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Bahzi
11-09-2007, 10:10 AM
My Sesshy armor completed:

http://www.cosplay.com/photo/1322331/
http://www.cosplay.com/photo/1388101/

Well, Sesshoumaru is a fairly popular costume to make even now, so I figured I’d make this tutorial on how to make his armor, which documents my own experience making this fun pro. First off let me say that this project is incredibly labor intensive, so if you’re not willing to dedicate at least 20-25 hours to it, just commission the thing. This is for the top pieces of armor only, the bottom parts are easy, they’re just black PVC fabric over super thick interfacing, nothing special. You can use Sintra too, but you probably won’t be able to sit with it on.

Special thanks to R1kku, who made my armor and this tutorial possible, her advice was invaluable, and immensely helped clueless me. XD

Some questions I’ve been asked:

Would you take a commission for a set like this?

Maybe. I haven’t figured out what I’d charge yet, but it wouldn’t be cheap. I’d be willing to work fairly cheaply (like $6-7 an hour), but materials are expensive, so I just don’t know what to charge. PM here or email me if you’re truly interested at Animeisha AT gmail DOT com and we’ll talk. Please don’t beg me to do it for like under $100, because I just can’t, the materials alone cost more than that, and I won’t nor should I work for free, I only do that for close friends and family.


Do you know of anyone else who could make it for me?

I hear Amethyst Angel is really good with armor projects, and she’s made Sesshy’s armor before too.

User 4ng31 on these forums is really talented with armor as well, and does commissions on occasion, (see his ad here: http://www.cosplay.com/showpost.php?p=2168167&postcount=154 ), but armor is time consuming and supplies expensive, so if you're on a low budget, don't bother contacting these people and wasting their time.

Those two aside, if you do decide to commission someone to make this for you, check cosplay.com’s commissioner review thread on the Spam board first to see if they have any previous customer feedback, ask for references, and don’t trust someone on a forum with no posts who didn’t even bother to fill out their profile or anything and only takes money orders! I know it’s still possible to get ripped off even doing all that, but it can help.

Is the armor heavy?

YES! It weighs a good 10 pounds with the kendo armor easily. A good chunk of that weight is probably the kendo armor itself. This will hurt your back after wearing for awhile if your posture normally sucks like mine does, because it makes you sit/stand up straight.


Do you mind answering any questions I might have about this tutorial?

Not at all! Feel free to PM me here or email me at Animeisha AT Gmail DOT com


Materials needed:

(this is looooonnng and in no particular order XD)

Sintra (expanded PVC) of your choice of thickness, I used .240” that can be purchased from www.usplastics.com I got a 24” x 48” piece, but didn’t use it all. Still, it’s good to have extra in case you mess up.
Large pieces of paper for tracing patterns.
Plaster of paris (Dap makes a big box that’s in the hardware section of Wal-mart)
2 packs of black industrial strength Velcro (4 sets)
Liquid Epoxy (I used Perma Poxy, the 5 minute kind that bonds to fabric and plastic, find this at any automotive department)
Hot Glue gun (high or normal temp)
100 count pack of hot glue sticks
Heat Gun (try eBay or Harbor Freight for cheap ones)
Jigsaw with plastic blade, fine toothed.
Machine screws with nuts, get at least 13-15 in case you screw up (har har), doesn’t matter what width, but try 1” length
Drill with bit to match whatever screws you bought.
Bondo Auto Body filler (try Wal-mart’s automotive department)
Sandpaper, 2 multi packs, with 60, 100, 150, 220, and 400 grits.
(optional) rotary tool or Dremel with drum sander and sanding bands, 60 and 120 grit.
Kendo armor chest piece (do), or if you can’t afford it or don’t want it, more Sintra.
1” cheapo 60 cent type paint brushes (because you’ll want to throw them away when you’re done)
Plastic disposable bowls (just buy a whole pack)
A 16oz plastic disposable cup
Pliers
3 yards red cord (in Joann’s home decorating fabric department)
4 matching red tassels.
1 pair long black shoestrings or something similar.

Okay, you’ve got all your supplies, and you probably spent about $75 to $175 on them, depending on whether you got the kendo armor piece or not. If you’re wondering where to get kendo armor, your best bet is www.e-bogu.com, where you can buy just the do (chest piece) by itself. Expect to spend $100 or more with shipping. You can also check eBay, I got lucky on there and found a do for $30 with shipping, but the auction title was misspelled, so don’t expect to get it for less than $80-150. If you don’t feel like throwing in that kind of dough on a piece of expensive sparring equipment that you’re going to have to mutilate anyways, that’s cool too, just keep in mind I did use it and my pictures and part of my technique are based on this, though I do try to include techniques for the sintra method too.

WARNING!:

Be very very very careful when working with power tools and Bondo please! Bondo and spray paint should always be used in a well ventilated area, preferably outdoors. Don't do this is a closed garage, you will have breathing problems.

Also, you should always wear gloves when working with a heat gun, they get very very hot and will burn you, as will the plastic you are heating up.


The Sintra pieces:

Firstly….the pattern…dun dun dun! This was going to be the hardest part for me…because I can’t draw an arc for crap! So, I simply cut the shoulder armor off my already broken Sesshoumaru action figure and traced it onto a piece of paper, then scanned it in to Photoshop, enlarged it 10 times, then printed it out in parts, cut the pieces out, then taped them to the Sintra and traced them with a white paint pen. Yeah, huge hassle. I was planning on uploading the patterns I used, but sadly, they were part of a hard drive failure data loss. I don't have them and can't re-create them easily, so please don't ask, my time is not unlimited.


After you’ve traced your patterns (practice on big sheet of paper) onto your Sintra, use a jigsaw with a fine toothed blade for plastic to cut the thing out, and don’t worry about minor mistakes, you can sand those out.

Okay, now….you will spend an hour or two sanding…and you want to do a good job, or it’s going to look rough when you paint it. Start with the 100 grit and work your way down to the 220 (fine) grit. Use the 150 to round corners so it looks more like Sesshoumaru’s. Then sand the entire thing with 400 grit to make the surface more acceptable to paint and smooth so the paint looks shiny.

Now, mold it to arch over your shoulder to touch your back…don’t try to get the ends perfect, you’re just going to have to re-heat them and mold them again once your chest and back pieces are done.


here's what it looks like now:

http://images.cosplay.com/showphoto.php?photo=1314326


When you’re done with this, drill your holes in the shoulder and front and back pieces for your spikes to go in. I personally sacrificed accuracy (maybe, it varies from reference to reference) a bit here to keep my sanity….I didn’t put spikes on the back silver piece, because my wig would have tangled in it too badly, and I didn’t want that, as the wig is 48” long.

I placed the holes 3” apart, but you may have to adjust it if your spikes are bigger or smaller.



(end part 1)

Bahzi
11-09-2007, 10:12 AM
(part 2)

The Spikes:

This part is just kind of fun I thought, though I can’t take credit for the idea or technique, it was told to me by R1kku on cosplay.com, who heard the idea from Amethyst Angel I believe. This technique is R1kuu’s though, she was kind enough to share it with me, so I’m passing it on. I know at first hot glue doesn’t seem like the first choice for armor…BUT, it’s incredibly durable, and lightweight, unlike resin, which is lightweight but fairly brittle for a character who gets glomped as much as Sesshoumaru, and sculpey is pretty durable but heavy as hell. Hot glue is great, and you won’t have to worry about it melting on you, because we’re gonna coat it with Bondo!


Anyways, you want to start by sculpting your model spike out of Sculpey, Fimo, or some other oven bake clay. I recommend either SculpeyIII or Fimo soft, otherwise your hands are gonna hurt like hell sculpting the thing. I made the spike 2” tall and a bit over an inch and a half wide at the bottom, make yours however you see fit, his spikes vary in shape and size in every reference pic you look at, so it doesn’t matter much. Do yourself a favor though and bake a screw or some other metal object to grab it by into the clay…trust me on this, I didn’t and it caused more work for me…



The sculpey spike:

http://images.cosplay.com/showphoto.php?photo=1323799

Don’t worry too much about sanding it perfectly once it’s baked, you’re going to have some minor bumps and crevices from the hot glue anyways, so don’t waste your time here.

Now….the mold! I used plaster of paris. I used a 16 oz (I think at least) disposable plastic cup to house my mold, and it worked well for being so ghetto. I just mixed up the plaster 2 parts plaster to one part water like the box says to almost completely fill the cup.

Wait a minute or two, and then stick your sculpey spike into the plaster, leaving an inch on either side. Next, you wait 5-7 minutes for the plaster to partially set, just touch an edge to judge if you think it’ll hold the shape of the spike if you were to remove it. If it feels firm, grab the sculpey spike by the handy dandy screw you baked into it, with pliers if need be, and remove it without enlarging the impression in the plaster too much. Allow your mold at least another half hour to cure, maybe more like an hour if you’re not sure.

You now have a mold! Now, plaster of paris isn’t the greatest thing for making molds out of…but it works fine for this. It’s cheap and easy to use, which is what I wanted. If you want to try another mold making method, more power to you!

Okay, now, to cast your spikes.

Whilst your hot glue gun is heating up ( high or regular temp only, low temp hot glue castings look like crap, I tried it!), coat the inside of your mold with a thin coat of Vaseline (petroleum jelly) with a finger, you’ll need to do this for each spike. The Vaseline acts a release agent, letting your hot glue spike pop out without much effort (usually).

Okay, now fill the mold with hot glue. This takes 4-6 glue sticks per spike usually. My glue gun is a piece of crap, so I had to pour some….wait a few minutes for it to heat the next stick, then pour some more. This makes no difference in the result, they still look good, so if yours is crappy like that, don’t sweat it, it just means you need something else to do while waiting.

Okay, when the mold is full, you’ve got this:


http://images.cosplay.com/showphoto.php?photo=1323796


Yeah, mine’s all weird and dented at the top…remember when I said I didn’t put that screw in my sculpey spike? Well that dent is a result of me trying to get it out. >< Oh well, it just means I had to do some trimming on the cast spikes, no biggie.

Okay, now here’s the (somewhat tricky) part. Stick your mold in the refrigerator for about 8 minutes. Time it, trust me, it’s too easy to get caught up in something and forget.

Take the mold out of the fridge, and put the headed end of the machine screw into the spike while it’s still curing about half an inch, making sure it’s straight and won’t lean. If it’s leaning, then your fridge isn’t as cold as mine and you need to give it a couple more minutes, and then put the screw in. Stick the mold in the freezer now for about 5 minutes…now that sucker should be rock hard.

Use the screw end to pull the spike out, wiggle it a bit if you have to. Repeat until you have the desired amount of spikes. Sesshy has 10 in most pics, 6 on the shoulder piece, 2 on the front piece and 2 on the back. Like I said, I didn’t put spikes on the back piece, as my wig would have tangled on it something awful. You can be more accurate if you wish. ^^

Hot glue spike pic:

http://images.cosplay.com/showphoto.php?photo=1314329

Okay, next! Wipe all the Vaseline off of the newly cast spikes, then mix up a small amount of Bondo. I recommend doing just 3 spikes at a time, as Bondo becomes fairly unworkable in 3-4 minutes. Even so, you’ll have to work fast. I used disposable 1” wide paint brushes to apply the bondo to the spikes.

Try to spread it fairly even and coat everywhere except the very bottom, you can coat that too, but I didn’t, because I didn’t want to get it on the screw.

Here’s what that looks like

http://images.cosplay.com/showphoto.php?photo=1323798

Yeah, not too pretty…

Now give it a rough sand job with 60 to 100 grit sandpaper…should look like this:

http://images.cosplay.com/showphoto.php?photo=1314328

Add more Bondo to fill in any really low spots then sand again.

I used a rotary tool (like a Dremel, but cheaper) with a drum sander and sanding bands to do all the rough sanding, then did the fine tuning by hand. You don’t need a rotary tool though; I was just being lazy and trying to save time.

Keep adding Bondo and sanding until everything’s covered and smooth. You’ll need some 400 grit sandpaper to put the final touch on the spikes to make them nice and smooth. This process is what makes this project take so damn long, and yes, it sucks to do.


Anyways, your spikes should look nice and smooth, all nicks, scratches, and dents gone.

(end of part 2)

Bahzi
11-09-2007, 10:13 AM
(Part 3)

The black chest piece and back piece:

I used kendo armor here for the chest piece…which looks better than plain Sintra ever well because it’s concave curved like Sesshy’s, and you can’t really do that with Sintra, it’s lousy for complex curves. However, as I said earlier, Kendo armor is ridiculously pricey, so I don’t think anyone’s going to fault you for not buying it and using something else. If you go with Sintra, the best you can probably hope to do is to mold it to curve around you, which is fine, it’ll still look good. How long to make it depends on what reference image you’re looking at. My kendo armor ends pretty much where Sesshy’s does on the action figure, and not including the part of the armor I cut off, my kendo armor piece is about 11” long from top to bottom. It should be noted that I am short however (5’5”) and the kendo armor I bought is a ladies small or large youth size, so if you’re taller, you want to increase the height by a couple inches or so. My chest armor ends about an inch and a half above my navel, which seems accurate, so go with that for measurements.

As for width, you want it to go under your armpit, where it will meet up with the back armor and tie together via laces.

Make your back plate wide enough to fill the gap in the back while you have the front piece on and molded to you (have someone measure this for you) and make it the same height as the chest piece. You’ll need someone to help you mold your back piece to you most likely…I didn’t and had to re-heat it like 4 times to get it right…not fun.

Now, if you’re modifying kendo armor like I did, you’ll want to do the above process for the back plate, just wearing the kendo armor. Oh yes, and cut off the top piece of the kendo armor (leather part) enough so that your silver front piece will cover the rest of the leather piece….as nice as those designs they put on the leather part of kendo armor is, it’s not accurate for Sesshy, so it needs to go. I used a jigsaw for this. It’ll be rough though, and they fill the top with some sort of white fiberfill, so use a black sharpie or paint marker to color this part in to match, even though it will mostly be covered.

Okay…now. Whether you used Sintra or kendo armor, you get to drill holes in the sides of it. My kendo armor only had two holes in it, one at the top, and one at the bottom, so I had to make more. Measure it out and space the holes evenly. Just use a drill with whatever size bit matches the holes that are already in it, or, if you used Sintra, just make the holes big enough to get a shoe string through easily. Okay, now it should look like this when laced up and on you.


http://images.cosplay.com/showphoto.php?photo=1323795




Only it should be tighter, which is very hard to do on yourself, so get help. If it’s not matching up, either cut off parts if it’s too loose, or make one part again if it’s too small. The tightness of lacing it up should keep both parts from slipping down at all, at least it did on me, but I’m a chub-chub, so maybe that’s why. It should be noted that if you’re female you’ll want to bind when doing measurements for this part if you’ll be binding for this crossplay, you want it to be form fitting! R1kku (who I borrowed ideas and techniques from for this tutorial) used elastic held on with rivets instead of laces to hold it up, this is probably a good idea if you think you may loose or gain weight during the life of your Sesshy costume.

Make sure to sand your edges well, rounding the corners in case some jackass glomps you too hard and jams it into you. Oh yes, and even if your Sintra is black like mine, spray paint it with black Krylon Fusion spray paint to make it shiny, Sintra has a dull surface.

Moving on…

Assembly of the silver pieces:

Okay, here is one of the more frustrating parts….getting your shoulder armor to fit into your chest and back pieces! I had to reheat the ends of the shoulder piece like 10 times…so freaking annoying! Again, this would be much easier with someone to help you!

Wearing your chest and back pieces laced up as tightly as they’re going to be, position the shoulder piece on the inside of both pieces and mold the end until they’re touching the inside of the chest and back pieces nicely and lying flat. This sucks to do by yourself, but can be done, I did. Now, where your pieces lay, attach the scratchy end of the industrial strength Velcro to the inside of the chest and back pieces, rough up the surfaces a bit first though so you get good adhesion. You can epoxy them down instead if you like; I didn’t find it necessary though.


Paint time:

I have heard that Testor’s spray enamel made for model cars is excellent, but it’s also really expensive, and would cost over $30 to paint all the silver armor parts…I said ‘screw that’ and just got Krylon Fusion for plastics in light grey for a base coat, then Krylon X Metals silver metallic base coat for a top coat….yes, I said ‘X Metals Metallic base coat’, I don’t care if it’s supposed to be a base coat, it’s shiny and looks like metal, and stays put really well with the fusion underneath. You do need the Fusion for plastics though, because most spray paints will not stick to plastic well, and you don’t want it flaking off.

If you’re not good with spray painting and get drips everywhere, then get a cheap can of some other brand and practice on something disposable. THIN COATS are the secret here. You want to do a somewhat swift sweeping motion about 10” away from your target, pressing down on the can’s nozzle gently, just lightly dusting it. If parts are still not covered, that’s fine…wait about 30 seconds then do it again. Keep waiting and re-applying thin coats until it’s covered. Let it dry completely, and then do the same thing again. You want one complete coat of primer (the fusion) and 2 complete coats of the X-metals. You should only need one can of the X-Metals and one of the Fusion….I suck and used half a can to paint bias tape for the bottom armor petals when I should have used the cheap silver spray paint I had from Joann’s….so I required two. I’m a wasteful dumbass, don’t be like me boys and girls :P

Should you use a clear topcoat? Sure, if you want. I live in an area of high humidity, so that crap never dries for me and always gets gooey in the summer, so I don’t, but if you want to, go right ahead; maybe I’m doing it wrong or something…

Paint your spikes in the same fashion, using plastic disposable bowls. If you drill holes in the bowls, you can stick the spike screws through them so you can paint the whole spike at once without laying them on their side/

Finishing touches:

After painting and allowing time for your pieces to dry, apply the Velcro to the insides of the silver pieces, then attach to the chest and back pieces.

Use home decorating cord and matching tassels on the front and back silver pieces, secure with epoxy or hot glue on the back.

Use the screws in the spikes and nuts to attach the spikes to the silver pieces. Make sure to tighten them up nice and good. You can use epoxy too, but I didn't find it nessesary, and it's nice to be able to take the spikes off to do paint/sanding touch-ups too.

Aaand you’re done!

Sorry the end lacked pictures, my camera’s batteries were dead and I couldn’t find my charger for awhile there…^^;


Congratulations, you just made a kick ass looking set of armor that can withstand glomps and random door jam attacks (don’t ask).


And for you visual learners, here's a side view of my armor:

http://images.cosplay.com/showphoto.php?photo=1323797

(yes, I have since gotten black shoe strings, lol)



Hope this helps some people, enjoy! Feedback welcomed

GreyCat
11-09-2007, 10:43 AM
Ok, I have to ask you this.. WHERE WERE YOU LAST SUMMER?!
xD, I just did my Sesshoumaru cosplay and I must say that the armor was by far the hardest part. I only WISH you did this sooner or I wasn't so A.D.D. about things and starting without a plan or too early.

I am going to definatly be saving this page because I didn't make my black part with anything solid. I need to do that. and while I am at it, I should just remake the entire thing.

Thanks so much!
P.s.: This must have taken you ages to come up with! Wonderful job. It is also very easy to understand and walks you through each step.


Also, it seems technology hates you, your laptop and your camera at least. xD

Bahzi
11-09-2007, 10:53 AM
Ok, I have to ask you this.. WHERE WERE YOU LAST SUMMER?!
xD, I just did my Sesshoumaru cosplay and I must say that the armor was by far the hardest part. I only WISH you did this sooner or I wasn't so A.D.D. about things and starting without a plan or too early.

I am going to definatly be saving this page because I didn't make my black part with anything solid. I need to do that. and while I am at it, I should just remake the entire thing.

Thanks so much!
P.s.: This must have taken you ages to come up with! Wonderful job. It is also very easy to understand and walks you through each step.


Also, it seems technology hates you, your laptop and your camera at least. xD


I actually wanted to make something like this years ago, but my skills weren't up to it and neither was my wallet! XD I have tried to finish this costume 3 times in the past 4 years...and something kept coming up, usually financially. ><

And you're welcome! The tutorial took several hours to construct, but if it helps some people, it was worth the time and effort. ^^

And my laptop has always hated me...because I'm awful to it. I put Limewire on it several months ago, and it destroyed my hard drive. I'm just praying the sectors aren't ruined.

As for my camera, there's been something wrong with it ever since my dad used non alkaline batteries in it. Now it won't take anything but rechargables, and I messed up the house so bad with my costume junk from this that my charger got lost somewhere in the chaos.

Mainly though? I just need to treat my stuff better. XD

pmastamonkmonk
11-12-2007, 12:01 AM
*opens mouth and closes it uselessly*

*flails arms*

MARRY ME AND HAVE MY BABIES? Gah... I feel so inadequate right now, should just stab myself in the face.

Now I know I'm going to HAVE to do a Sesshy costume just so I can use this tutorial.

Swear to god, if you do NOT win some sort of award for this costume it is a GRAVE INJUSTICE.

Bahzi
11-12-2007, 12:56 AM
*opens mouth and closes it uselessly*

*flails arms*

MARRY ME AND HAVE MY BABIES? Gah... I feel so inadequate right now, should just stab myself in the face.

Now I know I'm going to HAVE to do a Sesshy costume just so I can use this tutorial.

Swear to god, if you do NOT win some sort of award for this costume it is a GRAVE INJUSTICE.


Aww, you're too kind!

I hope you do make a Sesshy costume! ^^ It's challenging at times definately, but it's a fun one to make, and is really well recieved at cons usually.

The armor was very daunting to me for so long, if it weren't for R1kku, I wouldn't have even tried at all, I would have saved up and commissioned the sucker. Her Sesshy armor looked terrific, and it was made from the same materials I ended up using, and she wrote me out instructions on how she did the spikes, so I gave it a try and it worked well. I thought I'd try to pay it forward a bit, since I was ever-so-greatful to have functional armor that didn't involve fiberglass or wood, two things I would utterly fail at utilizing.

It'd funny you should mention awards, I do hope to enter this at Sugoicon this upcoming weekend, but I'll have some stiff competition in my division I'm sure, I know a couple people with AMAZING skills who are entering, most likely in intermediate level as well. My sewing skills are decent I suppose, but some of these people are utterly gifted....it's very intimidating. It's worth a shot though!

Thanks again for your comments! ^^

R1KKu
11-12-2007, 09:41 AM
Its great to see that you took time out to make this tutorial. Im sure it'll help out many people. Also, Id like to mention (again) that you did a fantastic job on both the costume and the armor.

You should definately enter this costume, not particularly to win an award, but the reaction you might get from the audience can be overwhelming. :rockon: Either way, Im sure you'll win something. :bigtu:

Bahzi
11-12-2007, 01:16 PM
Its great to see that you took time out to make this tutorial. Im sure it'll help out many people. Also, Id like to mention (again) that you did a fantastic job on both the costume and the armor.

You should definately enter this costume, not particularly to win an award, but the reaction you might get from the audience can be overwhelming. :rockon: Either way, Im sure you'll win something. :bigtu:

Aww thanks!

Sugoicon is wierd though, they don't do walk-ons, what they do is just pre-judge in a closed room, then they announce the winners in the lobby.

Hikaruchan and I are doing a short skit with Sesshy and Sessmom though, so I'm sure we'll get some good crowd reaction....I hope so anyways!

Yume Yokohama
11-12-2007, 07:27 PM
your armor looks great =3

fightstar
11-14-2007, 10:51 AM
This is wonderful!!! Thanks for this run down of how to make this armor. There are some techniques here I want to use for myself. The plastic and sculpey clay mold will work nicely for what I am thinking.

Once again thanks for the post and the detail. You words and works do not fall on deaf ears and blind eyes.

Bahzi
11-14-2007, 01:39 PM
This is wonderful!!! Thanks for this run down of how to make this armor. There are some techniques here I want to use for myself. The plastic and sculpey clay mold will work nicely for what I am thinking.

Once again thanks for the post and the detail. You words and works do not fall on deaf ears and blind eyes.



No problem, I'm thrilled it will help you! I can see this technique working for a lot of things actually.

Thanks and best of luck to you!

Attyca
04-03-2008, 07:50 PM
wow, you're actually a genious @_@
this is going to help me so much for KH cloud! x3 love youuu<3

Bahzi
04-03-2008, 11:14 PM
wow, you're actually a genious @_@
this is going to help me so much for KH cloud! x3 love youuu<3

You're welcome, glad to be of service. *bows*

Best of luck on your project! ^_^

Bahzi
08-24-2008, 05:56 AM
Sorry for the double post, just mentioning that this tutorial is back up, I had it down for re-wording for longer than I wanted due to lack of internet access.