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About the Method to Make Armor in Cosplay

Basically, it’s totally two different concepts between armor series and fabric series. In the worse condition, the fabric costume can be made by professional tailor, while most armor costume has to be home-made. Of course, the stage influence can be highly different.

In the first place, 70-100 US dollars is the basic budget (including materials, manufacturing fee, color, weapon and other ornaments) to make an armor costume. Generally speaking, the basic materials are the same. It is normal to use Fiber Reinforced Plastics Grille (FRP grille) or Polyvinylchlorid (PVC). FRP is sold in bucket and is cheap as a factorial material. These are the advantages and disadvantages of these two:


Advantages: cheap, easily shaped and manufactured (compared to FRP)

Disadvantages: PVC-made costume is stiff and seriously affects the smoothness in moving, and it cannot be made exquisitely and subtly. And the difficult in coloring is also a vital defect.

2.FRP Grille:

Advantages: the figure can be really delicate according to the hand-made skills. The costume is firm and agile; barely affect the moving on stage.

Disadvantages: it is difficult to make with FRP, and the weight is acceptably heavy.

Take Moster Hunter as an example, the scapular guard and helmet and other parts which need shaping should generally made of FRP, and other parts should be made of PVC. The approximate proportion of FRP, PVC and cloth is 3:3:4.

About weapon: definitely cannot be made of wood. The reason is simple: we are cosplayer but not laborer. It’s unpredictable that some weak kids cannot hold the wood-made weapon for long enough and fail, and hit someone.

These are the plans I come up with:

1. use KT board:

Advantage: easy to manufacture and cheap
Disadvantages: not endurable and easily broken

2. use steel wire to form the frame and material to cover the outside:

Advantage: easy to shape and cheap
Disadvantages: not endurable and easily broken

3. FRP hollow molding:

Advantage: the shape is perfect, and so-made armor is light and firm
Disadvantages: compared to first two is expensive and difficult to make. Not recommended for new comer.

PS: about FRP, because of the difficulty in manufacturing, there are no FRP costume in HangZhou cosplay circle, however, there are lots of successful cases. The champion of this year’s HangZhoun cosplay festival–TB, whose costume is made of FRP, have showed their magnificent and gallant cosplay performance. In present time, this material is under research due to lack of professional molders. (briefly, the process is first to mold by soil in 1:1 scale, and then shape the needed costume) as a result, the material is inexpensive, while the biggest problem is handwork skills.

Last one, about coloring, which impress the audience in the first sight. No matter how delicate the shape is, if the color is awful, the costume is a failure and seriously affects the credibility of audience. Nevertheless, it seems our club or nearly the whole cosplay circle doesn’t take the hue problem for granted, but it is so important and easily missed.

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