Building a Body Form for shaping armor?

Lodril

Well-Known Member
I'm looking to start tinkering with EVA foam. For the costume I'm contemplating, I'll need to heat it up and then curve it to fit my body... but I don't exactly want to press it down on myself while it's hot, and that would be awkward to do anyway.

I've seen some discussion of homemade mannequins out of duct tape and etc, but mostly for display purposes... that may be the way to go, but I'm worried that it won't hold its shape when I'm pressing down on it to shape my pieces. How do you guys handle that?

I was thinking of trying to replicate the tape mannequin and then filling it with expanding foam spray, but I'm worried it might just deform the piece rather than fill it... but maybe the tape would force it into the right shape. Any pointers?
 

shagger999uk

Well-Known Member
I'm looking to start tinkering with EVA foam. For the costume I'm contemplating, I'll need to heat it up and then curve it to fit my body... but I don't exactly want to press it down on myself while it's hot, and that would be awkward to do anyway. Wimp ;)

I've seen some discussion of homemade mannequins out of duct tape and etc, but mostly for display purposes... that may be the way to go, but I'm worried that it won't hold its shape when I'm pressing down on it to shape my pieces. How do you guys handle that?

I was thinking of trying to replicate the tape mannequin and then filling it with expanding foam spray, but I'm worried it might just deform the piece rather than fill it... but maybe the tape would force it into the right shape. Any pointers?
Plastercast is your best bet there imho.
 

STEALTH

Sr Member
RPF PREMIUM MEMBER
I've seen someone do the duct tape mannequin method before out of packing tape instead and then coated the whole thing in Polyester resin, so it was rigid.
 

topshape

Member
I tried filling my duct tape dummy with expanding foam, and IMO it's not going to be worth it. One can didn't even fill half an arm, and I'm not a big guy. Like you said it will most likely distort the actual proportions, I ended up using newspaper. I over stuffed it, and it was pretty firm. My kids could jump on it and punch it.
 

bpvu

New Member
I actually just made one myself yesterday out of duct tape. I also need need to find a way to fill it. Polyester resin seems like an interesting way to do this.
 

Blobfish

Member
I think I've seen a guy use plaster of paris and whatnot over a ducttape dummy too - maybe a good option if you don't want resin fumes ^_^
 

BornKilr

Sr Member
RPF PREMIUM MEMBER
Using the premade plaster wrap over the duct tape form works well, but can get expensive. Using gauze and hydrocal works about the same and is cheaper.
 

Looch

Sr Member
RPF PREMIUM MEMBER
I have a few different mannequins, all for free! I went to the garbage bins by the loading bay of a local mall-stores throw them away when they are done with them! Seriously, go check the malls.
 

STEALTH

Sr Member
RPF PREMIUM MEMBER
I have a few different mannequins, all for free! I went to the garbage bins by the loading bay of a local mall-stores throw them away when they are done with them! Seriously, go check the malls.
I think he needs it to his proportions though.
 

Lodril

Well-Known Member
It doesn't have to be 100% perfect... I don't need a bodycast, just a form I can bend things around. A mannequin might work, but here in Japan they're a bit more discrete with the garbage, so I'm not sure I'd find one just by looking, and sadly my Japanese is still limited to a few basic greetings and proclaiming that I am a yellow bicycle. :)

The newspaper idea might actually work for what I have in mind, I'll give that a shot first before moving on to the more involved suggestions. Thanks everyone!
 

LostRebel

New Member
I made duct tape mannequins (his and hers) for making my N7 armor but I did not use them for forming the shapes. Stray heat will make the duct tape gooey and for some pieces, the amount of stretching, pulling, and pushing would have overwhelmed any stand unless you lay it on the floor. Most of my shaping was done by hand, off body, just applying heat, bending, and holding until cool, checking the fit, repeat as needed. If you apply heat again, it tends to spring back to its original shape if you don't hold it to the shape you want. Tighter curves and complex shapes were formed on scrape cardboard bucks and then trimmed to size. I used a variety of other items to help shape, including: a pvc sprinkler pipe, a toy plastic baseball, various sizes of soccer balls, and my knee. For the complex curves of the chest piece for my wife I used the method described by EvilFX in this thread
 

German

New Member
I have also found that if you throw an item that you recently heated with a heat gun into the freezer for a minute or two, this tends to lock the shape better than letting it cool at room temperature. The foam really likes to return to its flat shape when you do not do this and requires more heating and shaping.
 
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