I know this isn't exactly a cos-play costume and I'm unsure if anyone would even bother if it wasn't but someone told me to post it and I trust her instincts so here we go: This is my 2nd posting (the first was a fail but I might resurrect after this) and I will be using my favorite building material, foam board. For those unfamiliar w/ FB, It is Styrofoam sandwiched between 2 pieces of laminated paper. Easily paint able and spray painted provided you seal any edges. Modge Podge or hot glue will do the trick. So why a Samurai? Well why not......I have been costuming for over 6 years and have made several unusual costumes in my time. Mostly from movies I really like. I made the "Zoltar Speaks" from the movie "Big", An Ancient Spartan from the move "300". I recently just re-watched "The Last Samurai" w/ Tom Cruise and thought I could build something like that......so here we are. There are tons of pictures of Samurai armor, and I even cam across plenty of sights where people were building armor out of leather/vinyl , plastic garbage cans, hell even just plane old cardboard. All looked pretty cool but I have a thing for FB. So I needed to find some templates and fond them. http://www.sengokudaimyo.com/katchu/index.html and Hojo Clan were an invaluable source of information. I was also able to download templates which for me, was a big plus. There are no piece by piece instruction but everything was self explanatory. I did borrow some ideas from other sights and will acknowledge them as they come up. Lets start w/ the chest piece, Dou or Do, as it was the largest and easiest piece to manufacture. Front and back pieces are solid "plate" armor attached w/ a 2 part shoulder strap and tied on the sides. You can see the punch holes along the bottom of the front plate which the segmented plates will hang from. I know what you're thinking now....."Didn't the Samurai have segmented chest and back plates?". They did.However they also had solid plate as well as scale-mail armor. It depended on the wealth of the clan and the armorer's skill. Some were not as skilled or just didn't have the proper material as iron was not as abundant as other building material was. Most of the armor pieces were layer upon layer of cloth, leather or even paper. Very little of the Samurai's armor was metal. That was saved for his sword and other weapons. Since I could not heat the whole piece enough to get a proper curve I had to settle for spot curves. Also too much heat will peel the paper off the foam. There are plenty of gaps in the interior where that happened. It doesn't hamper the integrity or anything but I did have to cut away at those sections as it felt like someone was constantly poking me in the stomach. Once I had the chest and back plates sized and hanging, putting the segmented armor was easy.........If you believe that one your a yutz. It took me over 3 weeks to cut out the individual plates, drill out the holes, paint, and then lace them together. It was a tedious job but someone had to do it. This small strip of plating took about 3 hours to do and it's only 4 pieces of armor. And yes that is my HALO under-suit in the background. That's the next build. Here is a near finished front section of the segmented hanging armor. I did these over last weekend. Only a few hours per night so it is taking a while to get it all together. More on this after. I don't want to spoil the intrigue and post a pic out of order and ruin the ending. Lets back up and take a look at the helmet: So the most common method of building a "bowl" helmet, more commonly know as a Kabuto, was build in strips attached around the brim and literally folded into each other on the top. There are many different types and styles for them and all were decorated depending on the individuals clan and personal touches. I chose to emulate Towering Props who posted a fantastic Instructable on how to build a Samurai costume, http://www.instructables.com/id/Samurai-Armor-Total-War-Shogun-2/, and he used an old paintball helmet that was just taking up space. My helmet is an old construction helmet from a previous costume. Ok, it wasn't such a great leap to dress up as a construction worker since I'm a part time handy-man. I was busy.........but iI digress, back to the Kabuto. Attaching the pieces to the helmet was very easy. Hot glue. Getting that back piece to bend in the proper shape.......that was a pain. Then of course came more lacing. Overall I think it came out the best so far.... I removed the 2 plates that bent back out of the sides of the helmet. Too much going on w/ it as is.......Will update photo on this later as I began putting some detail and Japanese flavoring to it. Next up are the shin-guards or Sune-ate. Basically they are template cutouts, heated and bent to shape.......pretty simple. White cotton rope to hold them in place. And the finished product: That's Colonial Red paint by the way, trimmed w/ gold paint. The sandals are not traditional looking but I'm not shelling out $100 just for this. So these are finished. Just have to spray seal it and they are good to go. Next, face mask. The face mask was not truly made for protection. It was was a psychological weapon. It was made to scare their opponents. Granted they faced off w/ other Samurai who wore something similar, but this mask was primarily used against the peasantry who truly believed they were being attacked by beings from the spirit world. So where to get a mask? Part City. 1 standard harlequin mask please......A little Modge Podge to give it some rigidity and texture and some vinyl strips to protect the neck area. What's this, wait one second!!!! I hear you screaming: "But you just said that the face mask was only for show, not protection!!!!". Again faithful readers I seem to be contradicting myself. But alas, no. The face mask and the neck armor were 2 separate pieces. Sometimes they were attached to the mask sometimes not, but neck protection was used even if a mask was not. I have elected to attach them for convenience sake. Here I already started w/ some modification. Some teeth cut outs, elongated mouth and the first strap of the neck guard. Looks like a red faced Michael Myers mask. And now for some costume fitting pics (sorry for the poor quality): Ok so the 3rd pic isn't me..........I didn't feel like getting the under-suit off him and on me........its basically a black bakers coat and black pants. I need to get some white knee high tube socks and tuck the pant legs in them. I still have the thigh and arm guards to assemble. Those will take some sewing to complete which I hate, and I don't know how to use a sewing machine. I'll have more pics and updates as I can get them.