Step-byStep Sintra Kingsguard Armor Guide (Game of Thrones)

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This is my first post and my first (real) costume. I made this for dragoncon 2014, but i'll be describing the build step-by-step from the beginning (with lots of pics) in this thread. I think this is becoming a popular GoT costume option, so hopefully some people will find this useful.

This is a time consuming and fairly expensive build, but it doesn't really require too many special skills or tools. I made all pieces except the boots, pants, and gloves. I plan on adding the sword/belt sometime soon, and maybe the helmet if i get really motivated. Like teranmx and fuzzydrawing's armor, the main structure is Sintra, although i used a different technique in which the armor is built up from small pieces, not cut from one big sheet. The leather parts are leather and the scales are styrene.

Questions are very welcome. Stay tuned!


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New Member
Re: Another Kingsguard Armor (Game of Thrones)

Gambeson (Coat thing)

I don't know if this really counts as a gambeson since it doesnt appear to be quilted or padded at all... whatever...

In the show Jaime's coat looks to be leather, but the other kingsguards' look like cloth. They also range in colors from beige to olive green. I went with fabric to avoid the heat of anything leatherish in atlanta in August. Specifically I used "unbleached drill fabric" from joann. I'm a big fan of this inexpensive fabric, but be aware that it takes a few washings to break it in, and it shrinks quite a bit, so definitely prewash it. The bottom half of the interior is lined with burgundy polyester lining.

On to the important stuff: The design is a modified version of Simplicity pattern 5386 (men's duster, aka matrix coat) version A (the pattern includes A and B versions). I made 3 modifications to the pattern: 1) I made the collar MUCH bigger so that it could be folded over to give the turtleneck look. 2) I made the coat about a foot shorter so that it ends just below the knee, 3) (the hard one) the seams on the bottom half are modified so that the bottom half of the coat is made out of horizontal strips of fabric.

Tips for making the strips: The idea here is to first make a piece of fabric that consists of several long strips sewn together, and then just use this fabric to construct the bottom half of the coat. When you look at the pattern you'll see that the fabric for the bottom hem of the coat is like a semi-circle (so that when you're wearing it it forms a cone with a flat bottom... see picture below). So to make the strip fabric you need to cut all your strips like concentric circles, NOT straight lines. Use the bottom of the pattern as a guide for how much curvature you need (Although keep in mind that you need to hem the bottom of the pattern to make a shorter coat... when you do this make sure you maintain a curve along the bottom, don't just cut it straight across.) I made a series of circular patterns in Illustrator and then printed them out and traced them, but you can just as easily do this with a large compass. I made each strip 3" wide (+seam allowance on either side) and I used 8 strips so that they go from the bottom of the coat to about waist level.

(Circular hem at bottom of coat)
Now, when you look at the pattern you will also see that the main body of the coat consists of 3 long vertical panels on each side: a front, a side, and a back panel. The front panel I left alone, so that it extends all the way down the front opening of the coat with no seams. The side and back panels are where you apply the strips. So plan the size of your strip-ed fabric piece to match the width of the back and side panels put together. (See drawing below if this is confusing).


For sizing: I made the coat very form fitting, since any excess is just going to get crammed under the armor. In fact I made mine so that it doesnt fully close in the front, leaving about a 1 foot gap between the knees. (this seems to match the look in the show). I sewed rings into the interior of the coat (the part under the breastplate) and I use a lace to tie the front closed. If you plan on wearing the coat separate from the armor you might want to come up with a better looking closure system.

(Fit of coat, showing open front)

I STRONGLY recommend finishing the seams, especially because you'll want to cut off most of the excess fabric so that the strip-ed section drapes correctly (too much excess fabric on those curved seams make them tend to fold in boxy ways). I didn't finish the seams and as a result some of them ripped right out in the washer, leaving holes in the coat. Luckily this turned out to work great for this coat, but I wouldn't take a chance with it again.... better to finish the seams and then purposely add holes if you want them.

(Interior, showing lining, unfinished seams fraying, and rings for lacing)

EDIT: Realized i never mentioned the lining... I only bothered to line the bottom of the coat, over the strip-ed panel since this is the only part of the interior that can possibly be seen when you're wearing it, and that last thing you need in dragoncon heat is one more layer of unnecessary fabric. It's just some cheap burgundy polyester lining material, cut using the same pattern as the coat, and hand-sewn in.

Finished coat, pre-weathering (also without red lining yet):

I'll go over dying/weathering in the next post.
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SMP Designs

Sr Member
Re: Another Kingsguard Armor (Game of Thrones)

Looks awesome, and looking forward to the rest of your WIP. I'm in Atlanta as well and a friend of mine and I were Cersei and Littlefinger at D*C this year. I'll be posting some pics and info on those costumes soon.


Grey Pilgrim

Well-Known Member
Re: Another Kingsguard Armor (Game of Thrones)

This is great, and great documentation. Looking forward to the rest!


New Member
Re: Another Kingsguard Armor (Game of Thrones)

Thanks guys! SMP Designs: I saw your pictures; you guys look great!

Ok, so dyeing: First off, you can see the original fabric color on the little strips of fabric holding the lacing rings on in the "interior" picture above. It's just a slight off white, so I needed to dye it to get it a little darker. You could just start with the right color fabric, but I think dyeing gives it a more authentic look... hard to see from the pictures but it ends up ever so slightly unevenly colored, which makes it look much less modern/mass produced.

(I'm dyeing here!)


I neglected to write down the exact dye mix I used, but it was using Rit (liquid) Tan and Royal Blue (with MUCH more tan than blue). The color still ended up a lot redder than I really wanted, but oh well. It's extremely hard to judge what the final color will be while you're dyeing without going through a whole dye/wash/dry cycle on a test piece, so there's a little guessing involved if you're as impatient as I am. In any case you can expect the final color to be much paler than it looks while wet.

(Obvious in hindsight tip: It's probably a good idea to also dye whatever scraps you have leftover for future use in patches etc. Also note that if you use polyester thread it won't take dye, so either use cotton thread or match the thread color to your intended finished color.)

Weathering: I wanted the bottom of the coat to be nice and dirty. (This is the only part that really shows under the armor, so I didn't bother weathering the rest of it). Coffee is probably the obvious choice, but I don't drink coffee. I do however have a bunch of watercolor paints, so I used those. Basically I mixed up a little paint with a lot of water, creating essentially the leftover dirty water from when you rinse your brush. Then I just used a gloved hand to fling drops all over the coat. Much like the dying, the colors will end up a lot paler once they're dry. (Compare wet picture below with final pics in previous post)

This technique will end up getting paint everywhere, so it's probably best done outside. I did it in my bathroom though... the good news is that watercolors clean up super easily with water.

The bad news is also that they clean up with water, so this will wash right out. You could probably do exactly the same thing with acrylic paint to get a more permanent staining. Since the bottom of the coat doesnt get too gross when you're wearing it, i'm just going to hand-wash the top half while trying to keep the bottom dry to preserve it. (This weathering is fun and easy though so it's not too bad if you had to redo it.)

For the final step on the coat, I wanted the seams to stand out more to make it more obvious that it has that special fabric pattern at the bottom. To do this I just traced along them with a brown Conte crayon (see pic in previous post for details of the seams). A conte crayon is not like a wax crayon... it's more like chalk... you can find them at any art store. Like the watercolors, since this is chalk it'll probably wash right out. It makes it easy to apply/fix mistakes though... you can rub it in/off until you get the look you want.

The watercolors I used: these are a liquid in a tube... i probably didn't use all of these colors but i probably applied 10 different mixes to get slightly different colors in different places.

(Making a mess in the bathroom... note how much darker the colors look when wet here than in the finished pics in previous post)


Final thought: The "final" weathering still isn't really as dark as I want it. Especially in bright light/flash photos it isn't noticeable enough. So I'll probably go back and darken it some time soon to make it more costumey. I might also add some in the arm parts that show through the armor... i think it looks a little too clean right now. (Foreshadowing future posts: really i want to increase the weathering on just about the entire costume)

Up next: vambraces! (forearm things)

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New Member
Re: Another Kingsguard Armor (Game of Thrones)

Vambraces (Arm Things)

The vambraces are made of leather. These are the first leather thing i ever made, and I was very pleased with how easy they were to make. So if you've never done leather before, don't be intimidated!

You must use 8oz veg tanned leather for this. Other types of leather won't work with the molding. You can usually get double shoulders on sale at Tandy for $40 or less, and one of those will be more than enough for everything this costume requires. As far as tools, the bare minimum you'll need (for the whole costume) is: an edge beveler, and edge slicker, a skiver (or buy another piece of thinner leather to make straps), a 1/8" hole punch, a rivet setter, and a (large) snap setter. Altogether, those are gonna cost you some money, but they're very general tools you'll use forever. You'll also need a hammer, a hobby knife, and something pointy for poking holes (like a compass).

Ok, my general approach looks like this: Make vambrace "mold" from posterboard. Use this to make a stronger mold from sintra. Use this to make the final pieces from leather. The pattern I used for these is shown below:
(Actual size @300dpi)
(And don't get too excited, i won't be posting patterns for the whole costume)

Cut this out of poster board. If you have big arms you'll want to scale it up a little. When testing the size make sure you consider that it has to go over the coat, but under your gloves. Shape the posterboard and use tape or reinforcement wherever you need it so it holds its shape. (See pic below). It should be shaped slightly conically so that the two edges of the gap are parallel and 1" apart or more.

Next we want to do the exact same thing with a piece of sintra, using this shape as a mold. I'll go into much more detail about sintra in a few posts when we get to the main armor, but for now i'll just say this involves cutting a piece of 3mm sintra that is larger than the posterboard piece (it will shrink when you heat it, and you want some excess so you don't need to be precise. Heat this on a baking sheet in a 250 degree oven til it becomes soft. This only takes a minute or so. Then, using heat proof gloves, pull it out of the oven and wrap it around your posterboard mold, holding it in shape until it hardens again (which also only takes a minute). If you need to do little refinements, you can use a heat gun to selectively soften parts of it.

Next, trace the posterboard piece on the interior of the sintra, and use a hobby knife to cut the sintra down to size. Make sure the gap where the two sintra pieces come together is at least 1"... you'll need that to have space for the leather to fold into when you're molding it. Last step, bevel the edges of this gap so that it's easier to fold leather into it. (i actually bevelled all the edges so i could slide this mold on my arm without scraping my skin all up... originally i planned to just use this piece as the final vambrace, but then i decided it would be more work to paint this to look like leather than to just use real leather)

The real props have two additional details that need to be added: little rounded beads at the top and about 1" from the bottom. I only added the top detail, since the bottom one gets covered by gloves anyway (at least when you're wearing gloves). But more importantly the bottom one interferes with the scales, so if you include it you need to do a little more planning to figure out how to work your scales around it. I used Apoxiesculpt to make the top bead. (There will be more appoxiesculpt used later, so if you buy a 1lb container you'll be covered for the whole costume. I recommend white.) The important thing to remember is that when you cover this with leather, it'll add about 1/4" in every direction, so only make the bead about 1/8" diameter, and it'll balloon out to about a 1/2" bead in the final leather version.

(Also note: another reason to use leather is that it flexes. Once you add appoxiesculpt to the sintra it will no longer flex, or if you do flex it the appoxiesculpt will pop right off. It sticks to sintra fairly well... as long as you don't bend the sintra)

This picture shows the posterboard and sintra molds, with the apoxiesculpt bead along the top of the sintra:
This is getting long so i'll cover the leather molding in a separate post below.
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Active Member
Re: Another Kingsguard Armor (Game of Thrones)

Really nice job, man. There's not enough of us kingsguard, always cool to see more!


New Member
Re: Another Kingsguard Armor (Game of Thrones)

Thanks, FuzzyDrawings. Your work is inspiring!

Ok, so molding the leather and making scales: Cut a piece of leather slightly larger than the cardboard pattern... maybe an extra inch on each side. The extra will be needed to wrap around the sintra pattern and pin/clamp in place. I couldn't find any good wet-molding tutorials online, though I'm sure they're out there, so I just tried a process and it worked. The general impression I got is that the hotter the water is, the harder the leather will end up. Since we want these flexible, I just used luke-warm water. Soak the leather in the water for a few minutes... i don't think it matters how long really... you'll be able to see and hear bubbles coming out of it. I suppose as soon as the bubbles stop you're ready to go (5 minutes maybe). Then just take the leather out, towel off any excess water, and wrap it around the mold. You have plenty of time to work, so don't worry about that. The wet leather is soft and rubbery and should easily conform to the curves, although you may need to cut out some relief wedges to get it around the bead at the top. Just make sure you only cut through the excess leather (which will get trimmed off later) and not through anything that will form the final piece.

As you're forming it, I used pins and small binder clips to hold it in place. Once everything is how you want it, wrap the whole thing in a towel, then wrap rubber bands around the towel to hold it in place. Then just set it aside for an entire day to dry (takes a long time). After 24 hours you can probably take the towel off and remove it from the mold, but it may still need another day to really dry out... especially the inside that was against the mold.

Waiting to dry:

After drying and removing from mold:

Once they're dry you can finish up everything except the scales:
*Trim off excess leather to get the final shape you want
*Slick/finish edges however you want
*Attach straps with rivets (the straps are not wet... we want them to remain soft/flexible)
*Dye leather.

I used 1/2" solid brass buckles from Tandy (they are outrageously expensive, but look much better than the brass plated ones). For dye I used EcoFlo professional, medium brown, and then Gel Antique over that. I'm not crazy about the final color, but it is what it is.

Dying: Medium brown on left, plus gel antique on right:

The final detail is the scales. I cut these out of 0.5mm black styrene sheets, which worked very well. (Preview of things to come: all the rest of the scales on the costume are 0.75mm black styrene, for a little more body). Very important: cut the styrene with scissors. Scissors will go right through it like butter, whereas a hobby knife will get you nowhere. I cut out all the scales, then taped them into a big stack and drilled two holes through the stack, so that each scale ends up with 2 holes in the same place. After this, I curved each scale around a sharpie to give it a shape that matches the curvature of the vambrace. This is important for getting a good final result... you don't want flat scales!!

Painting the scales: I lay out strips of double sided masking tape (from mcmaster, best stuff on earth) on a big piece of cardboard, then just line the scales up along this. Because of the curvature of the scales, each one only touches the tape at two points along its edge, but that's plenty... this stuff is REALLY sticky. The scales were airbrushed a variety of metalic colors, with emphasis on the brass/gold side of things, but then I highlighted some of the edges with silver. I'll talk a lot more about paint in a later post... for now I'll just say that I use Alclad II paints, which are basically interchangeable with Model Masters Metalizer paints, but available in more colors (note when comparing prices, they also come in 2x as big bottles)

Painting scales:

Next up, weathering: I used essentially the exact same process as I used for weathering the coat: spattering water colors. More forcefull spattering leads to smaller spots of colors, whereas slow drips will yield big blobs.

Finally I sprayed the scales with metalizer sealer to hopefully help hold the watercolors on so they don't wash off in rain.

Attaching the scales: The scales are attached with nails... very simple. They are held in place only with friction. Line up the first scale where you want it, use a compass to poke holes through the leather where they need to go, then push a small brass nail through the top hole. Line up the 2nd scale in that row, and push a nail through the top of that scale/bottom of the previous scale. To be precise: I used National hardware 5/8" 16Ga Solid Brass Escutcheon Pins, which you can pick up on Amazon. (same warning applies about solid brass vs brass plated here). Note that these same pins are used later to form the rivets in the main armor, so you'll end up using just about the whole box.

Almost done: The ends of the nails are now sticking through the inside of the leather, so clip each one with a sturdy pair of end nippers. This will still leave behind a sharp cut end, so the final step is to glue a piece of craft foam on the interior of the vambraces, covering all the cut nail ends. (rubber cement works well for this).


(Note the crappy job I did of lining up the scales, so one of them actually hangs over the edge. Oh well... this will get covered by a glove anyway)


Jr Member
Re: Another Kingsguard Armor (Game of Thrones)

Ahh Kingsguard is one of my favorites. Definitely going to be looking to have this made sometime..


Active Member
Re: Another Kingsguard Armor (Game of Thrones)

Your armor is beautiful, and great job on the gambeson. That looks like a really good fabric, I'll have to check it out.

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New Member
Re: Another Kingsguard Armor (Game of Thrones)

Ok, it’s time to dive into the main armor, so before that I figure I should say a few words about sintra


What it’s good at:
Making armor with hard/crisp details where foam would look too foamy or thick.

The Bad:

It's more expensive than EVA (although still much less expensive than Worbla), and probably less healthy to work with than EVA foam. The finished pieces will be very rigid, which may restrict movement more than EVA.

Where to get it:
I got most of mine online... shoutout to Atlanta RPFers though: you can buy white 3mm sintra locally at Sam Flax, and it's actually cheaper than I was paying online.


Sintra comes in a bunch of different thicknesses… the main one useful for armor is 3mm. This is thick enough that it doesn’t flex, but thin enough that you can still easily heatform it with a heat gun. I also used 2mm sintra in a few places, notably for the main crown detail on the front, I think 3mm would be too thick for that. I bought some 1mm but I don’t think I ended up using any of it.


Sintra can be cut with a hobby knife, and I’m sure this is the best way to cut it. A saw would be unnecessarily complicated. Surprising part: maybe it’s just me, but the 1mm 2mm and 3mm sintra all seem to require the same effort to cut. I think the main toughness of cutting through it is in the surface layer… the interior is easier to cut. So don’t think that you can save some pain by going with a thinner piece of sintra… it’ll be just as hard to cut. If anything, the thinner pieces might even be HARDER to cut.


I might be completely crazy, but I tried 3 different colors of sintra and each seemed to have a different feel to it. I’d be interested to hear if anyone else has noticed this, or if it’s just me (complicating factor: I never know if I’m actually buying Sintra –brand sintra, so it could be that I’m getting different stuff that’s just all labeled “sintra”) Anyway, I tried black, gray, and white. I found that the black was the lightest/foamiest/easiest to cut, and the white was the densest/hardest to cut, and the gray was somewhere in between. Again, not sure if this was real or just my imagination. But in the future I think I’ll stick to gray when I have the option. (I think only the 3mm comes in every color… for thinner stuff it’s all white)


This armor has lots of raised and engraved designs. To mark these on the sintra, I found that the easiest thing to do was to print the design on plain paper, apply some light spray adhesive and let dry until just barely tacky, then apply the paper to the sintra and lightly cut in the design with a hobby knife. Then just peel off the paper, and you have the design perfectly transferred. For the engraved details I trace the exact lines, for the raised details I trace slightly inside the lines so that when I apply the detail it will cover my engraved lines. (this will be shown more in later posts)


The techniques used to make this armor involve not just heating sintra, but actually melting/burning it. I’m not gonna lie: this is probably extremely bad for your health, even with precautions. I recommend at least the following safety procedures, but in the end it’s up to you to decide if this technique is right for you.

1) First off, this can ONLY be done outdoors. There’s really no way to make this safe inside.
2) You need a serious respirator. NOT the one they sell at home depot. Burning pvc gives off HCl, and you need a respirator that protects from that. The default 3M 6001 cartridges DO NOT protect from chlorine compounds. Fortunately replacements aren’t really that expensive… you just need to put the effort into getting one. I used the 3M 60923 cartridge… it should be bright pink with a yellow band. You can pick them up on amazon for $18. (Note that there are many varieties of pink/yellow cartridges… make sure you get one that protects against acid gas)
3) You also REALLY want to keep any pvc smoke out of your eyes. (Again... the hydrochloric acid...) I recommend setting up a fan to blow the smoke away from your face as you’re working. (We’l l be melting it with a soldering iron, so the smoke is confined to a very small amount/area at any one time, and you can easily blow it away from you.
4) Wash your hands thoroughly when you stop working… there’s no telling what kind of chemicals are building up on them.

Surface Texture

Sintra has a fine surface texture that kind of looks like leather or a slightly rough paper. The texture cannot be sanded off, cuz the interior is also kind of foamy and will have holes. If you need a smooth surface, you instead need to coat the sintra with something else that is sandable. I use Tamiya basic putty, and it works great.

Tamiya putty is soluble in lacquer thinner. It's a lot like working with oil paint or thick acrylic right out of the tube. Thin it with a LITTLE lacquer thinner (usually i just dip my brush in lacquer thinner first... that's enough). Then squeeze some putty out right onto the brush too, and paint it onto the surface. A 1/2"-ish stiff bristle brush works well... definitely a stiff brush, the putty is thick and you want to be able to work it into the surface. Don't worry about leaving brush strokes behind... just lightly sand it when it's dry and you'll have a very nice surface. Work in small amounts... a pea-sized amount of putty at a time (which once thinned will cover a relatively large area). It becomes too dry to work with very quickly, although you'll want to give it a few hours before sanding.

Power Sanding
Once you apply a surface coat, or putty along joints, you will probably want to power sand it. Don't use anything coarser than 220 grit sandpaper... it tends to mess up the sintra. Also make sure you don't linger in one place or the heat will build up and start melting the sintra underneath. But really as long as you stick to 320ish or finer grits, power sanding works just fine.


This is the very important part that no one wants to talk about. The shrinkage. When you heat sintra, it shrinks. And not uniformly… it will shrink along one direction and stretch along the other. If you take a 24”x18” piece and put It in the oven for a couple minutes, when you take it out it will probably be closer to a 21”x21” square. Two things:

1) Always preshrink your sintra. Before you try to form it into the shape you want, put it in/out of the oven a couple times until it reaches a final shape. You don't need to do any shaping just yet... just put in a flat sheet, let it soften, take it out and lay it flat, let it harden, and repeat.

2) Even with preshrinking, it’s almost impossible to maintain a precise design while heat forming. Instead, you need to form the piece BEFORE you cut it to the precise shape you want. (Prime example, the crown on the front of the armor… this piece was formed to conform to the armor before I cut the crown out of it. Cutting the crown first and then trying to heat form it to the shape didn’t work at all.) So you always need to start with a piece of sintra that is bigger than you need, and then trim it to shape after you do the forming.

Heat forming

The general approach I use is to begin by placing a sheet of sintra in the oven (after I have already preshrunk it in the oven) until it becomes soft. Preheat the oven to around 250… certainly no higher than that… I put the sintra on an upside down baking sheet covered with parchment paper. (Don’t want any crud on the baking sheet transferring to the sintra… also the parchment makes it easy to slide the sintra off the sheet when it’s soft. I have an electric oven so I just keep the door open the entire time the sintra is in there and keep trying to lift a corner of the sintra to see when it becomes flexible. Once you remove it from the oven you only have about 30 seconds to really shape it before it hardens again, so you have to be ready to go. For complex curves you won’t get anywhere near the shape you really want, so just try to get it close.
Then move on to the heat gun. I think you need a real heat gun… a hair dryer won’t get hot enough. I turn it on full blast, but keep it reasonably far from the sintra and move it around a lot. Make sure you don’t focus on one point for too long or the excess heat might mess up the surface. The really tricky part though is that the sintra will change shape as you heat it, so if you have a curved piece and you’re only heating part of it, the changing shape will cause weird stresses that make the piece warp. It’s hard to explain… you just need to experiment with it. The good news is you can basically reheat and reshape it as much as you want, so you can keep trying till you get it right.

Gluing – doesnt work great

I haven’t found a glue that works really well on Sintra for detailed applications. PVC cement can be used to glue large pieces together, but it’s pretty hard to be precise with it, and if you get any drips it will permanently disfigure the sintra surface wherever it touches (and these disfigurings can’t easily be sanded off… it seems to permanently soften the sintra, or at least it stays soft for a long time). The only place I used pvc cement on this pieces was to adhere the crown to the front.

Hot glue works reasonably well assuming you can be liberal with it... so again I dont think it would work well for detailed applications. But I used it on the interior of the armor for gluing straps in (nylon and leather straps), where I could just ooze as much glue as it takes, and it works great. I roughed up the sintra surface with a rasp before applying the hot glue.

5 minute epoxy doesn’t work well at all. CA (super glue) is OK, but not great. It forms a weak bond that can easily be peeled off. I certainly wouldn’t use it anywhere that the piece might flex, or it will pop right apart…. And it DEFINITELY can’t be used for strong structural bonds… only for applying little surface details. In this armor the only place I used it was for the raised “seam lines” on the front of the armor… and even these are reinforced with pins at their ends to keep the ends from beginning to peel up.

Apoxiesculpt? Works Ok.
Appoxiesculpt adheres to sintra pretty well, but since appoxiesculpt does not flex AT ALL, if you flex the underlying sintra it will pop right off. And it tends to pop off "explosively"... as soon as one little edge comes up, the whole thing will fall right off. Make sure that wherever you use appoxiesculpt it is on a very stiff piece of sintra. I used appoxiesculpt in two places on this armor: to shape the front of the legs and to cover some melted seams on the shoulders. Both are relatively thin layers of appoxiesculpt over large areas, which probably helps it stay on. It's probably also a good idea to wash the sintra with a little dish soap before putting on apoxiesculpt, just to remove any oils on the surface that may have come from your hands (also a good idea before painting)

So how do I assemble Sintra? Melting.

With a regular 23 watt soldering iron, you can easily melt two pieces of sintra together. (And a less powerful iron might work better... less burning/smoke.) There is a slight complication though. Since sintra is a foam, when you heat it it will collapse. So if you butt two 3mm pieces together and melt along their edge, the bonded seam will only end up about 1mm thick, and it will be quite weak. To deal with this, I use the following approach.

1) Butt the two pieces you want to join together. Use soldering iron on the front and back of the seam to bond them together.
2) Make a sintra "band aid", a strip about 1/2"x2". Heat it with the heat gun until soft, then place it on the inside of the piece you just bonded (i.e. the side that will be unseen), crossing the joint, and perpendicular to the joint (not lengthwise along the joint). Press the strip into place so it conforms to the shape of the piece. Now melt all around the edges of this strip, welding it to the inside of the piece.
3) Continue adding small strips all along the length of the joint. Rather than using one long strip down the whole joint, I make lots of little strips, about ½” and 2” long, and arrange them perpendicular to the joint. The 2” length adds a lot of strength by forming some bonds that are far away from the weak central joint to help support bending stresses.
4) The outside of the piece will now have a little trench along the seam where the heat made the sintra collapse. Fill this with putty.
(If this is confusing, pictures will be posted below.)
This is a lot of work, but it results in a VERY strong joint.. probably stronger than the surrounding sintra. Be sure to read the safety info above for working with melting sintra.

(See picture of interior of the armor below to see these strips in action)

The same seam technique described above can also be used anywhere on the interior of the armor to give a little extra strength, either to prevent flexing or because you are drilling/screwing/attaching some load at that point. For example, I put extra plates underneath the part of the armor where the cape attaches (doubling it to 6mm thick) since if anything tugs on the cape all the force goes right to the two rivets here that hold the clasp on.


This armor has some details carved into it. For this I used a dremel with a router base and tiny router bit, and then cleaned up the edges with a hobby knife. Alternatively, you can also carve sintra with a linoleum cutter. It goes slower, but if you don’t have or want to use a dremel it works. I used a linoleum cutter for the smaller designs to the left and right of the crown… it was hard to use a dremel there since the surface of the armor is very curved there (hard to keep a consistent depth with the router bit)

Adding surface details

In addition to the carved out details, this armor also has raised details on the legs and shoulders. One option would just be to carve out the reverse of the pattern, leaving the raised bits behind, but I decided to leave the sintra flat and apply the details on top of it. Since glue is out, what can be used? Double sided tape. Specifically IPG double sided masking tape. (search double sided masking tape at McMaster). Don’t let the “masking tape” name fool you… this stuff is INCREDIBLY sticky and will hold up for a long time. When I use it to apply router templates to wood, I usually need a crow bar to get the templates off.
First, I apply it the tape to the back of the material that the details will be cut out of: in my case, cardboard. (Bonus: you can print your details directly onto the cardboard, so no hand transferring of patterns is necessary) Then, cut the details out, so that they now have a tape backing. Next just peel off the wax paper from the masking tape and stick to the sintra. Then there is one last step: After it is on the sintra, coat it liberally with thin CA, so that the CA soaks into the cardboard and tape. Let it dry overnight and in the morning you will have a beautiful, hard, durable piece, and you won’t be able to peel the details off even if you tried. (This will all be explained with photos in later posts too).

Stretching? Not gonna happen (much)
Sintra has almost no stretch to it*. As will be shown in later posts, this means you need to do a lot of relief cuts to remove material, or add patches as necessary, to form complex curves. The main breastplate is not just one big sheet of sintra that has been shaped.. it is built up from about 12 pieces all bonded together. This is kind of a lot of work, but the upside is that you're only ever working with a relatively small piece, so it's a little simpler than trying to do the whole thing at once.

The lack of stretching leads to an easy way to "mold" sintra pieces: Bend a piece of posterboard to the desired shape, and reinforce it as necessary to keep it in that shape. Then just heat a same-sized sheet of sintra and lay it onto the posterboard. Because neither the posterboard nor sintra will stretch, if you can't make the shape out of posterboard, you can't make it out of sintra either*.

*Ok, this is not strictly true... sintra will stretch a little when heated if you really try. For example I was able to make the perfectly round shoulder pieces by heating sintra, making a few relief cuts, and then forcing it into a round shape over a mold. If you're working with a mold it works ok, but it would be really hard to freehand stretch it to any accurate shape.

I don't want to talk about painting just yet, but the short story is that I had great success with every paint I tried. Nothing flaked off, and no weird reactions. I was really impressed.

Phew, long post. Up next: making the breastplate.
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Active Member
Re: Another Kingsguard Armor (Game of Thrones)

Wow thanks for the very informative post. I'll definitely be referring to this in the future.


New Member
Re: Another Kingsguard Armor (Game of Thrones)

Cuirass (Main chest armor thing)

Ok, so as explained above, the main armor is not simply bent from a single sheet of sintra, but is built up from many small pieces. I did this because the front of the armor comes to a kind of point, that would be impossible to reproduce from a flat sheet. Rather than make a flat fronted armor and add the point later with putty or whatever, it can be built by folding a piece of sintra with a V shaped groove in it.

Here is what the main armor looks like with all the pieces put together:


The image on the right highlights the seams between the pieces of sintra in blue, and shows where excess still needs to be trimmed to make the final shape in green. It also still needs a little bit of final shaping with a heat gun... you can see for example a depressed area near the left shoulder that still needs to be flattened out (basically be heating it, then pressing it down from behind onto a flat table).

The armor is built from the center out. The first piece is the pentagon shape in the middle. This is also the only piece that was "molded". To do this, i began with a sheet of cardboard cut to the right shape, with the V shaped groove in the top so that when you fold it to close the groove, it assumes a pointy 3D shape that matches the front of the armor. The pic below shows what the cardboard looks like while flat, and then when folded:


It took a few tries to get it right. After i got a cardboard version i liked, i sprayed the back of the mold with Great Stuff to give it some support. Then I cut a piece of sintra roughly the same size (but a little bigger, see all the warnings about shrinkage in the previous post), heated it in the oven, and just layed it over this cardboard mold. The sintra flops right down to assume the correct shape. Then you just need to melt the two sides of the groove to each other, and trim the outer edges to match the size of the mold and you have a nice curved 3D piece of sintra.

The seam from where the 2 sides of the V shaped groove are melted together is the vertical blue line in the pic above.

After the central piece is done, I added the two sickle-shaped pieces on either side of it. These werent based on a mold really, but I did tape a sheet of poster board to the outside of the central piece, so that the posterboard extends out flush from the sides of the center piece, matching its curvature along the edges. So then i could heat a sheet of sintra, lay it onto this posterboard, and its edges would align perfectly with the existing edges of the center piece. (Sorry i didnt take a pic of this) It might take a few iterations of heating/cooling/shaping the sintra to get its edge to align well enough with the edge of the center piece so that you can melt them together, but it's fairly easy.

In the picture above you can also see a little rectangle "patch" in the middle of the left sickle piece... this was where some little cusp formed in the sintra when i was shaping it... to flatten it out i just cut out around the entire messed up area and threw in this little rectangular patch piece. Sintra is easy that way... if something isnt going well you can easily cut it out with a hobby knife and melt a new piece into place.

After that I added the pieces along the sides that kind of wrap around your back, then the pieces up top that wrap around the shoulders, then the two little support pieces that connect that shoulder parts to the sides/back, and finally the flange pieces around the bottom. It definitely takes some time to get everything shaped right, but it's all done free hand (sometimes with the aid of posterboard to get curvatures to match).

So the outside looks fairly simple, but all the action is on the inside.

As described inthe previous post, the method i use to join sintra is to just melt both sides of the joint together with a soldering iron, but then on the inside i add little "bandaids" for extra strength. This is essential, especially for a pieces as big as this that will be subjected to all kinds of stress as you move.

Here's some pictures of the inside:



(You can see in the pics above, i actually didn't melt together the central V shaped grove seam: i glued it with epoxy. I don't recommend this though... the epoxy really doesn't bond to sintra very well.)

There are a LOT of these little bandaids. Also note that on the inside of the shoulders I basically just doubled up the thickness of the sintra by welding in a big plate on either side. I did this because there was just too much flexing in that area when i wore the armor (note from the shape that this area is relatively flat, so wheras a curved piece of sintra is extremely stiff, a flat piece is very wobbly). Also this is where the cape will get attached, so i wanted a little extra strength for that too.

These pictures may make the armor looks a little flimsy, but really it's VERY strong and sturdy. The finished piece has essentially no flex to it, and will stand up to regular wear and tear with no problems. (Although i wouldn't let anyone punch you or hit you with any LARP weapons... Sintra is kind of brittle and i'm sure a sharp hit would punch through this)

Note that the top of each bandaid has its edges bevelled with a hobby knife. THis is because the welding tends to leave sharp little horns sticking out, which are not fun to have pressing against your body. So after you apply each bandaid, just go around its edges and trim off anything sharp.

Also note that the bottom flange isnt attached with bandaids... instead i cut little bandaid fingers right into the top of the flange pieces, and those get welded to the main structure. The fingers serve two purposes: 1 is to increase the surface area that you're welding, similar to the bandaid, but 2 is that it gives you more flexibitilty to let the sintra conform to the shape of the main structure... you can heat each little finger individually and press it into place.

Once the main structural work was done, the seams on the front need to be filled. For this i use Tamiya Putty "Basic Type", which is great. It sticks very well to Sintra and it sands very well too. Before applying the putty i went over the whole front of the armor with a power sander (320ish grit, see previous post) to remove as much of the sintra texture as i could, and to flatten down any ridges along the edges of the seams (these can also be removed with a chisel or hobby knife.

EDIT: I hope this was implied, but this whole time you should be trying the armor on constantly (with enough clothing underneath to simulate what you'll be wearing under it.) Once it's done it doesnt flex at all, so make sure it fits!

Here's what it looked like after sanding. You can see there is still a lot of surface texture... Sintra is porous and you'll never sand all the texture out. I'll fill that with more putty later, but for now i just filled the seams:


The one thing i dont like about the tamiya putty is that it shrinks... a lot... so it takes a few iterations to get everything filled. The picture below shows some of the seams filled, and a few globs of new putty filling remaining holes. Just keep puttying and sanding until everything is flat:


One last thing i should mention: In the first picture you can see that the layout of my seams kind of matches the basic shape of where the raised seams can be seen in the finished armor, at least for the central piece and the two sickle shapes flanking it. Later I apply those raised seam details with pins, and pins don't go through tamiya putty (it gets hard like a rock). So really you don't want the seams here to exactly match where your final raised seems will go. (Even if you're not using pins, it's better to be applying those raised details directly to sintra instead of onto the putty). So don't work too hard to make this sintra topology match the final detailed raised seams you want... it's actually better if you're a little off.
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New Member
Re: Another Kingsguard Armor (Game of Thrones)

I got a question about where to find the little brass strap-keeper loops that pair with the 1/2" brass buckles on the vambraces. I tried, unsuccessfully, to find them for sale, so I ended up making them out of 2mm round brass rods (easy to find online). You just grab the wire in a pair of needle nose pliers and then bend it around their tip by hand... it's kind of hit or miss... definitely the kind of thing where i made a whole bunch and picked the ones that came out looking best. For the vambraces i took the effort to hide the seam on the underside of the loop, but for the leg armor (coming in a future post) I just let the seam be on the side of the loop to make the bending easier:


New Member
Re: Another Kingsguard Armor (Game of Thrones)

Now comes the fun part... turning this nondescript block of pvc into some real kingsguard armor!

Since the armor involves both raised and depressed details, you want to make the depressed parts first so that the raised parts don't get in your way (need a nice smooth surface for a Dremel router base.) I started with the main design at the top of the armor.

This is the screen shot I used for reference. It's from some behind-the-scenes video they made:


I traced it in Illustrator, then warped it slightly to account for the fact that this image is not quite straight-on. This same design will appear again on the shoulders, but to make it work for that we need to do even more warping, since the shoulders are spherical this flat version of the design won't quite work. Because of this, it's well worth it to make this design in a vector-based format so you can easily modify it.

The technique i used was to route out the design with some small dremel router bits. First i made a test piece to make sure the sintra would route well. It does, but it also has a tendency to irregularly tear at the bottom surface. To remedy this, I fill the routing with some thick CA. Here's a picture of the test piece. The left side of the curl has been filled with CA, the right side was not, and then the whole thing was sprayed with a gray primer.


This was a piece of gray 3mm sintra... this gets back to my suspicion that different colors have different properties. I think the test piece came out fantastic, but the routing on the actual black sintra didn't come out nearly this clean. It had a lot more tearing, which left a much more irregular surface. It didn't really matter... as you can see in the screenshot above the armor isn't all that smooth anyway, but in the future I think i will stick with gray sintra when i have a choice.

Ok, so once the design is traced, it took a few iterations of printing/fitting/modifying to get it to be the right size for my armor. Make sure you think about how much space you need for the cape clasps, the rivets around the neck, etc. But once it's finalized, the process of transferring it to the sintra is incredibly easy. Just print the design, spray it with some spray adhesive, let it dry until it's just barely tacky, and apply to the armor. Then just use a hobby knife to trace the design. Peel away the paper, and voila! the design is perfectly transferred, ready for routing.


Tip: If you're using white sintra, the lines may be hard to see. Just shade over the whole piece with a pencil, then give it a wipe with a wet paper towel. The pencil will stay in the lines and make them stand out.

For the router, I use a StewMac precision router base, which is a little pricey, but it's very handy. It has a nice flat metal base, extremely precise depth adjustments, and my favorite feature, it connects to an aquarium pump to blow the dust out of the way so you can always see what you're working on. Fun note: this is one of the few operations that requires the full safety gear getup: dust mask (actually i wore the respirator, because again, who knows what's in this sintra...), safety goggles, and ear plugs (since you need to keep your head pretty close to the action to see what you're doing). Also an LED headlamp is VERY handy to light up your work area. (Photo below shows a whole desk lamp, which was just to get enough light to take this picture)


I used 2 different router bits, a 3/32 and a 1/32". (These are also available from StewMac, or probably many less expensive places). The depth of the cut is about 1/16". You have to watch it because the curvature in the armor can cause the router bit to locally go too deep or not deep enough, so it does take some occasional adjustments to get the depth fairly even throughout. (But again, filling with thick CA at the end will smooth some of this out).


The router will only get you so far. This design has a lot of sharp points that you won't be able to get the router into. But it is super easy to clean up the edges with a hobby knife. Just deepen the tracing you already made, and then hold the knife at an angle and cut toward it from the routed-out region to clean it all out.

(P.s., the tamiya putty used to fill the seams also routes very well, so you don't need to worry about that. But it isn't too easy to cut/shape with a hobby knife. Of course if you mess it up, you can always fix it with more putty.)

In the end this turned out to be a lot easier than I thought. It took about 3 hours to route the entire design.

Here's the finished routing, after being filled with CA. You can see that the routed surface is kind of bumpy, definitely not as smooth as on the gray test piece. (The raised details visible in this pic will be described in future posts)

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New Member
Re: Another Kingsguard Armor (Game of Thrones)

Continuing the detailing....

There are a few more engraved details to be made. On either side of the crown there is a design that is identical to the crown itself, split in half and rotated updside down. So once you've drawn the crown you're covered. A small portion of this design appears AGAIN at the very bottom of the armor, where it is raised instead of being engraved. There are also two little engraved curls at the bottom of the armor.

(Note: I believe the half-crown design appears yet again on a thin strip of metal that bridges the gap between this chest plate and the backplate, but i haven't found a good reference photo for it anywhere. I didn't make this piece in my costume.)

Here's a reference pic for the bottom of the armor:

Making these engraved details is a little trickier than the one up top since they are on curved portions of the armor. I routed what I could, but eventually i switched over to using a linoleum cutter to carve it out (If you're not familiar with this tool, google it and it will be instantly obvious how it works). If you don't have or want to use a dremel, you could use the linoleum cutter for the whole armor, but it's not the easiest thing in the world. It takes a little bit of force to get it through the sintra.

Here's the extent of what i could cut with the dremel. A picture further down shows the finished cutting.

Next up, the crown. This is cut out of 2mm sintra. I think 3mm would be too thick, although if you don't wanna shell out for a piece of 2mm you'll probably do fine with 3. Because of the shape of the front of the armor, it's topologically impossible to make the crown from one piece of sintra. (Or at least way more difficult than is worth it) So an easy thing to do is make the two sides from one piece, and then just add on the little spike on top from a second piece.

First i want to show a picture that didn't work out. Here i cut a piece of sintra too closely around the shape of the final crown... then when i heated it to conform it to the armor shape, the dreaded SHRINKAGE caused it to be all wrong (hard to tell from the picture, but trust me). The sides of the crown curved inward making it much narrower than it should be:

Here's the version that actually worked. Notice how the sintra is MUCH bigger than the crown, so i could conform the sintra to the armor shape FIRST, then trace the crown onto it, and end up with a perfectly shaped crown.

The design was transferred to the crown same as before, then I cut out the crown and glued it on. To align it for gluing i traced the crown with chalk. I glued it on using pvc cement, which bonds great, but is very hard to work precisely with. This is why this is the ONLY place on the armor that i used pvc cement. (Potential alternative if you don't wanna pay for pvc cement: Use a soldering iron to poke holes through the back of the armor into the underside of the crown (being careful not to go all the way through) to make little spot welds).


To smooth out the transition from the armor to the crown, i eventually went back and "caulked" the edges of the crown with Apoxiesculpt.

The last thing i want to cover in this post is the technique for adding the shallower raised details, which appear here, on the legs, and extensively on the shoulders. The technique i came up with is mostly motivated by the fact that gluing on sintra is exceedingly difficult. So instead of glue: tape. Double sided masking tape (from McMaster). It's important that you use making tape because it has just the right thickness to let it really conform well... i think double sided scotch tape wouldn't really get down into the texture of the sintra.

The raised details themselves are cut out of chipboard (aka plain old thin cardboard). Although you might be tempted to use plastic or craft foam, i think the chipboard (combined with the tape) is just the right thickness, but more importantly, you can print directly on it (HUGE bonus when you get to the shoulders, which each have 80+ pieces to be added)

The procedure looks like this:
1) Make your design in illustrator or whatever. IMPORTANT: Number each piece of it, since once they're all cut out they can be very nondescript and hard to tell which side is up.
2) Print your design on regular paper. Spray back with adhesive, let almost dry, and transfer the design onto the sintra like before, BUT this time instead of tracing exactly along the lines, trace a little bit inside the lines so that your tracing will get covered up by the piece of cardboard that you're about to add.
3) Print the design again on chipboard. Cover the entire back of the chipboard with double sided masking tape, leaving the wax paper on for now.
4) Cut out the design from the chipboard with a hobby knife. Here's where things get a little tricky. First off, double sided masking tape is like hell on hobby knife blades. I have managed to cut as little as 1" with a blade before the point breaks. I probably went through 20 blades to do all the cutting for this costume (and probably 30-50 more on other parts of the costume). Second (though less critical), chipboard is extremely fragile when it comes to peeling apart its layers. This doesn't cause many problems in practice, but probably at least once you'll accidently peel off the top of the chipboard and have to remake a piece (luckily each individual piece of these patterns is quite simple, so it's not like you lost a lot of work when this happens). So buy more chipboard than you'll need... you will need backups.
5) Now that the pieces are cut out, peel the wax paper off the back (carefully with the tip of a hobby knife blade) and just stick the piece in place on the armor (which you have marked in step (2).


One last step, and this one is super important: once it's all done, flood the pieces with thin CA. It will soak through the chipboard and even into the tape, and you will end up with a super hard, super durable design that is permanently bonded to the sintra. I have tried peeling pieces off, and really it can't be done without a LOT of work. So if you had reservations about cardboard + tape being fragile, fear not!

The CA also has a nice beveling effect that smooths out the transition from chipboard to sintra and gives it a less tacked-on look.

When you apply the CA, feather the edges with a cotton swab so that you aren't left with a ridge where it transitions down to bare sintra. But if you do get some ridges, they can easily be sanded off. Oh, and as a final step, I do recommend lightly sanding (by hand, not a power sander) over the dried CA, just to even out the tops a little and remove any bubbles or bumps.

Final Thoughts: I should note here that I think I made the crown a little too small. It's tempting to make it too big, so watch out for that... but i definitely wish I made it just a little larger. I also glued it on crooked :/ It's the kind of thing that in real life no one will notice, so it's not too bad, but if you examine it carefully you can definitely tell it's crooked. It happened because when i was gluing it on, i was focused only on the center line of the crown and trying to get that perfectly vertical. But a much better guide is to look at the two peaks on the sides of the crown... these are further from the center so it's easier to notice an incorrect angle (longer "moment arm" or whatever). So keep an eye out for that...


Sr Member
Re: Another Kingsguard Armor (Game of Thrones)

Yikes! Fantastic work and gear! You're really talented.
You look a lot like Kevin McKidd who starred in the equally fabulous HBO show Rome. Your next project should be his Centurion's costume! You'd look smashing!


Sr Member
Re: Another Kingsguard Armor (Game of Thrones)

This is astonishing work using some really ingenious techniques. Well done!


New Member
Re: Another Kingsguard Armor (Game of Thrones)

Thanks Lunaman and PotionMistress! I can totally see the Centurion thing... i'm gonna seriously think about that!


New Member
Re: Another Kingsguard Armor (Game of Thrones)

I just wanna cover a few more details on the main armor, then it's on to the shoulders (which are by far the hardest part of the costume). Then i'll come back and talk about painting everything together. This roughly follows the chronological order i made it in.

The same technique as everywhere else is used to carve out the main crown detail: dremel router + xacto knife + maybe some linoleum cutter. Also looking at this picture makes me think that i'm not crazy about the difference between black and white sintra... the white looks much crisper/denser compared to the lines i got cutting the black. Look at those sharp details! I love this picture.

Edit: The crown has a few line details that are so thin they aren't really carved... to make these i cut through with an exacto knife, then just trace over it with a compass point, applying some pressure to deepen the line.

Small note: i traced the crown with chalk before gluing it on. This helps line it up, although i still managed to get it crooked. This picture also shows the seam between the two pieces of sintra used to make the crown... the center spike is a separate piece. This is necessary to get it to conform to the shape of the armor properly. After gluing it on, the seam can be filled with putty.

So just a few details remain: First off, all the rivets are brass escutcheon pins... the same ones used to apply the scales to the vambraces. Just press them through the sintra with a pair of pliers, and cut off their ends with end nippers. Then i double-sided taped some craft foam over the cut ends, cuz they are sharp! (blue in picture below) The nail heads are just held in with friction though... no glue needed.

The raised panel lines are 2mm sintra. I cut these using a matboard cutter (the thing used for framing pictures). Which makes nice 45 degree beveled cuts. I did a bevel on both sides so they're kind of trapezoidal. Of course if you don't have a mat cutter a hobby knife will work too... just harder to get consistent angles. These are held on with a combination of CA and pins. (Pins pushed in with needle nose pliers... don't try bare fingers or you'll regret it) The CA really doesn't hold very well, so small pins at the end of each piece hold the ends down. As long as the ends are firmly secure you don't need to worry too much about the CA popping up. While the CA is drying i used a lot more pins along the entire length (dont push them in all the way so you can easily remove them later)... then i pulled out all but the ends. Then cut off the part that sticks through with end nippers... same deal as the escutcheon pins.

Last detail is the raised border around the neck, arms, and bottom. This is also 2mm sintra. The curves are too severe to bend a straight piece to the shape, so you actually have to cut a curve matching the shape of the openings... annoying because it requires a large piece of sintra to begin with. Unlike the panel lines, these are melted on, not glued... these are high stress areas and glue won't hold. The melting joints are all done along the interior so the outside stays clean.

I basically just bent a flat sheet of sintra flush with the opening, trace the opening, then cut a fairly good margin around it (so e.g. for the neck opening you have a big "C" shape about 1" wide). Then melt that on, and THEN trim it down to the final shape. Much easier that way. The arm openings have a kind of complex curve and are easier done by assembling a few small pieces... in the 2nd picture below you can see a little seam in the edge around the arm opening

Finally, the edges where these borders join the black sintra are beveled by filling with apoxiesculpt. Also i did the same to some of the edges of the crown, which can be seen in the picture below... you especially wanna do this around the sharp points of the crown to support them... they're kind of fragile.

Assorted pictures of the finished main armor structure: (note actually here the top of the armor where it bends around the shoulders havent been trimmed to their final length yet... i left this til i had the shoulder armor and back plate made to see how it would all line up.)

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