Even though I had to create the shape of the Mark IV HEV suit from scratch, the Mark V has a more detailed game model that I could convert
into real-life parts through the program Pepakura, as often done with armors from video games. While there are several Pepakura models
already available of the HEV suit, where some are more accurate than others, I still wanted to create my own version by basing it on the
original game model of the HEV suit.
The creation of the Hazardous Environment Suit
To start working on the chest armor, I would use a convenient
function that splits models in half to duplicate a mirrored version on
the other side so the model can be reshaped symmetrically, so the
asymmetrical backplate had to be removed from the chest armor first.
With the backplate out of the way, the mirroring filter could be applied
so that any changes I make to the highlighted side would also occur
on the other side.
The back of the neck area was rounded off and smoothed out by
adding many more lines that follow the shape of the neck area.
The curves of the shoulder areas were also made much smoother and
With the new forearm and bicep models in place, the whole HEV suit
was ready to be reshaped and smoothed out into something more
presentable in real life.
With the view-model and world-model merged together, the bicep
armor had all the features of both, but still needed a serious amount of
The view-model of the bicep armor was also larger, but each model
also had a few details that the other was missing, so I decided to
merge both models together.
The view-model of the forearm armor was much larger than the
world-model, and had to be scaled down.
After all the soft parts had been separated from the armor parts, the
more detailed view-models of the arms were also imported to replace
the original world-model arms.
Thanks to Valve News Network's videos about the beta versions of
Valve's games, I noticed that the beta version of the HEV suit had a
much more detailed backside, and of course I would want to add all
these cool looking details to my own HEV suit.
I believe the back details of the beta suit are canon to the storyline,
only the developers decided to remove them in the retail version of
the video game to save resources since the back would never be seen
After digging around inside the files of Half-Life 2, I found the HEV
suit model, and was able to import it into the program Blender where
I could further shape it.
This model would of course be the most accurate base so far since it is
the actual HEV suit from the video game.
The chest armor was missing the recessed ridges at the lower half
since the model relied on the texture files to make these appear, so
the missing ridges were made by cutting the shapes into the armor,
and scaling down these shapes to recess them into the surface.
The recessed ridges were made to go all the way around to the rim of
After all the smoothing out and adding of details was done, the chest
armor looked more or less like this.
I also changed many other details that I won't write about, otherwise
you'd be here for a very long time.
All the details of the backplate were actually separate parts that were
clipping through the surface of the backplate, so I decided to convert
all the details into one solid piece instead to make it easier to reshape
With the transparency filter turned on to show all the vertices, you
can see how much of each part was clipping through the surface of the
backplate to never be seen again.
After merging together all the parts, the excess vertices on the inside
of the backplate could be removed.
I decided to make the backplate without any of the tubes that would
only make constructing the Pepakura pieces a real hassle, so I made
recessed areas into the backplate instead that show where the
missing tubes should be.
The smaller tubes in the corner were also removed and replaced with
recessed areas that show where the tubes should be.
Separate tubes for all these recessed areas would of course be made
later on since the backplate is supposed to have them there.
Other areas of the backplate, such as this long groove that runs next
to the center part, only appears in the texture files to save resources,
so it had to be shaped into the surface by following its appearance in
the texture files.
This other funky looking bottle opener was also very simple, with
most details relying on the texture files to appear, so it was also
reshaped to feature these missing details.
After all the details of the backplate were finished, I decided to merge
the rim around it with the chest armor instead to make it easier to
shape it symmetrically.
The waist armor that sort of protects Gordon's kidneys and the top of
his buttcrack was also cut in half to be mirrored symmetrically.
Many of the original lines were repositioned, along with making new
lines at several locations to make the buttcrack armor a lot smoother.
To also shape the thigh armor symmetrically, all I had to do was to
remove one of them and apply the mirroring filter to the remaining
one, making a mirrored duplicate that would be reshaped when
changing the first one.
Many of the lines were repositioned to better follow the overall
contours of the thigh armor, and many more lines were added to
smooth out the shapes.
As before, only one of the shin armor was needed to make a mirrored
counterpart appear, and the various round areas on the back of them
were further rounded off.
The horizontal line that was more prominent in the texture files were
also added to the center of the shin armor, and the details at the top
were also further enhanced.
After some more line cutting and reshaping, the bicep armor was
starting to look a lot smoother.
The slanted side at the bottom of the forearm armor was missing
material all together that would have to be filled in.
After adding the missing material, the slanted side was further based
upon the forearm armor as it appears in one of the promotional
pictures, even if this slanted side has probably no function what so
ever, but I like the way it looks.
The top of the forearm armor was also shaped to match with a certain
version from one of the promotional pictures, including the cylinder
that I imagine is actually the terribly working flashlight of the suit.
After all the reshaping, the forearm armor looked much smoother and
more detailed than the original.
When the whole HEV suit looked like I wanted it to, I could prepare to
print it out by finding the right scale for it.
Instead of printing out several armor pieces in different scales to find
what fits by trial and error, I decided to make a digital model of
myself to scale the armor to inside my computer instead.
I was already building a mannequin after my own human-form, so I
imported a photograph of it into Blender to turn it into a 3D model.
The mirroring filter was also used to make two symmetrical sides of
my digital being.
The previously flat model was inflated to the shape of a Black Mesa
The unnecessary textures were removed before finishing off the model
in a simple enough level of detail that would do the job.
After importing my digital self into the HEV suit file, it had a slightly
different scale and would have to be resized.
I was expecting to have to resize the HEV suit at least slightly to make
it fit my frame, but with my digital selfness in the right scale, it
seemed to fit me just perfectly.
After importing my digital self into the program Pepakura and setting
the model to my own height, it would calculate the proper scale to
print out the armor in.
It does of course not matter that the parts of this model were a
complete mess when they will not be printed out anyway.
After selecting which lines should be cut open, the program would
magically flatten out the digital model into several pieces that could
be printed out and glued together, as seen here with the bicep armor.
Since it is usually recommended to print out the parts on cardstock, I
decided to buy orange cardstock for this orange armor, just for the
hell of it.
All the printed pieces were quickly super-glued together, but after
seeing the armor piece in the real world, I thought it should really be
a lot more detailed when it won't be used in a video game from 2004
Reloading the HEV suit file to smooth it out even further, most of the
reshaping revolved around splitting each face into multiple faces that
were then smoothed out with various nifty filters that align and relax
each vertex perfectly next to each other.
After all the new modifications, the bicep armor went from the original
41 vertices, to the new count of 896 vertices.
Most of the forearm armor was smoothed out and rounded off, except
for the triangular areas at the top that were filtered out to be
With all the reshaping and smoothing out done, the forearm armor
looked better than ever, going from the original 99 vertices, to the
new count of 1023 vertices.
Here you can see both arms in all their new smoothness.
While the top opening of the forearm armor looks too large against
the bottom opening of the bicep armor, this was intentional since they
would have padded rims inside them that match more with the bicep
The neck area of the chest armor was also further split into smaller
faces to be smoothed out with the various relaxing filters.
Many of the lines were also repositioned to naturally flow with the
shape of the neck area.
The sides and shoulder areas were also cut into several new lines that
flow naturally with the contours of these areas.