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Tali’zorah vas Normandy Cosplay Tutorial: Helmet Base


If you’ve been following my Instagram or Facebook page lately you’d have noticed some WIP photos of a certain Quarian tech expert going up.

I’m going to start going back to doing journal like / write up entries here on how I made everything – much like what I did when I made my Morrigan cosplay from Dragon Age Origins.

The helmet write up will be in two separate parts, the first (this one) being the helmet base, and the second for the visor.

STEP ONE: Pepakura

If you haven’t heard of Pepakura, its a form of papercraft in which you print out lots of tiny little pieces and glue them all together.

You can download any pattern you like, this particular one can be found HERE, and make sure you download Pepakura DESIGNER (not viewer!).

now, depending on how long you’ve followed me, you might remember me making a cardboard version of Tali’s helmet with this method:

I found with using the cardboard it was incredibly fragile. usually the process of pepakura is making it with cardboard, covering with bondo and sanding it back – however i decided to opt for another method this time around.

THIS time, I removed the tab option whilst in the program, and used 3mm thick craft foam & hot glue (PLEASE PLEASE WEAR A FACE MASK WHEN USING HEAT ON FOAM).

I did get a little lazy around the mouthpiece, but i also had to accomodate for the fact i’d be cutting some of it out to actually put in a light as well.

You might also be wondering why I made it with the visor as well – this is because the nature of foam would have made the base warp a little in size, so it wouldn’t necessarily fit a visor i’d made separately.

STEP TWO: Paper Mache

After finishing the foam base, I then did two layers of paper mache to strengthen the shape so I could cut out the visor section.

(also removed the little knobs on the sides of the helmet after following the pattern without double checking my references!)


After removing the visor, I then covered the helmet in worbla.

I’m sure with enough primer you can skip this method, however worbla really does strengthen it and is far less likely to be broken in travel in my experience.

Because of how many seams there were I used my dremel to sand down any edges that needed it (image below is post-dremelling)

I then did roughly 4 coats of primer which I suspect may have been why it ended up with that uneven surface in the second picture if you look close enough.

Personally, if I could go back I would have suck with two coats.


STEP FOUR: Painting

After priming I then used a black spray paint to undercoat.

The first few coats I used a metallic silver as a base

(if you can use spray paint, i recommend that over hand painting)

I then went back in with black dry brushing to get that battleworn / shaded look.


Originally I really wanted to have a voice activated light (just like in the game) however I soon realised that it wouldnt make its way into any photos unless i was saying cheese!

After making that realization, I needed to figure out a way I could have a light installed in the minimal space I had, with an off switch AND still be able to access the batteries in order to change them.

I went down to the dollar store with low hopes but i was so surprised when I managed to find one of these for about $2.  (I found an ebay link if you want one) 

It was super thick, and my face only JUST fit with it lodged inside, so i took it out and actually removed the back, freeing up about 2cm of space (a large amount in a confined helmet).

After doing this, instead of rough plastic on my chin, i found my mouth was far too close to unstable batteries.

I glued two strips of velcro either side of the battery section in order to keep them enclosed and a barrier between my chin and the batteries .

Thats about it for the base!!!

If you have any questions drop a comment below and I’ll answer as soon as I can.

Keelah se’lai!


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