Why latex armor?

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charlie1

New Member
This might sound like an odd question (and I'm not sure this is the right area for it, please move it if it's not); I went through several searches trying to get an answer but I couldn't find any good answers. My prop making background, especially for armors, is ABS/fibreglass. Now, I've noticed that the a lot of the armor is some form of latex construction, and in some cases, directly molded to the skins. I don't want to reinvent the wheel by any means, but why latex armor? Initially I'd want to stick with working with ABS and fibreglass, since I already have the tools and equipment for that. Can anyone give me some info on why the Predator armors seem to be latex? I've read that the original suits used that, so it is an attempt to maintain "screen-accuracy?" If that's the main reason, then I'd tend to go with what I know and make it my way. However, I've never had to worry about a latex suit underneath either. Would non-latex armor rub and tear the armor? Or possibly cause some problem that I haven't even thought of? I'd appreciate any feedback on this, and if there some other thread covering my questions, please direct me to it.

Thanks!
Charlie
 

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esdain

New Member
my answer on this is that you are under alot of weight from the latex undersuit so adding abs (more than fibreglass) would cause that little bit extra compared to latex. also as for it rubbing, i would imagine yes it does rub but ppl add a backing of foam to protect their skins. ppl do make resin/ fibreglass armour on the lair it not many. i also find latex is cheaper and easier to work with than resins.
if you are thinking about making some resin armour then hell yea, go for it. there is nothing wrong with it really.
 

4505marcel

Active Member
I was thinking about defo resin/abs shins, as this seems to be a place where alot of costumes go baggy, especially where the shin armour is attched to the leg. And resin guants, back pack would be on my ideal suit
 

Guan Thwei

New Member
I'm going to use resin on all my armor or at least most of it because of detail. SW changed the latex armor in P1 to resin armor in P2 to keep with more realism. The armor that was created did not hinder with flexibilty or movement because of the technology and different techniques of molding things compared back in 1987. I agree with esdain there should be no problems with resin.
 

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VinMan

Sr Member
RPF PREMIUM MEMBER
I have built all my armor out of Polystyrene Plastic.
I have a free supply and I like the look and feel of something rigid that has individual segments to the armor.
It's just as light as thick cast Latex but not as flexible
 

charlie1

New Member
Thanks for the input guys! Since I've got the materials and equipment, I'll probably try working with ABS and fibreglass for the armor. I just wanted to make sure there wasn't some trick involving the latex suit and then have to scrap all my work.

Charlie
 

Mr Fett

Sr Member
I'm going to use resin on all my armor or at least most of it because of detail. SW changed the latex armor in P1 to resin armor in P2 to keep with more realism. The armor that was created did not hinder with flexibilty or movement because of the technology and different techniques of molding things compared back in 1987. I agree with esdain there should be no problems with resin.

Actually from all my research, I've learned almost all the armor in P2 was also soft armor, not hard armor. In P1 just the gauntlet tops and helmet were hard armor, the rest was sculpted into the skins. In P2, everything but the torso armor, codpiece/buttflap and gauntlets were again sculpted into the skins. Now, I know they made "hard armor" gauntlets for the hero P2, but I'm not positive about all the other hero pieces materials (torso, cod/butt).

For the most part, all the Lost Hunter armor was rubber, not resin, because they used the existing stunt suit bodies to create the Lost Hunter costumes. I've talked to two different collectors who own screen used P2 Lost Hunter armor and they both verified rubber (torso and buttflap).

In AVP they switched to almost all fiberglass armor, and the actors had a hard time moving as well as they could using the armor sculpted into the skins like they did in P1 and P2.

For my own costume, I have all resin or fiberglass armor and it does weigh a lot. My full Pred suit is about 48 pounds. I went this route of seperate armor parts because I started costuming with Star Wars costumes so I liked the more realistic feel of having to strap on all the armor over a body like we do with the Star Wars stuff. But when I do another Predator suit, it will be mostly latex armor parts because it's so much quicker getting suited up at events.

To answer your question, yes any "hard armor" with sharper edges than latex can indeed scrape paint off the latex skins with constant movement at an event.
 

Guan Thwei

New Member
Actually from all my research, I've learned almost all the armor in P2 was also soft armor, not hard armor. In P1 just the gauntlet tops and helmet were hard armor, the rest was sculpted into the skins. In P2, everything but the torso armor, codpiece/buttflap and gauntlets were again sculpted into the skins. Now, I know they made "hard armor" gauntlets for the hero P2, but I'm not positive about all the other hero pieces materials (torso, cod/butt).

For the most part, all the Lost Hunter armor was rubber, not resin, because they used the existing stunt suit bodies to create the Lost Hunter costumes. I've talked to two different collectors who own screen used P2 Lost Hunter armor and they both verified rubber (torso and buttflap).

In AVP they switched to almost all fiberglass armor, and the actors had a hard time moving as well as they could using the armor sculpted into the skins like they did in P1 and P2.
I must have been confused when Stan Winston had mentioned that he had seperated the armor from the skin to give more of a realistic look and feel then the first film. Yeah that is probably it of course I don't think he mentioned what they were made of though.
 

Mr Fett

Sr Member
They did seperate the P2 chest armor from the skin, you are correct. The first movie had the chest and back armor sculpted right into the body.

I did forget the P1 backpack/cannon mount were a seperate piece from the body. So yeah, that backpack and gauntlet tops were the only add-ons to the P1 suit.
 

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Guan Thwei

New Member
I liked the more realistic feel of having to strap on all the armor over a body like we do with the Star Wars stuff.
I agree with you on this part of your quote this is the reason for my other reply. Having full armor and strapping it on would make me feel like I'm going to battle with Aliens.
 

Mr Fett

Sr Member
Rock on! Whichever way you choose to make your Predator armor, out of whatever materials, it's still a Pred suit!!!
 

Ei luj

New Member
I agree with you on this part of your quote this is the reason for my other reply. Having full armor and strapping it on would make me feel like I'm going to battle with Aliens.
Guan-thwei, Mr. Fett

I second you both on the separate armor !! That arming-up and amping up before a "Hunt" helps get one 'in character'

Charlie,

Latex for flexibility and not chafing; one can also use leather for armor

One of my armor sets is all latex except the gaunts, another set is all leather with latex overlays, and the first one I did was completely leather.

---
Ei'luj
 

Guan Thwei

New Member
Leather might also help make your Predator stand out more and give more of a down to earth tribal feel as well. Depending on your Predator's personality kind of like a Predator that does not go for all that tech stuff and likes being more in spirit with his warrior side and more preminitive in nature in a way. I would like to see that on a build here on the Lair someday. Of course I would not do it only because I like the Tech with the Pred that is the computer geek side of me lol.
 

charlie1

New Member
Well, I'm still working on my "design" phase, but I have some excellent help in my local area. One fellow I know has a LOT of experience in making leather armor and forging metal armor. I've got experience working wih ABS and fibreglass. I know that parts of the armor will be made from leather, it's a question of how much and whether the leather will be "soft" or "hardened." Due to the nature of the backpack, I'm considering a hard backplate with soft underlayer (just for support and mounting issues). Most likely, the leg armor (thighs, shins, etc) will all be made from leather, since in my mind, that is more for abrasion protection than any real "armor" necessity. My current diesgn sketches are all semi-custom, but loosely based off the Big Mama predator seen in the AVP: Deadliest of the Species comic. (almost makes me feel like I'm crossdessing!) One of the main reasons why I'm considering using ABS/sintra/fibreglass is because I know that I can weather and distress it and make it look just like metal. Leather I don't have a lot of experience, and obviously that's going to look like leather. Still more research and design to do...

I have found some very interesting leather that is embossed with a gator/crocodile pattern. It's a thought.

Charlie
 

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