Tuesday, February 25, 2014

Interesting (not distraction) research and progress

I've been conducting research on various ways to give foam a hardened finish. Originally, I was going to go with Styrospray, but it's $30 a pop and I'm thinking there's got to be an easier/cheaper way. Here's some things I found as suggestions.

Bedliner - for trucks.
Durhams Water Putty*
Wood glue
Foam Coating

I managed to find the water putty at Home Depot today for like $2. Compared to the 30 dollar option it seems awesome. But this is also based on my "needs" for the costume. It doesn't need to be "battle ready" and I don't intend to play act in it. Just pose. ;) Also, I've never used the stuff before so it's a cheaper experiment really.

I've also sort of started experimenting of the chest piece for Alistair. ...It is trickier than I first anticipated. Also you'd think using a box cutter to cut boxes would be...I don't know...less of a hassle? Ah wells. I still intend to cut the heck out of the boxes that have been piled in my living room. (Also it was kind of an excuse not to take them out to the recycle bin. Because I'm lazy too tired at the end of the day. )

I hope to make the next "video" of foam cutting soon. Maybe this weekend.

Soooo...the water putty doesn't quite do the job I wanted it to do with the armor. The foam is too thin and flexible to make it something I'd want to seal in this way. I'll keep the water putty for something else...it may be that i didn't let it set long enough but I think I'm going to have to do what I did for my Halo armor and just use PVA Glue or Wood glue in several coats. I'll also try the plasti-dip (which I get at WalMart or Home Depot right by where I work.)

I took video of my foam cutting for the breast plate. I'll need to capture video on the griffon relief.

Monday, February 24, 2014

Interesting (distraction) research

I don't know why I cosplay series many years after they have their hay-day but that just so happens to be WHEN my interest in a series really gets sparked. Soooo...one of the projects I've put on my radar (as it is so far back on the back burner I need radar to find it) is a Turian from Mass Effect...probably female.
I've been having fun looking at Mask options. Here's what I've found so far if you are curious.
Red Nebula Studios) - Resin Mask @$250
Foam Mask
Paper Mask

Foam is most likely going to be MY option and depending on how well the Styrospray works on my armor.

Tuesday, February 18, 2014

Alistair Armor: Day 1

Progress report. I've finished the paper patterns for the armor pieces of Alistair's armor.
Arm Bracer
Elbow Piece

Chest and back (may need some altering. Should be wider at top.)

Everything else: Boot, knee, thigh, shoulder

For this pattern it's important to measure out the "strips" that make up the armor pieces as well as the shape. For this style of armor both elements are important. All pieces will have a "base" which takes the shape of the piece. All pieces will also have what look like strips.
There are a few ways I could approach this. The method I decided on was to make a thin base in the shape of the armor piece and then cut the strips and lay them over the base. Each strip will be covered in vinyl pleather.

Thursday, February 13, 2014

Plan Update: Alistair Armor

Alistair's Armor

This is my current shopping list for Alistair's armor. It's subject to change and I will update it as needed.
yoga pants - owned
Boots - owned
Black/brown longsleeved shirt - owned?

Wefts of Yak hair/mohair undyed
Brown microsuede/flannel 2 yards

Armor pieces
Cardboard - owned
Foamies - owned
EVA foam - owned
flannel fabric/cotton- 1.5 yards? (owned?)
brown Pleather - 2 yards
brass studs
Suede (boot covers, mantle) - 1 yard

Belt - owned?
Leather Pouch - buy at ren faire
knife - owned
sword - owned
Gold cord - buy
Gold domed buttons?/Resin/gold - buy/make

Wednesday, February 12, 2014

DA2 Warden Day 1: Patterns

So it begins. I have finally gathered enough supplies to get things started. I will post a vlog about things once I get my camera (which should be any day now). But the armor piece patterns have (mostly) been made. The helmet is giving me some difficulty.

Here is an image of most of my pattern pieces. (I forgot the collar and breast plate. But I shall post them soon!

Here's how I went about making the patterns.

1. Measurements. For me I used a rather estimated method of measuring for the various pieces. First, I opened up my reference images and found the piece I wanted to measure, for example the breastplate. Using masking tape, I taped over my clothes the width and height of the armor piece based on the image and relative to my body.
Alternatively, I could have used measuring tape and wrote these things down, but there's a reason I wanted to try the tape.

2. I peel off the tape in one piece and lay it down on my pattern paper. Alternatively I could have used my measurements and a straight edge.

3. Using the tape dimensions as my guide, I make a bounding box. This gives me the highest and widest points of the pattern.

4. Because the piece is symmetrical, I fold my bounding box in half. Using a pencil I sketch out the basic shape for the breast plate. Since it is in two pieces, I measured for both. When I'm happy with the sketch, I reinforce my line with a marker.

5. With the pattern still folded, I cut out my pattern piece.

6. I hold it up against myself to see if is indeed to my liking. If the pattern is too big, I can trim it down easily. If it's too small, I can add to it.

That is how I generally went about making my armor pieces. Here's a video demo.

General tips

For armor, it's okay to go a little bigger than necessary. It's easier to trim a piece down than to add to it.
I prefer to cut with an exacto knife or blade to a pair of scissors. I feel it has more control. However, paper cutting does dull the blade quickly.
Label important parts! Which part is the top and bottom. Which body part it is supposed to attach to and suc.
Cater your pattern to your material. Since I'm useing craft foam which is flexible and can be molded with heat, I did not feel the need to "compensate" for material stiffness. If you are using a stiffer material like cardboard or cardstock, the patterns I have provided may not be the best. I would recommend using Pepakura patterns for stiffer materials.

Thursday, February 6, 2014

Plan Update: DA2 Grey Warden Warrior

Grey Warden Warrior Armor

I've been doing a lot more research on materials lately for my grey warden armor and have been starting on pattern making for various parts. I'm going to list what I will be using as materials. Please note that these materials are attempting to also be a budgeted version of the armor. Seriously, I just saw someone else's cosplay and they made the scale-maille tabard. (Seeing that makes me want to give up because mine is INFERIOR!) Anyway, intimidation aside...they did say that the costume took 2 months and cost over $1000. -____- I do NOT have those funds on hand nor will I in the near future. I also have a lot less time in the day to work on such a project so it'll take more than two months I think. BUT, the person is a nice resource.

This is my "shopping" list currently. It is subject to change. Also I'm not necessarily purchasing the item I'm linking to, it could be just an example. I try to find things locally first unless online is cheaper. BUDGETING!

Okay, and there we go. Now there's something I must face...is that my armor is not going to be as nice as the ones where the artist used higher quality materials. But I'm also going to do my best to make sure it doesn't look "cheap". And really this will come from how I pull this off.
Other Suggestions are certainly welcomed.