I knew the chest plate would be easier than the mask, so I started there. It's just a cross pattée of black foam core scored, folded, and glued to make the base, then a few scraps of white foam core for the buttons and lights. I used blue and red markers to color the buttons and a silver oil-based Sharpie paint pen for the box details. (I love those metallic paint pens.)
I really had no idea how to approach the detailed origami piecework involved in making Vader's mask, but I knew I wanted to incorporate a broken pair of sunglasses I had lying around, so I measured them, drew them on graph paper, and sketched around them until I had something that looked plausible. Then I made a mold of my lower face in aluminum foil and pulled some estimates about angles and distances out of my butt (keeping in mind that someone else would end up wearing the costume). I held the partially completed mask to my face at each intermediate stage, coming close to putting out an eye with the pins I was using to hold the joins until the glue set. Here's the final mask, with ribbons for wearing:
And here's the full look, with cloak, black shirt, zentai hood, and biking gloves:
(It turns out it's quite difficult to take a picture of yourself with an iPad while looking through a black z-hood and a pair of polarized sunglasses. This is as good as we're going to see until someone else puts on the costume.)I think the mask looks more accurate off than on; I'm seeing a little Tusken Raider, a little Baron Karza, a little Doctor Doom in the finished product. But it's recognizably Vader, provided you don't hold it up next to a movie still. I toyed with a lamp shade for the helmet and cowl, but I don't think I'll be able to get it to work in the time remaining. The hood of the cloak is perfectly serviceable, Kendra's needling notwithstanding.
It's going to be a claustrophobic, legally-blind kind of shoot for my Vader, but she'll sure look good.
The last remaining big build is Boba Fett. Ten days to principal photography!