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24 July 2006 @ 05:07 pm
Peacock talon  
A mostly painted peacock talon

This thing was much more of a pain in the ass to paint than I thought it would be. So many finicky bits had to be redone to get them to look smooth and dark, and of course I had to doof up the basic hammered metal effect once or twice and therefore repaint a bunch of the prop. Fun fun fun. At least I finally got rid of most of the bare and thin spots that showed up bright and clear under a flash.

At least my feathers are here, and they were definitely worth the wait. The pink and white goose feathers are gorgeous. The peacock eyes are HUGE. This means they won't fit on the pointy fan (which defeats the purpose of having ordered a bunch to begin with...bleh), but I can paint on fake eyes and use my magical interference green paint to add some glittery pertiness to the prop.
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Royroyr on July 24th, 2006 09:22 pm (UTC)
well it looks awesome, so it must have been worth the trouble!
カダージュ: kosmos by pichus_paradiseaergryph on July 24th, 2006 11:09 pm (UTC)
sorry if you've been over this before, but whats the base made of? it looks very cleanly done and I have an outfit coming up that needs some funky shaped armor pieces that gotta be light enough to attach over myself and light fabric :)
The Heavy Metal Matador: South Park - Happyrydain on July 24th, 2006 11:51 pm (UTC)
Thanks! And no worries about the questions...I never mind answering 'em. ^_^ The base is 1/4" Volara 2A insulation foam. 1/4" craft foam makes a good base, too, but I haven't been able to find it for sale in any sheets larger than the ones sold at craft and fabric stores. Volara comes in 60" wide rolls for $3.50/foot, and if you order enough, the shipping is free. (You might be able to buy it locally, too. It's a rather common packing, padding, and insulation material.) Volara is also easier to temporarily hold together with masking tape because it has a more durable surface. Volara's surface is subtly textured, which can be good, bad, or neutral depending on the paint job you're after. Of course, you can always laminate it with vinyl or styrene to make it smooth. (I've tried gesso, and it's more of a pain than it's worth.)

Either material can be heat shaped over an electric burner. I turn mine to medium high and wave the piece over it for several counts. Sometimes I heat the piece first and curl it and hold it there till it cools. Other times I have to tape it in position, heat it up, and then untape it after it cools. The fan of points had to be shaped that way (by taping it into a cone) so I could bend back all the points one or two at a time without accidentally losing any of the main curve of the piece. You might get more precise results with a heat gun.

The decorations are just 1/8" craft foam, which I gessoed before painting it. Volara will take acrylic paint without being gessoed, but the paint can be scraped off with a fingernail. However, it takes actual scrubbing or scraping to do that (the paint stands up fine to normal handling - I've been stacking my pieces on top of each other without trouble), and a sealant (even plain old Mod Podge) will noticeably increase the durability of the paint job. I remember Yui saying a while back that she uses some sort of spray-on Minwax sealant on her pieces, which makes them shiny and seems to prevent wear and tear. Nightmare still looks brand new even after quite a few road trips.

Oh...and this foam is very light. I'll be able to hold my chest and back armor together at the shoulder seams (without having it separate at the seam) by Velcroing some strapping underneath the seams. I tested this out with plain old masking tape, and it worked.
カダージュ: kosmos by pichus_paradiseaergryph on July 25th, 2006 01:06 am (UTC)
awesome, I may have to order some sometime to play around with. It's nice to know all your options, and foam is truly wonderful stuff (not to mention we need cosplayers who share their construction!). I'll probably go the styrene over foam method for what I need. The problem I seem to run into is making sure everything is cut and lined up correctly. I recently made some stuff with this method with only small sheets of styrene I got to play around with and ended up having to smooth over some seams with hot glue. Worked well enough I suppose. I think another problem styrene presents is that you can't do real curvy pieces of armor. The costume I have in mind is Kos-Mos (1st icon ^_^) and she has some rounded pieces but that Volara seems to handle shape well.

And that does seem a problem I have with foam - it shows wear over time definitely.

Your edges just seem so smooth, I'm surprised thats just craft foam!
teh j00j00licious on July 25th, 2006 01:08 am (UTC)
Oooo that's purdy!
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