The Last Dragonborn in Carnival - Pic heavy

Invoco

New Member
Hello RPF, this is my first post in here and, at the same time, also my debut as costume maker. Although quite far from perfect, I'm quite happy how it turned out in the end.
Especially the fact that I built almost everything from scratch raises some pride in me. The 'almost' part relates to the boots. Since we've got winter here, meaning lots of snow and ice, I had to use a pair of cheap slippers as basis for the boots for a proper shoe sole.

First things first, since this is gonna be a somewhat lengthy writeup, the results!
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So, here's the whole story:

After a comparably boring carnival costume last year, I decided to go for something bigger this time around. Since I was doing my 5th or so playthrough of Skyrim around that time, the decision for what to build came rather naturally. After browsing through the in-game collection of armor, I rather quickly decided to go for one of the early-game sets - Bethesda did a much better job with these compared to the comic-ish late-game sets, imo. So, in the end, I decided to do the Banded Iron Armor and, of course, the iconic helmet you see flopping around pretty much everywhere Skyrim's mentioned.


Since I had no idea where and how to start, I figured i might as well kick off with the helmet. First, Pepakura:
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Following loads of tutorials, I then fibreglassed it and applied loads of body filler (yes, it's heavy, but I still wore it for long periods throughout the carnival night). For giving the flat horns a proper shape, I wrapped thick threads around them and hot glued it in place, then again worked on the resulting gaps with body filler. I used metal rivets for the proper looks and added (after thinking about it again, far too much) battle damage.
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Painting time! The helmet itself was rather straight forward, but I had to think about something more convoluted for the horns. After re-painting them entirely to a more horn-ish beige, I did the following: I thinned down brown acrylic paint a bit and painted it on thick. then, I simply used a sponge and, following the horns from the base to the tips, wiped off the brown with little pressure. After the first pass of this method turned out a bit flat, I mixed up some red-ish brown and repeated the procedure, ending up with something I liked quite a lot.
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Unfortunately, I didn't document the rest of the build as thoroughly, but here we go with the armor.
I started off with the shin guards and bracers since they seemed to be the easiest parts. Drawing out the templates was really easy after taking some measurements of my arms and legs. However, after heat-forming them, I was absolutely unsatisfied with their stability. So I ended up wrapping the parts I already had cut out (shin guards, leg protectors, parts of the shoulder and the bracers) in a layer of Worbla. Much better and fit for going out with it. For the remaining parts (the overlapping plate parts of the larger shoulder and front/back of the armor) I directly went with sandwiching craft foam in worbla. This was especially useful when I did the chest armor.
For that, I made a duct tape dummy of my torso and approximated the armor shape with craft foam sheets taped together. After the sandwiching and shaping, I was quite satisfied with the result and primed, painted and weathered all the parts.
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Next thing: Its the BANDED iron armor after all, so time for some faux leather work and straps and stuff. Back then, I had pretty much no sewing skills, but these were easy enough. The rings are actually real metal, for the hammered texture I used a dremel sanding drum. Again, weathering gave these parts their final touch.
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So as my sewing skill leveled up to about 50, I tackled more complex things.
First off, the boots. I put on the slippers and wrapped my legs with masking tape. I then cut the masking tape where necessary to be able to lay the parts out flat on the faux leather. I sewed the bits together and glued them onto the slippers. You can definitely see the learning curve here, the second one I made looks much better than the first one. Finally, I added that decorative thing on the side, some fur, and straps with buckles, and weathered them. Also, at this point, I decided that I need something to put my stuff into when going out, so I also made a bag with the game logo stitched onto for some additional flair.
Since we're in the faux leather section of the thread, I guess the bracers also go here. Nothing fancy, though. Faux leather glued on craft foam, covered in fake fur and attached worbla protectors.

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Just a quick in-between progress shot (I think this was the first selfie I've ever made! so many first-timers in one thread!)
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The game now would've said something like 'Your sewing skill has increased to 60', so on to clothing, for which I don't have any progress shots. The shirt was easy enough. I traced one of my shirts onto heavy linen and sewed everything up. For more durability, I added faux leather to the neck and rim of the sleeves. The pants were an entirely different beast, though. First of all, finding the right way of a pair of jeans to copy onto faux buckskin isn't as easy. Second, sewing up to 6 layers of fake buckskin (the front part, I went with a viking-like style here since there are no reference pics for the pants) hurts your wrists, even with a sturdy awl. So at some point, I just hammered the awl through the layers, breaking about 5 needles in the process. Nevertheless, the endeavor was successful! I only have a picture of the finished parts here. I weathered the pants (and later also the shirt) with the usual methods - acrylics, some sand paper.
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Since I now hit the limit of uploadable images, the next post will continue with the weaponry.
 

Invoco

New Member
Now for the most important part. Not even the Dovahkiin would slay those nasty dragons with his bare fists, so some weponry seems appropriate.
I like axes. Big ones. So it had to be the steel battleaxe. I don't like taking pictures, so there's again not too many of the process ;)
I split the head into three parts: 2 blades and a center box holding the dowel. The core of all three parts is made of acrylic glass. For weight purposes, I filled up large parts using sintra. I filled up the angled part of the blades with body filler and glued the blade halves onto the central dowel box. The raised parts are again made of sintra, while the ornamental work is 2 layers of 1mm styrene; the first one for the ornaments, the 2nd for the frame. For the texture between the ornaments, I used the dremel to mill all the tiny dots. Quite a pain in the behind, but oh so worth it.
Also, for the axe, I stepped up my rust painting game quite a bit. Again, layering is key. You hear/read that a lot, and its absolutely true.
For the Axe, I first painted it entirely black and then covered in a nice iron-ish silver/black mixture. Then, the rust. I dabbed about 8 different shades of reddish/brownish/yellowish acrylics onto cardboard and dipped a coars sponge in randomly. I then dabbed the filled sponge onto empty cardboard again in random movements, thereby taking up quite a good mixture of different shades. Then, I dabbed the sponge onto the axe lightly.
This has the following effects: Firstly, you get a good mixture of colors. Real rust isn't a flat brownish color if you look closely. Second, the dabbing actually adds a bit of structure, just like real rust. Using this as base color, I again painted the silver-ish color on top. Then, the usual dry brushing at the edges, especially the blade.

What this whole procedure does is actually quite amazing: You get kind of a view-dependent rust shading. It looks like the prop was roughly polished on top, but the rust is eating into the metal a bit.
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Now i had a really fancy, large axe. An immensely impractical one for going out with it. So, about one month before the event, I decided to settle for sword and board instead. And I had to be really really quick. First, the sword and scabbard. The original game version looks a bit like it was a paddle. A really heavy paddle at that. I'm no expert, but I think you'd quickly lose a sword fight with that paddle, since you probably have issues lifting it (it's not only broad, but also really thick), and if you succeed, it'd swing more like a club than a sword due to the balance. So I slimmed it down and made the blade more narrow for it to look like something usable.
For the build, I embedded an iron dowel into 3 layers of 4mm sintra. The outer layers already had the fuller cut out. Then I sanded down the edges and layered more sintra for the cross guard and pommel (I didn't have the time to finish the wings part of the pommel, so I just skipped that). I brought everything up to shape with a mouse sander and painted it like the axe before.
The scabbard was surprisingly easy. I cut out 2 pieces of MDF (16mm I think) with the appropriate shape of the sword and some extra space for gluing up. I sanded the recesses with a dremel drum sander which, surprisingly, was the most effective method. Then, I also added some more space for the raised parts of the sword. To protect the color of the sword, I added faux leather to the interior and glued the halves up. To my utter surprise, the fit was absolutely perfect. I could easily insert and remove the sword, and there was absolutely no rattling or movement of the sword inside.
I then sanded down the exterior portion of the scabbard to the shown shape and wrapped it in faux leather.
As I said before, time was critical at this point, so I also skipped the ornaments of the scabbard. However, I added the metal parts by applying 2 layers of Worbla, since I figured that'd wrap around most easily. Again, painting and some weathering and adding straps to mount it at the belt.

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I made the shield of plywood, 4 layers of 6mm each, to be precise. Why? Well, the core is 2x6mm poplar. Close to no grain, but lightweight. The outer layers are made of oak, which is much heavier, but shows a nice grain.
The border consists of multiple layers of sintra. I didn't cut out the whole piece, but fitted multiple pieces along the side and filled the gaps up with epoxy. Then, I wrapped the side into another strip of sintra to cover the wood and sanded it in shape before painting it. The emblem isn't anything too fancy, just get a template and stay within the lines while applying acrylics ;)

And herethe Dovahkiin's ready to go!

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Well, that's about it, I hope you enjoyed reading the wall of text as much as I enjoyed the building part and learning ALL THE TECHNIQUES! (kinda, for next year, I gotta look into vac forming...)
 

Invoco

New Member
Thanks man, appreciated!

I'm currently tinkering about how to properly mount the weapons and shield on the wall behind the mannequin. I guess the weapon wall mount from Skyrim won't do, since I plan to layer the stuff Axe -> Shield-> Sword/Scabbard crossed to save some space and concurrently highlight all of the props. So, in the end, the rack would be barely visible.
Also, stability is an issue - axe and shield are comparably heavy.

If anyone got a nice reference or idea, I'd appreciate if you'd share it ;)
 
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Valkrine10

New Member
wow, im amazed. the quality of this costume is amazing, especially for your first try. id love to see more of what you can do, and i just have to say, that axe is spot on, very beautiful!
 

Invoco

New Member
Thanks yet again!

I'm extremely busy at work at the moment and in fact, I'm taking an arrow to the knee this summer, so progress for upcoming projects will be reeeeaaaally slow :<
I do, however, plan on making a Havoc Squad set for next year's carnival season - so currently I'm in the research stage anyway ;)

Cheers guys!
 

SpartanBricks

New Member
Holy cow!! This looks incredible!
The weathering and battle damage looks so natural! The whole costume looks like you pulled it right out of the world of Skyrim!
The weapons and shield also look pretty amazing! Keep it up, man!
 

TurboTrey03

Well-Known Member
RPF PREMIUM MEMBER
Nice! I was just looking last night on how to build a Vikings esque shield like yours last night!

Did you do the horse with a stencil?
 

Invoco

New Member
Holy cow!! This looks incredible!
The weathering and battle damage looks so natural! The whole costume looks like you pulled it right out of the world of Skyrim!
The weapons and shield also look pretty amazing! Keep it up, man!
Thanks, though I still regret overdoing the helmet quite a but. But cutting away at it with the Dremel turned out to be too much fun

Just noticed that I didn't add a picture of sword and scabbard completed for mounting at the beld (that was a last minute thing in the afternoon before going out with it):

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It dangled quite a bit due to the spikes on the leg protectors, but the two adjustable straps did quite a good job at adjusting the angle of the scabbard. Note that I'm left-handed, so the orientation of all that stuff was not a mistake, but rather on purpose ;)

Nice! I was just looking last night on how to build a Vikings esque shield like yours last night!

Did you do the horse with a stencil?

Exactly what I did, I pulled the texture from the game files, printed it in the proper size, cut it and marked the lines. If you aim at making a wooden shield, I gotta talk a bit about colors though: the yellow acrylics I bought were quite a bit of a pain since they seemed to lack red pigments, hence turned quite green-ish in some spots and required lots of layers...

If you wanna do a shield to carry around, a few words of warning (from personal experience):

- They're heavy. As I said, mine's 24mm of plywood (60cm diameter). Although the central layers of are poplar and rather lightweight, in the future I'd try to locate a really thin outer layer and use some kind of foam for the bulk of the interior.
- They're also annoying to carry around. There's several types of grips you can make, though. The original viking shield looks something like this:
http://www.hurstwic.org/history/articles/manufacturing/pix/shield_grip_hold.jpg
They have a central grip and likely flop around like hell, especially while lowered. So, a grip and an additional strap for your forearm might be more convenient - you can lower it and the strap takes care of the flopping. Very important: the grip needs an angle. When holding your arm straight and making a fist, you can see that your wrist slightly bends, and your grip needs to support that angle, otherwise your wrist will likely hurt rather quickly (again, it's heavy). Also, you might wanna be able to get rid of it for a while, where a long strap for throwing it on your back might come in handy, preferably one with a buckle.

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