Needed an alternative to expensive costumes for this year's Halloween. My son decided he wanted to be Master Chief from Halo. I began my internet search and found this excellent option: https://www.instructables.com/id/Master-Chief-for-Tweens-on-the-UBER-cheap/
Step one was a trip to Play it Again Sports:
Hockey Shoulder pads : $5.99
Hockey Shin Guards: $5.99
Soccer Shin Guards: $3.99
Step 2: The Helmet
The option was to build from pepakura (paper craft) or take the easy road....I took easy.
Halo 3 Legendary Edition Display helmet : $20.00 craigslist
This one takes a little patience and work. You need to remove the internal parts and pieces and then reassemble the helmet using glue. I used both Epoxy and Hot glue as well as adding some cushion foam I had laying around to line the interior of the helmet for comfort. The inside will need some grinding with a Dremel to remove some of the more uncomfortable parts. I used a hot knife to cut out the visor for visibility and smoothed it with a grinding wheel on the Dremel. A little gold paint hides the edges.
Step 3: Armor Detailing
Now on to the detailing. This is where you can get creative.
Harbor Freight Mats (http://www.harborfreight.com/4-piece-anti-fatigue-foam-mat-set-94635.html): $9.99 - 40% coupon = 5.99
Using an action figure, and a little artistic license I began cutting shapes from the foam mats. I also used craft foam from an old project to add some layered detail. Take your time and try to mirror the pieces so both sides match. If you make a mistake, remember it's a costume, and you can always add "battle damage" later.
Some pieces were made from scratch using the foam mats. You can shape them with a heat gun and detail them with the hot knife / woodburning kit attachments. I also added battle damage which will be painted for detail later.
I did some test painting with a little green paint. The screen painted graphics on the pads bubbled the paint. I went back and sanded them off using 300 grit sand paper. I recommend doing it before painting, or it's a bit more difficult.
Step 4: Paint
Plasti-Dip was used as a primer for the foam. Two coats are a minimum. I used Camoflauge paint from Walmart in green with a few cans of the cheapest paint they had for detail:
Camo green: $5.99
Clear Coat: $3.99
Give it a good basecoat with the camo after the plastidip has dried. The damage was touched up using a very cheap brush and the spray paint. I sprayed the paint onto card board and brushed it in for details. Once all the paint and details were complete, you can then clear coat your armor until you get the shine and look you want.
Step 5: Fit and Wear
Most of the pads had velcro and straps built in. I used a little modification here and there for proper fitment. Finally, wear and pose.
This build was done using a few suggestions and prior works by others. I figured a little combination would help some who are struggling to find a workable idea. This took about a week to complete. You can add lights to the suit using LED's if you'd like and have that skill set.