I noticed recently that my son has really enjoyed playing with a Sword and Knight’s Helmet I made. I decided I’d expand on this and build him an Armour Breastplate to go with it.
Having told him of my plans he of course had some of his own ideas in mind and the lightning bolts were added.
I started this build with a very simple concept sketch. I added the shoulders and helmet for context. Since I haven’t made anything like this before I planned for having to make adjustments as I went along.
The next step in the process was to create a template. The best way to do this was to wrap my son in cling film and then cover him in masking tape ( duct tape is an alternative ). I then drew my rough pattern on the tape to create a template. As you can see he enjoyed the process.
The template then needed to be scaled up a little so I free handed a larger version onto some packing paper I got with an amazon delivery. I also wanted the armour to peak in some areas like under the chin and in the center, so I modified the template to achieve this. This was very much a case of trial and error. Eventually I got a shape I was happy with. I made sure to test my new templates on my son regularly.
Once happy with my template I then cut it into sections, transferred it to foam and cut it out. I then heat formed the pieces to get them as close to their final shapes as possible. This stops the foam from pulling too much when gluing it together. The closer it is to the final shape the less it pulls.
If you want more details on making foam armour check out these videos:
EvilTed’s How to Make Male Foam Cosplay Armor, Tutorial
Punished Props’ How to Make the Skyrim Steel Armor Costume
When it was assembled I marked where I wanted my details to go using my concept sketch as a guide. I then cut all these pieces from 2mm craft foam. I went with a simple enough design to keep the build time down. I then also stuck on googly eyes as these look like rivets when painted. I placed these where I thought they would make sense as if they were actually holding on the details. For the larger pieces I used contact cement and regular super glue for the trim.
I generally don’t seal my props as the kids are quite rough with them and it makes it easier to repair them if they are not sealed, however I wanted to try out a new method so I sealed this with a PVA glue wash, using a pressure sprayer.
I painted this with my usual technique of a matt black base coat, then dry brushed with a silver acrylic in a slightly uneven coating. I find this gives a great metallic steel look. I then went over the areas I wanted gold with two layers of gold acrylic paint. And that was it, all painted.
The next step was to add strapping. I wanted to make this as easy as possible for my son to put on. Hopefully he’d be able to do it without any help. Initially I was going to use nylon webbing and clips, but decided against this as it would have been too difficult with the clips at the rear and it also wouldn’t allow for any stretching. I instead decided to use some elastic in a cross pattern from shoulder to waist. I cut away some foam and cross hatched the area to give the glue more chance of adhering to it. I also cut a small hole in the middle of the elastic so the glue could get a better hold of it. I hot glued the elastic in place and layered some craft foam on top.
And with that the Lightning Breastplate was finished. I got my son to try it on along with his knight’s undersuit, shield, sword and helm. I’m really happy with how this turned out. He really looks the part.
1/2 Floor Mat: 70p
Craft foam: 25p
Spray Paint: 1.50p
Acrylic Paint: 50p
*Costs are my best guess based on how much material was used and full price of items.