Introduction: Cardboard/Fiberglass Halo 3 Inspired Master Chief Costume

About: I enjoy building costumes, props, and just about anything creative.

I made a complete Halo 3 Master Chief Halloween costume for my Son out of cardboard and fiberglass. I started with the helmet. Here are the steps I followed. A small action figure and images found on the internet were used as patterns. The proportions and details may not meet the scrutiny of many 'super fans' but I'm sure my ten year old will like it just fine.

He has two Spartan weapons, a Sniper Rifle and an M6G Magnum

I have only detailed the build of the helmet here.

October 27th 2009 - I have just added pictures of the new helmet, chest plate, should shields and shotgun I built to modify the Master Chief costume from last year into a Halo Scout for this year.

Step 1:

I used thinner corrugated cardboard for the helmet. A bucket was made which was used as a base to build from. I measured from the top of my Son's head to the base of his skull where it meets the neck. I cut a 7" tall piece of cardboard and wrapped it around his head to get the right size and taped it to make an oval tube.

The first photo shows how I traced the outline on another piece and then drew about a 1" larger outline. I made sure both halves of the oval lid were symmetrical. I 'tabbed' the oval as seen in the second photo to fit inside the tube.

The last photo shows the flat piece hot glued to make the 'bucket'. Center lines drawn for reference.

Step 2: Adding the Brim

The brim was fashioned very similar to the bucket lid by drawing the pattern and tabbing the inside. I was very careful during the whole build to make sure all pieces were symmetrical. The brim was glued to the bucket at a slight upward angle as shown.

Any time the cardboard needs to go around a bend, make sure to cut the cardboard so the corrugation ribs run perpendicular to the direcition of the bend. You can see this in the bucket in the first picture. The corrugation lines go up and down and the bend goes around. To make a smooth bend, you need to break down the corrugation. Do this by grabbing each end of the cardboard and running it back and forth along the edge of the table. See the last picture.

The second picture shows supports added to give the brim depth. The third is me tracing the outline to make the top of the brim and the fourth picture is one half of the brim completed.

Step 3: Rear Details Coming Together

A paper template was made of the rear detail arc that will act as a rib support. It was transferred to cardboard and glued to the back. Once the 1" vertical section was glued to it I cut the top of the bucket off. The last three pictures show the progression of simply glueing pieces together. I used the low-temp hot glue so it was pretty easy to butt the edges together and smooth out the glue without burning my fingers too bad.

Most of the original bucket will be cut away once there is enought support from the multiple layers of detail.

Step 4: Face Opening and Chin

The general size and shape of the face opening was drawn and cut out. A couple of arc ribs were added and then the chin and jaw coverings were added. I later determined that the chin was not the right shape so it was cut off and another one was added - as we will see shortly.

Step 5: Helmet Top Primary Build

The basic shape of the top of the helmet was cut into three ribs that I glued to the top. The center flat section of cut and glued to hold the ribs in place.

The back deck was installed and then a pattern of the shape of the notches in the top flat section was made. Pieces of cardboard were cut and bent along the sharp top angle and glued to the top.

Step 6: Helmet Top Decking

The decking for the top of the helmet was shaped by breaking down the corrugation in both directions and then bending it into a bowl shape.

The decking was installed in several different pieces, each butted up and glued against the other.

The final picture shows some of the interior ribs that were added to hold the shape of the top.

Step 7: Modifications

At this point the helmet ended up being a bit too small. I had to cut the lid off and the chin off to extend them. I glued some pieces to the inside to make things larger and then filled in the braced areas. This made some of the proportions off but we can fix that too.

Step 8: Chin and Cheeks

After I cut off the old chin, I fashioned some ribs and supports for the new chin. The cheek was also filled in and temporary pipes were added. It will be replaced with a different style once things are painted up.

Step 9: Chin Detail

Here's a couple of shot of the detail that was added to the nose area and chin.

Step 10: Light Pods and Side Detail

The light pod and side detail was added.

Each time I measure and make a piece for one side I use it as a pattern for the other side.

Step 11: Brim Details

An additional layer of cardboard was put onto the top and underneath the brim to add the details.

Step 12: Rear and Neck Detail

Final details were added to the rear of the helmet and in the neck area.

Now I'm onto building the body armor.

Step 13: Fiberglass and Bondo

I added a skim coat of bondo over the some of the cardboard to smooth out any major rough areas. After sanding the bondo fiberglass matting was cut to fit the detail and applied. I was c areful to wear a good quality respirator as recommended on the directions of the resin. I also wore latex surgical gloves.

When the fiberglass was cured I sanded it down and added several layers more of bondo, sanding each one in between.

Step 14: Painting

Once the bondo was fully cured I sprayed a coat of primer and then the color coat.

After letting the final coat of paint cure for a full 24 hours I weathered the helmet by spraying a small area with dark grey automobile primer and immediately wiping most of it off. Once this was dry, I dry brushed sliver paint to make the helmet look worn from years of battle.

Step 15: Face Shield

A lot of the Master Chief costume builders use a gold motorcycle visor. I didn't want to spend the money for one so I used a bowl and cut a visor from it, since it had the correct convex shape.

I fashioned a frame to attach the shield to out of cardboard and will hot glue to shield to the frame.

A few coats of gold paint to the inside gives it the look I wanted. I still need to add another layer to get the correct two layer style of the shield. Small slits will be cut into the shield where the two layers meet so my Son will be able to see.

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