Wednesday, April 18, 2007

Forming Albel's arm & claw armor

The base of the shoulder pieces were first shaped by applying Rigid Wrap (plaster gauze) in a negative mold (in this case, the inside of a rounded light casing) - this allowed a lightweight shell that could be easily smoothed with just water after air-drying. If the gauze strips had been applied to the outside, it would have appeared rough and layered (this is the stuff they use for making real casts for broken bones, etc.) but by using the inside of the shape to be molded, it is smooth.
The semi-brittle shell was then backed on the inside with multiple layers felt and hot glue...which rendered it nearly indestructible, as it was dropped-kicked down a flight of stairs with no damage.


After completely drying and popping it out of the mold, the edges were trimmed and metallic silver and three shades of grey acrylic paint were dry-brushed on the armor and then finally coated in flexible acrylic gloss varnish. It had to be dry-brushed because if you get plaster wet after it is "dry" it will, of course, start running again. The paint and varnish should take care of that problem and seal it.


By the way, the top of the shoulder piece include a foam pad + velcro, which wraps underneath the top shoulder-seam of the shirt and actually connects to the underside of the neck manacle. This makes the connection very stable when moving, plus comfortable and pretty hidden. Normally, I'd attach shoulder armor via other armor pieces (either with lacing, glue or magnents, depending on the mobility needed) - but Albel's silly and doesn't have extra armor or strapping or even sleeves. >XD

All of the rest of the arm armor segments are permanently closed tube segments (made of the "Magical Foam") and simply slip up onto my arm like a bracelet, and the claws are like tubular rings that slip on last over the glove. The top neck guard piece on the shoulder also was a slice of this slightly curved thermoformed foam, hot-glued into its slot.

Specific products used :
- thermoform foam
- heat gun (to mold the above)
- Rigid Wrap
- Liquitex medium viscosity acrylic paint and flexible varnish

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