Wednesday, March 28, 2018

Thor, the Goddess of Thunder Part 4: The Rest of the Armor Parts

A while back, I was overcome by a sudden whim to build the helmet of Thor, the Goddess of Thunder as seen in the Marvel comics.  After going a couple of rounds to get the paint job just right, I was pretty happy with it:
Helmet Test Fit 1

I wrote the details about prototyping the helmet here: LINK and molding it here: LINK.

The only problem is that it's just a helmet.  The Lady Thor has a pretty badass ensemble besides just her helmet:

Lady Thor Reference

Unable to resist the urge to build the whole damned thing, I set to work on the rest of the armor.  Here's how it came out:
Smokin' HAWT!

To see how the armor parts were made, read on...

Whenever I work on a project like this, I always try to prioritize it in a sensible way.  I begin with what I figure will be the most eye-catching parts and work on things in the order from most to least interesting.  So it was only natural that I should start with...

The Boobs

A couple of years ago I made a female Commissar costume from the Warhammer 40,000 universe.  It came out okay:
Commissar Slash and Blast

The breastplate was a custom-made, vacformed piece.  You can read about that build here: LINK.

As luck would have it, I still happened to have the forming buck tucked away on a deep, dark shelf somewhere in the workshop.  So I went ahead and pulled a couple of copies:
Vacformed Chest Plate

As you may well have noticed, this breastplate looks nothing like the lady Thor breastplate.  The main thing was that I knew up front that this shape would fit the Lady Shawnon pretty well, so it would work as a jumping off point to build the rack of a goddess.

I started with a couple of pieces of styrene vacformed over the buck and left stuck together:
Form with Release Agent

These were filled with expanding foam:
Foam Expanding

After removing the formed styrene parts, I was left with a foam copy of the forming buck that I could start carving changes into:
Initial Cutting

After a bit of loving attention from a handsaw, some Shurform body rasps, and some coarse sandpaper, it was starting to take shape:
Roughed Shape

Here you can see the work in progress next to an old, dusty duct tape dummy that was pulled off of the Lady Shawnon a while back:
Sizing Check 1

And a test fit with an unpainted copy of the helmet:
Sizing Check 2

Once I was happy with the general shape of the boobage, I started working on the collar area.  Mostly this just amounted to adding on a few slices of foam insulation sheet:
Collar Sculpt Begins

Once I was happy with the overall shape, I used Bondo auto body filler to build up a skin over the top of the surface.  This was sanded and smoothed and the more Bondo was added as needed.  Here's the collar somewhere in the middle of the process:
Collar Sculpt Progress

After several iterations of sanding and filling, the whole thing was given a coat of red primer:
Chestplate Primer Test

This revealed just a few more small imperfections:
Chestplate Side

The next step was to fill the problem areas with spot putty, sand, and repeat:
Chest Final Spot Filling

Eventually all of the little issues were ironed out:
Chest Armor in Primer

So the whole thing got my customary coating of lightish red prototype-color paint:
Shiny Chest Armor

Then wet sanding and polishing:
Wet-Sanding Chest Armor

After lovingly applying three coats of mold release wax, I added margins around the outside with cardboard hot glued to the edges:
Chest Walled for Molding

Then it was time to build up clay walls and apply a coat of PVA release agent:
Ready for Gelcoat

The first step in making the actual mold is a coat of orange tooling gelcoat:
Gelcoat Side

Then three layers of 3/4-oz. fiberglass mat for strength:
Chest Mold Part 1 Laid Up

Because of the shape of this piece, the whole thing had to be molded in three sections, left, right, and top:
Chest Mold Layup Complete

After the final section had cured, it was time to de-mold the prototype:
Demolding Chestplate

SUCCESS!  The mold separated cleanly from the prototype without cracking or breaking anything.  This means my parting lines were all in the right places.

The edges of the mold were trimmed, then each part was polished and waxed before they were coated with PVA release agent and bolted back together:
Mold Release Dried

Laying up the part was done just the same as the mold.  The main difference this time was that the gelcoat was black:
Gelcoat Applied

After applying the layers of glass mat, it was just a matter of waiting for it to cure.  Then the part was de-molded and trimmed before I did a quick test-fit on the duct tape dummy:
Duct Tape Test Fit 1

Then it was time to try it on:
Test Fit 1

Of course, it's not really meant for me.  Here's the trimmed, sanded piece fitted onto the Lady Shawnon:
Shawnon Test Fitting Thor Parts
Much better.

The only missing thing was the little gold widget at the bottom of the sternum.  So I whipped out a quick sculpt in clay, molded it in silicone, and cast it in urethane resin:
Chest Diamond Cast

That'll do:
Chest Diamond Placement 1

Chest Diamond Placement 2

Ankle/Boot Armors

I started the ankle parts by printing out a scaled-down copy of the same wings that were used on the helmet.  After cutting off the points on the front ends, they got a bit of carving and cleanup and ended up looking like so:
Ankle Wings

After a bit of fine-tuning, they were polished up and ready to mold:
Ankle Wings in Pink

The mold was a simple block mold which allowed me to cast both pieces simultaneously.  The cast parts came out pretty well:
Ankle Wings Cast

For the part that wraps around the top of the boot, I saw an opportunity to teach my minion Agatha how to cut and shape foamed PVC sheet (commonly known as "Sintra").  She started with a paper template:
Ankle Armor Mockup

The paper shapes were then transferred to the Sintra sheet with the help of the shop cat:
Cat Helper 1

The cat really isn't much help:
Cat Helper 2

After the Sintra shapes were cut out, they were warmed up with a heat gun and bent around a piece of pipe with about the right diameter.  After a bit of finesse, we taped on a pair of the wings and did a quick test fit:
Ankle Armor Test Fit

Not bad:
Ankle Armor Roughed Out

As it turns out, the Lady Shawnon has more than one leg.  So we're going to either have to repeat this whole process or just make a mold.  Because there's the outside chance I'll eventually decide to make another copy of this whole outfit, I opted to make a mold.

So once I was happy with the overall shape, I painted them shiny and pink:
Wrist and Ankle Parts Gloss

Then they were molded just like everything else:
Forearm and Ankle Parts Prepped for Molding

Forearm and Ankle Molds Laid Up

Wrist and Ankle Molds Prepped

With all of the parts out of the molds, it was just a matter of trimming, prepping, and painting them:
Lady Thor Ankles Painted

The last step was to attach the wings to either side and stick them onto some shoes.  At this point, the ankles were shiny and all, but the boots still seemed terribly un-armored.  What they needed next was steel toes.  For the toes, I vacformed two layers of styrene over some old toe armor forms I had laying around.  With a bit of trimming and some glue, they were a decent fit:
Toe Caps Gluing

After the glue had cured, all they needed was a bit of sanding and some paint.  Not too shabby:
Toe Caps and Ankle Wings 2

Once I had the toe caps properly trimmed and painted, the boots finally looked about right.

Left Arm Bracer

The left arm was another set of three pieces that Agatha cut out of Sintra and formed into the proper shape.  Since they got a few nicks and scratches on the surface during that process, they were skinned over with Bondo:
Left Arm Bracer Prototypes

After a few rounds of smoothing, they looked pretty good:
Forearm Parts Test Fit

So they were primed and coated in gloss pink along with the ankle parts:
Wrist and Ankle Parts Gloss

After molds were made, here's the first set of those parts in fiberglass:
Left Arm Bracer in Fiberglass

The three separate plates were trimmed, prepped, and painted along with the ankle parts:
Lady Thor Ankles and Bracer in Progress

With the paint cured, it was a simple matter to cut out a leather backing and strap arrangement, then rivet the plates onto it:
Left Arm Bracer with Straps

Cape Studs

The very last of the hard parts that I had to make were the discs that fit onto the shoulders where the cape is attached.  Since I was short on time, I drew up a couple of different versions and had Maria the Robot Whittler (my Carvewright CNC machine) carve them both:

Shoulder Discs Carved

Since these were carved in MDF, the surface was very porous.  To get them ready to mold, I sprayed both carved areas with liberal coats of primer:
Shoulder Discs in Primer

After a few rounds of primer and sanding, I gave them both a coat of gloss light red:
Shoulder Discs in Pink

Each of them was then wet sanded, waxed, and sprayed with a release agent to prepare them for silicone molding:
Shoulder Discs in Pink
NOTE: the disc on the left was carved deep enough to just fill the recess with silicone and have a adequately thick silicone.  The one on the right needed additional wall height added.

Then I mixed a batch of silicone and filled both molds:
Molds Poured

The first round of casts came out pretty good in resin:
First Round of Cast Discs

And they looked good in place on the cape mockup:
Cape Harness Mockup

So just like that, I have all of the armor parts.  Next up: soft parts and more!

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