Choice of Materials within a budget. (UK)


New Hunter
Heya Guys,
This stuff is completely new to me since iVe never actually been much of a modeller or cosplayer and all that, Ive always been a painter and more recently a potter.
Im struggling to find employment at the moment and with all the bills and so forth my budget is extremely limited at about £20 a month to get this new 'Mandalorian' Armour project going. But hit a few snags already and wanted to share my obstacles with others interested in doing a budget build.

SO Budget budget budget. Now I initially thought of going cardboard then fibreglass coating which I felt would be the cheapest as i had a couple of large cardboard boxes. And I started with earnest with the thinner 3mm cardboard boxes. Boy was that a mistake as it seems my templates were missing some key cm's lost from printing outside of the printable area on the large templates. (yup im a big headed 6'4" giant that can't squeeze into an official stormtrooper costume). And the cardboard boxes remaining once id corrected this issue were 5mm and a nightmare to bend especially when not cut so that the bends follow the corregation. Ad to that coats of fibreglass, sanding and all that means its going to be about £20 for the fibreglass and sand paper from my local Halfords.

So I was looking for an easier alternative that doesnt charge an arm and a leg. And while being a UK resident 'Sintra' though highly recommended seems to cost the best part of £200 (ebay 10x1m sheets for £160 +£66 postage seems a little excessive, but seemed the cheapest I could find on Ebay) If others have a UK source of it not having to be bought in as much bulk for less it would be appreciated if you could share the source. One individual here stated the unbranded PVC foam board alternative to Sintra available in the UK isn't even in the same ball park as a crafting material and is next to useless. Plus its a little expensive too. And since you can buy a Replica resin Boba Fett helmet for £150 it begs to ask the question, why Sintra?

So a couple of other alternatives I was looking at was Plastazote Foam.Again this is a brand name like sintra but is essentially a cross-linked closed cell polyethylene nitrogen expanded foam. The recommended density/rigidity is LD33 or LD45 (basically the measurement of kilograms per meter cubed; kg/m3) This has the same properties of Sintra without the plastic coating and a sheet of 1 square meter at 6mm thickness can cost around £8 plus postage. The other benefit to Plastazote foam is that it can be stretched and moulded into rounded shapes alot easier. The Disadvantage of the foam however is that it feels and looks like foam making it difficult to have a smooth surface (unless ofcourse you coat it in 3 coats of PVA white glue, sand it down finely and spray or paint is with plastic primer or liquid plastic, at about the same cost you would use fibreglass on cardboard or a sintra bucket. Plus its still a little flexible even plastic coated and lightweight. Has anyone tried using this for a bucket yet?
Plastazote Foam 1000x660x6mm - red
Plastazote Closed Cell Sheeting Black 2 metre x 1 metre x 6 mm
and Plastic Primer can be bought from Halfords for about £7 for 300ml (be aware its a 16+ age requirement to purchase.

Lastly another alternative is Worbla (another trademark and not entirely sure if it has a U.S. equivalent, but is basically a plastic/wood composit that has the same properties as Sintra in that it can be heat moulded into various shapes with the added benefit that with more heat will turn into a modelling clay like putty to mould into whatever shape you want and cools to harden, great for the ear peices and stalk as well as any releif you want to add whether its ornamentation etc, or you can just roll the craps out flat again and reuse the cuttings as a new smaller sheet. Prices vary but is about £5 for an A4 sheet (210x297mm), and can be bought in 750x1000mm sheets for £30. Its thin at 1mm which means its easily cut with a pair of scissors or knife, but possibly too thin for a bucket, despite its relative strength?
Plastics & Foam - Coscraft

So these are the materials Im currently looking at if someone has any experience with any of them id appreciate their input.
Ive already spent £10 on a glue gun and a few sticks and been given a free Heat Gun, Bonus! And already have a cutting board and craft knives sO im close to starting my bucket!


Jr Hunter
I did mine with grey cardboard. It sounds like you were using corrugated card? that stuff is useless for making props.
Greyboard is completely different to work with it's a bit like MDF just more flexible and not as tough (Low Density Fibreboard?)

I picked up an A1 sheet for £2 at my local art shop and that was enough to make the entire helmet. I actually haven't put any resin in mine yet as it's just a display piece. It's still a bit flexible so if you wear it you would probably want some sort of re-enforcement.

I actually scavenged a fair bit of the grey card from old sketchbooks (it's the stiff backing) but had to buy an A1 piece to fit the main helmet piece on.
I followed Antman's build thread.
And my own one (with less pictures) is here

At the time this was the best material for me. All I needed to complete the build was a craft knife, polyfiller and PVA glue, (more clamps would have been helpful, but I improvised and made do with what I had).

If I were to do this again I might consider using styrene sheet (platicard seems to be a good search term) it is much easier to control and gives you neater edges, but is much harder to work with and cut out with a scalpel, especially sheets thicker than 1mm. But it's going to cost a lot more than £2 . So if budget is the main concern, lots of people have made amazing looking helmets from card, once it's fully painted you won't know what it started out as.

Also Bondo (or whatever car body filler is native) is a much better filler than ployfilla.