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Yasuraka

Dragon guard armour

13 posts in this topic

Ok, so since a lot of you seem to be very interested in this project, I'm going to make this thread to keep you updated and inform you of the details of my armour.

Any of you who didn't know yet, I'm currently busy building an armour for a fantasy fair we go to every year, so far I've been as mage, king or elf, but we decided that we wanted something we created and something more awesome.

 

The full armour will consist of the following things:

- Breastplate

- Backplate

- Face-covering helmet (detailed currently being worked on)

- Shoulder guard (spaulders/pauldron), these will also cover part of the upper arms

- Lower arm armour

- Lower leg armour

- Upper leg armour (attached to breastplate)

 

The armour will be an original design and will very slightly be based on dragons, so pointy stuff and a minor amount of scales where they are suitable.

 

The technique we use is based off of Pepakura, with which you print out a design, cut it out on cardboard, assemble it and then use something like glass-fibre and epoxy to harden it.

A LOT of ironman suits have been made this way...

 

Of course, being an original design we had to make our own blue-print, which just means a lot of trying and fitting and readjusting stuff.

 

Which is why we have two kinds of cardboard, a good, decently sturdy and easy to work with cardboard (greyboard if my memory serves me) and the kind of cardboard used on pallets. We try-out our stuff with the sucky cardboard and then make the final design in the awesome greyboard.

 

Once we have something which is a full piece of cardboard glued together, the real work can begin.

 

First we take our glass-fibre and stick it unto the inside (never the outside, it ruins your design), we use a polyester specifically designed to be used with glass-fibre. We let it dry, then place a layer of just polyester to finish it and make it a bit more water-proof.

 

Next we take super putty (official name), and place it all over the outside on anything we need/want smooth.

 

After the putty it needs to be sanded to get the smooth feel. During this, or maybe before you also need to cut off any excess fibre-glass sticking out on the sides, because that can hurt like hell when you get a piece of tiny little glass stuck into your finger (happened to me four times already...).

 

I guess after this step you can start painting the thing, but I'm not quite sure yet, we aren't in the painting stage yet, so maybe there's still something which we haven't figured out yet.

 

Soon I'll upload a picture of fibred, puttied and sanded arm protection which we use as something to test with.

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I started to build Space Marine armor using the very same technique. Sadly, I ran out of funds and the project was put on hold. Quite interested to seeing some progress pictures.

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I've heard of pepakura, but not the name. It's insane that you can do this to make armor.

 

I'm actually interested in this technique and figuring out how to do it myself. I have a couple of cosplays I might want to do in the future, and a couple involve some sort of armor. Do you have any tutorials that you've been following on how to do this? How expensive are these materials to get? Do you need any fancy hardware to work with things like glass-fibre? I honestly have no idea.

 

Very excited to see the progress on this. It sounds awesome!

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Does it get significantly heavier after its all complete, or is it still just as light as cardboard?

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[please note: we are making 2 armours, if you are only making one, you won't have to have as much]

 

The materials I use are fairly cheap, so far we have bought:

- three sheets of greyboard

- 2 times 500 ml of super putty (hardener included)

- 2 times 750 ml of polyester

- 3 times 1 square meter of glass-fibre mat (they actually delivered 4! :D)

 

And so far we have spent about 100 euros. I think we might have to buy some extra stuff (probably putty, that stuff goes FAST).

And the next big thing we have to buy will be paint, to get a very decent metalic look we are thinking about doing a grey first layer and then spray metallic car paint on top of it. However that paint will be expensive.

 

The hardware you need are fairly simple, first up you need the CHEAPEST ass brushes you can find with a decent amout of hairs (I use a type 12/14, either flat or round, depending on the surface). Every brush you use WILL be ruined after 1 use, if you let it dry it'll turn itself into a solid piece of useless crap. In the beginning we bought 10 brushes, but recently I've bought another 20 (30 in total) and I think we are going to need them all. I still remember the look on the face of the cassiere when I dumped by 20 brushes in front of her xD.

 

Next thing you need is a greatly ventilated area (or just go outside when it's sunny), because working with the stuff STINKS, even after smelling it time and time again I still completely hate the smell. If you also have a dry and ventilated area where you can let the materials dry, please put it there. I put the armours in our living room, and I've had to use air freshners and what not to get the smell out. After being in the room for a minute you don't longer notice it, but it just a disgusting smell.

 

You'll need gloves and old clothes and some newspapers, we have bought a set of 100 latex one-use gloves which serve just fine, do test if the latex can handle the stuff you are using. I've heard horrorstories of latex melting with certain materials, polyester seems fine, but do be sure to check. By now I use my normal clothes to work in, but that's only because the work-clothes I have are longlegged jeans, which are way to freaking hot. So far no stuff on my clothes, but if it would happen I don't think I'll ever get out.

 

The newspapers are ofcourse to protect your table or whatever you are working on.

 

Next you'll need a small sanding machine, we have one of those triangle ones which work just fine. The super putty is a b*tch to sand so you really, REALLY, don't wanna do that by hand. We realised later that maybe we could have used an easier to sand kind of putty first, then put the last layer of super putty over that so that we can first overcome any big gaps before using a thin layer of the final stuff. Maybe we will still do this.

 

Next you'll need a rotary tool, which will help you get rid of any excess glass-fibre at the edges. Ours just broke down and we've tried to use a normal sanding machine, but that just doesn't work.

 

Both of these machines were already in our houses so we didn't need to buy them, what I DID buy was a heat gun. I actually bought these for an earlier stage in which we were thinking about useing thermoplastics (plastics that get soft when hot, but then harden in the shape you put them in), but I see a LOT of guys on the internet advising you to get one to correct any errors you've made. So I guess I'll try to use it on something soon just to see what it does.

 

 

As for the weight, it does get heavier, cardboard is ofcourse freakishly light, so it does get weight down. However I still can lift a full piece of chest armour with just hand. Probably even two fingers. I think (very rough guess) the final chest piece will be 2 maybe 3 kilograms and since it leans on the shoulders and the stomache area you'll hardly feel it.

 

The videos I've used are quite a lot, the ones I liked the most are those of 'The Heroes Workshop' (http://www.youtube.com/user/TheHeroTutorials/videos)

 

 

In this video he talks about the materials you need when you have a fibre-matted product: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9BpAe1ZuKKk

 

 

 

Beside that I've watched several other videos, two of which made halo armours/helmets, one who actually made a car, and then some random advice of people using other materials. I can't quite find the exact videos, but a bit of youtubing around will get a long way.

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I have a friend who does cosplay and just finished a modified version of the Ironman suit (with lights) and then it ended up flying off his car while he was driving. He spent mooooonths on it. Anyways, it's something I've been interested in but knew I'd probably be too impatient for.

How long do you think itd take you to do just one armor?

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It kind of depends on the time you have available. If you have a few weeks and have a fairly good idea on what you want to make I guess you could do it within a month or two.

 

But because he has a freelance job which makes him rather randomly busy, and I have my study we just take it easy. Last week spend almost the whole week working on the thing, 5 - 6 hours a day and made some progress, from here on out it will be slower.

 

We just take it easy though, we have planned on the full thing being finished, including painted and the clothes underneath, by april next year. Or rather, that's when the fantasy fair will be, so it's kind of a deadline. But I'm confident we can do it if we keep a steady pace.

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Ok, so I've got two pictures of the test-piece we made.

It's the lower arm armour piece, which has a shape we really like, so I think this comes very close to the final thing.

 

It's been fibre'd, hardened and puttied. After the putty we have sanded some, but not all, pieces to a fairly smooth (but not smooth enough) surface.

 

Just the armour pieces

off_arm.png

 

The armour pieces on my hairy arm

on_arm.png

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Some of that pitting actually has an interesting texture to it, particularly that left-most plate. Like a damaged metal or even pitted semi-precious stone, depending how you paint it.   Are you going to be aiming for perfect smoothness on the final finish?

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Well the plan is to first get it real smooth, then make some artificial damage by either scraping away some paint or dry-brushing or some other technique we haven't figured out yet.

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If you are going to paint battle damage, I recommend against scraping it.  Use either a frisket (mustard works surprisingly well) or simply paint on the damage by hand (drybrushing will give you good scuff damage, but wet brushing will get you sharper lines, like from scrapes and nicks).  This way you have way more control and avoid damaging your hard work.

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I finally got time and motivation to continue! :D

 

If you are going to paint battle damage, I recommend against scraping it.  Use either a frisket (mustard works surprisingly well) or simply paint on the damage by hand (drybrushing will give you good scuff damage, but wet brushing will get you sharper lines, like from scrapes and nicks).  This way you have way more control and avoid damaging your hard work.

 

Hmm yeah, I think I'll dry-brush the damage on, I have some experience with dry-brushing on (games workshop) miniatures.

 

Besides that I'm thinking of getting two layers of paint, then put some ordinary glue on the lower layer before I spray the top layer on, that way I can easily scrape off the glue, leaving a nice bit of flaky kind of damage. I've seen it done on a halo helmet and looked nice for the larger bits of damage.

 

---

 

Update on whole project:

So we've started putting one of the larger lower pieces of armour and it turns out that super putty is a HELL to sand. Seriously, I've suggested getting rougher sandpaper for the first 2 or 3 layers of putty because it just takes for ever, even with a machine.

 

My mate's upper body armour (front at least) has been fully fibred and when he comes around next time we'll putty it some more, probably.

My upper body armour (also front) has almost been fully fibred, I had to stop half way two days ago because I didn't have enough polyester. I'll continue... soon.

 

We've made some real progress with the mask/helmet. My mate has made a really sweet helmet-concept, which just magically fits like a glove (or well, rather, a well-fitting helmet). We've spent an afternoon deciding on a mask, which is kinda sweet but still has a few quirky things (like we wanted full-face masks, but the shape kinda let's our cheeks been shown.)

 

Furthermore I've noticed its MAJORLY important to get a good working spot, I now have something set up in the garage, but the table is way to low. If you want to polyester the thing you need stand up, but with the hight of the table now I get real severe back pains, real fast. So I'm gonna heighten that at least.

 

I'll keep you more updated, probably more often than I did so far...

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Sounds like you're making good progress.   (any progress shots? :D )  

It does sound like you're using too fine of sandpaper at the moment.  I'd recommend 100 grit (even rougher, if you need to remove a lot of stock) to get the main shape.  Then progress to 200 then 300 grit.   You can go even further towards glass smooth surfaces using 600 grit or finer. (I have miro sandpaper in the several thousand grit-range, but that'd be madness to use on armor!)

 

 

Now for clarification's sake, as material availability changes based on locale, are you based in the UK or US (or elsewhere)? What sort of putty are you using?

 

There are many methods of "truing" up the surfaces- Im trying to figure out which to recommend for you ^^

 

 

Finally, careful when using glue as a frisket. Gloss coating the area before application (or even just using gloss paint) will make removal easier.  I still recommend using a more easily removed mask, like aforementioned mustard or any number of masking films.   Im pretty sure you could even use the brush-on silicone mold-making liquid as a mask.

 

 

Painting damage is just like painting it on minis- just bigger!  Haha!

(rather curious about your GW minis, now...)

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