Shoulder Armor Part 2

Ok, we left off with the shaping and carving of the armor.

This picture has them side by side where you can notice a few minor flaws in the shape between them. When you create any two items its almost impossible to get them the exact same and be mirror images for each shoulder.  I have never had any one tell me the shoulders I first created for my Tier 8 priest set were off, but they had huge differences between them.

Once the shoulder is shaped and you’re happy with it, its time to get a shoulder hole so you can wear these things.  I started off with the measurements that I was provided and drew out the dimensions on the inside of the shoulder.

You can see the sharpie marks on the inside of the shoulder where I outlined the area I would be removing.  Because this is on the inside of the shoulder, perfection isn’t needed but go slow. The last thing you want is to put a razor blade through the shoulder and mess up all your hard work. I used my multi-tool to remove most of the foam, a hotknife or exacto would work just as well.

Remember, you can always remove more, but putting it back on is tough.

After you have cleaned out the area where your shoulder will be, make sure to test fit often. Use a mirror to make sure it sits right on you.  If you go a bit large don’t worry, you can add some foam to help both with comfort and fit.

Still a bit to go on the shoulder on the right but getting closer.

OK, all done at this point, I failed to take a picture before I sanded them out, but in a picture I doubt you would see much of a difference.  Because of the density of the foam it sands very well. I used 220 grit to finish out the surface and prep it for paint. There are a few cut and nicks that will need to be taken care of and I have just the stuff to do it with.

If you cant read the label it says “Liquitex : Light Modeling Paste” This stuff is fantastic for helping add back a little bit of material where you may have nicked the foam when you were working with it.  A single layer will dry in a few hours, expect 4-6 hours per 1/4 inch of thickness. Once this stuff is dry it’s a little rubbery but sands very well.  Once again go over the shoulder and re-smooth them with a very light grit sand paper once the paste is dry.

Now that the shoulders are shaped and sanded we can look at paint. If you are planning on a dark high pigment paint, or covering them with either Wonderflex or craft foam, feel free to skip over this next part.

Because the pink of the foam will throw off most paints I opted to cover the entire shoulder with 2 coats of Gesso.  This is used a canvas primer by artists and help provide a totally neutral white background.

This is going to be a good stopping point for most people. Part 3 will carry on with another shoulder I will be making because the two in the pictures you have seen are headed off to their new owner who will do the finish work.

If you have any questions on the tips or techniques I used here please comment on this post.

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16 thoughts on “Shoulder Armor Part 2

    • For the risen parts, we recommend model magic, just remember to account for the bit of shrinkage you get. You could play around with clear cast resin for the gem, but that’s entirely up to you, if you want to spend the money and experiment with it. All of the detailing from Mario’s shoulders for his costume last year were done with model magic.

    • Actually we live in California, but sometimes the pink foam can be hard to find. The blue stuff (extruded polystyrene, not expanded) is what you need, the other two would be difficult to carve. The two weeks would be worth waiting to get the right materials :) Thanks!

  1. Hi… the tutorial was of great help… but i was wondering if there are other substitutes for liquitex..like the normal glue for example?

    • There are a few other things that may do the same job, but as of right now I cant really list any with the same properties.

      You could use expanding foam but its not really meant for small area application. Gesso and paints would take weeks to fill in the gaps / cracks that are only minutes of work with Liquitex. If you don’t have access to a local art supply store I have had good success with
      Dick Blick Art supply

      They have very fast and reasonable shipping.

  2. I’m starting to think the carved foam technique is the way to go for these large shoulder armor pieces.

    What techniques do you use for wearing the shoulder armor? Attach it to the costume?

    • Even two years later, I still use the craved foam to establish the base shape of the Shoulders. For the 4 sets that I have created each one had to be modified slightly from the last to allow attachment with associated costume. They all how ever simply attached to each other across the chest or behind the neck and stayed put mostly via gravity. Granted you cant do every cool move you may want in costume, but just short of a hand stand or cartwheel I have never had a piece move. If you were worried you could toss a bit of velcro underneath for a more security.

  3. Thank you so much for this tutorial! Using most of the same materials and methods I was able to make this http://moongazer22.deviantart.com/#/d530ygm However I could not find a vibratory multi-tool. Is it like an electric knife?

    Also as a filler, I tried drywall putty and it seemed to work fine for me! Thank you so much again!

    • You’re welcome! We’re glad it was useful :) The sword looks awesome, the vibratory tool we use is http://www.harborfreight.com/power-tools/oscillating-tools/oscillating-multifunction-power-tool-68861.html, so if you can find anything similar that’s what we meant :) If you do get it from Harbor Freight, definitely invest in the insurance, since we have had to replace ours three times now just because it’s not cut out for the type of abuse we put it through. We haven’t tried drywall putty yet, but Mario worries that it might crack if you’re covering or filling in a large area because of how hard it dries.

      • Yes, I can see the worry about it cracking but it was a cheaper investment on my end since I already had some laying around, haha. I used it to fill in small holes and gaps where the foam didn’t quite line up or I dug to far with the hot wire and it’s holding up well to that. Granted, the filling by the handle will probably crack because well… Even though the sword is sturdy it still bends very slightly when lifted. So I can understand that but the cracks just add to my prop, lol.

        Also where did you buy your hot wire cutter from? I saw the one you use is like two prongs with a wire between? In Canada I can only find the rod ones.

        Ah and that tool is sort of like a router but with different attachments. Good to know! Thank you soo much!

  4. I was hoping to see a part 3. Thank you for the tutorial. It’s very informative. Are there any tips after making this that you can impart? It’s my first time attempting to make shoulder armor.

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