Tutorial - Tali Z'orah Mass Effect 2 Cosplay - Helmet
I’ve gotten a lot of questions about my Tali costume, so I figured I’ll do a few tutorials :)
First of all, you got to have good reference photos! Make sure you find proper art or from the game, not fan art as it may not be the same as the original! (In general, stick to one reference picture as some conventions only allows handing in one reference picture to the judges)
Before getting to work on my costume, I browsed around the internet, searching for other Tali costumes, other cosplay armour and the like, to see how they’ve made theirs.
My biggest concern, from the start, was the visor, as it has a very distinct look. I couldn’t just buy a shop- or motorcycle helmet-visor as it’s curved, kind of like a light bulb. I realized I would have to make it myself. Also the painting of the visor was a concern as visibility was a MUST as the rules for the contest I was aiming for stated you had to be able to walk on and off the stage yourself!
I made the mold for my helmet using a good-sized easter egg as the base and then adding onto the shape with papier maché. Then sanding it down to get it smooth.
I reinforced the inside of the easter egg with scrap fabric and taped it shut, so that it wouldn’t bend.
I came across a piece of plastic, which I tried to shape across the egg by using a heat gun, but the plastic just wrinkled and got all creased and weird! :(
Searching for ways to shape plastic, I finally came across PETG plastic. The great thing about this is that it doesn’t crease, it simply gets “wobbly” and is much easier to shape. (I ordered a pack pretty sheap on eBay from the UK). This I once again tried shaping by heating it up with my heat gun, but I learned that the heat gun will only heat up a single spot, while it needs to be heated completely all over to get a good shape. Still, it turned out better than the first attempt..
I found on the Internet that most use vaccuum-forming to shape the PETG plastic. Which is super cool, but also super expensive, and I would have to have/make/borrow a vaccuum-former, which was out of the question for me.
Finally I came aross this Youtube-video which showed how he forced the plastic down over a mold by heating it in a frame in the oven. So, this is what I did!
I removed both the protective layers from the plastic sheet and then nailed it to an old frame. Then heated in the oven for about 2 minutes. I placed the mold on a stack of manga books so that we would get more height to it and be able to force the plastic down over the mold far enough to make it smooth. (Thanks to my lovely boyfriend who helped me out with this! Four hands are better than two!)
After this I started building the helmet out of craft foam. I first found a Pepakura for it, but only used it in the beginning to get a better overview of the shape of the helmet, but then made my own patter as I went along (Still, if anyone of you guys out there want to use the Pepakura check out this awesome site; http://www.therpf.com/f24/mass-effect-pepakura-file-archive-check-regular-updates-186674/)
I used glue called “Super Fix” (from Casco) to glue the pieces together. Highly reccomend it! It’s very durable and even when I move the pieces after they’ve dried they don’t break.
Taping the pieces with masking tape as they dry to make sure they keep the shape.
Trying out the visor to make sure it fits.
For the mouth piece I was lucky to find a flashing “bling ring” for 10 SEK (about $1,50)! Lucky!!
I created the molded-shape around the mouth with papier maché (paper clay).
Had to do several layers to make sure it was nice and smooth :)
And then I just kept adding on pieces, as one dried I built the next. In some places I used little pin needles to have the pieces stay in place as they dried.
The visor was painted with glass paint, which gives the most even result. The paint is pretty thick but I can still see out! (barely, but still!!)
I actually sewed in some parts of the helmet to make it extra durable. The seems were smoothened out with gesso paint.
First paint layer; silver chrome spray paint. TIP; Use acrylic paint as it does not crack if bent!
Then the detail painting; first gray and silver-mix, and lastly a few solid black strokes to get some depth. Also sprayed a bit black in the corners. Then I painted the inside black. Lastly sealed it with acrylic-paint-seal-spray.
Lastly I cut the visor to the proper shape and glued it into helmet. Simple as cake! (even though it took a heck of a lot of time!!)
I had a blast at Motor City Comic Con on Saturday! This was my first time cosplaying as Tali and all things considered I think it went super well! There are some things I’m going to tweak before colossalcon but that’s what test runs are for! I have slowly been getting some pictures back so if you have any of me and my friend Kevin as Garrus, I’d love to see them! ^^
^ Haha I didn’t realize we were standing so far apart I feel like this should have a sassy caption next to it XD
^ Squad too cool for you If we would have had a shepard in the middle of this it would have been perfect omg dream teaaaamm
^ I’m including this selfie because I’m not sure if any of the pictures with my face exposed will surface. I looooove the way the contacts looked with this