Remember how I offhandedly said that I was going to use fiberglass to make my Zhang He claws? Uhhhh...yeah.
The weather will be nice for a few more months, so I have plenty of time to sand dangerous crap outside.
I really want something that's durable and smooth and professional-looking, and I insist that both arm guards curve in the exact same way. My Berserker Rikku pauldrons did not. (Long story short: when the clay dried, it pulled out the curve in the wireform mesh, so I had to break and bend the sides of the pieces to get them to fit properly, and the second didn't turn out the same as the first.) For truly identical pieces, you need a mold or form, and what works awesomely with those? Fiberglass!
I can afford the requisite supplies and power tools (that is, the ones that we don't already have).
Did I mention that I'm insane?
How exactly are you going to do this?
zeriel took an aerospace engineering lab in which the goal was to create aerodynamically correct curves using fiberglass. That was a while ago, but he remembers enough of the basic process to help out. You use a hot wire and sandpaper to carve a form out of dense Styrofoam insulation (I already got a sheet of this from Lowe's, but I have to glue it into a block that I can use for my purposes), put some sort of mold release on said form (Vaseline will work for me), lay the fiberglass, and there ya go. When the fiberglass is cured, you can pop it off and cut the edges down with a Dremel. Afterward, you sand it and keep Bondo'ing imperfections and sanding the result until you're happy. bioweapons.com has some awesome info about laying fiberglass. He uses it to make a durable model of a human body, but the techniques are quite applicable to what I'll be doing.
One version of the arm guards has a feathery gold raised decoration on it. If I go with that version, I'll cast said decoration using the technique found on the site linked above (model it out of oil-based clay and then make a mold with silicon caulk and plaster).
For the sake of your already depleted sanity, I really hope that you're starting this soon.
Yep. Try now. I'm gathering supplies, and I'm going to start my pattern this week. I think I want to make the fancy version after all.
What is it with you and difficult cosplay? Why don't you just make something nice and simple?
Beats me. I fall in love with complex outfits, and not only do I have to make them, I have to construct them well. I also developed this rabid desire to push the limits of my craft, and that includes learning incredibly cool techniques that scare off many costumers. *wonders if she could work some gratuitous gradient dyeing into this outfit* =P