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25 March 2007 @ 08:21 pm
breakdown part 2  
Second part of the costume breakdown, MUCH shorter! Covering the "hardscape": headpiece and armor pieces. Also featuring some progress pictures! I will be posting again later tonight with some more photos from ryuk_inprogres's visit.

Base: One store (and only one) on the internet carries a plastic base for building headpieces off of. (The Feather Place, retail outlet of Zucker Feather Products, who make nearly all of the feathers you can buy at any hobby/fabric store. I bought the peacock feathers for my Genzai Arcadia YURAsama costume there.) The base will be extended upon with Wonderflex most likely for the front, pointed section, and also for the sculptural bits to either side of the central horn. This base is going to sit OVER the base wig; the spiked hair in back is going to be made with a totally separate wig, which should cover the base. I'm still concerned about the weight of the horns pulling it forward; but I'm going to try putting shelf liner on the inside of the plastic (where it will sit against the wig) to add some traction. I may need to counterbalance the horns with something, though.
Horns: There are two types of horns; the "mohawk" horns, which are very similar to blesbok/sprinbok horns; and the "ram" horns on either side of the head. They aren't really like ram horns because they appear to be smooth, but the curvature is similar. I looked at buying real horns for the blesbok horns, either to make a mold from or just use outright. But since I'd have to get them from eBay, I was worried they'd be too heavy, wasn't sure how tough the horn would be to cut if they were to be attached, and there was a problem with the way they curved (real horns curve out from the side of the head and slightly back; if mounted on the center of the headpiece, they'd veer to one side). Basically it looked like it would cause more problems than it would solve.

At this point, I'm planning to make both sets of horns out of papier mache, likely filled with expanding foam for strength. This is the same way I did the Petshop of Horror ram horns I did on commission. The problem that I had then and still have now is how to finish the papier mache to get the surface I want (basically, NOT looking like papier mache). On the Petshop horns I resorted to Paperclay, which increased the weight far too much. I have fiberglassing supplies and could use that, but I don't need the structural advantages of fiberglass; so it's opening a big can of worms. I thought about using Magic Sculp (or Sculpt, 2-part epoxy clay which air cures into resin), which I used for doll-size horns and also Yuuko from xxxHoliC's pipe. It's lighter than paperclay, but it still might add more bulk than I really want; the key is something thin which can still fill in small imperfections. Finally I found a product called Magic Smooth, which is basically a thin version of Magic Sculpt (it's compared to Vaseline).

Paper pattern, wire form (armature wire, much lighter than same gauge of regular wire), and the other horn's form with added thinner wire to work on shape.

Sort of side view . . .

Shoulder . . . flanges? Leaves? I don't know what they are. Need to come up with a name. I have not patterned these yet. I am still planning to make these out of Fosshape (thermoplastic material; is a fabric which can be sewn, but the more it's heated, the stiffer it becomes; not reshapeable). I found it for less from a supplier that sells fabrics for people who do convention floor displays (as near as I can tell).
Chest armor: Already patterned and the base cut out of Wonderflex (another thermoplastic; plastic with embedded fibers for structure, bends around forms with heat gun/hot water/hair dryer; is reshapeable).

First and second version paper patterns, with gems laid out. The gems are a whole long saga, but just FYI, nail polish remover (mild and non-acetone) and some scrubbing did take the painted smiley face off the yellow one, which is from a ponytail holder.

Third version paper pattern and traced Wonderflex, along with the scissors I've been using to cut it. They are nicknamed the "Death Scissors"; they are very sharp and have badly cut at least two people. Apparently the Japanese really know how to make their scissors. But the Wonderflex would probably still cut even with lesser scissors; using a matte knife works, using that for cut-outs, but it's slower (takes more than one cut).

Boot caps: The boot caps are being done in Wonderflex also. I want to be able to do some sculpting on top of them, which also needs to be dealt with on the chest pieces. They need more dimension; I don't want them to look like posterboard. This opens up a whole bunch of new problems, though, maybe more so than I would have had with the Wonderflex to begin with, and related to the horn-finishing problem. The downside of Wonderflex is that it has a texture; similar to duct tape. The only recommendation I've heard for getting rid of it is gesso, which will not work on any piece in danger of getting bent. Gesso is designed for flat canvases (to get rid of that texture in preparation for painting); if it's bent, it will crack. Fiberglass is again overkill (the polyester resins that are designed to be used with fiberglass cloth can't be used without it, either). I could simply use the Magic Smooth, but there are two issues: a) it may not be safe to use on plastic (TAP Plastic's website vaguely mentions this), and b) it may ALSO crack if bent. I'd be better off with something flexible. Which leads me, perhaps, to a product I'd heard of called Sculpt or Coat, used most commonly by puppetmakers; for sealing carved foam pieces, and to make fabric and mache pieces more durable. It's too thin in its normal form to work for sculpting - but I can add a filler to it. But, I haven't been able to find out much about what it REALLY is. It may be very similar to Mod Podge, which is much easier to get (and is basically a thinned white glue). The Sculpt or Coat site, of course, claims it's way better than anything else; but it's also kind of hard to buy and may not remove the texture anyway (though it will make the surface more paintable).

Tonight I've started on a test, however, working with some materials I already have, so we'll see how that goes. I may have a ghetto solution to the problem that won't require special ordering anything and taking a risk it won't really help in this application.

Newsprint pattern made off of boot; traced in pencil on Wonderflex sheet.

First stage of shaping; I did it over the boot with my foot in it, bit awkward but should make it fit better. I only used a hair dryer because I didn't want to risk aiming that kind of heat at the PVC boots (not to mention my foot?). I can still fix problem areas but I'll probably do that with the heat gun.

Minus the boot, and starting to add on upper part (because of the curve of my ankle it was easier to do two pieces), with the unshaped piece for the other boot.

Boot covers: Because his boots have a really weird design, and also because the boots with the accurate sole were too short, I'm having to do boot covers. Thanks to an idea from systema, I'm planning to do the front part in PVC over either Wonderflex or Fosshape. I already tested gluing white PVC to the Wonderflex with GemTac and it worked quite well; the piece can even still be heated and formed if need be. The back half of the boot top will just be fabric, and close around and underneath the front part; it's patterned already and designed to cover the zipper on the inside of the boot as well. I have a very nice gold metallic soutache-type braid to use for the "lines", but I'd rather use piping along the edges so I have to see if I can find something to match. Gold trim tends to be a real pain because there are a LOT of different types of "gold" in trim, many of which clash horribly with each other.
Current Music: tree frogs
Zetsubou: saga- say whattenshinoitami1 on March 27th, 2007 03:06 am (UTC)
=O wow I will so have to seek your help for costuming and armor and such. thansk for the feather site because I needed TWO purple pheasant feathers but teh site I ordered from no longer carries pre-dyed ones and I couldnt find ANYWHERE that woul sell a small amout of dyed ones

when I go to work on Fran I have to do some light armor work so expect to be pestered then xD