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?