Guess I've put off this armor write-up for too long, huh? ;) Here we go!
Ever since I first saw the Terminus armor (in ME3, as I got the Inferno armor code for ME2), I have wanted to make/own/buy/whatever a set of this armor. It didn't work for my first character (Infiltrator), but it was still friggin' awesome to look at. Always called it the Tron armor lol.
Well, finally, I had my chance. Sold my N7 mark 2 set to pay some bills a while ago, and I needed something to wear in its stead, and this became that thing.
Started with a 3D file from the RPF (and fellow N7eliter) by Darhood. Unfolded everything myself, but it wasn't going to be enough. I knew I wanted as few seams as possible, including the harsh corners that are a constant theme for this armor. So, once I had everything close to what I wanted, I printed it all out and continued to adjust things, both for a better fit and, again, to keep the seams as few as possible. The helmet still came out the same way, since there wasn't much more I could do with it and still have it fit right.
Looks messier than it really is, since a lot of those lines you see are excess marker lines (though still some seams to fill). Lucky for me, due to the nature of the pieces, I didn't have to do any major heat forming - it came together pretty much all on its own!
I really used the foam to its fullest extent on this build, using the smooth side for the bulk of the outside, and reversing some parts for the textured carbon fiber-esque pattern. The fit is pretty dead on: nice and snug to my face, but enough room to fit a visor and some wiring. Pretty happy that it was turning out so well! So happy, in fact, that I decided to paint it and grab acrylic for the visor.
The Terminus armor is very black in game, but the reference shots I was using (I'm sure we're all familiar with the ones) showed some lighter areas, so I wanted to add some contrast. First up was sealing the foam with everyone's favorite Plasti Dip. For the black sections I used Rustoleum's Metallic Oil Rubbed Bronze, and the dark, dark grey I used Rustoleum's Metallic Charcoal. In some lights it looks the same, until you hit the light at a certain angle and then the two colors really pop. You'll see more of that later - the helmet was a lot more subtle of a shift.
I also picked up a transparent black and red acrylic sheet for the visor. Couldn't decide which one I wanted to use; the reference pic looked black, but with all the black everywhere I kinda once again wanted a bit of contrast with more red. Everyone else seemed to agree that red would be better, so I put it aside and used the black for other things.
This is where things got reeeeally interesting.
I was going to originally use EL wire for the highlight lines, but I decided against it. For one, I didn't want to deal with all that, and for another I decided that LEDs would be enough and that I shouldn't worry about overkill this time 'round. So, I taped that helmet up good - took me about an hour lol. Grabbed a brush, then painted some red all over.
You can also see where I used the back side of the foam to accentuate the occasional section that was carbon fiber in the reference pics. I've tried some other options masking options out that seem to work well, but stuck with this for this build.
Helmet was basically done at this point, other than the visor and lights, but I wouldn't be able to work on those for a couple months since I was getting ready to move to the other side of the country. That was fun! /s
Once that was over, and I had everything unpacked (though with much less room unlike the promised garage I'd have) I started on the arms.
The large pieces I cut all out of a single piece, then cut trenches out of the back to make the more pronounced edges and angles of the armor. This also made it easier to fit it to me, while giving it the angular look that is so awesome about this particular armor set. I made the hips the same way:
The edges on those will look more pronounced later, once the strapping is on. Anyway, started painting the finished pieces while I worked on others. The arm pieces I experimented with Mod Podge to fill some of the open seams, but the painting was all the same: Plasti Dip, followed by the piece's respective black or dark grey. And more taping.
Lots and lots of taping.
These bicep pieces I did with the dark grey and, even though up close you can see the seams, I think it turned out pretty well. They sit on my arm by friction alone, and I haven't had any problems with it twisting around or anything, so I'm super happy. While those were drying between coats, I started on the shins:
These were rather fun to make, though they didn't want to hold the shape I wanted at all, despite heating them quite a lot. Wasn't too much of a problem though.
Progress up to this point:
So a ton more taping later, and a couple more pieces were done with the red:
It was about this time where I decided I needed to come up with a weapon to go with the armor. After narrowing it down to the one that comes with the armor in the ME2 DLC and one other, I decided on the Turian Phaeston.
You see it quite regularly in the promotional artwork for the multiplayer version of the armor: the N7 Destroyer armor. Though the two suits have more differences than people have noticed, I thought the look would be perfect.
Anyway, on to the torso! Started with the neck:
Left a hole on the inside back there for easier wire access for the helmet. Thinking ahead! After that came the front chest bits:
The lines you see are the marks for the fold trenches. Marked them on the front with the pattern, since that was more visible, then lined up a ruler and cut out the trench. You can see the result with the protrusion of the top, just like with the arm pieces. Once these were done, the back and the rest of the upper chest came together very quickly.
Again it's a little hard to see it well before the paint stage, but things were coming along nicely. I connected the front to the back, and threw together the abs and cod. Once again just flying together!
(Yes, that's totally my son's crib. Only thing I had at the time to hold it up for a pic! XD)
You can also see that I added some craft foam bits for the back of the neck, and cut out spots for the lighting. Thank goodness I had done that before painting on these, though I did have to do some widening, which we'll get to later. I also finished fully painting the arms, and freehanded the spine section for the back.
Did that bit with 1/4" foam, to make it a little thinner for mobility, though I did layer it for the proper effect, and etched in the lines with a hobby knife. Once etched, I went over it with a heat gun, which opened the lines up for a nice, clean separation effect. Easier than cutting each piece out of craft foam, hoping they were identical.
Now that all that was done, I grabbed a cheap pair of boots from Amazon, finished the other boot cover, and put them all together.
The boots are seriously my favorite part. Soooooooo cooooooooool.
About this time, my lights came in. Found a light strip from superbrightleds.com that had the lights really close together and could light from either end. They were also covered with a waterproofing plastic, which helped diffuse the lights. Perfect, I thought! Much easier to solder these than deal with individual lights and resistors!
Boy was I mistaken. I was in for a real heap of trouble. *foreshadowing*
Instead of testing my theory, I cut at the designated marks on each side, attaching the prewired bits together and putting a small set of lights into the helmet.
Feeling really happy and super stoked that it was coming together so well, and so quickly! As you can see, I also installed the red visor. Heated it up with a heat gun, then bent the front over a 1x2 board and curved the rest to shape, then cut it to shape. I can see through the acrylic, and you can't see in from outside of it, so it worked great. Have a hard time seeing forward with it, though, but them's the breaks. Yay handlers! You can see the visor's color a bit better in the last 2 pics.
Since it was all coming together so well, it was time for test fit number 1! Not all of it was strapped, which is what I needed the test fit for. The pauldrons especially, since I wasn't sure if I'd be strapping them to my arms or letting them hang from the neck piece like I did with my N7 armor set. Here's the test result!
The forearm pieces have elastic straps on them, positioned so that I can get in and out of them without getting stuck. The hips definitely needed something, though I wanted to be able to move and sit without having to take them off entirely. Boots fit perfectly, thanks to the surprisingly comfy set I ordered. Everything else fit great, so now I just had to paint and strap!
And now, the fun *really* begins!
Now that I knew what all the parts needed, I did a few small adjustments for a better fit and started Plasti Dipping the rest of the pieces. The torso I did last, and I barely finished the last coat on it as the last of my Dip finished off. Just barely enough!
Once that was done, I started on the black and dark grey again, masking off areas before painting the second color.
Sorry again for the cell phone shots, but at least here you can really see the contrast between the two colors. It's only this different in a certain light, and the rest of the time the two colors blend really well. Perfect for the effect I wanted with it! You can also see the angles and corners a lot better. So happy at how well it turned out. Hand painted a silver-grey onto the spine pieces and the kneecap; again, based on the reference pics and for some more contrast.
Then the boots got their red details:
And then I learned about the fun annoyance I was about to have with the LED strip. Turns out, this particular strip was not meant to reattach once it was cut at the designated marks, unlike other LED strips. I hadn't read that when I bought them, but I wasn't about to go spend more money on a different strip, especially since I didn't know of any with lights this close together (until waaaay later, when I learned about adafruit, but that's another story). So, I experimented a bit, broke a few, then finally settled on using a push-pin to poke a hole in the ribbon for each wire. After that it was a lesson in patience to figure out how to properly solder it so not only would it remain connected, but have a good connection the whole way through. That was a pain.
Here's the little setup I rigged for each boot:
The strip is actually a 9-14v strip, which (according to superbrightleds.com) works best at 12 volts. I got it for that reason as well, since I didn't want wires going up and down my legs just to attach to one battery. Didn't want to have to deal with wiring myself up every time I got in and out of the thing, and didn't want to pull a connection every time I want to sit down. This way I could simply have a couple 9 volts in each foot, independent of the rest.
In other news, I painted up the hips:
And I started the process all over again on the torso. Sooooooooo muuuuuuuuuuuuch taaaaaaape......
Really happy with how those detail lines came out. And now, back to the process of slowly destroying my fingers getting those lights to go in. I got an 8AA battery pack, which fit nicely in the front protrusion of the chest, as well as a 4 way splitter to connect all the sections together. Ended up only using three, but had the fourth just in case the boot idea didn't work out.
The back section worked decently well:
And the front eventually worked after much cursing, stabbing, and all around annoyance since I had to push these through several layers in some places.
I was happy, I was giddy, everything was pretty much done.
And then it happened.
One of the connections on the boot lights broke while I was securing it, and I was out of lights. You could hear my cries of frustration from the other end of the house, apparently. Luckily for me, I hadn't thrown out any of the ones that had broken, and I was able to find one that wasn't as bad off as I had thought. Wonder of wonders, miracle of miracles, I got it to work.
It's kind of hard to see what's weathered, but trust me it's there. I kept it subtle on the weathering, just like the color shift before, though I did use it to bring out some of the hard angles better.
Now that that's all done, time for test fit number 2!
Got some inexpensive glove liners (shown in the last post) and decided to strap up the glove plates so that I could use the liners for other costumes, rather than permanently glue them on.
Since I used the 1/4" foam mat for these, the pattern on the bottom wasn't the carbon fiber-esque but the stupid truck bed diamond things, so I couldn't just cut and reverse the pieces as with the rest of the armor. Instead, I coated as before with Plasti Dip, sprayed down the black I used for the rest of the armor, then used a no-slip shelf liner as a mask and painted on the dark grey.
Nice and subtle color shift for the carbon fiber weave! Took a lot longer than expected too, since my back decided it wanted to put me in the hospital for six and a half hours and out of commission for two weeks..... No idea why either....
Got the Turian Phaeston all done, and some awesome outdoor pics! I'll be doing a write-up on the Phaeston shortly. I would have taken more pictures, but my camera isn't the greatest and my leg was hurting pretty badly after a nine mile walk on a partly sprained ankle. That and my back was still hurting quite a bit. Enjoy!
Hope you guys enjoyed this build, because I'm overjoyed that it's come to complete fruition. Always wanted to make the Terminus armor, and thanks to everything I've learned it's finally come to be.