June 26, 2013

Samurai style torso armor

On 24th June I started working on the torso armor for Bakumatsu Renka Shinsengumi's Souji Okita.

Character reference
I decided to go with polystyrene even though I had a not-that-good experience with it earlier. I think I've learned some things about the material along the bad experience as well as the successful one. A bit wiser from earlier tries I thought polystyrene should be suitable for Okita's torso armor. I decided to do the armor similar to kendo armor, this because the backside and shoulders aren't shown anyway and it has pretty much the same shape.

Kendo armor - do
So I picked up my polystyrene sheet roll and started taking some measures and drawing on it. I drew one of the sides free-hand and used baking paper lol as a pattern to trace on and get the other side identical to the first.

I must say cutting polystyrene -at least the width I have- is quite hellish.. especially curves.

Soon finished cutting
After cutting it out I went in front of the mirror and bended it over my body and OH GOD I DON'T EVEN. While the length and width were fine I had completely screwed up the "arm hole"/side curving and the placement of those two rising front.. things-or-whatever-they-are. I wondered why in hell I hadn't checked the fit in front of the mirror before cutting it out..? ._. Needless to say I couldn't use this one so I had to make another. I repeated the procedure with the necessary changes added. When I was done I had this:

Seems much better
I tried this one in front of the mirror and success!

After that I went up to the attic to check for any possible close-enough fabrics for the armor's upper pattern. I didn't found anything very similar but I thought this one snake skin-ish fabric was pretty cool for it. It has a nice sheen too and should look pretty sweet with the red spray paint under it. I didn't work on the armor any more for that day after getting the fabric.

Today (26th June) I continued working on the armor. The first thing I did was cut out a test piece of the fabric and take a scrap piece of polystyrene and well, hot glue the fabric on it to test if it would stick and stay.

Sits like a mountain, success!
Then I went ahead and made a pattern of the armor's upper part, where I wanted the fabric to be.

Pattern cut out
Fabric cut out
Next it was time to sand around the edges of the whole armor to get them nicer. After that was done I drilled holes into the armor for the ties because hey, I need to put it on somehow!

Armor after sanding edges and drilling holes into it
Luckily I happened to have almost a full can of red spray paint over from like... uh, 4 years ago when I did my first cosplay - Ichigo Kurosaki from Bleach. I had used red spray paint for his sword chain thingy and now I got to use it again for Okita's armor. So with the spray paint at hand I went outside, put up a working table and used a cardboard piece as cover and sprayed.  Many coats of paint later I had this:

I didn't waste much paint on the upper part because it would be covered anyway..
I let it dry for a few hours just in case and took it inside. While inside I noticed the armor had some sort of spray paint dust on it so I wiped it clean with a wet kitchen paper. After that I started working on attaching the fabric to the armor. The hot glue gun was my friend.

After hot gluing the front
Preparations for gluing the back
A part of the backside hot glued
I must say the backside was a bitch to glue. I burned my fingers more times than I remembered to count and I got hot glue strings everywhere and agjdsj. The backside isn't the prettiest but who cares because it will be against my body and unseen anyway... I let the hot glue dry and then I poked holes into those front things that had been covered in fabric.

le hole
With the hot glue dry I took my metallic golden paint and started painting on top of the glue to get the border thing Okita has on his armor.

Paint paint paint paint...
It took forever because I was being super careful and shit. I noticed the paint was pretty awesome because when you painted it on it seemed this dull super light gold sort-of-pankake-dough color but when it dried it started turning into a real gold color, cool!

When the paint had dried I made the edge border around the armor's upper part with hot glue.

Glue glue glue glue...
... and paint paint paint paint some more.
The paint took some time to dry completely so meanwhile I watched some Digimon Adventure to make the waiting time go by faster. I'm watching the first season for nostalgic reasons, ah. <3 And besides as a kid I never saw all episodes anyway...

When the golden paint finally had dried I just had to put on the ties and call it done!

It's not 100% accurate but fair enough, neh? ;) You'll get to see it worn and in action soon enough because I will do an Okita preview before Skecon!


Sugar Peaches said...

looking very nice indeed!

Arawn Elidd said...

Looks wicked awesome! Great choice on the snake skin and clever use of hot glue for the trim ~