After five months and 700 hours of 3-D rendering, wrestling with fiberglass molds, and painting meticulously, Master Chief was born, 7 feet tall, to designer and constructor Jonathan Groves.
But he isn’t a Halo nerd. Groves, who nears seven feet without his shoes on, built a suit of the popular video game’s protagonist, Master Chief.
A cyborg, Master Chief leads the inhabitants of Earth to victory after victory against a coven of alien races hell-bent on activating an ancient weapon designed to destroy all life.
“There are different classifications of people out there. There are fanatics and there are nerds. I would definitely say I’m a Halo fan, but I would say that the nerd classification falls under the people who literally adore Halo. I’m just a casual gamer,” Groves said.
Instead of video games, Groves nerds out to design. As a graphic design major, he embarked on the Master Chief project to explore his interest in fiberglass sculpture.
“I built it specifically to understand the materials, just like you would in a drawing class,” Groves said, “and to just unleash my ultimate design potential. I see more to show my design, really.”
The process was grueling, Groves said. First, he used a computer program to make digital 3-D model to design the suit. After that, the model was printed out on various sheets of paper to make a paper fold. Groves then applied fiberglass resin to both sides to harden the model. Fiberglass matting reinforces individual pieces. Finally, the finished costume was painted in a less traditional black and gold scheme.
Each part of the suit took approximately three hours to complete.
“When I attempted to do it my first try, I had no previous knowledge about how to use the materials. I didn’t want to poison myself; I didn’t want to die from harmful chemicals,” Groves said. He taught himself how to build his Master Chief creation by watching instructional videos and perusing various costuming websites.
Groves was surprised to see his photo in the Wall Street Journal after he wore the suit to the Halo 4 premier. He wasn’t even aware that he had been featured until a friend noticed the picture by chance.
Since his original premiere in the suit, Groves has journeyed to a variety of different locales as Master Chief. His next appearance will be at Triple Play on New Years.
To see more of the suit and Groves’s other projects, visit jgrenders.com.