A finished ODST helmet from Pepakura.

 This is a tutorial on the process of building armor from Pepakura to finish. It will branch out a bit after the pep process, but for the sake of containment, all information related to armors that begin with Pepakura will be here. Topics covered include Pepakura, Fiberglass, Bondo, Rondo, and Sanding.

Pepakura Process[edit | edit source]

Some Pepakura essentials. From left: Cutting board, Scoring tools (pens), Straight edge, Disposable scoring surface (paper with marks on it), Glue, Scissors, Cardstock (110lbs).

Materials Needed[edit | edit source]

  • Cardstock - 110lbs or 150gsm for printing on.
  • Cutting tool - Scissors or Knife for cutting out.
  • Printer - Straight-through paper feeder works best.
  • Computer - To handle the Pepakura program.
  • Scoring tool - A sharp pen or the back edge of a knife to make it possible to fold on each part's fold lines.
  • Glue - Elmer's White, Hot glue, and Super Glue are popular choices.

Materials Optional[edit | edit source]

  • Straight edge - To keep the scoring tool moving in a straight line.
  • Cutting board - A good sacrificial surface on which to use a knife to cut out parts.
  • Popsicle sticks/Chopsticks - These can be useful to reinforce sagging parts.
  • Music/TV - A distraction from the folding and gluing monotony.
  • Laser cutter - Can be used it lieu of the cutting and scoring process.

Procedure[edit | edit source]

Details can be found by clicking on a step to read more.
  1. Choosing a file - Browse the http://405th.4shared.com database for pepakura files, though that database focuses on Halo pieces and a few from other scifi games, so it may be prudent to scour http://google.com  or the various threads on http://405th.com for other files.
  2. Pepakura Sizing - Most pepakura armor is sized to fit standard body types, but there are times when they are not the right fit for an individual, in which case Pepakura Designer must be used to resize it.
  3. Printing - Once the Pepakura file is ready, it must be printed. Most printers can handle cardstock, especially if they are back-loading for paper. If there are difficulties printing, a lower weight cardstock or a better printer will be needed.
  4. Cutting - The pieces need to be cut out. This can be done crudely with scissors, or precisely with a hobby knife. The knife will take longer, but yield better fitting parts.
  5. Scoring and Folding - In order for the fold lines to bend sharply and not warp, it is necessary to score them, which depresses the paper along the fold line, guiding the paper in where it should fold. Once the piece has been scored, it should be folded along the lines in order to prepare them for placement and gluing.
  6. Gluing - Once the pieces being worked on have been scored and folded, they need to be lined up with the adjacent piece. This is done by lining the numbered edges up together. It is a good idea to do a test fit of a piece before gluing it in to ensure it is placed correctly to avoid warping. The numbers act as guides to help line the pieces up, then they are glued together.
  7. This process is repeated until the full pepakura piece has been completed.

Hardening Process[edit | edit source]

When a Pepakura object is glued together, it is still just stiff paper and is very at risk to crumpling and sagging, losing its shape. The hardening process reinforces it and prepares it to be strong enough to handle the Smoothing Process, as well as strengthening it to survive regular wearing. The Hardening Process is a balancing act between weight and strength, as it is difficult to get both. The two most common methods are Fiberglass and Rondo, though there are many merits to combining the two.

Safety[edit | edit source]

Be aware, many of the chemicals used in this process are dangerous while they are "wet". It is absolutely important and necessary to read the Safety procedure before continuing. This is not only for the sake of the armor maker's health, but also to ensure no harm comes to others, or to the armor maker's own home.
Read more: Safety

Hardening Materials[edit | edit source]

There are a variety of materials to be used. These are ones most common for North American builders. For information on options in other countries, look at the International Equivalents.

  • Fiberglass mat/cloth
  • Fiberglass resin
  • MEKP catalyst
  • Bondo Body Filler
  • Cream hardener
  • Disposable brush
  • Mixing surface
  • Mixing cup

Procedure[edit | edit source]

With any of these, click on the step's title in order to read more.

  1. Preparation - Before the actual reinforcing occurs a last check of the armor piece is a good idea. Things to look for are possible points of collapse or misshapenness in the helmet caused by uneven Pepakura gluing, or from the piece leaning on an edge and sagging. It may be prudent to use popsicle sticks or chopsticks to "hold out" parts of the armor that may have started to collapse. Finding a place where the armor can sit undisturbed for several hours is also important.
  2. Resining - This is an intermediate step in the process. The Pepakura piece is not strong enough to support the weight of the hardening materials on its own, so applying a coat of Resin gives it the extra bit of strength needed to keep from collapsing.
  3. Hardening - This is a variable step. It is a necessary step to ensure the armor is wearable, but which method used is up to the individual's needs. Click on the article to read more.

Smoothing Process[edit | edit source]

This process is to smooth over the "polygon" look the exterior of pepakura armor has in order to make it look more realistic and less like a low-resolution cg model. This is accomplished by applying Bondo to the outside surface to fill the gaps between polygon edges, and then smoothing it down with sanding.

Safety[edit | edit source]

Like all steps that utilize resins, it is important that the armor maker review procedures on ensuring their health and that of those around them, as well as preventing any damage to property.

Read more: Safety

Smoothing Materials[edit | edit source]

  • Bondo Body Filler
  • Cream hardener
  • Mixing surface
  • Mixing stick
  • Applicator
  • Fiberglass resin
  • MEKP catalyst
  • Mixing cup
  • Masking tape
  • Hobby knife

Procedure[edit | edit source]

  1. Bondo Application - Bondo is applied to the exterior surface of the helmet in smooth thin layers in order to fill in gaps and depressions in the Pepakura piece. This is the primary mode of smoothing the armor.
  2. Rondo Application - Rondo can be applied in "boxed in" areas in order to create protruding details. Things that may have been left off of the Pepakura model, or desired custom additions can be created through this method. It is imprecise and requires setup to work correctly, but will build durable new surfaces on the armor.
  3. Sanding - When Bondo or Rondo is applied to the armor, it is effectively impossible to lay them smoothly enough to not require sanding. So it is usually necessary to sand down the Bondo or Rondo in order to smooth them out further.
  4. Detail Work - During the smoothing process, depending on the needs of the armor maker they may want to add additional details. Things like detail cut lines, small additional pieces, and cutting out visors and vents fall into this category, which immediately precedes the final finishing steps.

Finishing Process[edit | edit source]

Finishing involves adding details through addition and subtraction of bondo and rondo to the outside in order to add small details that are not usually included in Pepakura models.

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