It can be intimidating for newbie costume makers and props builders to get in the game. But Drew Eckhardt, an Ontario member of the Mandalorian Mercs costume club, has broken down a handy step-by-step list on making your first fantastical armour.
Step 1: Choose what you want to make. Have the right tools, or help, on stand by.
Step 2: Select your material such as Sintra, or ABS plastic. You can use other materials like aluminum or metal, but these two plastics are the best for weight to work ratio.
Step 3: Take measurements. Always cut extra so you can trim. It’s easier to take away than to restart. It’s best to have someone assist you. Fill your chest cavity with air and use a flexible measuring tape to size your chest for example. Take those measurements to your material and cut the pattern you so wish to create. Constantly checking and trimming ensures a proper fit to the body and reduces waste.
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Step 4: Cut the pattern and smooth edges. It’s ideal to smooth the edges so you have clean lines that will tie the rest of the armour together. Having jagged edges, or sharp edges, can pinch, or not look as though it’s another material after painting.
Step 5: Heat the material to form it to your body. A standard heat gun is the most efficient for armour building, but blow torches can be used, and ovens set to broil to make the material pliable. For safety, though, use a heat gun as a starter piece.
Step 6: Prime surface with spray paint.
Step 7: Paint in colours of your choice.
Step 8: Weather using silver, brown, orange and black depending on desired effects. When weathering, there are two approaches: Under or Over. Under involves a silicon paste, or another paste (toothpaste, or mustard as examples) and you apply what you wish your damage to be, or where paint would rub off to expose the silver underside. Once you finish painting, you rub the silicon, or paste of your choice off to reveal the silver underside. Over is for finishing your paint job, where you take markers, and lightly apply the damage over the paint. Permanent Markers are the best option for that.
Step 9: Mount with magnets, Velcro, and straps. Adjust to your comfort level.
Step 10: Enjoy and have fun!