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Discussion Starter #1
So for my theme this year I want to do an undead horde, but rather than a contemporary look I want it to be a bit more 'medieval'. Thus I need to make a fair bit of armour to dress the skellies/corpses with. I have a real suit of full plate which I can take measurements from or use as forms for moulds (I'm certainly not putting that out in the rain!) but I was wondering what would be the cheapest and quickest way to knock up multiple pieces that can stand up to the weather, withstand a few knocks and be able to be reused again?

They don't have to be perfect or functional as I want to rough them up and corrode/rust them a bit to fit the feel, but they'd have to look relatively good and ancient up close as I also want to use them as props for a larp at some point.

I think paper mache would just turn to mush. I have though of using expanding foam inside the breast plate but think this might get expensive fast. I've thought maybe plastic and a heat gun but don't want to melt stuff all over the place.

Anybody have any good ideas for how to construct armour? Links to any pics of undead hordes somebody has done before would be great too (can't seem to find any myself)

This is the kind of feel i'm looking for..
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Going bump in the night..
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Give craft foam or L200 a try for the base material (they're both very similar in nature, in that they're cut-able, carve-able, sand-able, waterproof, take paint well, and are pretty simple to glue).
Just for reference, those large anti-fatigue foam floor mats are the equivalent of L200 - look at Craigslist for cheap or give-away bunches.

Here's a Pinterest page regarding cosplay foam armor:
Making armor using foam

This stuff should do what you're looking for, including the "want to wear it" part.
 

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Joe is right - I made a breastplate out of eva foam using Peel-coat spray to make it look like Dragon Leather - but you can make metal look armour like this as well.

Mine was made out of the thicker eva floor covering that you can get for garage floors or play rooms - I got a big role off Amazon UK for about £20.
 

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Discussion Starter #5
Great ideas guys, I think I have some eva foam mats in storage... I have just had a go at coating a 3 litre plastic bottle in a combination of liquid nails, contents of an old tea bag and enamel paints to see if i can make part of the upper arm armour. I'll cut that out to shape tomorrow when it dries. I did also find some A5 craft foam, you know the multi coloured stuff, so i started making a scale armour test piece, and tried out a similar technique as the bottle, but added in a bit of moss and gooey varnish to get that 'just risen out of the boggy grave look' which I thought might be more apt rather than the 'dusty crypt look'. Apologies for the poor lighting, it's night-time here..

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Plastic 55 gallon barrels can be cut up and shaped as well. A heat gun will make them pliable but won't actually melt them. Well, it might eventually, but you'd have to really work at it.
 

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If you want it to last 'virtually' forever, use Sintra PVC plastic sheeting. Cut with tin snips, soak in almost boiling water or use a heat gun and it cools to that shape and it's hard. ...just like armor. The craft foam is ok, but I couldn't get it to stay in the shapes I wanted. I used Sintra for my Predator armor.

IMG_8162.jpg
 

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Discussion Starter #9
I picked up some more foam today (bargain in B&Q for £5 and better application than the other cheap one Diall I used previously) I used my real breastplate as a form, I lined the inside with a sturdy binbag, rubbing vaseline on it first to act as a temporary adhesive. Unfortunately the foam only set on the outside and inbetween the bag it stayed very soft, i guess it blocked itself off to any air to cure. I removed the bag and had a very bobbly surface, though it had a half decent curve, i coated this in a cheap liquid nails and the goop of enamel paints and varnish mixed with the contents of old tea bags and ended up with a passable rusted old breastplate. (Note the white part is going to be where I add some rotting guts..) again sorry for the lighting..

breastplate1.jpg
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If you want rust on the cheap, go to the auto parts store where they turn brake rotors and drums ask them for some metal shavings. Sprinkle them on the parts and spray with water. They will rust pretty quickly and will pretty much stain anything.
 

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if you don't actually want to use metal shavings, a combination of paints and sand work great for a mock rust look. mix the sand with the paint color of your choice and dab on with a chip brush or an acid brush. The top coat with whatever paint you like once it dries. If you use outdoor latex house paint you can tint it any color you like and it remains pretty flexible for the life of the piece.

I also think Stiltbeast does a few "rusty metal" tutorials on the you tubes. check it out if you get the chance.
 

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I forgot all about these. These are plastic mannequin forms that are used to display shirts. They are formed plastic, lightweight, and I get them for $5 or so at shops that get rid of them from time to time. You could cut a breastplate from one of these easily and build it up with foam and be good to go.

 

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Discussion Starter #14
That is a fantastic idea, brilliant for greek/roman armour from antiquity. I may well pick a few up, some extra sculpting of abs and some detailing they should be cool.
 

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You might try Worbla as well, it comes in sheets and you heat it into shape and then it hardens. You can also dye Worbla so you could start with a very rusty base and then add more distressing afterwards. I also highly recommend Sintra (or PVC foam board) I discovered that this season from an Allen Hopps tutorial and LOVE IT!! Here a few props we made with it for this season:



 

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You can actually make paper mache impervious to the elements. You just need to seal it with a spar varnish once you've finished the macheing and before you start painting. Also, for rusting, I discovered a technique that I'm quite happy with. First paint whatever it is with a rust color. Once that's dry, mist it with a spray bottle of water and spray paint it with the main color. Wherever the water was, the spray paint won't adhere and leave little spots of "rust" showing through.
 

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Discussion Starter #20
I took the advice and made another breastplate for my undead warrior horde, made from EVA foam, specifically one of those exercise mats you get. Moulded it with a heatgun over a real breastplate, came out ok though not as rounded (globose if you want the historical term) as the real thing but suitable for task. Aged in a similar way though it doesnt look as corroded and ancient as the other one I made from expanding foam. Cost about £2.50 (for the mat) to make.

rustbreastplate2.jpg

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