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Unread 11-11-2012, 10:35 AM   #1
eebee
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Ravager's Scale Armor

As a means of delaying all the actual work I have to do, I'm planning and considering future cosplays, and I have some questions for the armor forum!

I'd really love to do Ravager sometime in the future, but I have no idea how I would begin to go about making her scale mail. I do love challenges though, so if I am going to cosplay her, I'd want to make it myself.

So, has anyone here ever made scale mail? Do you have any tips or know of any good tutorials for someone who's never made something like this before? I searched for tutorials, but there are so many it's almost intimidating, and I had no way of judging which method was the best or the easiest to learn or anything, so I thought I'd ask if anyone had a tutorial recommendation. Also, does her particular outfit look impossible? She has a shirt of scalemail, as can be seen here, but she also has strips that run most of the way down her leg, like in the first reference. Is that unreasonable for scale armor?

Thanks!
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Last edited by eebee : 11-11-2012 at 10:47 AM.
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Unread 11-11-2012, 02:44 PM   #2
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The strips will be easier to construct that a fitted shoulder and sleeve, and the fact that it's not all over the body will significantly reduce the weight (even if you don't use metal it can get heavy). The real challenge will be attaching it to a spandex body suit. First because it'll be stretch to non-stretch, but second because if your scale mail isn't perfectly smooth everywhere it will snag and can create runs in your spandex. Every time your arm brushes across your belly, snag, snag, snag....
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Unread 11-11-2012, 11:54 PM   #3
djlemma
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I just last week made a video tutorial on making scale armor. It's Here. Please watch it and tell me how to make it better!

That said, for your costume you might want to consider whether the time and challenge involved in using actual scales would be worth it. For something that alternates between being a fabric catsuit and a piece of armor, you probably would be better off sewing big metallic sequins to a base material.

But watch my tutorial anyway and give me feedback!
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Unread 11-12-2012, 12:56 PM   #4
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Quote:
Originally Posted by djlemma View Post
I just last week made a video tutorial on making scale armor. It's Here. Please watch it and tell me how to make it better!

That said, for your costume you might want to consider whether the time and challenge involved in using actual scales would be worth it. For something that alternates between being a fabric catsuit and a piece of armor, you probably would be better off sewing big metallic sequins to a base material.

But watch my tutorial anyway and give me feedback!
That tutorial was totally helpful! Seems like a very manageable procedure. =) Thanks so much! Also, the online store you mentioned in the video looks like a great place to buy scales and rings, so thanks for that too. If you have experience with the sizes of scales offered, would you perhaps have a suggestion for which of the sizes would fit my project best? And are the scales very smooth? They appear to be, I just wanted to check.

Unfortunately, I've never found an image of Ravager putting her costume on, so I don't know if it's all part of the same suit or if it's two pieces she puts on separately - the appearance of the top would suggest it's two layers, while the legs make it look more like one. I was thinking I could design the right shape piece to have all the scales she displays plus a few around the edge and connect it to muslin or maybe leather straps to be durable and supported, and then wear the catsuit over it (and maybe connect it in some non-loadbearing way), since the catsuit will probably have to be made of fabric too weak to support the metal.

Those, of course, are only the ideas of a total armor novice. Please let me know if any or all of my ideas are impossible. xD
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Unread 11-12-2012, 02:01 PM   #5
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The two images you posted looked like different gauge scales to me. In the first image, it actually looks almost like chain instead of scale- the lines are drawn so close together. The second image most certainly looks like scales, and larger gauge scales at that.

The ones I used in the video were large gauge, and I'm finding them reasonable to work with but it takes a long time to build this stuff. I'm still slow, mind you, but it's taken me something like 6 hours to make a little over 1 square foot of material. I'm planning to make a full shirt, and it'll be several weekends of work before that's done- I think your project would be a similar scope.

The scales themselves are not smooth on the edges- they won't cut you or anything but they would probably snag a lightweight fabric. The flat surfaces are smooth though, so if you were thinking you'd put the catsuit over the scales then it might be totally fine. It might be totally fine with the catsuit under as well- I'll take a picture of a "rough" scale from Ring Lord and let you make that call.

For an alternative that may or may not be quicker and easier, this girl made a pretty awesome Red Sonja costume using sewn metallic disks, which may he been like the sequins I linked before or maybe not. Anyway the end result was pretty nice, and able to be more form fitting. Compare with a similar costume out of metal scales here...
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Unread 11-12-2012, 02:10 PM   #6
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Scalemail is very time intensive. That said, if that's the look you're going for, then go for it! Just know that it'll take a lot of time, and you need to be careful not to give yourself carpal tunnel from overuse of pliers when making your costume.

Scales can be purchased in aluminum, which is extremely lightweight, and also pretty cost efficient. Not sure what the link you got is, but a reasonably priced and reputable online source I use for chainmail and wireworking supplies is theringlord.com

And you can avoid the issue of chainmail snagging on the rest of the costume by either simply making sure all your jumprings are squeezed securely closed, or use splitrings instead of jumprings. (I'd suggest getting a special pair of splitring pliers if that's the route you go) Splitrings are the type of rings you find on keychains. There's a tutorial on The Ring Lord website with some pictures of how it differs (or doesn't) from using jumprings to make scalemail.
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Unread 11-12-2012, 02:23 PM   #7
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@DJ
That's true - as is common in comics, different artists often have different details on the costumes. I personally prefer the look of the larger scales, so I'll probably go with that. =)

Luckily, this costume's debut date isn't until at least NYCC '13, if I even choose to follow through on it, so I've got lots of time. If I do decide to make it, I'm definitely going to try to make the scalemail. I love learning new costume skills, and real metal armor would be a totally new field for me - all my metalworking background is in jewelry - so I definitely want to give it a go. The sequin idea is really good though, and I'll definitely keep it as a backup should the actual scales prove to be too much. =)

I have some scrap pieces of the fabric I'd probably use to make the catsuit, so I can always buy one bag of scales, make a test square, and see if there's too much snagging.

Thanks so much for all the info! I just noticed you're also an NYCer - maybe we could work on our projects together sometime!

@dizzy
Thanks! The Ring Lord is the place DJ linked me to. It looks perfect. I'll definitely look into split rings though. I've used jump rings a lot, and they were what I was thinking was most likely to catch.
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Unread 11-12-2012, 04:14 PM   #8
djlemma
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Quote:
Originally Posted by eebee View Post
Thanks so much for all the info! I just noticed you're also an NYCer - maybe we could work on our projects together sometime!
Oh wow! Didn't realize you were in the city. In that case, want a few scales to practice on? I'll send you a PM.

EDIT: Guess you have PM's blocked? Regardless, I could use help on my scale weaving, it can be tedious!
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Last edited by djlemma : 11-12-2012 at 04:25 PM.
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Unread 11-12-2012, 04:24 PM   #9
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If you've got some extras, that would be awesome! It'd be a great way to tell if this idea is going to be way over my head or impractical with a catsuit. =)

Edit: I do? That's weird. I've been getting PMs from people without problems. I'll go check my settings.

Double edit: You're right, at some point I guess the 'enable PMs' box got unchecked. I don't remember doing that. xD Sorry, it should be fixed now!
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Ravager

Last edited by eebee : 11-12-2012 at 04:28 PM.
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