Introduction: Halo ODST Armor: Torso - Part of ODST Armor Build

This is Part 2 of a 5 part series on building a Halo ODST Armor suit you can wear.

The project is so large that I decided to break it down into five(5) Instructables:
1. Helmet
2. Torso
3. Arms
4. Legs
5. Weapons

I also published a Halo ODST Armor Build Table Of Contents to help unify all the parts.

If you have not read Part 1 - ODST Helmet, then you need to read that one first. Much of this instructable builds upon what was learned in Part 1.

There is also a small departure from the norm is this instructable since I decided to machine some of the parts on a mill. So some parts will be made of metal. WOOHOO!!

The ODST Torso armor is actually 1 large piece and a bunch of small pieces attached to a tactical/plate carrier/molle vest or intricate weaving of nylon straps.

The armor pieces that need to be made are:
* Torso
* L/R Back Pad
* Chest Plate
* Center Abdominal Plate
* L/R Abdominal Plates
* Lower back Plates
* Belt plate

** Credit for the 3D model goes to SkullCandy Girl (SKG) and Nightshade. Pepakura unfold credit goes to Belakor and Harding29 **

Step 1: The Software and the 3D Files

We will be using the Pepakura software to print the 3D paper models for our parts.

the software is here:

There are many variants of the ODST armor. Which one you build depends on your taste.

Start with the files here:

For this instructable I am actually building an ODST armor from a combination of models from the WETA live-action short film HALO 3 Landfall and Halo 3 ODST game art.

The 405th forum threads that cover the WETA ODST and the game ODST projects and most of the 3D models used for this project is here:
SkullCandy Girl's WETA ODST Thread
Halo 3: ODST - Pepakura Armor

There are over a hundred pages between the two threads but most of the files are on the first post. 

SKG actually has a Instructable in here for making the Master Chief armor.  

Step 2: Materials and Tools

Materials are very similar to Part 1.

1. A stack of Card Stock - Letter or A4 size. the paper weight should be 110lbs.
2. Glue. i use Elmer's white glue.  Wood Glue works also. Others use superglue, gorilla glue, or hot glue
3. Resin - Epoxy, Polyester, or casting resin. Type used depends on budget and working environment.
4. Fiberglass mat or cloth - only if you go with epoxy or polyester resin. Not need if casting resin is used.
5. Bondo or similar vehicle body repair putty.
6. Putty spreader
7. Foam or other padding material
8. $5 camping mat from W**-M**t.
9. Nylon webbing - 1", 2", and 3" wide. Probably 2-3 yards of each size.
10. Masking tape
11. sand paper - course and fine.
12. Plastic buckles - the kinds that snap together.
13. Paints - Primer, silver, black, your prefered colors, and matte clear coat. This is supposed to be battle armor. It's not supposed to be shiny.
14. Ketchup, mustard or pudding. If you completed Part 1, you know what this is for.

1. Computer
2. Printer
3. Exacto knife
4. scissors
5. Ruler
6. ball point pen.
7. paint brushes
8. plastic cups
9. popsicle sticks
10. cutting mat or cutting board
11. Disposable gloves
12. Respirator
13. Safety Glasses
14 Dremel or other rotary tools.
15. Detail sander or a sanding block

paper towels, shop towels, wires, screws, sewing kit, rivets.

Specialty items (nice to have but may be beyond us): Things I wish I had...
Vacuum forming rig.
Rotocast rig.
Metal mill and lathe <== I do have one of these to use,

Step 3: Scale and Print

I selected the WETA ODST project for my base because of the easy scaling process.

Most of the parts are a matched set since there is only two 3d modeler (SKG and Nightshade). The unfolder (e.g. Belakor) then based the scale of all the items off his height. So, if we know the unfolders height we can determine the percentage difference between our height and his height. Got it? Yes? No?

OK, Belakor is 5'11" or 71". So our FULL BODY model at 100% scale is 71"
Now, let say you are 5'8" or 68".

Math 68 / 71 = .96 or 96%.

Belakor's model is scaled at 24.02370951. To scale the model to a person who is 68" reduce the original scale by 4%

24.02370951 * .96 = 23.06276113.

So every piece of the body armor will be rescaled to 23.06276113 if you are 68" tall.

I used Belakor's unfolds becuase I know his height.  I adjust the scale on all the parts to my height and record the height of the part. When I use a different model/unfolder I change the model height instead of the scale based on the part height I got from Belakor's unfold.

Open the TORSO file first. This is the biggest piece. Scale it correctly based on the formula above.

Adjust paper size and orientation (portrait or landscape) for the page and  the printer.

Move the parts around to fit inside the pages.

Print the TORSO ONLY.

Step 4: Cut, Fold, Glue, Repeat...

The tedious part again. Except even more so as we have a lot of parts to make 

Start building the TORSO first.

Find a starting point BUT do the neck hole LAST.  Do NOT completely assemble the neck hole. Leave several tabs unglued all around the colar.  Plan out your next two or three pieces and cut them out using scissors and exacto knife.

Use your ruler and pen to "dent" the paper along the fold lines. Typical models have solid lines as the cut lines, dotted lines as "mountain" folds, and dot-dash lines as "valley" folds. Sharp crisp folds makes for a good looking finished model. The best way to make sharp folds is to score the folds lines with a pen. Press Hard. After scoring the fold lines, fold the paper 90 degrees.

Find the matching numbers and glue the edges together, 1 goes with 1, 2 with 2, 3 with 3, ... 105 with 105, etc. The Tabs go on the inside of the model.

Some people like to cut out all the pieces first then start gluing. I like to keep the pieces on the sheet and only cut them out when I am ready for them. Easier to find that way.

Again, have TV or music on to keep your mind entertained.

Cut, score, fold, glue, cut, score, fold, glue, cut, score, fold.................

Lucky for us the torso, even tough it's larger than the helmet, has a lot less parts and is less intricate. Once complete (remember not to close the neck hole) try it on. The colar on the neck hole is meant to be small. Your head should fit through it if all the tabs were glued up. But we leave it unclued until we are sure of the size for easy on and off.  The front should end just under your colar bone. The back should end just below where your rib cage ends. 

Good fit? Great! use smidge bigger scale for the rest of the pieces. Print the rest of the pieces. Finish glueing the torso.
Too big or too small? adjust your scale and build the torso again.

Step 5: Pep the Rest of the Parts

Pep all the parts. Keep them in a safe place. If you want go ahead and harden the outside the three possible methods I mentioned in Part 1.

Those methods are:
1. Polyester resin.
2. General Purpose Epoxy Resin
3. Wood glue.

The reason for doing this is to harden the part and to make it waterproof and less likely to rip during the final hardening process.

There are two major variants of the main chest plate. The in-game art shows the chest plate to be a single piece. However the Weta live action shows the chest plate to be three pieces. A third reference source is the Rupert Sander live action comercial "We are ODST" has a single large chest plate.

I did two peps for the chest plate. SKG and Nightshades model were used.  I decided not to go with the Weta version after the two peps were completed. Nightshades model turned out to be not wide enough either, so I have modified the chest plate a little.  So my chest plate will be slightly costumized.

Step 6: Hardening the Armor Pieces

Now that all the pieces are Pepped and the outside has a thin coat of resin/glue it is time to make the armor tough enough to handle getting Bondo'd.

Again, we have three methods.
1. Polyester resin with fiberglass.
2. Epoxy Resin with Fiberglass.
3. Casting resin (no fiberglass).

Part 1 describes the pros and cons of each method. Read that if you need a refresher. No matter which method you use, remember to put down a large drop cloth unless you dont care about destroying your floor.

I used method 3 for everything. It is more expensive but the overall process is much simpler. Just mix part A with part B, pour into the model, slosh it around to coat all the parts, and watch it cure. Also, using polyester resin (a.k.a fiberglass resin) would stink up my place and upset my neighbors.

Step 7: Smooth Out the Armor

Same as the helmet, we will be using Bondo automotive body filler to remove the angular folds and polygons left by our pepakura method of building a base. 1/16 to 3/16th of an inch should be enough to make the armor look smooth all over. There are several wide and flat areas where rondo/mud will make easy work of this phase.

The large torso piece will be cut up two(2) pieces. The cut will be made horizontally along the small of the back. The pieces will then be held together with nylon webbing glued to the back side. this is done so the torso will have some flexibility.

The smaller armor plates will also get the bondo treatment. Several layers of bondo with sanding in between to get rid of low spots and eventually all the pieces will get finished.

Step 8: Shoulder Straps and Padded Parts

I got a foam camping mat at my local wallymart. It cost $4.97. I Got some glue that should hold foam together and started cutting up the foam.

I glued the foam together to look like shoulder straps and let the glue dry overnight. I painted the foam black, but it did not turn out too good.

I purchased some inexpensive black fabric. I cut that into shape and covered the foam with it. I used more of the glue to secure the fabric to the foam.  painting the foam black worked in preventing the blue from showing through the fabric.

Test fitting of the shoulder strap onto my "duct tape dummy" on the last three pictures.

The abdomen pads are made the same way.  The datails on the abdomen pads are machined out of aluminum.

Step 9: Metal Buckles

I happen to be luck enough to have access to a mill (and a band saw). For those not as fortunate as I, a hack saw, a Dremel, a file and and some sand paper will also work. Granted, it would take you much, much longer then I did to fabricate buckles.

I went to Home Depot and purchased aluminum stock - 1/8" x 2" X 36"

Use a sharpie to color the metal. Cover the entire surface with ink. Get out your ruler and a scribe (sharp metal object). Measure and scribe out the pattern for all the buckles.  I kind of made up the shapes but stuck to a general look similar to what I see online.

NOTE: When cutting aluminum, wd40 really helps.

Next, make rough cuts to seperate out the different buckls using your saw.

Using the metal removal method available to you, cut away metal until the buckle is formed. Note, you can always cut metal away, but adding metal is a lot more difficult, so cut slowly.

And now a video of me milling the belt buckle.

The final and very important step is to debur and chamfer the edges. we are making buckles here, not knives, so removing sharp edges is always a good idea.

Step 10: Using Rondo / Mud

I want a weapons hardpoint on the back of the torso. You know, So i can sling a weapon on my back. I thought magnets would be the way to go. But to inbed magnets on my armors back I needed a raised area. To build up the raised area I decided to use Rondo - aka mud.

I started by building a dam that will contain the mud. Normally I use masking tape but this weapons hardpoint is really high so I opted for modeling clay.

I placed the clay on the back of the torso piece. i made sure it was secure and leak proof.

Next, rondo was mixed up using about three tablespoons of fiberglass resin and three tablespoons of Bondo. I mixed it really well in a cup and then added the catalyst.  I mixed that really well too. 

I poured the rondo onto the torso.

You really have to be careful about how much catalyst you put in. I put too much and the rondo went into thermal runaway. it heated up so much that it melted the plastic cup and a large glob of rondo almost plopped onto my torso. Luckily, i saw (and felt) the cup melt and moved it out of the way in time.

After the rondo cured, the clay was removed. I then sanded the rondo into its final shape.

Step 11: Paint

Once we are happy with the armor pieces for the torso, it is time for the paint.

Sand all the pieces with fine grit sand paper (220 grit is about right).  Use a large brush to remove the bondo dust.

Paint with primer. 3 thin coats is what we need. Lightly sand again with 300 grit.

Next locate areas where damage and chipped paint should be. Paint those areas with silver. Buff the silver. Mist the silver area with black or gray to "age" silver a little. i am talking very light mist. If you are building a clean, "Cherry", noob, "just out of boot camp" ODST persona, then skip the silver paint.

Get out your condiment (or desert) choice and smear it on the silver area. make sure to vary your shapes and paterns. Again, if your persona/armor is "cherry", skip this step.

Paint with your final color. Three to four thin layers is what you want to achieve a smooth, even finish with no runs or bubbles.Let the paint dry. If there is condiment (or pudding) under the final color, wipe down the armor with a damp cloth. If this is prestine armor, buff the dry paint with a dry soft cloth.

Personally, I like battle damage. Why? It hides the imperfections on my armor build. If there is an area that could have been done better, i can just say "I meant it to look damaged." Plus, a soldier with armor that has wear and tear looks tougher.

Paint the armor pieces with a final coat of matte clear. One or two thin layers should be plenty.

Step 12: Straps and Bindings and Other Details

Nylon straps will need to be attached to the armor pieces.  Glue them on the back side with a strong adhesive like Gorilla Glue. 

For added detail, perhaps dust or mud should be rubbed against the armor. Burn marks from "laser" and plasma weapons would be a cool touch. smudging black paint here and there could make it look more battle-worn too.

On to Part 3 - The Arms ...