Halloween Cosplay Build – Star Lord, the making of


Custom made, Star lord cosplay by DropBOB Designs
Star Lord Helmet, Cosplay by DropBOB Designs

My Star Lord Helmet is finally complete. Read on for the making of this helmet by DropBOB designs.

I wanted to make my own version of the Start Lord helmet from Guardians of the Galaxy, but I didn’t just want to make a replica. I wanted to make is a little more utilitarian/steampunkish. I didn’t want to go full out steampunk though. Here’s how it all started (foam sheets from Michaels):

I found a really great flat pattern online for the helmet here. All Credit go to JFCustom for the creation of this original 3D foam flat pattern file. 

I ended up modifying the file so that all the pieces would fit onto exactly 4 sheets of 8.5″x11″. I had bought the 4 sheets of foam before I had this pattern, so the challenge was on! Like a tetris champ I managed to fit the original 8 sheets all onto 4 sheets.

In the process of doing this, I learned about this great program: Pepakura. A great program to make any mask into simple flat patterns. From the popular iron man masks to the less popular bunny heads. You can even use it to make custom designs from imported 3d CAD files. (Soon coming to a DropBOB Designs near you!)

After cutting out all the pieces, the fun begins! Glueing to make a 3 dimensional mask. The best glue for foam is Contact cement. This year I took into consideration the wife … I bought low odor contact cement. The tradeoff is that instead of taking 5 min to dry, it takes 30 min to dry. So this lead to a series of “your not even working on your costume” … “I’m waiting for glue to dry” responses.

It didn’t take long for it to star looking like something. For really tight angles, after gluing with the contact cement, I also applied some silicone to the seams. This added smooth joints to the mask as well as added strength and flexibility.

Using some thin 1/8″ thick foam, I added the Star Lord mask mouth detail. Layering it adds realistic texture, compared to just painting or drawing it in.

I also added a wooden plate to each side of the helmet to mount the electronics. I needed something sturdier than foam to mount these. The film version of the mask has 3 round tubes for “decoration” here. But I like my designs to be a little more useful than this. So, this houses my batteries. I actually custom designed the electronics for this project using an online Circuit Simulator Applet.

I really love this tool as it allows you visualize the current flow and speed (Amps & Volts respectively). So I designed the circuit to have a high power and a low power mode for each the air intake fans and the led eyes. 2 switches to toggle back and forth low/high and 2 switches to turn on/off.

You can download my Circuit Sim file here. and play with it if you want to modify it.

Here are the list of electronic components (all from Digikey.ca … best electronic shop), not including tools to assemble:

 – CONTACT BATTERY AAA SIZE
 – STANDARD MOTOR 16364 RPM 3VDC
 – SWITCH PUSHBUTTON SPST 1A 30V
 – LED RED CLEAR 2SMD GW
 – KIT MAGNET WIRE

The magnet wire was the best idea too! because it is enameled instead of using thick insulation, its super easy to score the foam and tuck the wire into the foam to route each line to each component (you can see this on the photo showing the inside of the mask).

while routing the electronics, its also important to visualize it as it will be laid out on the mask. This helps you simplify the number of wires to run inside the mask.

Note as well that I designed the circuit with power requirements in mind. I’m using 6x 950mAh rechargeable batteries. with the estimated power draw from the Circuit simulator, I estimate the turbo mode to be able to run for 3.3-hrs and the regular mode to run for 7-hrs. I played around with resistances to be able to run as long as possible while keeping the low mode as close as possible to the minimum drop in voltage that the motors and led’s will take and high power mode being 2x more than low power.

A few tests along the way while wiring up the SMD leds (surface mount technology) help since the wiring of these tiny devices is quite difficult:

Helping hands required!

After the eyes were completed, the air intake was started. I’m using the same 1.5″ ID, 1.9″ OD PVC tube I had laying around in my workshop.

And I caped it off with a funnel cut to fit the tube perfectly. Also note the generous use of silicone to seal the openings after gluing it down with some more contact cement. Since these air intakes will be pulling air from the outside and pushing into the inside of the mask, I actually simulated the flow on a fluid simulator:

See the small opening for the air to flow out of.
you can see the turbulence caused by the blades, these blades are not efficient at all! oh well …
flow is out of the mouth at approx 0.05m/s max

I actually designed the fans and got them sent to 3D print before I did the fluid flow simulation (defeating the purpose of analysing the flow). But it definitely made me feel better while I waited for the prints to come in.

I setup the boundary conditions all around the assembly to be open, 1atm, no flow. I then made the blades spin clockwise at 17,000 rpm (max rated motor speed). It was nice to see that the air actually got pulled and pushed by the blades in the simulation.

Next time, I will optimize the flow with a few parameters: #blades vs mass airflow, blade angle vs mass airflow, etc.

Eventually the blades came in, and I mounted them, tested the circuit and the flow and all was perfect! The flow on high power mode is great for when its hot and stuffy, and low power is good for low noise. With this setup I can wear the mask all day and not sweat like crazy. Which, like most cosplayers know too well, sucks.

Next step, add elmers glue to insulate the foam. This step is essential to apply prior to coating the whole thing with urethane. After the glue is dry, a nice and thick application of 2 part Urethane (also got this at Michaels). You can coat the whole thing with this. Careful to keep the battery contacts clear, otherwise they won’t conduct.

Also right before you apply the urethane, use some sand paper to make the copper shine. Then apply the urethane. This will keep the metal from oxidizing and keeps the copper looking new.

After using painters tape to protect the eyes and electronics, use a dark base color followed by some lighter colors on top. After it dries, a light sanding will give it a weathered look.

After removing the painters tape, feel free to add small details with a tiny brush. Black lines helps to add a more Borderlands effect.

Star Lord, chilling with the wife

Overall super happy how this turned out, considering its my first fully functional foam helmet Cosplay. Looking forward to wearing this at the Vancouver Fan Expo. Nebula was supposed to show up … but she’s canceled now … sad. That’s ok, my favorite actress, the engineer from firefly, is still supposed to be there.

This mask (& accessories) will be available next year (Oct 2017) for sale. Also, check out my other items for sale (add to your cart on my page) including my Cold Drip Coffee Maker, and last year’s Cosplay Pyramid head (build post 1, build post 2).

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