Monday, June 25, 2012

Checking In

I'm knee deep in Marius of late because there's just over two weeks left before we jump on the plane for SDCC. Poor Marat has been put to the side in favour of getting the Big Stuff done (but that's okay because he's a greasy bastard anyways...).

So where are we at?

As of five minutes ago, Marius looks like this:

Not that exciting and actually kind of flesh coloured... But we're making solid progress. The greaves are getting there too:

This was earlier today, having contact cemented the inner trim on in preparation for stitching.

I'm finally at the point where I have a game plan with this. Part of the reason I was hesitant to start was due to lack of said game plan; I didn't know how the trim was going go, nor how the greaves would be cut down, nor the final shape of the breast-plate, etc. In other words, it's not like making Giovanni Auditore's Assassin gear where it was like BAM! Here's the reference photos! BAM! Here's the short films showing how the stuff is supposed to move. Instead, I'm working from this miniature box:

And numerous obscure images in my head that may or may not look something like these:

(Pls ignore the retardo art)

I'm not complaining but it does add a swing factor I'm not used to. Anyways, progress is being made and if I take it one step at a time, it's incredible how quickly it takes shape.

While I'm at it, let's take a quick look at the greaves. I lucked out with the cuirass and the gorget since I had pre-existing armour pieces I could soak and mold the leather over. The greaves (or boots, I suppose) were a different story. I do have a set of armour greaves (seen in the picture up there) but I wanted Marius to have really big, robust-looking boots which would lend him extra weight and emphasize his stockiness - based on the model, which is quite hideously proportioned, he looks like he would have been short and powerfully built.* So I had to build a custom form to mold the leather around.

Starting from Fev's excellent tutorial she made for her Altair boots (check out her website, she's awesome! -, I laminated a number of insulation sheets together as such:

Then grabbed my hacksaw and went to work. After about thirty minutes, I had the following:

I swear to god it's not what it looks like. As I'm roughing it out, I find it helps to grab the sand paper and smooth it out a bit just because it helps you see the shape it's taking (phallic, apparently, in this case). After another half hour, this is what it looked like plus normal-sized greave:

The plus side of doing this eventually in leather is that the circumference can change easily due to the flexibility of the medium (just cinch them up tighter or looser as needed.)

Doing the form was one thing. Molding the leather around this beast was something totally different. To spam you with repeat images now, you can see the wrinkling around the ankle:

This is because you're taking the same amount of leather that wraps around the upper calf and expecting it to somehow curve in gracefully around the narrow part of the ankle. New and Exciting Fact: It Doesn't.

So you swear and you scream and you reef and you pull and you sweat and you wish you had taken up lawn bowling instead and you make small cuts along the edge to coax it into that graceful curve and you drive nails and screws through the leather and into the form to make it stay. And it does. Sort of. Then you grab your thousand foot long strip of 6" wide muslin and you start wrapping that bitch from the top down, making sure you wrap in the same direction as the leather wraps the form. Then you swear some more and sweat as you pull that muslin strip as tight as you can humanly get it to make sure all of the wrinkles are out. Then once you get to the bottom, you drive in more nails and duct-tape the end down just to make sure. Then you swear more still when you find there are remaining wrinkles but you do your best to smooth them out and put the thing aside in a fit of pique. Leave to dry at least five days (or whenever it ceases to be cool to the touch on the outside of the fabric).

I have a picture somewhere of it wrapped and drying but can't find it at the moment.

And once it's dried and you've got a bit of clever trimming, you've got it ready to add the trim!

And on that note, I'd better add myself to bed. Hope to have everything molded, cut, and as close to paint-ready as possible by the end of the week. Impossibilities abound!

But wait! There's more! Have a couple of photos from our Banff photoshoot last weekend (taken by Errin, who is a totally ballin' photographer!):

*Why, yes, I have thought about this rather extensively.


  1. Those last two photos are pretty awesome, no joke. XD