April 15, 2014

More armors for Masamune

 Hello everyone!

Back on 13th February I started another armor making process for Masamune, this time his upper leg armor pieces.

Character reference.
I decided to roll with polystyrene once again and so I did some measuring and cut out two fitting pieces. I noticed after cutting that even though they had the right measures they weren't perfectly straight – oh well, it's not too bad...

Cut out polystyrene pieces.
Originally I had planned to make the armor out of several separate pieces layered over each other but I then remembered the amount of gluing failures I've done earlier with this plastic so I thought I'd do it another way an easier way. So, with the pieces cut out I took a measuring tape and measured where each "edge line" would be and then just divided the length of the piece with the number of lines and started marking with a pencil.

Pencil marks added and yes, I used the knife box as a ruler.
On 5th April I decided to try if my idea would work or not – basically applying a line of hot glue on the lines I had drawn and then heat-shaping the polystyrene into the right shape. I had been going back and forth thinking if this would even work and being worried that the hot glue would get sticky again because of the heating; I figured that the only way out was to try it on a scrap piece.
But before the hot glue experimenting I wanted to check if I could cut a line into the plastic for the attachment purpose basically a hole to pull the ties through. I had no proper tools for this so I tried with a kitchen knife. I had to use quite a lot of pressure and I managed to cut pretty deep into the plastic but on the other side it didn't go all the way through so yeah, in other words it didn't work out.

The side I cut on.
The backside. Didn't go through. :(
With that tried and tested I had to go ask stepdad for better tools; if nothing else I'll use the drill he has but maybe if there was something that would do a line instead of a hole it would be more convenient.
Well well, now back to the gluing I took a scrap piece, heated the glue gun and carefully applied a thin line as evenly as I could manage.

I know it's beautifully straight. Not.
When the glue had cooled down I carefully tried to bend the plastic and the glue moved with it – no cracking or loosening or anything! The hot glue didn't turn liquid-ish again; it didn't move even when I was heating the side it was applied on. Only thing was that at the very edges a super small bit of glue softened and thus glued onto my glove so eh, I guess it could turn sticky again if heated enough or too close...
Oh well, I took the heat gun and shaped it the same way I would shape the actual pieces.

With confidence and proof that it would, hopefully, work as envisioned I began to work on the actual armor pieces. Next in line was to do five glue lines. Slowly. Carefully. Caaaaaaarefullyyyyyyyyyy.

One done, four to go!
It was more of a pain than one would think I ended up with aching shoulders because I was doing it with my head almost in level with the table and the glue gun arm held up. Also constantly having to keep the same pressure on the glue gun's trigger (reason: have the glue come out as evenly as possible at all times) made my hand hurt and cramp; when I was working on the second armor piece's final lines it was hard to keep my hand steady, because of the shaking that occured when trying to keep the same pressure, aka not moving my hand from the trigger. It wasn't the best gluing experience but I still think it turned out pretty okay.
At some point I think the glue gun got too hot because the glue just flowed out without me even trying to get it out and it did this "glue bump - line - glue bump - line" pattern that was just not what I wanted so I took it off for a while to cool down. Also, when the "mouth"/tip of the hot glue gun accidentally touched the polystyrene it melted very slightly. Actually, I ended up noticing that you could use the glue gun even when it was not plugged because it took quite a while to cool down... xD

One armor piece done.
One 7th April I heat-shaped the armor pieces. It all went well except that it wasn't the easiest to get both pieces to bend an equal amount, but after some tries it worked out alright. The only mishap that happened was that while I was heating one of the armor pieces I accidentally moved my arm over a spot with a glue line and some of the glue stuck on my glove. It wasn't too bad though, I just grabbed some paper, wiped off the smeared mess on the armor and poked the remaining semi-hard glue back in place with my nail. No harm done.

One armor piece shaped.
I finished these armors today on 15th April. I had gone to mom's place because I needed to use the drill and the spray paints were there as well. I went to ask stepdad for advice about the drilling and after some brainstorming we agreed that the best approach to get holes in these things for the attachment elastic bands was to do several small holes in a row. Actually he did the measuring and drilling for me because one has to be very careful and well, he's kind and I'm derp.

Notice the pencil markings at the left and right corners.
Holes drilled.
Closer view of the holes.
Stepdad then went to fetch the utility knife so that we could clean up the drill holes and make room for the elastic ribbon to pass through. He also did the cutting part.

Cutting time ~
Trimmed hole.
Next step was for me to do the sanding. I used some 120 grit sand paper to even out the holes a bit more, you know, to make it less obvious that there were a lot of small drill holes. I also sanded all around the pieces to nicen up the raw cutting edges I made back when I cut these things out.

Sanding time ~
With that done I figured it wouldn't hurt to use some very fine grit sand paper to scratch the surface of the plastic very slightly to get it to take in the coming spray paint a bit better. Here we go!

My sand paper of choice.
Sanded surface.
Okay, so now my armor pieces had slight sanding dust on them. The thing to do now was to take some paper tissue, wet it with a slight amount of turbentine and cleanse the plastic by wiping it carefully. I avoided touching the hot glue decorations.

So with the surface free from sanding dust, fingerprints and such it was time for the actual painting job. I used a semi-gloss black spray paint and sprayed away. Outside, of course, in a well ventilated area; this thing is not fun to inhale a lot of.

Spray paint coating recently added.
While I watched the spray paint dry I noticed these unsightly bubbles that had formed on one of the armors. I don't know where they came from but I certainly wasn't planning on letting them reside on my black goodness! I just took a paper tissue and wiped the surface above the bubbles. The bubbles went with it along with some paint that had not been set yet. I just repainted the wiped spots afterwards.

I don't like what I see...
... that's better.
Now I just had to play the waiting game and add new coats of paint when the earlier ones had dried. When the front was painted I turned the armors and painted the backside; when these had dried I took them inside and went to fetch the elastic ribbon that I'd use for attaching these things to my legs. Yeah, I cut four pieces of some black elastic and secured the ends with a zigzag stitch.

It's important to zigzag!
I then took one of the elastics at a time and started threading them through the holes in the armor and sewing them on. I quickly noticed that it was possible to sew the elastic on at one side with the sewing machine – saves time!

Sewing elastic in place.
What I also noticed was that to fasten the elastic on the opposite side was close to a physical impossibility if you wanted to do it with the machine, that is. So, in other words, I just sewed one end of each elastic onto the armor by machine. Like this:

At this point I had to leave and go back to my apartment, but before I left I took with me some items for handsewing and some black thread. At home I sewed on the other end of the elastic by hand. I had to keep the stretch tight with one hand and sew on the elastic with the other but it all went well.

Sometimes handsewing is convenient...
Armors done I quickly put on my Masamune cosplay pants and put on the thigh armors I'm surprised it actually works as well as it does! Sure that it doesn't look the most impressive ever but I'm satisfied with the results.

Quick armor test.
One thing's for sure though, when I finish this cosplay and wear it out to an anime convention I will have problems sitting down because of all the armors... and I will need help to dress. Outch.

Yeah, that's it yo! See you later alligator!

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Yes! Progress!!! Those thigh plate armors look amazingly shiny! But yes, I have to agree sitting and walking is a pain with all the armor on. I had such trouble with it, but it helped because I ended up pulling off his 'man-walk' swagger! XDD