SHOWCASE/WIP: “We are ODST” Shoulder Plate

Xtreme TACTICS 101

Well-Known Member
Hey everyone,

Over the past 2 years and 10 months I have been an active 405th member I have tried many times to complete a piece of armour to my specifications. I am so overly critical of my work that even the smallest imperfection would lead me to restart or heavily modify an armour part. The littlest things such as a flat face not being perfectly flat when a ruler is placed against the face at all possible angles would bug me to no end, making me work and re-work the area until it is perfect.

Is this a bad thing? Perhaps… However, with criticism comes great achievement…

Ladies and Gentlemen, without further ado, I present my soon-to-be first of what will be many finished armour parts on the 405th. My very own “We are ODST” version Tarkov ODST shoulder plate.

Below is a compilation of pictures, techniques and lessons I used and learned during the completion of my first armour part. Hopefully by quickly explaining some methods I used and what will make or break them, I will help others avoid mistakes I made, as well as encourage others to complete a costume or armour part of their own.

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SCULPTING

I spent a total of 8 hours sculpting the upper shoulder bell and an additional 7 hours sculpting the lower shoulder plate. Both sections of the shoulder were sculpted using Van Aken brand oil based clay.

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I had learned before when attempting to smooth a previous trial-and-error armour part sculpt that by spraying room-temperature water onto the surface of the clay then using a stainless steel kidney that was slightly bent into a “U” shape to gently smooth the surface of the clay gave an almost glass-like finish. This made the molding and casting far smoother, as well as improved the outcome of each cast therefore minimizing preparation of the armour part for primer and paint.

I also learned that getting correct sizing when dealing with certain armour parts without using a life-cast of yourself as a sculpting base is sometimes very stressful. I measured time and time again to insure the shoulders would fit me upon completion… At this point, one can only hope for the best…

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MOLDING

I used Smooth-on’s Rebound 25 and Plasti-Paste II for the molding process.

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Typically I apply a total of 5 coats of silicone. A base coat that is thinly applied first (This appears as an almost film-like coat… Barely any silicone is used on this coat). Followed by a second coat that is added on slightly more thickly then the first coat. Then a third coat that has some thickening agent in it that is lightly caked on. This is followed by the application of your mold keys and a fourth coat using the same amount of thickened silicone as your third coat. Finally a fifth coat of thickened silicone is caked on. You wait for about 1-1 ½ hours between each coat, and you let the final coat dry for 6 hours. The silicone is then trimmed neatly around the edge where a nice 2cm “lip” is left around the entire armour part. You then apply the hard shell, wait for that to cure, then de-mold the armour part.

I learned early on that blowing the silicone into any small indented details was a must so any bubbles in the silicone would be non-existent. Bubbles in the silicone means that each cast will turn up having little spheres of gelcoat on its surface. Blowing the silicone into low-lying areas where the silicone may not run is a good step to practice during the application of the first and second coats of silicone…

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As you can tell, the molds turned out very nicely.

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CASTING

I cast each part by brushing some black gelcoat into each mold then immediately laying small 1”x1 ½” strips of resin soaked fiberglass matt into the gelcoat. After a full coat of fiberglass matt was laid into the gelcoat and pressed down so no bubbles were present, I applies another coat of gelcoat to the fiberglass and applied a second coat of resin soaked fiberglass matt.

Remember kids, never forget your respirator and gloves!

The reason why I use a coat of gelcoat between each layer of fiberglass is so the fiberglass layers bond together far better, plus it helps avoid any bubbles between each layer of fiberglass.

After waiting 2 hours for the resin and gelcoat to cure (A good tip is to wait for the fiberglass to be cool to the touch, then wait another 30 minutes) I pulled each cast.

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Alas, my worrying and frustration over the sizes of the casts was finally over when I quickly held them onto my shoulder… Man-oh-man, do they fit like a dream!

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PRE-PAINT TRIMMING, SANDING AND PRIMING

After pulling the casts I went to work trimming the access fiberglass with a dremal tool. Safety comes first, so I wore a respirator and safety glasses while cutting, however I learned that wearing gloves to avoid fiberglass slivers was essential after itching my hands for a day or two afterwards.

Next I hit the casts with some sandable primer, and 6 hours later 240 grit sandpaper on my mouse sander to smooth things down even more. After uncovering a few small bubbles, I filled them in with a little spot putty and went back to work sanding with the 240 once the spot putty was dry.

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I then began wet-sanding with the 240 grit sandpaper by hand to smooth things out even further. I followed the 240 wet-sand with some 600 followed by a 600 grit wet-sand for a perfectly smooth surface.

I also sanded the inside of the cut edges down with the same sequence of sanding as above to avoid slivers as well as cuts in the soft armour that the fiberglass casts would be mounted to.

After all of the sanding was completed I gave the shoulder pieces a thorough washing with some soap and water to get rid of any excess dust before priming. I then let the shoulders sit overnight to dry.

The next morning I woke up and went out to prime the shoulder pieces. I dusted the parts with a sandable primer from 8-12 inches away to achieve a nice, even coat. An hour later I followed up with a second coat in the same fashion.

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BASE COATS AND THE CHIPPING EFFECT

After the primer had dried for a full 24 hours I washed the parts once more and waited for them to air dry. Once they had dried I dusted the parts with 3 coats of Krylon’s 41401 Bright Silver. I let the paint dry 1 hour between each coat, finally letting the last coat dry for 6 hours. I then lightly hit the silver with a 2000 grit wet-sanding, and washed the part once more. The 2000 grit wet-sand made the silver a lot smoother and more shiny so the armour resembled Titanium more then a fiberglass armour part with some silver spray paint.

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After the upper shoulder bell had dried I then went on to begin the chipping effect. I aimed to create a similar chipping effect used on the Weta Workshop ODST costumes. However, instead of physically scratching the armour I decided to create the shipping effect with toothpaste as a masking device.

I carefully used a toothpick loaded with some toothpaste to create a “chipped” pattern in a random configuration…

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I then quickly went outdoors and applied 3 coats of Krylon’s Ultra Flat Black while separating each coat by an hour each and letting the final coat dry over night.

The following morning I removed the paint covered toothpaste and was not happy with the results.

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The chipping effect was far too random and intense. So, I went back to the 240 grit on my mouse sander and removed all of the paint and primer so I could start all over again at the sanding step.

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In the mean time, I decided to re-try the chipping method on the lower shoulder plate. This time I decided to go with a less intense pattern that was placed more logically on the armour part. I took note of areas that would be scratched by the shouldering of a weapon, slamming into walls, or diving for cover during combat. Basically anything I could come up with in an average day of combat I put into the chipping pattern.

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This time the pattern was far more effective. However, I have decided to use smaller “dot” and skinnier “scratch” patterns to increase realism on future armour parts. For now though, what I have done on the lower shoulder plate will do.
 

Xtreme TACTICS 101

Well-Known Member
I used the same chipping method on the upper shoulder bell as I did on the lower shoulder plate (Pictured above). However, I used two layers of chipping opposed to one. I achieved this by using the method used on the lower shoulder plate, but after the black spray paint covered tooth paste was removed I masked off any areas I did not want to be yellow using masking tape and paper. I then applied more toothpaste to the previous “chipped” areas. I made sure to add extra areas of chipping so the black would show through the yellow slightly when I finished.

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I then sprayed the area with some of Rustoleum’s Painters Touch Sun Yellow. As per usual, I applied 3 even coats separated by an hour of drying time each, plus an extra 6 hours of drying time after the third and final coat was applied. After the paint was completely dry, I removed the toothpaste covered in yellow spray paint and the masks to reveal what is below.

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The shoulder is starting to look pretty battle damaged at this point, but nowhere near where I want it when It’s finished.

Because chipping doesn’t occur without scratches, I took some 60 grit sand paper to the upper and lower shoulder pieces. This creates realistic looking scratches that reveal the colour of paint below… Assuming you do it properly. I was careful to work sparingly with the sandpaper, as overkill with the weathering at this point would be costly if I messed up

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After that, I quickly dry brushed some white acrylic paint to create scuff marks on the armour in a few areas.

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STREEKING AND SPLATTERING

Next I decided to use 3 layers of a streaking and splattering technique. This literally means you take thinned paint and, using a brush, fling the paint at the armour part. This will create a realistic mud splattering effect, as the thinned paint will then run naturally downward to create a streaking effect.

I carefully propped the upper and lower shoulder parts up as they would be standing if I were standing up while wearing them. This will help create a realistic looking streaking effect. I then mixed some acrylic Pure Black 479, Coffee Bean 940 and White in a small cup, mixing them together into a realistic dark earth. I then added a lot of water to the mix so the paint would be thinner, therefore flowing naturally. After mixing the thinned down paint, I used a 1/2” brush to fling the paint in an upward fashion towards the shoulder in a random pattern, being careful to use the method sparingly as I knew I had 3 more layers of this to do, all with different colours.

After the paint was splattered on the shoulder, if it didn’t run downward I would lightly blow downward to assist the paints flow. I made sure that not all of the paint ran off of the shoulder, as you should be able to see where some of the streaking effect ends on each splatter.

I used the same method for the second layer, however I used only acrylic Pure Black 479 that wasn’t quite as watered down as the previous mixture. This simulated some oil splashes from exploding vehicles and wherever else oil may come from on the battlefield.

After the black layer had almost dried, I whipped a little bit of it off to make it look as if the stain wasn’t exactly fresh and had been there for some time. This is a key point for all of the layers, as fresh splatters should be minimal when you are replicating a worn-out costume like myself.

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I haven’t gotten to the third layer yet, however I will post pictures and an explanation when I do.

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FOR THE SAKE OF ACCURACY

I’d quickly like to address accuracy in ones armour. When you set out to create a piece of armour that is meant to be a replica from a game, it can sometimes be very hard to reproduce what is virtual in the real world. I did my absolute best to do so, and even though my shoulder plate isn’t 100% accurate to the cover poster, at least it’s pretty darn close.

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Don’t get hung up on the little things. Perfectionism is an artists curse, and it’s one hell of a thing to try and work past.

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SOFT BASE ARMOUR

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DUST AND GRIME

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MUD DRESSING

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THE FINAL PRODUCT

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I hope what I have so far is of some help to anybody out there who is using a similar method of costuming as I am, or is just looking for tips on sculpting, molding, casting with fiberglass, or painting/weathering armour.

Good luck everybody, and stay frosty,

Jake
Xtreme TACTICS 101
 

ACDCrockr209

Well-Known Member
I carefully used a toothpick loaded with some toothpaste to create a “chipped” pattern in a random configuration…
Toothpick, huh? I'm going to have to try that!

Will be waiting for more pics, bro!
 
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