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View Full Version : Curved Armor - what do you make it from?


TR Rose
12-07-2009, 01:32 PM
A group of friends and I are planning to make costumes from Fire Emblem: Shadow Dragon next year. The Pegasus Knights all have rounded armor - a chestplate and shoulders. These are *female* knights, so the chestplate needs to be somewhat curvy.

Example:
http://serenesforest.net/media/fe11illust/l/L_Sheeda.jpg

I know how to make funfoam armor, but I don't think that will work in this instance as it only curves one direction. What material would be a good thing to make rounded/curved armor shapes?

I've heard good things about Sintra/Cintra (however you spell it) but I have not worked with it.

I'm planning to make the decorations on the armor out of a separate piece, so all I need assistance with are the basic armor pieces.

Thanks, hope someone can help me! :)

Moennet
12-07-2009, 04:07 PM
Damn they're thin... o.0
chest piece: (this one is for working with leather) http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=IsQRZ4TsljI&NR=1

Idle_Time
12-07-2009, 04:29 PM
try using a fencers chest plate, the one i found is more.. curvy.. than the one you showed but its fine from the looks of it you would need to lay something over it to give it a layered armor look. try some craft foam or other material and it will stretch out and curve the right way, or if you dont mind the weight you could just sculpt what you need on top of it, and fill in the parts you dont want.
http://sabreoutreachnetwork.org/images/CHEST%20PROTECTOR%20ALLSTAR.jpg

Chipface
12-07-2009, 05:10 PM
Paperclay would work well for the sculpting. It's pretty light once dried. Just seal it with modge podge after sanding.

KakeraのTsuki
12-07-2009, 05:52 PM
Sintra might be a bit too rigid to make those curves, but I've never worked with it myself, I've only heard stuff from friends.

I suggest wonderflex or rigid wrap/plaster bandage for things with curves. Wonderflex is lighter but has a texture to it, whereas rigid wrap is heavier but you can get it to be perfectly smooth. It's also easier to work with and less expensive than wonderflex. Both will work quite well, so it's your choice. =]

astillar
12-07-2009, 10:44 PM
I've never had much success with curving sintra in more than one direction. And fencing breastplates have individual cups, so I don't think they would work either. Paper mache or fiberglass would be able to make that custom compound curve for the breastplate. I prefer fiberglass for it's durability, but paper mache is cheaper and easier.

rubyredrose
12-07-2009, 11:34 PM
I'm looking at something similar for the Shanoa costume I've been poking at, and what's I've devised is a craftfoam base, backed with fabric, then coated in tissue paper and glue or mod podge. Not sure how strong that'll be, but it shouldn't be too hard to get the shape this way. I'll let you know how it turns out! :)

4ng31
12-08-2009, 02:27 AM
Paperclay would work well for the sculpting. It's pretty light once dried. Just seal it with modge podge after sanding.

Paper clay is incredibly heavy, and for a piece that's going to be hanging off the chest, I wouldn't advise using it.

A simple way to do a custom fit chest plate would be to have someone lay plaster strips on your chest (like a body cast), but only do the front half. After dried, remove it, draw design directly on the piece, cut off excess, and use fiber glass on the inside to harden it (it will break without a reinforcement). Then use a light weight body filler to smooth the exterior. No wasted pieces, no wasted time...and fairly cheap for a total custom piece.

TR Rose
12-08-2009, 07:40 AM
Thank you everyone for the suggestions.

Where would you obtain plaster bandages/strips?

FullMetalSam
12-08-2009, 11:14 AM
You'll have a hard time bending any material in 2 different directions and making it look good... unless you're vaccuforming or thermoforming in a mold or over a buck.

However, it's possible to bend craft foam in 2 directions and the fact that your armor has raised details can easily hide the seams you're going to have on your basic armor. Here is a quick sketch of how the pattern or your shoulder and chestplate (since they are both the same basic shape):
http://i140.photobucket.com/albums/r30/sambob3000/Armor%20Pattern/ArmorPattern.jpg

By glueing the red lines together on each side... the craft foam will bend vertically and horizontally. However, it will create a seam when you glue those 2 curves together... this is why the armor details are so important - to hide the seam. Oh, and it's just for the piece to look perfect that you hide those seam lines... with a good paint job they should be barely visible.

The only thing is that it's hard to figure out where those red lines should be on your pattern. It's always trial and error for me... I start small and cut a little more and a little more until I acheive the effect I was looking for. It's also important that the red lines be curved. This will give you a "real" curve - if they were straight lines, you'll end up with a "blocky" look.

KakeraのTsuki
12-08-2009, 12:16 PM
You can get plaster bandage at many craft stores, including michael's, as well as some medical supply stores.

I'm looking at something similar for the Shanoa costume I've been poking at, and what's I've devised is a craftfoam base, backed with fabric, then coated in tissue paper and glue or mod podge. Not sure how strong that'll be, but it shouldn't be too hard to get the shape this way. I'll let you know how it turns out! :)

That's what I did for my Shanoa armor(plus the darts as FullMeatalSam mentioned), so I can guarentee it works! Though, I used pleather instead of normal fabrics, so unless you get something relatively rigid like that you might have a hard time concealing edges. I also do not suggest sealing it at all. It goes over the entire torso, so you'll want to have room to move if you want to do her action poses (found this out the hard way).


Yes, craft foam can do curves, to a certain extent. But judging from your ref, the curves are extremely smooth. With craft foam, though -unless you cover it in something- you'll likely have little points where the 'dart' ends. You can try cutting lots and lots of little darts in it, which will work, but that'll be a lot of work with tons of trial and error. It can be done, though.

TR Rose
12-08-2009, 12:43 PM
The reason I was steering clear of the foam idea was *because* of said darts. I want something very smooth and would rather not be going back and forth with darts, while still possibly getting the "polygon" look rather than a nice smooth curve.

I think I'm going to try the plaster bandage/fiberglass method and see what happens. This isn't a project I'm going to work on til next year so I do have some time for trial and error.

Thanks so much, everyone, for the suggestions!!!

FullMetalSam
12-08-2009, 01:58 PM
Yes, craft foam can do curves, to a certain extent. But judging from your ref, the curves are extremely smooth. With craft foam, though -unless you cover it in something- you'll likely have little points where the 'dart' ends. You can try cutting lots and lots of little darts in it, which will work, but that'll be a lot of work with tons of trial and error. It can be done, though.

You're right about that - however, it's all about how you cut those curve lines in the foam. If you stick to curves (and not straight lines) and the curve "starts small" where the dart ends (hope this make sense :))... you won't have points. It is trial and error, but once you understand how it works, it's pretty easy to reproduce.

Good luck with your project... it's going to look awesome no matter how you choose to do it :)

Zabuz
12-08-2009, 03:01 PM
Hell no that paperclay is heavy. Paperclay is quite awesome when you "get it right" (fix some cracks and stuff like that).
Well, at least my paperclay isn't heavy once it dries xP

Amethyst Angel
12-08-2009, 05:48 PM
I don't know if this would help, but here's a time lapse video I just did of my making shoulder armor using tagboard and paperclay;

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=jJsMEkg5K-E

Silver Faction
12-09-2009, 04:38 AM
There is nothing wrong with the old paper mache strips method especially since its just a decorative piece. Minimum of three layers, more to enforce, gesso and sand. Paper mache is the medium preferred by professional venetian mask artists.