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  1. Riceball's Avatar
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    Mar 18, 2009, 6:12 PM - Help wanted to make armor from Southern Cross (anime) #1

    One project that I've been dreaming of doing for the longest time, probably since I first saw the Southern Cross part of Robotech, has been to create my own set of Southern Cross armor and from the ATAC in particular. This project has been off and on in the back of my mind for ages and it wasn't until getting active with costuming and learning more about costuming in general and seeing what people have done with the armor from various shows and movies has since made me realize that this project is doable, especially based on what I've seen & read here. The question is: how?

    I realize that the standard and preferred method of doing a project like this is to vac-form it, however there's the matter of space and cost involved with vac-forming. Cost is something that I can work around by acquiring everything over time to spread the cost out and once the armor is done I could potentially make more and sell it; although at 5'7" & just under 160 the armor might be a bit small for most people which would almost certainly limit sales. Space, however, is another issue that's much more difficult to get around. I live in a 1,500 sq. foot townhouse like condo with a two car garage and nowhere to fit the vac-forming table, the plastic oven, the bucks, and the molds; as it is I barely have enough room for everything that I already have. So I'm looking for potential alternatives to vac-forming that is both practical and relatively inexpensive and preferably not too labor intensive either. Tall order I imagine but I'm sure that there are options out there and I'm willing to even entertain ideas for making one offs although I'd like to be able to make more than which I know vac-forming is perfect for.

    Here's some reference pics, the ones in blue is the armor I'm looking at doing.







    I figure that this is probably one of the best places to ask this question seeing all of the different methods people here have used to create armor of various sorts. Thoughts, suggestions, or opinions?
  2. Member Since
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    Mar 18, 2009, 8:22 PM - Re: Help wanted to make armor from Southern Cross (anime) #2

    hey man - oh gawd - southern cross. not one of my fav's of the so called trilogy. did like mospeada though.

    but to the question in hand. one word - Pepakura. skupilkinson is a member here, is a skilled artise and takes commissions too! only prob would be the resale issue

    even more low tech - card board, resin back ups yadda yadda yadda ala WOF and his templates. the make molds of these prototypes. but sould still have problems with storage of origianl sculpt and related molds etc. But at least no vac forming equipment. Thats abt all I can think of

    good luck mate!
  3. adonian's Avatar
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    Mar 23, 2009, 12:29 AM - Re: Help wanted to make armor from Southern Cross (anime) #3

    Dude, check out Zor Prime and his purple hair............

    But anyway, good idea, why not make the armor in pepakura, email Skip to see if he has time to make it for you or you can just wing it in cardboard, then resin coat it and vacuform it.
  4. Riceball's Avatar
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    Mar 23, 2009, 1:56 AM - Re: Help wanted to make armor from Southern Cross (anime) #4

    Quote adonian said: View Post
    Dude, check out Zor Prime and his purple hair............

    But anyway, good idea, why not make the armor in pepakura, email Skip to see if he has time to make it for you or you can just wing it in cardboard, then resin coat it and vacuform it.
    The problem is not so much as how to create the initial prototype (I was thinking of trying my hand at sculpting it maybe) but how to come up with the final product. I'd love to be able to vacform it since it would be the most logical way of doing it but is the cost and space involved in vacforming. I could get around the cost by buying all of the parts needed over the course of several months to spread out the cost but there's still the issue of where to store all of the vaforming equipment and then eventually the molds and/or bucks. This why I'm trying figure out if there's any reasonable and not too expensive way of doing something like this without vacforming.

    Thanks for the help though. Once I figure out how I'm going to actually make the armor I'll definitely consider getting a Pepakura pattern made because that might be a lot easier than trying to sculpt it myself. It all comes down to cost, whether it's cheaper to commission a Pepakura pattern or buying the clay to try sculpting it myself.
  5. Member Since
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    Mar 23, 2009, 4:21 AM - Re: Help wanted to make armor from Southern Cross (anime) #5

    try borrowing a vac table set up! I have seen some really small dosmetic vac table set ups. the storage issue will be ur bucks I think. they WILL take up loads of space, and can get quite heavy. I am considering gettin storage space just to store these as my wife is slowly but VERY surely losing her patience with me.

    looking at the armour, the gentle curves are going to be a major nightmare to sculpt from clay - but thats just MHO

    nothing quite satisfying (and frustrating!) then sculpting ur own armour. but I think this armour would be quite complex (curves and symmetry wise), quite a lot (looks like there are even more components than on a clone trooper) and you will have the same problems the clone armourers have - trying to translate a 2D picture into 3D armour. Just ask any of em; that is a major headache in itself

    in terms of economy - there really isnt going to be a cheap way to do this. however, having a vac table comes in handy if u are into all sorts of prop making - and it will pay for itself eventually.
  6. TD-1536's Avatar
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    Mar 23, 2009, 7:09 AM - Re: Help wanted to make armor from Southern Cross (anime) #6

    You could do most of it without vac-forming, but the costs would still be high with the need for lots of silicone and either plaster bandages or Plasti-paste for mother-molding. All your sculpts and molds will take up a tone of space, there's no way around it. You'll need a dedicated 'work space' that you can get dirty in.

    For casting the actual parts, you could use something like Smooth-Cast 300 or a similar Urethane resin/plastic, or Fiberglass if so inclined.

    Here's a few picture pages of the progress I made doing Clone Armor. This should give you some ideas.

    http://gallery.mac.com/mikeharrison#100177
  7. adonian's Avatar
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    Mar 23, 2009, 11:53 AM - Re: Help wanted to make armor from Southern Cross (anime) #7

    Yup, it's not gonna be cheap (economical), and storage, well I have shelves attached all around my garage holding computer components and camping equipment, but still have room for the 2 cars, so maybe you could get a couple of shelves and arrange them to hold your bucks etc.
    You can make a SMALL vac table like this one:
    http://www.instructables.com/id/Make...vacu/?ALLSTEPS
    it'll be quite cheap and really easy to store, and you can modify it to be larger ie longer or wider and have more than 1 hole for the vacuum.
  8. Riceball's Avatar
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    Mar 23, 2009, 12:53 PM - Re: Help wanted to make armor from Southern Cross (anime) #8

    Cost is probably going to be the easiest part to deal with since I can spread the work and thus the costs out over time so that I'm not spending too much at any one time. I'd probably work my way down and start with the helmet, then the upper body, then the lower body, and the shoulders, arms, and then legs & feet with the materials for each part not being bought until the part before it is done.

    I think I saw the Instructable on the small vacforming table on a previous post and it looks like it might work for me. I'll have to take a closer look at it to see if it looks like something that I could do and would fit in my budget.

    As far as the designing/prototyping goes I'm thinking of trying my hands at sculpting it myself but if that turns out to be much harder than I anticipated I'll probably go the Pepakura route and commission a pattern to work off of. However, I think I can do the helmet myself by using a cheap Roman style helmet as a base and a cheapy airsoft mask for the visor/face mask. The only thing I can't figure out is how to actually hinge it so that it can flip open (it opens upward in the anime) and stay up when it's opened. In the show it appears that they're spring loaded because they first pull the visor down to open it and when they close it I think they pull it down in the closed to position to "lock" it down again. I'll probably have to watch my DVDs to refresh my memory so I can work on engineering a solution.
  9. adonian's Avatar
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    Mar 23, 2009, 3:52 PM - Re: Help wanted to make armor from Southern Cross (anime) #9

    I've seen people using curved friction hinges for Iron Man masks, you may be able to use one (2, one on each side) for your mask.
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  10. Riceball's Avatar
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    Mar 3, 2010, 1:10 AM - Re: Help wanted to make armor from Southern Cross (anime) #10

    Thanks for all the help guys, I appreciate it. I haven't been here in a while but this is still on my list of pet projects to do.

    In the end I think I'm probably going to try my hands at sculpting it since nobody seems to make a Pepkaura for it and I don't have any 3D software to attempt it myself, and casting it in fiberglass or something similar. It won't be as efficient as vacforming it and it will be time consuming if I want to make more than one (thinking of going modular on the helmets so if there's an interest I can make the different rank versions).

    Here's another question, based on the images in my first post do you guys think it would be possible to cheat by only sculpting one leg and arm? I figure since the parts that cover the upper arm and the thigh only sit on top and don't wrap all the way around I should be able to cheat it by only sculpting one but I don't have any experience to know if this would work or not and I have no idea if it would work for the lower leg armor, how do people do it for Storm & Clone Trooper armor?

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