Warhammer 40K Sisters of Battle

thorssoli

Sr Member
RPF PREMIUM MEMBER
For the past few years, I've had this on my bucket list for Warhammer cosplay projects. With all of the updates regarding the impending release of new plastic Adepta Sororitas models, I've finally gotten to the point where it's made it to the top of the to-do list. The goal: a full squad. The method: brute force.

I started working on these gals a couple of months ago when I'd just returned from my last-ever overseas trip with the Navy Reserve. I needed something to show off at the Bay Area Maker Faire, so I decided this was the just right thing. The main problem wit this plan was that I would only have six weeks to go from zero to wearable costume(s) and I also had to prep the rest of my usual display items for the Faire.

Challenge accepted.

In order to meet the timeline, I needed a faster, less expensive option than the fiberglass and resin cast parts I've been using for my last few big projects. I opted instead to make the armor largely vacformed with a few resin cast detail bits. Vacforming is good because it allows me to make many pieces rather rapidly without breaking the bank on materials. In this case, I'm using styrene because it's readily available at a local supplier.

Since I was going to be short on time, I decided that I'd use all of my skills and all of my robots to make the various vacforming bucks and prototype parts simultaneously. Some parts were 3D printed while other pieces were being CNC carved from wood, and other pieces were sculpted by hand or modified from parts of other costume projects.

For no particular reason, I began with the shoulder/collar assembly. I started by having my friends at Do3D.com model the parts I needed. They did pretty good:
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The digital models were sliced up and fed to my CNC machines. The machines whittled the slices out of MDF and I then glued them up in the real world like so:
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After a bit of sanding and filling, they looked pretty good:
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The next step was to lay out the collar/shoulder parts and the lower sholder plates on the forming table:
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The first pull came out pretty good:
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Though I'll freely admit, it looks better on my friend Madison:
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The ankle pieces were also carved out on the CNC machines:
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But we'll get back to that later.

The thighs started out as a particularly heavy fiberglass pair from my Captain Phasma project (Link https://protagonist4hire.blogspot.com/2019/02/building-captain-phasma-part-2-armor.html) that were trimmed a bit before I added the ridge details with Bondo:
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After the Bondo work was completed, I split them into front and back halves, mounted them onto some plywood, and sealed up the open ends to make them into vacforming bucks:
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The lower legs were Phasma parts, mounted and closed on the ends with some 3D printed trim added to the ankles:
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Fiberglass vacforming bucks are the best thing when it comes to enduring the heat and pressure of vacforming, but they did okay:
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The next step was to make some weapons. I started by having the CNC machine cut out some profiles:
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Then I layered on some details and sculpted out a pistol grip:
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The grip was designed so I could mold it and cast it separately and use it for all of the different weapons I had in mind:
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Once the shells were vacformed, it was just a matter of gluing in the resin cast parts:
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The muzzles were resin cast details, but the magazines were separate vacformed parts.
 

thorssoli

Sr Member
RPF PREMIUM MEMBER
The flamer was made in largely the same way:
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For the chest armor, I started by looking at the chest plate I'd made for my Cobra Baroness project (link https://protagonist4hire.blogspot.com/2018/11/cobra-baroness-costume-part-1-rushed.htm):
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Proportion-wise it wasn't awful, but turning it into a forming buck was going to be a bit of a pain and it wasn't quite the shape I was looking for. Instead, I decided to dust off a vacformed copy of a mannequin chest I had laying around:
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This was filled with rigid expanding foam:
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Then the plastic was peeled off:
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The chest was sawn in half from top to bottom and a slice of 3/4" MDF was inserted in the middle to make the piece a tiny bit wider and stronger. Then I took a saw to the boobs:
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The cups themselves would be vacformed separately to make the parts easier to remove from the forming bucks. In this case, they started as styrofoam hemispheres skinned over with Bondo and reshaped a bit:
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Once I was happy with the overall shape, I cut out some 1/4" MDF in the same shape, offset by about 3/16" larger. These were glued in place before the final smoothing for the chest buck:
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The vacforming went as well as I could've hoped:
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My assistant Rachel cut out the boob windows:
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The cup parts were glued in from the inside, making for a pretty sturdy assembly:
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Banana for scale.

Somewhere along the way we started hanging parts on a mannequin in the shop:
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She also acquired any loose accouterments that seemed funny along the way.

The forearm vacforming bucks started out as blocks of Renshape that were carved by hand. Here's an early pull of one of the outer forearms:
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These pieces were vacformed in two layers so we could cut sections out of the outer layer to create recessed sections and make variations:
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Rachel did most of the cutting and gluing to make the forearms:
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I didn't get a lot of great photos of the forearms coming together, but the knees were made pretty much the same way:
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Rachel was also entirely responsible for sewing up the sleeves and skirt panels in velvet:
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thorssoli

Sr Member
RPF PREMIUM MEMBER
The backpack forms started as hand-cut pieces of 3/4" MDF and a piece of 6" PVC pipe:
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At this point I was getting a bit tight on time, so I started skimping on the photo taking. Rest assured that the sketchy-looking backpack forms ended up working pretty well:
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Somewhere along the way I started needing the smaller cast detail bits to add on. Most of these were simply 3D printed, cleaned up and molded, then cast in urethane resin:
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For the hose attachment thing on the front of the collar, I started with some MDF pieces cut out with a hole saw and a few scraps of PVC pipe:
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This assembly was notched to fit onto the collar trim. To ensure a snug fit, the backside was gooped up with Bondo and pressed onto the collar (which had been masked off and coated with Vaseline to prevent bonding). When it had cured, I had the just-right shape:
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Once that piece was molded and cast, it was just a quick matter of attaching it to the front of the collar with glue, screws, or rivets:
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Somewhere along the way we made an excursion to a local tannery that sells leather scraps and off-cuts by the pound. We ended up finding more than enough to make up some pouches:
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Full disclosure: I'm not a very talented leatherworker (yet), so those were vacformed plastic boxes wrapped in leather with a stitched cover wrapped around and glued in place. The flap is held down by velcro and the icons were just glued on as well.

Somewhere along the way we finally got around to cleaning up the seams on the first set of shoulders and started paint tests:
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This was Rustoleum hammered black metallic. At first I was worried it would be too silver, but a blackwash would end up taking a lot of the shine off of it.

We were also regularly dressing up the mannequin in the shop as we made progress:
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She was starting to look like something.

With no time to spare, we spent a couple of days forming and rough trimming parts. You can always tell when we've been working on a vacforming project:
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But things were shaping up:
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GilliGen

Active Member
Holyyyy... Beyond awesome, the quality of details are amazing, can't wait to see the finished pictures
 

thorssoli

Sr Member
RPF PREMIUM MEMBER
Holyyyy... Beyond awesome, the quality of details are amazing, can't wait to see the finished pictures
Thank you for the kind words. So far these are the "rough draft" suits. There's a lot of things I want to go back and upgrade, but for now they'll do just fine.

Now on to the final assembled costumes...

The base garments were all picked up on Amazon. Started with this catsuit: LINK These boots: LINK and this simple corset: LINK. We also picked up a variety of short wigs. Some silver, some white. Once it was all combined, it made for a great look:

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Because we were up against a tight timeline, we ended up putting the final blackwash on the parts the morning of the event. While the rest of the crew was assembling the display booth, Rachel focused on final assembly and weathering of the Sororitas armor:
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My friend Sierra strapped everyone into their gear:
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As with any complete costume, the final step in putting these together is makeup. My cousin Amanda came along for the weekend to do everyone's scar effects and she did a great job:

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We were strapping the girls into the armor just as soon as the paint was dry. The first completely assembled sister was my friend Madison:
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Of course, that pic doesn't do anything to showcase the costume. Here's some better shots:
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The next completely assembled sister was Danielle:
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Third was Rachel (left in this pic):
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The next day we had Mallory too:
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For the duration of the Bay Area Maker Faire, I had three sisters dressed and walking around at all times:
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thorssoli

Sr Member
RPF PREMIUM MEMBER
On Sunday, my friend Samantha joined in:
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And we added a couple of guardsmen:
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It worked out to be a pretty good weekend. Even if breaktime was hard to come by:
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Now I need to go back and make a few tweaks to the shoulder armor, make another size of chest and back plate, fine tune the weapon forms, and finish the helmet:
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Stay tuned...
 

Hoplitespear

Well-Known Member
Your WH 40K looks always on point. It’s hard to make it work on real people, and still get the WH feel. But you always get it spot on...

that being said, I'm a huge Tau fan....:rolleyes:.....

nice job!
 
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