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Unread 10-16-2013, 11:12 AM   #1
rebel-cosplay
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Resin Benefits Question

Currently in the process of making my Death Scythe for Maka Albarn (link).

I want this thing to be as light as possible so that I can reduce the amount of backweighting I need to do and make it easier to pose with. I'm using a double layer of 4'x0.5" white styrofoam insulation for the blade and foamboard for the eye, back pieces, and "blade guard" things. My original plan was to brace the foam with poster board and then gesso over the whole thing. I've been looking through this forum and seeing a lot of recommendations to coat with resin.

Having only made two other large-scale props prior to this, I've not ever used resin before. For my muskets for Mami Tomoe (pics in my gallery), I just coated with gesso and modpoge and have only had minor problems with dinging.

So my question essentially boils down to whether or not that resin layer is necessary/beneficial to making this prop stable and durable, or will the poster board/gesso be adequate?
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Unread 10-16-2013, 02:38 PM   #2
Midnight Dawn
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Aside from water resistance, nothing really much as it's only going to be a really thin layer hence it won't add to the overall strength.
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Unread 10-16-2013, 03:02 PM   #3
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Midnight Dawn View Post
Aside from water resistance, nothing really much as it's only going to be a really thin layer hence it won't add to the overall strength.
^^^ This.

Resin by itself doesn't give much in the way of strength. It's fairly prone to cracking, and isn't worth the time and expense to use by itself. Resin is meant to be used as a stiffener to a composite like fiberglass or carbon fiber. The strength comes from the fiberglass.

Fiberglass coating the scythe would be VERY strong and still lightweight, but it's a lot of work, as the fiberglass won't leave a nice even surface, so you need to use fillers and such to smooth everything out.
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Unread 10-16-2013, 03:14 PM   #4
Midnight Dawn
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Quote:
Originally Posted by RoninEclipse2G View Post
^^^ This.

Resin by itself doesn't give much in the way of strength. It's fairly prone to cracking, and isn't worth the time and expense to use by itself. Resin is meant to be used as a stiffener to a composite like fiberglass or carbon fiber. The strength comes from the fiberglass.

Fiberglass coating the scythe would be VERY strong and still lightweight, but it's a lot of work, as the fiberglass won't leave a nice even surface, so you need to use fillers and such to smooth everything out.
This ^^^^

But frankly it's not worth the effort.

Unless this thing is going to be used repeatedly which I mean for years as you're going to every convention possible with it or you're going to go fighting with it, then it's not worth doing it.
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Unread 10-16-2013, 03:52 PM   #5
verdatum
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The benefit of coating in resin is mostly aesthetic in nature. If you just attach posterboard and coat it in gesso, it will be rather difficult for you to hide seam lines. Gesso is also not the greatest thing for sanding.

Resins, particularly resins made for coating foam (my experience is with Shell Shock by Smooth-On) apply somewhat thick and self-level a little bit but not so much so that it drips off excessively. The coating is enough to give a moderate level of impact resistance, but won't help much with structural strength. So, for example, if you accidentally snag the thing when getting out of the car, it will crack, but if you drop it from a height of 6', it won't dent. In a way, this is a good thing for props used in crowded places like conventions since you'd much rather crack a piece of foam than you would accidentally stab a random person with a pointy piece of glass-reinforced plastic.

Once the resin hardens, it can be sanded smooth. Brushable resins cure with minimal air bubbles; if any are exposed (referred to as "pinhole flaws"), you fill them with some sort of putty. When used properly, it is one of the faster processes for getting a perfect smooth surface.
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Unread 10-17-2013, 07:57 AM   #6
rebel-cosplay
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Thanks for the feedback everyone! I'm still pretty much lost when people mention resin since I've been working with it for less than a year, so commentary is very much appreciated!

@Verdatum, I definitely like the sound of the coating resin way better than fiberglass hah. Have you had experiences with other products? If possible I want to stay away from ordering online, and I do have all of the hardware store chains where I live.
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Unread 10-17-2013, 03:24 PM   #7
dizzymonochrome
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I just noticed last weekend that Mod Podge has a product that claims to provide a hard coat. It recommends wet sanding and buffing with steel wool, so that sounds pretty good to me. Haven't tried it yet, but maybe if you find it you can test it out. I saw it at Michael's craft store, has a green label instead of the usual yellow.
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