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Unread 04-27-2013, 02:19 PM   #1
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Heirarchy of materials?

So I'm working on a costume for this year's upcoming con, and for the first time, I want to include armor. I've designed something inspired a little bit inspired by a Blood Elf female's breastplate, but I've removed the decorative curliques, and added some details of my own- horizontal scale details, a segmented center/abdominal plate, and so on. So now it looks more modern, a little more Warhammer 40k than WoW-ish.
(I'd post the sketch but I am scanner-challenged at the moment)

I keep coming back to what to make the darn thing out of. I've got both leather and EVA foam in abundance, so it makes sense that I should consider using those before spending big bucks on wonderflex or worbla. Either might do a good job if I finish it right.

EVA if finished right might be well suited to a modern suit of armor, but I'm worried that because it's become so common as a cosplay material, judges will be more likely to overlook it, or it will be perceived as "easier" and therefore less likely to win than something made of leather. I suspect that if I make this thing out of EVA foam, it won't be a simple matter of just dremel-tooling the details, it will involve different thicknesses of the stuff, overlapping scales, and built up detail. Not like the Mass Effect suits I've seen where people proudly bragged about doing them up in a couple of days.

Leather tends to be perceived as "more real" or "harder" than other materials, in part because fewer people work with it. And I've seen some pretty cool things made of it. Is using one material or another going to get "brownie points" with the judges, or get overlooked because it's become fairly common?
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Unread 04-27-2013, 09:11 PM   #2
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An honest judge would see your costume for its construction quality and not so much for what material you use to make it.
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Unread 05-01-2013, 02:58 PM   #3
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I decide on materials for armor or for clothing based on what seems right for the character/costume, not what I think the judges will like. Judges aren't all the same, for one, and for two, what matters to me is my satisfaction, not anyone else's.
Could I have built Zuko's armor out of plastic, or Padmé's gown out of polyester? Sure. Would I have won awards? Maybe; depends entirely on who the judges are and who my competition is. Would I have been happy with those costumes in cheaper materials? Absolutely not.

JediofTime is correct. Quality should be most important, not what the material is or whether the character is popular or any other external factor.
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Unread 05-02-2013, 12:51 PM   #4
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Yeah, I am wondering if EVA foam might be best for a near-future type of armor, coated with mod-podge and given a nice airbrushed finish.
I would hope that any good judge would focus on the workmanship, and not discount something- "Ugh, more of these darn floor mats".

I am awfully curious about Worbla though, I'll have to order some and play with it.
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Unread 05-08-2013, 10:44 AM   #5
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It's always a crapshoot because you don't know who your judges will be and who your competition will be. All you can do is do your best, and choose which masquerade to enter based on its reputation.

As mentioned above, a good judge will evaluate the work put in, not the material (unless the material is massively unsuited for the item, like an evening gown made out of wool suiting). I've worked with Worbla, and there are still things that I absolutely would use EVA floor mats for. Just because a lot of people use something doesn't discount its value. Use what's best for your project.
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Unread 05-08-2013, 12:25 PM   #6
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I'll have to see if I can get a picture and post it in the armor section, and ask for advice and suggestions- I don't have access to a scanner right now, so I may have to resort to photographing the sketch itself. (I don't want to take it to staples or someplace to scan it- the last time they did that, they charged me almost ten bucks for something that was useless to me- I asked for an image, and they scanned it as a freaking PDF file. I tried to import it into photoshop, and got a series of images that looked like strips of a document that's been fed through a paper shredder. So screw that!)
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