First Scratch Build/ Coating Issue

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Innwood Wolf

New Member
Hi i'm new to 405th and I've heard it is a good supportive place to get opinions and help with projects. I am getting close to the step where i coat my EVA armor, but i'm not sure what i should coat it with. I have coated one shoulder plate in PVA but I want to get a harder feel to the armor and do not want to coat in plasti dip. I've thought about coating it in fiberglass resin after using PVA on the foam as a sealer first but I've heard that fiberglass resin can be a nightmare. If anyone knows a good way i can harden my armor WITHOUT using Bondo either please let me know. I'll leave pictures of my progress so far. It is my first EVA build ever and i'm just doing it from scratch.
For Eva, you'll want to "treat it with a heat gun (lightly warm up the parts to close the pores in the foam), then I like to spray a few coats of plasti dip, then spray paint.

I've experimented a bit with trying to use polyester resin on Eva, but it doesn't leave a very good or solid finish. I'd leave the resins to pep builds, and just seal and paint your foam!

Edit: it's late and I just Re-read your post saying you want a hard surface and not use plasti dip. The main issue here is that Eva foam is very flexible. Unless you layer a finish onto it, whether resin or glue, thick enough for the finish to become structural, it will crack with the slightest of movements. One of the main reasons I love working with Eva for armor is that it stays flexible enough to be comfortable, and still looks very realistic with a good paint job.
i second that.
you will have cracks when trying to harden the eva foam.

plastidip is expensive... but will give you the best possible look in my opinion.
its worth investing in plastidip and maybe a spraysystem
Bill Doran and Punished Props made a useful video on the subject, so it might be worth checking it out.

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If you're adamant on wanting to avoid PlastiDip I'd suggest looking into latex as your sealant. To get a hardened finish it might be a matter of testing different resins to see how they react with the foam and latex, some resins can get hot and depending on the glue or other products used in the build there might be some melting.
Like Phil said, foam is flexible. Really not much you can do about it. You could try sealing the foam, then hardening with some resin, but most resin does not interact well with foam, and even with a sealant of some sort, you risk it leaking through and possibly destroying a piece. Also, when you resin coat something, you will lose some definition in the shapes, lines, etc.....on a pep/fiberglass/bondo build, that's not really and issue, but with foam, the details are carved directly in the foam, so if they lose definition, there isn't much you can do.

Watch the video that Blackout posted. Lots of useful info in there. I myself am using Mod Podge to seal the foam. I HATE plastidip out of the spray can. It just never seems to come out right. Modpodge brushes right on, has no fumes, and is sandable. But as long as you brush on in a thin layer, you won't even need to sand it. Plus its decently flexible. Its readily available, cheap, and super easy to use.

But basically, if you want to harden foam armor, I'd reconsider using foam. You'd be better of doing a traditional pepakura build, if a non-flexible solid feel is what you are after.
James Bruton (XRobots) has a video on his process for an Iron Man suit:
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