Foam Armor Question: Stronger, Faster, Better

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Bluejeanjedi

New Member
Though I have been cosplaying for several years, this summer was my first "from scratch" creation. I created armor for a costume based on the hero "Hawke" from the video game "Dragon Age 2." For my first attempt at armor, I was pleasantly surprised (plethora of hot-glue burns a notable exception).

I am now working on armor to finish a Royal Guard costume from Star Wars. My wife found me a helmet and robe several years ago, but I want to have armor (similar to the comics: Crimson Empire). I've already started constructing with foam again, and I think it might just workout.

So, the question for this community is about making foam "harder, more durable", especially since I want to ensure a smooth coat of paint to reflect similar plastic molding from Storm Troopers and other Star Wars costumes.

Any suggestions? I've seen reference to resin, epoxy, and other coatings, but no real specifics. Anyone have any trade secrets?

View attachment 69831
 

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Grave

Well-Known Member
the best thing that you can put on your foam would be Rosco Flexbond. its just like the adhesion promoter guys use to paint. the flexbond is what stage prop makers use in professional plays. ive talked to the rosco rep about using this on my ME2 armor. he said that you can either paint it on before painting your piece, or you can mix 50/50 flex and paint. you would use the craft acrylic paint for this.
it comes in the standard gallon paint can and costs about $40 canadian. i dont know if its in the states. you can also get the fire resistant one which is a lot more money.

as for how durable the foam is, i just took my aliens armor out to paintball yesterday for 7 hours. it stood up to running through bush and being pelted all day buy a couple hundred people. it came out without a scratch. if it can stand up to what i put it through, you shouldnt have any problems.

i have tried resin, ABS glue, PVC cement and some other products on it with no success. just use the adhesion promoter or the flex bond and you shouldnt have any problems provided that you use enough hotglue. if you dont think that its thick enough, just double the layer where needed.

Rosco Canada : Scenic : FlexBond
 

cgjeff

New Member
you tried sanding or smoothing that flexbond stuff in any way Grave? Would be nice since a large problem with a lot of foam armor out there is the very visible seams
 

Grave

Well-Known Member
no you cant sand it. its a adhesive sealer for paint. what ive done so far for hiding seams is
pinching the foam together when hot gluing to get the seam as small as possible. then i sand over it with 1000 grit, yes 1K grit, not 100. to smooth anything off it and remove the excess hot glue that you cant pull off. as long as you cut your edges smooth and dont over do it with the glue. your seams should be small enough to hide.
i have been trying to find something for a crack filler. the only thing ive found that works is acrylic caulking. however if not done perfectly it puts a messy sheen everywhere that you cant cover with paint. im still trying to perfect it..
 

Bluejeanjedi

New Member
@Grave: That sounds great, I think it's worth trying. It sells for around $40 a gallon, which I would imagine would last me for the whole project, probably beyond. Any other pointers you have are welcomed. Thanks for the input!
 

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Grave

Well-Known Member
im starting up an ironman this week with some extra detail. im also going to see about making a vlog for it, as getting ready for next years expo. when i get it up on youtube ill put the channel in my signature
 

Bluejeanjedi

New Member
That would be great to see! I'm more interested in the "plastic" look/style of armor (Ironman, Stormtroopers, etc.), so it'll be interesting to see how you put it together. Are you considering foam as the primary source?
 

Grave

Well-Known Member
I'm going to try to get on it soon. I'm in the middle if renovations right now. don't forget that Stealth does have a video tut up with "the hero tutorials". he had been kinda slow cause of stuff in his personal life. I learned how to do foam from him. so ive been helping out.
this is being posted by a p.o.s forum app. so forgive the spelling and grammar. my auto-correction hates me
 

Grave

Well-Known Member
just started the intro to my vlog. i hope to start working on things this week. hopefully, really hope
 

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indiefilmgeek

Sr Member
For my build, I've used simple 2-part epoxy smoothed over the outside of piece like the handplates, connection points and other sections of Mikey's Ironman armor that I wanted to have a 'harder' surface than the standard foam.

It might be worth testing it out... since it's common, accessible and cheap.
 

ZacharyHurst

Active Member
Hi Blue Jean,
I am an Ironman builder and I like tho work in foam as well. nothing provides the bulk and sizeable impression of foam. I have now on order some very special stuff that if it works will be your solution. It is a two part epoxy with a 3 day pot life but it dries on the suit in 30 minutes. you will not lose details of your work AND it does not use any kind of fiberglass mesh, or any other cloth. just put it on wait thirty minutes and repeat as often as you need to for the rigidity you are after. The stuff should be here in a few days and I will keep everyone updated .
 

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