Last I wrote about Impa’s armor, I had done a bunch of research. Since then, I’ve gotten about halfway through. I created patterns, cut the foam, and prepped most pieces. Now for some more detail!
I used some of the research images I found and Impa screenshots to sketch patterns for my costume. I didn’t get photos of everything, but here are some of the patterns:
The above pattern is for my legs. It’s based off of Japanese suneate shin guards. I ended up making them shorter because of the foam I bought.
This next pattern is for the forearms/elbows. It has a similar design to the suneate.
Cut and Sand
After tracing all the patterns on EVA craft foam, I cut the pieces out with an X-acto knife. Next comes the tedious part. I sanded all the edges of the armor pieces by hand to give them a more beveled look. I didn’t want the armor to look like it was cut out, and the sanding worked. It just took a while.
After all the sanding came the shaping and coloring part. Foam doesn’t change it’s shape without heat, so I used a heat gun for the next part. EVA foam, as far as I understand it, is mostly closed cell. However, you have to collapse the space between the cells to shape it. (That’s what I learned from watching tutorials, so don’t quote me on it.)
The heat gun let me close the cells so I could shape each piece. I don’t have photos of the heating process, but I could see the surface of the pieces changing, and after that happened, I shaped the pieces by hand. So now they’re a little more rounded where they need to be to fit against my body.
Coating and Painting
With the armor shaped, I sprayed two laters of Plasti Dip over each. This product is a spray-on plastic used often for automobile work. It helps the foam keep its new shape and provides a surface to which spray paint will cling.
I bought black Plasti Dip, and with just that on the foam, my armor looked like Batman’s gear.
Once the two layers of Plasti Dip had dried, I was able to paint. I layered stone gray and metallic aluminum on each piece. I’ll eventually go back with some black to make the armor look a little worn. So far, I only did this step on piece.
That’s about where I am right now. I have to cut the lining details for some of the pieces still. And I have more painting to do. But it’s coming along!