!!
Step 6: THE RIG
Tip: When using a heat gun the end of it gets crazy hot. I bought a 12X12 granite tile that I keep on my desk to place the gun on to cool off.
Little bits and pieces of resin cast parts were assembled to make up the bulk of the details. Styrene was used to create the multi level look to the RIG shoulder blades.
My most obscure and favorite part of my rig are the 2 knobs just down from the top plate. I just couldn't find a knob I liked. I racked my brain till I broke the part down and said it looks like a reece's peanut butter cup!!! I put one in the freezer, molded it in silicone and resin cast it. The best detail on the back!
The lower part to the spine is a pex pipe from the plumbing department at Lowe's. I heat formed it using the gun and added styrene and resin cast pieces to the lower section.
Step 7: Spine and Tube of the RIG
I also cut out the stasis gauge (cutting a circle in the middle of a finished styrene piece is not fun) but luckily it came out like I wanted. Most of the lower part is styrene with some plumbing couplers and a 2"cap. Once primed you can see that the details are really starting to stand out.
Step 8: Plasma Cutter Construction
I took apart a maverick that I had laying around. Next I cut out the blades for the front of the gun. This is the same material that I used to make the RIG. From here it was just cutting out the individual pieces and gluing them to my NERF base. The detail underneath the gun is a mixture of found objects, wooden dowels, and hand cut MDF. I also rolled a plastic front to house the LEDs and battery pack. What good would Isaac's gun be if it didn't have the 3 green lights :) After assembly damage was made by attacking the gun with a Dremel.
Step 9: Plasma Cutter Paint
Step 10: Right Arm and Chest Armor
The 54 mid section rib armor pieces are cut out using a utlity knife and are formed also using the belt sander. Battle damage was added using the Dremel and blasting it again with the heat gun. The foam is sealed using Modge Podge and is painted with a base coat using Krlyon black primer. The same metallic paints that were used is the helmet rendering are used again for the foam armor.
Step 11: Finishing the Rig
Step 12: Cloth Under Suit
Step 13: Vest and Chaps
Step 14: Shin and Knee Guards
All of the armor that is being used at this point is black washed and dry brushed by hand to achieve the desired battle worn look.
Step 15: Gravity and Stasis Pieces
The stasis thrower in his palm is made of a resin cast plumbing coupler and a small circle of furniture foam. A single blue LED is placed behind the foam to diffuse the glow. The LED is attached to a 3v coin battery housing with an on/off switch.
Step 16: Test Fitting All of the Soft and Hard Parts
The other picture is of me behind my booth at Planet Comicon in Kansas City Missouri. It shows my wife helping me put on the DEAD SAPCE costume in front of a group of 40 fans, anxiously awaiting the final product.
Step 17: Glamor Shots
Thanks for looking and feel free to follow more of my prop builds on my Facebook page