A while back, my friends and I decided to run Bay to Breakers. For the uninitiated, Bay to Breakers is a 12K run through San Francisco from one side to the other. The course takes runners by a variety of city landmarks including the Bison in Golden Gate park, Painted Ladies, and Market Street—in costume. For those who enjoy creating outfits, this can be a fun way of expressing one’s creativity and nascent athleticism. For one of the latest Bay to Breakers, I was able to get a Super Smash Brothers group going. Realizing that some of my favorite characters would be a challenge to fully realize for this run (imagine a huge Meta Knight terrorizing the streets of SF), I elected to create Ike for this event.
Ike represents the first time I created foam armor. I learned a lot from the process which I wanted to share here, along with photos of how I created things:
Ike, as seen here, has some pretty interesting features going on, including many armored, leather, and fabric parts.
To create the different shapes, I first modeled every part with construction paper. Because of the weight of the paper and ease in cutting, I could easily cut and add more length with tape should parts not come out right. Using this format, I was able to discover the correct shapes needed to create the desired curves I wanted.
Once I had the shapes all set. I cut the 3D paper parts along curves and edges to create flat shapes. These shapes were then traced and cut out of ¼ inch EVA foam.
Using a hot glue gun and duct tape, I carefully connected each edge together on the hidden part of the armor. To round out the arm brace segment, I used a heat gun to warm up and shape the foam against a hard spherical shape.
On the side that would be seen, wherever there were gaps, I used wood filler to fill in the gaps. Once dry, I then sanded the excess to a smooth finish.
The edges of the armor pieces were made with Crayola Model Magic Clay. Because I was in a rush to finish this outfit, I didn’t pay too much attention to the uniformity of the rounded edges, but if this is a concern, one could easily make nicer edges by spending more time on them (this also applies to painting everything).
Once everything was dried and set, I coated the armor parts in Mod Podge. Two coats were enough before applying spray paint. I first started with the gold parts. After these sections dried, I covered them with Frog Tape and applied a coat of Cobalt Blue.
After discovering some flaking and because of the lack of time, I had to use acrylic paint to finish off the paint job. In retrospect, I should have done a final coat of Mod Podge.
To make sure that everything stayed in place, I put the parts on and used elastic to ensure placement and security around my legs. Some of the parts, especially around my shins, drooped down by the end of my 12K, but, all-in-all, the armor parts maintained their shape and form. To fix this, I would use sticky velcro on the inside and attach it to sewn on velcro on the fabric parts of the outfit–especially if running in it.
Using these basic ideas, I’ve gone on to create a variety of other armored items including a Kuvira Army Man hat from Legend of Korra. Hopefully this helps you create your own Ike or armored cosplay. Let me know if you have any questions or comments. Would love to hear them!
Originally posted on my Tumblr