Fan Creation Feature: Garm the Krogan Battlemaster

Remember Garm, the Krogan Battlemaster from Mass Effect 2? Inspired by his reputation as the tough-as-nails leader of Omega’s Blood Pack, prop maker Matthew Walther built a full-scale wearable Garm suit. We sat down with Matthew to see what it takes to put together such an ambitious build, and it turns out creating the warrior Garrus called a “freak of nature” takes a lot of work. And red paint.


What inspired you to create Garm?

I’ve always wanted to build a Krogan, so I looked at all the different suits in the game and decided which one I wanted to make. You see people create Wrex or Grunt, but not really any others. I really liked the design of the Battlemaster armor, so I went with him!

How did you make the suit?

I put a 3D model of Garm into a program called Pepakura Designer that “unfolds” the model by flattening the parts to paper so you can make printable patterns. Once printed, I cut out the parts, traced them onto foam floor mats, and cut those into pieces to assemble like a gigantic puzzle.



I used floor mats because they’re light and really cheap. I cut all the parts with a hobby knife, glued everything together with contact cement, built a frame with PVC pipe and an old camping backpack, then sealed it all up with white glue so the paint wouldn’t seep into the foam. I brushed on the main colors and lightly dusted other colors to add some realism, added straps and foam tubes to hold parts together, and covered the open areas with black cloth to really sell the illusion of a massive Krogan.



How long did it take you to make Garm?

It took me between 250 and 300 hours, over a couple months. The hardest part was his head, because of the bone crests, but even that didn’t take long. Good results come with practice—and trial and error—but working with foam is easier than it may seem. That’s why I love the stuff.

300 hours is a lot of time! How did you learn the skills to pull this off?

Trial and error, mostly! There are hundreds of resources online to learn things like this. When I first started, I learned from my fellow self-made prop makers, gleaning what information I could and applying it to what I was doing. You can find prop makers all over Facebook, YouTube, and their websites.

What’s it like inside the suit?

Hot. Very, very hot. The suit is no more than 30 pounds, but the foam doesn’t breathe at all and it gets hot inside very quickly.  The hardest part, though, is seeing where I’m going! I need a handler with me because I can only see through the mouth.


Any plans to do another Mass Effect build?

I’ll definitely have to do something from Andromeda once we start seeing more.


You can find more of Matthew’s work on his website. Matthew has created other cool Mass Effect builds, including Threshy the Thresher Maw.

If you’ve spotted a community creation that you think we should highlight, tweet us!

Fan Creation Feature: Solas Bust by Caroline Lui

In our latest fan creation feature, we take a look at a masterfully crafted bust of Solas by Caroline Lui. A largely self-taught sculptor, Caroline gave us a look at what it takes to bring an infamous Inquisition elf to life in stunning detail.

What made you want to sculpt Solas?

Solas is one of the best-written characters in any work I’ve ever read, watched, or played. I’ve rarely been as captivated by a story as I was by his. From arrogant elf to trusted friend, humble apostate to reluctant enemy, aloof spirit-lover to the most painful love interest in all of Thedas: whichever way you see him, he has so many complex facets that it’s impossible not to be fascinated.

Did you have a concept for the bust?

I wanted his design to express his slight stiffness, his careful reserve, and also his unexpected passion and intensity.

How did you build the bust?


To start the head, I molded and cast a skull I’d sculpted previously in Apoxie Sculpt, a 2-part epoxy clay. I built up the face on top of the skull using small pieces of clay to get the general shapes down quickly. This step is a sketch, and while I was being mindful of resemblance, the goal was more to simply build mass.


After it had cured, I added a “skin” layer of Apoxie, and began carving and sanding everything into place, using an X-Acto knife, calipers for measuring, and flexible, cloth-backed sandpaper.

Once I was reasonably happy with the face, I built up the neck, back of the head, and ears. I leave this for last for ease of handling—half a head is easier than a full one.


The head complete, the bust itself began as a layer of clay over an appropriately-shaped aluminum foil armature, giving me a basic shape to work with.


After further shaping and adding details to the bust, and ensuring the two parts fit together, the final touch was sculpting his jawbone necklace.


How long did it take you to finish the bust?

All in, it took about two months to complete, give or take a week. I’d like to sculpt the entire Inner Circle and Advisors, as well as some characters from the first two games.

Sculpting such a big cast of characters may seem pretty ambitious, but Caroline’s already done Dorian and Cullen busts in addition to Solas. There are tons of photos of all three busts on her website.

If you’ve spotted a community creation that you think we should highlight here, tweet us!


Fan Creation Feature: M-6 Carnifex Rubber Band Gun

The BioWare community sends us the coolest things.

Travis Ng, an industrial design graduate from San Jose State University, created this one-of-a-kind rubber band gun based off the M-6 Carnifex heavy pistol from Mass Effect. Using sheets of birch wood and a laser cutter, Travis designed the pistol from the ground up, layer by layer. Complete with a loading mechanism, the model is actually semi-automatic! See it in action:


We took a moment to talk to Travis about his creation.

What inspired you to make the Carnifex?

I was inspired to make the Carnifex after successfully making a test prototype of the M-3 Predator. I decided to go full detail with the Carnifex, as it’s one of the most iconic weapons in the Mass Effect universe. It is a weapon most gamers and cosplayers would easily recognize.

How long did it take you to build it?

Although designing the laser-cut pattern did not take too long, it was the test fit of the firing mechanism that took the most time. The firing mechanism was designed based off another rubber band gun that a YouTube user had originally designed (RBguns). All in all, adding up all the time it took to design, test fit, and fully finish: 2-3 months total. It was truly a labor of love.

Want to make a Carnifex yourself? Travis has created an instructables page with all the necessary materials and steps to get you started. Thanks Travis!

You can find more of Travis’ work on his personal website.

Safety disclaimer: This is not a toy and is not intended for use by children. Never shoot rubber bands at other people, pets, and do not shoot it at yourself. Eye protection is recommended when using the rubber band gun.

Fan Creation Feature – Hannah Friederichs

The BioWare community is full of talented artists of different stripes: illustrators, animators, cosplayers, photographers–you name it.

One such illustrator is Hannah Friederichs, who crafted these fantastic Dragon Age: Inquisition-themed pulp fiction covers.


We took a minute to talk with Hannah about her inspiration for this unique project.

What inspired these covers?

I love pulp magazines and novels! They have a lot in common with Dragon Age: both play with tropes and have created enduring characters. There’s a purely over-the-top joy in writing all the juicy titles, too; I get to include all of my favorite Thedas experiences.

Why did you choose to use Dorian as the damsel in distress?

I was almost finished with a sketch of Josie in that position when my husband stepped in a made a case for Dorian.  Dorian’s definitely more comfortable in the role. It’s against type for Josephine, and Bull obviously runs a bit faster in Dorian’s defense.

You can check out more of Hannah’s work on her tumblr, DeviantArt, and personal website.

Understanding Video Games

Over the last several months, BioWare has been working with the University of Alberta to help create a massive open online course. Covering topics ranging from mechanics and story to sex and culture, Understanding Video Games explores the impact of games on society.

The 11-lesson course is available online and is free to anyone (there is an associated fee if you want to write exams and receive credit from your institution). The course features interviews and discussions with several BioWare developers, including Senior Creative Director Preston Watamaniuk, Editor Karin Weekes, and Artist Matt Rhodes.

Each lesson is broken up into a series of short interactive video modules, accompanied by readings and quiz components. No background is required; the course teaches the terminology and theoretical framework necessary for discussing and interpreting games.
Understanding Video Games launches September 3, 2014.

We’re proud to have been a part of this course, and to continue working with UAlberta to foster learning and understanding around video games.