Armor costume sans metal
April 18, 2008 7:33 PM   Subscribe

Posting for a friend: creating metal like armor for a costume, without the whole metal part.

I am trying to make a costume of this character for Anime Expo 2008. The entire costume is in steady progress except for the shoulders, which I have no idea how to build, attach, or wear properly. I am willing to work with any material except metal. The armor is made of a combination of paper-mache and craft foam. Any ideas would be much appreciated.

Picture here
posted by zabuni to Clothing, Beauty, & Fashion (10 answers total) 1 user marked this as a favorite
My friend does LARP armor by taking sport-type armor you can get from, like, MC Sports and basically spray-painting it, I think.
posted by dagnyscott at 8:03 PM on April 18, 2008

What kind of ideas are you asking for? How to make metal effect or what sort of shape/form to build, or what materials to use or... ?
posted by rokusan at 8:18 PM on April 18, 2008

I would probably take something like pantyhose and make them a sleeve. The armor part I'd probably shape out of styrofoam and give it one coat of fiberglass or paper mache. Attach part 1 to part 2 somehow and it'd be easy to slide on and off.
posted by sanka at 8:20 PM on April 18, 2008

I've had great experiences with metallic-looking spraypaint. Make sure to get an undercoat (matte) also and follow the directions carefully.

For the shoulders, attach them to the body using velcro after you sculpt them. This will help you assemble/disassemble the costume easily.
posted by ®@ at 8:34 PM on April 18, 2008

Try SCAToday's guide on making armor. You might concider using cardboard for some of the shoulder peices - just cover the edges with paper packing tape and spray an undercoat.
posted by Kioki-Silver at 8:59 PM on April 18, 2008

The 'normal' way of doing stage armor would be in plastic on a vacuum forming table. This video claims it can teach you how to do a vacuum form for $30 - I haven't had a chance to watch it yet , so you'll have to judge the feasability and results for yourself. Normally, vaccum forming is pretty involved(left column, start with 'Vacuum forming basics'), but it's not going to make you into a sad panda if you slump against a wall the wrong way.

If you decide to go with the cardboard: Don't use box (Corrugated) cardboard for the surface - Get the stuff that they make shirt boxes out of, so it will bend smoothly, and use it brown-side-out. Don't overdo the spraypaint - Especially go light on the first few coats. Primer tends to crack on cardboard IME, so I'd skip it. I'd build an under-form out of either corrugated cardboard, or wire coat hangers and solder so that it won't crumple in a strong breeze. I'd also seam the outer layers on the peaks, and tape them on the underside - Use a french curve or one of those flexable rulers to get the edges smooth, and don't be afraid to throw away your first six attempts or so.
posted by Orb2069 at 9:52 PM on April 18, 2008

You can buy cheap knee pads or elbow pads that skaters use, with velcro straps, to start out with, and those can be fastened up high on the arm when your shoulder armor is done. Bulk them up with the foam by cutting out wide triangles in graduating sizes and then curling the bases of them around the pads. Overlap so the pointed tip at the apex of each triangle curls under the next one. Attach to velcro straps on the underside of the arm with duct tape or similar, where it won't show much. Then spray with metallic spray paint as needed. If the foam is yellow, I would use gold metallic paint just to highlight the folds in the shoulders.

Metallic spray paint rocks. I used it on my son's Arbiter costume for Halloween.
posted by misha at 9:58 PM on April 18, 2008

Response by poster: What kind of ideas are you asking for? How to make metal effect or what sort of shape/form to build, or what materials to use or... ?

More materials, but comments on both are welcome, or any experiences with similar costume armor.
posted by zabuni at 10:03 PM on April 18, 2008

Foam, HD [high density] foam they make goalie pads with, Then metallic spray paint. You'll need to cut and sew the foam into that shape, then carve the details prior to painting, but totally possible and light and provides movement.

Try Sara Marschand's company called Protective Athletic Wear,
She's a goalie that makes custom goalie stuff and I'd bet she could whip something up for you. She's located in Fort Wayne, Indiana and can be reached at (260) 482-2116. Check out the wicked Goalie Pads she made for herself./ Holy./
Photos of her in her latest pads and work on the GoaliboardBBS, nick is beccaraptor.

Very creative, The Pouncing Tiger Project. It's a wooden roller coaster car.

She may be interested in helping you or leading you to the HD foam source. Send her the photo.
posted by alicesshoe at 10:07 PM on April 18, 2008

I suppose you have seen the guy who created samurai armor out of 32 gallon Rubbermaid garbage cans?

You can also buy the metalic paint used to paint caskets from Sherman Williams commercial (or other industrial commercial paint) outlets and apply it with a long nap roller to give it the hammered armor look....
posted by cinemafiend at 11:09 AM on April 19, 2008

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