So, my faithful crafts person, here is the second and final part of my build log for Ezio Auditore(Assassin’s Creed II) Chestplate of Altair. I presume you’ve already read my previous post, but if not, then please do so, it will aid you in improving your techniques.
Right then, with that aside, let’s start! To any prop or armour, there are two essentials to appearance, and that is shape and surface. Shape is controlled by your carving, thermoforming, and engraving or so on. Surface is controlled by the next step, which is painting, texturing and finishing. Both surface and shape are vital to making a realistic prop, although to an extent one can cover for deficiencies in the other.
To start, I painted my chest plate with 2 coats of black acrylic paint. The surface needs to be plain black, so I didn’t bother with any special effects, and just brushed on two coats of paint. You can give it a very light fine grit sand between paint coats, to smoothen out any rough parts that arise. It would be best if you could apply primer beforehand, but I didn’t have any at the time. I later acquired some Artist’s Gesso from itsybitsy.in, which I’ve found useful to use as a primer, as its thick consistency allows it to easily fill in cracks and blemishes in your piece.
Next I painted the gold trim around each armour panel, and then went back after it dried to touch up any spots I missed. Its important to go slowly when doing freehand work, as you will spend more time fixing an error than you would have if you carefully worked the first time around. After painting has been completed to your satisfaction, you can seal & protect your paint surface with a spray can of clear coat. Using matt clear coat will typically look better than gloss for making realistic metal surfaces, unless you’re going for that particular look. I used 2 coats high gloss because the chest plate is glossy to look at, and the black reflects the light well. Remember that when using spray cans, don’t just swing the can back and forth over the pieces randomly, move from left to right, top to bottom as if you were reading, one line at a time, while holding the can at least 10cm away from the piece. Practice doing the robot, or just look at YouTube tutorials for proper spray can usage. Give the plates two days of rest to completely dry tack free.
(All the individual plates stored after the paint dried)
Now you can begin fitting your panels together. My chest plate had multiple segments for a single part, so I had made each panel separately. Start by aligning the panels, making sure they overlap correctly and then use CA glue or hot glue to hold them together. It really helps to use a little 80 grit sandpaper to remove the paint on the areas where the pieces contact each other, as this will promote adhesion. Hot glue is great for glopping over the back of each panel to reinforce each segment, whereas CA glue will form permanent bonds in small contact areas. You must know when to use which glue.
After assembling the panels, I then measured and cut my nylon straps to fit around my chest. It’s generally better to measure how much is required, and then add a few inches to each side. It can always be trimmed down, but it is a pain if your straps are too short. Make sure your straps properly align and have sufficient overlap. Now would be a good time to stitch the Velcro onto the ends of the straps, and double check that the straps properly fit onto you and can be adjusted.
Now I attached my straps to my armour with blind rivets, but you can just as easily do so with just epoxy if you don’t want anything visible from the outer side of the armour. 2 part Epoxy is reasonably easy to use and can be purchased from any hardware store. To attach my straps, I started by poking a hole in the middle of the fibers with a needle, and widening the hole in the fibers until the rivet could fit through. I inserted the rivet through the hole in the plate, placed the strap onto the rivet, and then placed a washer over it. While holding everything in alignment, use the rivet tool to draw the rivet and strongly fasten the panel, strap and washer together. It helps to either use a clip to hold the pieces in alignment, or have a friend help. After fixing the structural rivets holding the straps to the armour, I went in with a hot glue gun to further secure the straps and prevent them moving around. Frequently checking how the armour fits and sits is important, some straps may need to be redone to fit better. Next I put in the decorative rivets, which weren’t holding any straps and were just there for looks. My finishing touches were to trim the straps to the right length, and paint the faces of the rivets gold to suit the armour. Putting dabs of PVA glue like fevicol can help prevent any threads from coming undone.
(Attaching the straps to the plates)
(All straps attached, you can see that there is a pair of straps going over my shoulders, and pair of straps going under my armpits. This very firmly secures the plates to my body, but still allows movement. Notice the string in the lower left of the first picture, this is tied behind my back to prevent the front plates’ lower edges from moving too much)
After attaching all the straps, you are done! Strap the armour on, and have a friend photograph you from several angles, making sure that it fits well, looks good, and is comfortable to wear. Remember, Comic con is crowded, and generally swelteringly hot. Adjust the straps to ensure they fit well, don’t cut off circulation or scratch you in uncomfortable places, and generally align well with you. Move around in your armour, maybe go for a short jog, to see how the armour rides on your body. It may help to add additional straps or discreet strings to help support your armour. I had to add a small string to the lowest part of my front chest plate to hold it balanced on my torso, else it would flop forward.
That is about it for my cosplay build log for my Armour of Altair chest plate. I’m a slow worker, and I’m still striving to counter my shaky hands and improve the quality and detail of my props. I hope that this build log/tutorial helps you in making and improving your own costume, and feel free to email or message me if you have any queries.
That’s all I’ve got to say, I really hope that this will benefit as many people as possible, and help you all to improve your costumes. Let’s make India a star onto the world cosplay map!