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Unread 06-25-2008, 01:54 PM   #1
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Join Date: Jun 2008
Posts: 4
Construction Advice, Please! (Long)

Hiya, folks! I'm brand new to the forums and I'm loaded with questions, so if this is the wrong forum or if I'm doing something wrong, please let me know.

My cosplay has two parts in particular that are concerning me right now.

Part 1: Hollow Mask

I'm looking to make this mask:


What would you recommend making something this from, materials-wise? I've been tossing around ideas with porcelain clay, paperclay, and Wonderflex (sheet plastic), all with varying degrees of satisfaction, but I haven't yet decided on one. Papier-mache is simply too gritty and low-detail for me.

My primary concern is the detail I can put into the material - for this I figure porcelain clay will top out, followed by paperclay and then Wonderflex, since my experience with heat-formed plastic is that it gets 'blobby' after enough messing around with it (i.e., it gets inconsistent thin parts and thick parts throughout). The secondary concern is weight, since I'm planning on fixing it to my head with a headband; Spirit Gum seems out of the question for anything but Wonderflex.

In terms of construction steps, I'm going to make a plaster cast of my face and sculpt the mask on top of that. Does anyone have any tips to help me out on this, for instance what release agents I can use to ensure the modeling medium doesn't stick to the cast and so on and so forth?


Part 2: Sword

The character I'm cosplaying has a sword which I already crafted out of wood earlier in the year:


However, there are still a couple of problems aside from the blade being slightly inconsistent in width near the handle -

1) While I didn't do as much priming and sanding as I should have (maybe like 2-3 runs) I cannot for the life of me get the wood grain to stop showing through the paint. This is particularly evident on the tsuba (guard). Is there some kind of putty or something I could smear it with to smooth out the finish, or am I looking forward to a whole lot of sanding and refinishing?

2) The aforementioned tsuba has already broken in three places due to its somewhat delicate construction. I was thinking about cutting a new form out of 1/10" brass or tin. I was wondering if anyone has any experience taking a coping saw to such materials, or if the idea is just unfeasible -- if that's the case, is there any way to reinforce narrow wooden parts without it being obvious? I pinned one side with a copper wire; the main problem seems to be that the grain of the wood runs perpendicular to the bended part, so it snaps easily under stress.

Thanks so much in advance!
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