The student news site of Puyallup High School

The Viking Vanguard

The student news site of Puyallup High School

The Viking Vanguard

The student news site of Puyallup High School

The Viking Vanguard

Halo Cosplay Group Brings Games to Life

Credit: Ethan Barker
Members of the Pacific Regiment of the 405th pose in front of a backdrop at Washington State Gaming Expo.

For many, the iconic silhouette of the Mjolnir armor from the Halo games is something that can only exist within the confines of the Xbox. After all, the games are set 500 years into the future. Despite that, the members of the 405th Infantry Division, a worldwide group of cosplayers dedicated to replicating the armor from the games, have created costumes replicating everything from the Master Chief’s armor to the alien Covenant you battle throughout the franchise. 

Chris Pence, who goes by PerniciousDuke on the 405th site and is the Regiment Commanding Officer of the Pacific Regiment, started his cosplay after being introduced to the possibilities by his brothers. 

“My 14-year-old brothers found files online to make Halo armor out of paper, and they did it, and it looked okay for two 14-year-old kids doing this on their own time in their garage. I saw that and I thought, ‘Well, I could probably do it better than a 14-year-old. I’m 23,’” Pence said. “So, I found the 405th which had better files and more information on how to do it with a bigger budget, not a 14-year-old budget. And I did, and it took two years to build a costume. It was a movie quality costume, and that was how I started.”

My favorite part has been online shenanigans, building this close relationship online with a handful of people. And then like, five years later, getting to meet them. We’re like best friends, you know, ‘I’ve never met you before, but we’re gonna hang out this weekend and we’re gonna love it.’

— Chris Pence

Shane Cordray, the Battalion Management Officer who goes by Lukavago on the 405th site, had a start to his build that was slightly rockier. And fierier. 

Story continues below advertisement

“I started working on armor then, except that I was a broke college kid at that point. I was building my armor out of Pepakura (a way to build armor out of reinforced paper). I’m from South Mississippi, it was August and it was really hot, and I was letting it cure outside and it spontaneously lit itself on fire,” Cordray said. “And that kind of killed my cosplay hopes and dreams for a little while. So, I left Mississippi, did a few other things in my life. And finally, settling down, getting back into the groove of things. I’m like, ‘You know, I’ll revisit this whole Halo cosplay thing I did…’ I came to build armor, and then I stayed because the people I’m building armor with are just that cool.” 

Jon Patterson, who is the Regiment Managing Officer and goes by SubXzeroXhero on the 405th site, had a similar story to Cordray. 

“I as well started trying to do it with Pepakura, and it just wasn’t it wasn’t coming out the way that I wanted it to. I had successfully hardened it with resin, but it was kind of wobbly, it wasn’t forming to what I felt was accurate to the game… so I let it go,” Patterson said. “Fast forward several years… I started doing some cosplay with the Star Wars groups, and started getting into the groove of learning more of the process on various ways you can build armor, and I decided that I was going to go back and reattempt what I didn’t succeed at in 2009. I started working on that a couple years back and then had a few different iterations as I built up on it and kept tweaking it along the way until I have the costume that I have now, that I finished about a year or so ago.” 

Members are constantly updating their costumes as they improve their cosplay skills, often replacing armor pieces with ones of higher-quality or even building multiple different suits. The three most common methods are 3D printing, using a special foam called EVA foam, or Pepakura, which involves folding paper to the correct dimensions and hardening it with resin or fiberglass. The separated pieces are then painted and held together with straps, which are connected to the undersuit.

405th member DireWolf111 stands in his customized ODST armor in front of the custom built backdrop, based on a multiplayer map from Halo 3. (Credit: Ethan Barker)

The 405th is more than just a website sharing files and tips for building the armor however, with members often making lasting connections with others. 

“My favorite part has been online shenanigans, building this close relationship online with a handful of people. And then like, five years later, getting to meet them. We’re like best friends, you know, ‘I’ve never met you before., but we’re gonna hang out this weekend and we’re gonna love it.’ And that’s been my favorite part is you turn these online relationships into, now we see each other once a year at conventions. We just pick up right where we left off. It’s fun, that’s what I enjoy,” Pence said. 

The conventions are where the 405th get to show off their work that they’ve poured hours into to the public, and even some people who work to bring the Halo games to life. 

“The cons themselves are usually pretty cool. Seeing people talking to people and showing off the armor that’s always fun. But there’s also the special events that come up every now and again. Microsoft will ask us to come to an event… we’ll go show up at an event wearing Halo armor at a Halo thing… for the people that made Halo,” Cordray said.

405th member ArcSol in his ODST armor carrying a flag bearing the logo of the 405th outside the Washington State Gaming Con. (Credit: Ethan Barker)

Sometimes, their work can even catch the attention of the people that bring the iconic Master Chief to life. Bruce Thomas has done the motion capture for the Master Chief in the past 3 Halo games, and has also played Batman in a series of commercials, voiced characters in “Fallout 4” and many other roles. He expressed admiration at the quality of the work done by members of the 405th. 

“It’s amazing, I’m amazed that they can create these things with 3D printers. Or sometimes they handmake them, which is even more impressive,” Thomas said. 

Another Halo celebrity that the group has caught the attention of is Steve Downes, who’s been the voice of Master Chief for almost 23 years and throughout all seven games. His Clint Eastwood-inspired portrayal has taken millions of players through the futuristic universe of the games, fighting aliens, robots, and parasitic zombies. 

“They do a lot of really good work and a lot of charitable work, and I respect that,” Downes said. 

The 405th often attend events such as the Halo World Championships in Redmond, and those events are of course packed with Halo superfans. 

“This past year during HCS, we got the chance to surprise everybody by having everybody show up in armor before doors open. So that was cool, like ran in what was supposed to just kind of be this fairly open hall… And now there’s a small division of the UNSC, Spartans and everything… You know, just seeing people around that corner, making a beeline for their seats, and all of a sudden stop, saying ‘There’s four Master Chiefs here,’” Patterson said. 

The experience of bringing the characters that many know and love to life is something that is special for every member of the 405th, as the series holds a very special place in the hearts of many. 

“One of the best parts of the whole experience of doing cosplay is going to something like SummerCon and people running from 30 or 40 feet away and darting across the con floor, being like ‘Oh my god, I love Halo! This is so cool!’… Because the franchise is so much older, you have this generation passing it on to the next generation,” Patterson said. “Now you’ve got younger kids or older parents who have got kids now and they’re trying to introduce them to Halo and they’re like, ‘Hey, look, it’s the person from the game that you’re playing at home, that we’re playing together’ and the kid is like ‘Ohhh, that’s so cool.’”

Leave a Comment
More to Discover
About the Contributor
Ethan Barker
Ethan Barker, ACE Editor
Ethan Barker is the ACE (Arts, Culture and Entertainment) Editor for the Viking Vanguard student newspaper at Puyallup High School. This year, which will be his second with the Vanguard and his junior year of high school, he hopes to improve his interviewing skills and work with the editorial team to investigate issues facing students. He consistently turns out reviews of blockbuster movies and shows, along with feature stories that focus on unique people and places. In addition to these, he enjoys playing guitar, swimming for PHS and his club team and reading the closest book he can get his hands on.

Comments (0)

All The Viking Vanguard Picks Reader Picks Sort: Newest

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *