Armored AQUAMAN Build - Start to Finish!

Discussion in 'DC Costumes and Props' started by TripleV, Sep 7, 2015.

  1. TripleV

    TripleV New Member

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    Hey everyone! So this is my first post on the RPF and I thought I would make it a doozy by sharing with you from start to finish how I made my armored Aquaman cosplay.

    As most places, we should start from the beginning. In recent times, Aquaman has been portrayed as the "most useless member of the Justice League" as one attendee at Fan Expo told me straight to my face as I was wearing my armored suit. I then proceeded to inform this individual of all the merits of our King of Atlantis. Owns 70% of the world, King of his own sovereign nation, ability to sink the world's land mass, army of super powered beings just like him, a trident that can cut Superman's flesh, can swim faster than light, bullet proof, etc, etc.

    I've always been a fan of Aquaman but this fandom was cemented with the NEW 52 run by Geoff Johns. What an amazing telling of a great character done right! Then sure enough, they announce that Jason Mamoa was cast as Aquaman with that awesome photo of him all brooding like with the captions "Unite the Seven".

    It was at this time that I decided that I wanted to make an Aquaman cosplay. As most of you reading this, I did my research. I spent days looking up costumes that others had created but never really found what I was looking for. One day, as I was watching my favorite movie (Gladiator) I found the inspiration I was looking for. I was going to create some hybrid of a gladiatorial/king/armored Aquaman! The only issue - it doesn't exist. So I started searching the inter webs, once again, for ideas.

    I wanted my armor to actually be metal scales, as opposed to the sequence style of orange armor I had been finding some cosplayers use. I found this company called The Ring Lord and ordered myself 1000 orange medium size scales. Didn't really know how many I needed so I thought that would be enough. I planned on sewing each scale on as opposed to using the traditional ring method for three reasons: 1. It would feel more comfortable sewing the scales to a form fitting shirt (which it was) 2. It gave the impression of actual fish scales that are flared up. 3. It was cheaper buying the scales without the rings. $160 instead of over $400.

    Next came the sewing. Now I'm not the best at it but I do have a lot of patience.....which sewing these things tested to the brink. Trust me, it wasn't pretty. It took me awhile, and I ended up recruiting some help as my eyes almost fell out of their sockets, but the scale shirt was coming along nicely.

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    As the shirt got done, I started working on the armor. I decided I wanted to work with Worbla as all the big time cosplayers were using it, and lets face it, the stuff looks awesome when done right. So I picked some up at my local surplus store. NOTE: Worbla is expensive! I paid $90 taxes in for a jumbo sheet. By the end of the costume, I used 2 1/2 sheets.

    First piece I wanted to make, the belt. Doing some research on gladiators, I decided to make a large belt for Aquaman instead of the typical smaller one from the New 52. Luckily enough, his costume changed in recent issues, so I took some development ideas from his new costume and added it to my own.

    Rough design of my belt. I started figuring out what type of designs for the "A" and side panels. This is roughly what I came up with:

    I then transferred my design into craft foam and wrapped it in worbla. Then came the cutting it out, which took forever. I had never used worbla before so it was very much trial and error learning:

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    Next came attaching everything to the belt including small little details all along the top and bottom trim:
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    I then proceeded to make the boots. Once again, there was no template for me to follow so after a few hours of throwing paper away (as I hated all of my designs) I came up with a pattern and duplicated it until I had a full boot and shin armor:
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    I then decided that since the legs were done, may as well work on the arms. I created a fish like web pattern by looking through all of my volumes of Aquaman, including at looking at images of his brother, Orm. I then transferred the template from paper, to foam. I duplicated the process and wrapped them in worbla. I decided that the arm pieces were missing something so I created a second layer of armor for the bracers to sit on. They were simple in design but I think they did the trick:
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    Moving on to the shoulder armor. Yay! :sick This piece took me two days to conceptualize. It drove me nuts. I looked at medieval designs, fantasy designs, etc. I couldn't find anything I liked. After talking it over with my girlfriend, she told me that I always over think things (Which I do). She said rest, don't think about it, and come back to it when you're ready. Taking her advice was the best thing for me as it made those creative juices start flowing. Below is what I came up with:

    Time for details. As always, I started with a paper pattern, transferred it to foam, wrapped it in worbla, and transferred that to the should piece:
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    What is Aquaman without a Trident right? My thoughts exactly. After looking at a few designs online, I settled on my favorite, the New 52 trident. I copied the design onto insulation foam and began cutting it out:
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    I then took some sandpaper and started to smooth/round out all the edges.

    Same few steps as always, wrap the trident in worbla. This part was a nightmare. The front layer went down no problem, however the rear layer gave me issues as I tried to reheat certain areas, it would melt and disform the foam. After an hour or two of playing around, I figured it out and came up with this:

    There were some areas that came out really uneven. Luckily my dremal tool came in handy and corrected all the issues. The worbla dust though! Not fun...
  2. TripleV

    TripleV New Member

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    After all my armor pieces were built (I didn't take photos of me making the crown, Sorry!!!) I applied 3-4 layers of woodglue to everything. The woodglue helps smooth everything as worbla is a very rough material.
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    From there I gave everything a primer layer of grey. I used Rusoleum x2 coverage and I really like the result it gave.
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    Finally my favorite part. The paint! This is where I can finally see all my hard work come to life. I decided to do the trident first as a test piece to see how it would look. I added jewels to make it look more regal looking. After all, I am the king of Atlantis.

    Satisfied, I used my airbrush and painted all the armor pieces. I even added black paint in the creases to give that dirty/comic effect.
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    At the very end of the build, I added a "cape" using a fisherman's net. I thought that was a nice touch.

    Everything assembled!

    In the end, after the 2 months it took to create the costume, it was finally finished. I even got to make some armor for my girlfriend's Mera costume. Yesterday was the last day I wore it at Fan Expo 2015. I had entered it in the Masquerade and my girlfriend and I won Best Armor in our division. Since it was my first time working with worbla, that was the icing on the cake. I even got to make some armor for my girlfriend's Mera costume.

    Attached Files:

  3. Bloo

    Bloo New Member

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    Holeee Mackerel!!! That is just an incredible build!! You Sir, are amazing!
  4. TripleV

    TripleV New Member

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    Thanks Bloo! I for sure learned a lot from the process and hope to improve on what I've already built.

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