April 3, 2013

Masamune arm guards pt.1

I've been working on the arm guards for Masamune the last few days and figured I could write a progress post now that I'm about half-way into the process. So well, back on last Monday (1st April) I cut out the pieces for the arm guards from craft foam, namely two "bottom" and two "top" parts.

One of the "bottom" parts cut out
With all the needed parts cut out I asked Jäätynyt Enkeli to come help me with the heat forming because hey, two pairs of arms are always better than one. So we went outside and one of us held the craft foam piece in its wanted form while the other one used the heat gun to form it. The first piece we finished looked like this after the heat treatment:

Tadaah ~
And this is what I had after we were done forming them:

Dem shapes ~
I must say craft foam, at least in my case, doesn't hold the shape really well.. it keeps the shape semi-well but I noticed it straightened itself out with time.. at least mine did. *shrugs* Oh well. I didn't do any more progress on Monday.

Yesterday (2nd April) I decided to try using fabric backing for the first time as a way to stiffen, strengthen and support the armor. So I went into the attic to check what fabrics we had that could possibly work; I wanted something smooth, something light-weight that had a bit of stretch. After looking around I found this one very dark blue very soft and nicely flowing knit-like fabric that seemed pretty cool. I took it with me back inside and cut out fitting pieces for the armors, making sure to have some excess just in case.

Fabric backing cut out
I then just took the craft foam armor pieces and glued the fabric on the side that would be against my body, obviously. I used your standard white universal glue and, in my case, that was Erikeeper. I just took a pencil and brushed glue all over the foam and then put the fabric on and pressed it and let it dry. I used a little bit too much glue on the first try because when I was applying pressure the glue "leaked" over the fabric. Well, now when I think about it it's not weird that it did.. the fabric is knit-like after all.. aka small holes. -.- Oh well, it made no difference so no harm done.

Fabric glued to the back side of the craft foam
I did this same thing for all the pieces and after they had dried completely I trimmed the excess fabric away.

Fabric backing to the right
Next step was to seal the craft foam. This step is optional (as well as fabric backing) but I always do it because otherwise you will be spending more paint on the foam because.. well, it's a bit like a sponge or something so it sucks in color a lot. It's better to just seal it because if you do you will get away with fewer coats of paint and posssibly a nicer result as well. Not to mention sealing the craft foam seems to give it a bit more strength too. I use a glue & water mix, aka diluted glue. I just use a normal white glue (Erikeeper, again) and mix it with some water until it's watery enough not to leave any pencil strokes when you brush it on.

Water & glue mix ready to be brushed on
And here's the foam pieces after their first coating, still wet
(you can notice at this point the pieces have lost pretty much all of their curving...)
And the remaining part of yesterday I applied shitlots of coatings; every time the earlier one had dried I put a new one. I think I coated them around 10 times, I'm not so sure, I didn't count. Today I put on a few more glue coats on the morning and then waited until stepdad got back home from a trip to town; he bought me some black spray paint, like I had asked yesterday.

The spray paint in question
I went outside and made a makeshift working table out of small wooden steps and cardboard. I put the foam armor pieces on top of the cardboard.

My makeshift working table ~
I then took the spray paint and shook it for some minutes before I sprayed away.

First coating...
Okaaay... my first reaction was something along the lines of "Oh god why didn't I use a black/white primer?" It's easy to be wise after the event.
I must say the first coating made me scared because the foam didn't seem to take the paint well at all and all sorts of "oh fuck don't tell me it won't work" thoughts appeared in my mind. I then thought that maybe I diluted the glue too much and/or didn't use enough coatings. I don't know, but I got nervous and waited a bit before I tried spraying on a second coating. 

Second coating...
The foam pieces seemed to take in the second coating better but the bright colors still shone through when you looked at them from certain angles and my hopes about this working as well as it had done with earlier projects sunk pretty low. When I looked at them my expression was like:

But I decided to let them dry outside for a while and came back an hour or so later to check. I was not surprised to find out they hadn't completely dried yet...  stupid 0 °C weather, takes forever to dry! Oh well, I decided to spray on a third coating just in case to see if they would turn fully black now.. if not I could just paint them over with an ordinary black paint and then try spray painting on top of that.

Third coating
Okay, my hopes for these arm guards are slowly recovering! I'm not so sure how they will look when dry but at least now the original color doesn't shine through much at all. Currently the pieces are in the sauna drying (mind you, sauna is power off xD) because at this moment it's about to get dark outside and the paint really doesn't dry well in the cold. Oh well, tomorrow I'll see how they have dried. Hopefully the paint will still flex with the foam when dry, it seemed to bend just well without cracking while I tried bending them when they weren't completely dry. Here's to hoping.

More progress later.


Minorea said...

Haastan sinut (:

Sairu Chan said...

Wow.. I sure hope the paint felx with the foam!! D: Good luck with these!

And I must say I'm looking forward to more progress! I find this useful, because I'm going to need arm guards for some of cosplays in the future! And so does my bro! ^^