Splortch the 40k Ork


This is an Ork costume I made for my friend Dan for Megacon 2004 and 2005 in Orlando. Once I find more of my assembly photos, I'll write a tutorial, but I can tell you a few things. As you can see in the "Before" photos, Dan is wearing BDU pants, combat boots, fingerless gloves, a black undershirt, and a tan "tunic." This "tunic" is simply a cheap shirt we bought at Walmart, cut down the front a few inches, and laced with leather thong material from Michaels. As you can also see, Dan is a big guy. From here, there were four main components we wanted to address:

  • Helmet and Jaw
  • Shoulder Pad
  • Slugga (pistol)
  • Choppa (axe)


  • For the helmet, we found a British riot helmet from our local surplus store. It had a fiberglass shell, with an attached foam "ring" that fit around the bottom ridge of the helmet. Onto this ring was installed a plastic faceshield. The first thing I did was to remove the "ring" and visor from the helmet by simply unstrapping the "ring" and unhooking the internal strapping so the helmet would actually fit onto Dan's head. Then, using a Dremel cutoff wheel, I cut the brim of the helmet off, so it was more of a hemisphere. The "ring" was then re-attached with epoxy and clamped in place. The horns are nothing more than roughly-shaped foam covered in bondo and stuffed inside PVC couplers. A few holes were drilled around these couplers, and wooden plugs were glued into these holes to simulate big rivets. Both horns were then epoxed to the helmet. Since then, they have been re-attached several times from hangar rash. You can see what the original helmet looked like below:


  • As for the jaw, after measuring the width of Dan's face and the room I had to work with between the sides of the helmet, I cut 3/4" foam into sides and front jaw peices. The front had teeth cut into it and was distressed, and a peice of 3/32" balsa sheet was attached to the front of the jaw to add a little depth. A bullet ding was cut into this balsa for added detail. When everything was toothpicked and glued together, I used fiberglass cloth and epoxy to coat the jaw. Looking back, it was probably a waste of time, but what the hell.

  • We also decided that Dan, being a big bad Ork, would need a bionic eye. Jack, who tutored me on this costume, had a ready supply of viewports that you see on peoples' doors. (Don't ask.) After playing around with parts from Jack's bitz box and some plasticard, I roughed out Dan's eyepeice. A red LED was wired into the viewer for that nice Borg effect, and the battery box was tacked into the top of the helmet. The wire connecting the LED to the battery was from an old cell phone charger; I liked the spiral-wound look. After a few mistakes, I was finally able to make the eyepeice removable from the helmet by means of a pair of button snaps. Details were added to the peice, including brightness and contrast dials.

    I also wanted to add a crest-like something-or-other to the helmet to give it a little more character. To accomplish this, we bought a cheap yarn mop and cut off the handle, leaving about an inch of it attached to the mop head. To alter its color, we used an entire bottle of black Rit dye and a bucket of warm water. A hole was drilled into the upper back of the helmet, and the portion of the handle we left was inserted and secured.

    Shoulder Pad

  • The shoulder pad was pretty easy. The underside of the faceshield from the helmet was lined with scrap 3/4" foam and the edges were tapered to a rough point around the outer edge of the pad (bottom of the faceshield). A rubber bicycle tube (two really) was riveted to the faceshield using its existing mounting holes. The remainder of the bandolier was made using another tube, riveted to the other around "Slugga shells." These shells are nothing more than empty 12 gauge shotgun shells, filled with scrap foam and shaped. Foam spikes were then epoxied to the shoulder pad, and the entire thing was painted.


  • The slugga was actually the first real prop I ever made. Jack had an extra toy gun laying around, and since he was working on Boo, I figured I would try to make something. Below is the toy gun I started with, and you can still buy variations of it a decade later.

    I first removed the barrel and cut off the clip. Using foam, I built the gun up into a block shape, then glued plasticard to the entire thing. The clip was unscrewed into its halves, and a peice of 3/4" foam was added to make the clip thicker. This was reglued to the main body. The barrel is just a PVC fitting with a hole drilled through it. The slugga was bondoed and details were added, like ork glyphs and a front sight, from foamcore and plastic. A little paint, and it was done.


  • This was quite possibly the easiest part of the costume to make. The head of the choppa is a chunk of 2" blue foam, and the spikes on the back are also just carved from the same foam and attached with skewers and glue. This assembly got a skimcoat of bondo and was painted. The handle of the choppa is a plastic tube from Walmart, meant to hold a golf club. It was forced up into the foam and pinned in place. To help strengthen the handle, we filled it with bits of foam, followed by expanding insulation foam. A bolt with the head cut off was pushed, threaded end first, into the foam before it hardened. Onto this was fastened a steel shift knob in the shape of a skull from the local autoparts store. Hockey tape was wrapped around the bottom of the handle and red scrap fabric was tied around the top and bottom handle for a little detail and accent.
  • Before Before In the Parking Lot
    Me and Dan Me and Dan Face Closeup
    Finished Front View Finished Left View Finished Right View

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