I collected a pile of images, mostly from photos of the real suit on display and one photo from another fan, of a chest piece they bought, which shows the top where the straps extend under the chest. Then I spliced them all together to make a flat image (because all the photos show the abs curling around the torso) and in photoshop I drew over this (the red green and blue lines) to make a template so that when I removed the background photos, I would have a clean line drawing of this part. I also decided that I was only going to work on the panels and the centre part, not the straps as they are Waaaaaay too complex to sculpt, but more on that later.
So I traced the template on to a board, then flipped it over and traces the other side.
Then I added the oil based clay and started building up the rough shapes
So now the part I have been really dreading, the middle part that joins all the plates together. This is a really complex part and it actually took me a week to sculpt this part because I had to keep going back over it again and again and again. With thin lines side by side, when you work on one, you kind of distort the one you have just done beside it, so there was a lot of rework over parts I had already done. But the process was to rough it out, then shape-wise build it up so that it is as level as possible, then I used a wire sculpting tool to lay the lines in
I had a small tool with a sharp end which was the perfect size for the horizontal lines down the middle, so I used this tool through a piece of plastic to get a smooth line (shown without the plastic just for this photo)
So this shows the plastic, if you sculpt through it, you don’t get ragged lines.
With the centre portion done, I finished the left hand side plates. I had to keep revisiting the centre part because as I completed each plate it showed up errors where the two meet, but nothing major
More plate work
To get the holes in the plates, I used this tool, it was some kind of screwdriver with the end missing, it has been in my sculpting toolbox for years so I can’t remember what it used to be, but it acts like a pipe, you can press it in to the clay and get a ring shape hole with the middle still in it. Very handy!
With the holes in place
This part took about a month before I was happy enough with it to mould it.
I then poured fibreglass resin in to the silicone mould and the final piece was laid out on a board over a layer of fibreglass mat
After soaking the mat in resin, I stacked books on top of the piece to keep it pressed on to the wet fibreglass mat.
I trimed the board on a drop saw and did a bit of light sanding and filling
More filling and sanding to correct some symmetry issues
My favourite part, the first layer of primer! Now I can get to see what it really looks like
I have to show you this, this file has become my best friend while working on the abs, this is hard to see on the photo, but it is a thin needle file which is the perfect size for getting the groove between the thin wall around the plates.
I will skip some of the sanding and filling because it is probably boring to everyone else and skip to where it is now.
Now for the straps. I have a great friend who is also a costume builder and he has access to a laser cutting machine, so he cut these ladder pieces for me out of acrylic sheet.
I glued them to a board.
Took a bunch of different diameter pieces of electrical wire
Glued them down too.
Poured in epoxy resin
I used some body filler to fill the undercut along the outside wire shapes
Primed and ready for moulding up.
I cast up some pieces of the strap in resin, then I Trimmed up the strap pieces and glued them in place
The final boxed up mould and the silicone negative and positive moulds
From the silicone positive I made a plaster negative then poured in liquid latex tinted black. This is the black latex piece fresh from the mould.
The final piece, trimmed and sprayed with black PlastiDip