The Crest of the Alpha Lupi was made for a commission; making the decorative armor plate was easily the most difficult part of this armor. I also made the chest armor and a foam belt for this commission.
I started my sculpt on a cut piece of EVA foam so I knew the size I needed to make it. I used medium hardness Monsterclay and spent approximately 200 hours over the course of a few weeks to sculpt the whole thing.
I wish I had made the bottom edge more curved, and worked harder on symmetry at the top with the ears and wings.
I made a brush-on mold with Rebound 25, being extra careful to not create bubbles in the silicone in any of the fine details. I poured some silicone in a deep lid to make keys to place around the piece. The shell was made with Free Form Air. I pulled the clay out of the mold, and used scissors to cut some of the very thin silicone that worked its way under some of the details I barely attached to the base plate.
I cast a single plate out of this mold, then had to spend a long time filling holes created from remains of clay and sanding many of the surfaces. I also added a border around the outside edge with foam because this would be a neater border than I could create with clay. Now I have a master to make my final mold.
I used the same process and materials to make my final mold. After the shell cured I flipped over the mold, and trimmed the excess silicone around the bottom edge where it dripped off. Then I applied more silicone to make a lip of silicone around the edge of the shell so when I’m a disaster while casting, I won’t accidentally pour resin on the inside of my shell.
My Free Form Air shell was too thin though, and I broke it trying to get my master out of the mold. I glued the shell back together and when casting other pieces, I poured the small amounts of excess resin over the shell to strengthen it with what would normally be wasted or poured into very small molds.
Now all the cleanup of the casts needed is dremeling the bottom edge to be flush and smooth, and a little bit of sanding around the outside edge where I messed up my foam border (because I’m still terrible) and filling any air bubble in the resin. I used Smooth-Cast 300 at first but Smooth-Cast 65D works better for rotocasting.
I used a silver spray paint over the entire piece, spraying from all sides to get all edges of the details. Then it took about 4 hours to mask off the wolf and wings from the base decorative plate so I could paint it gold. Before painting gold I also cleaned off the silver on the wolf with lacquer thinner. Once the last coat of paint cured, I hand painted the overlapping criss-crossed pattern around the inner border with Angelus’s leather acrylic gold paint. Although it takes many layers to coat it, I prefer this paint to generic acrylic paints I can get at the craft store. Weathering was done by mixing brown and black acrylic paints until I had a very dark brown, watered it down a little so I had a longer working time, and painted the piece in sections, and wiped it off.
The rest of the armor was made in EVA foam, I started with Houston to make a basic pattern, then adjusted it to fit our client who was broader in the shoulders than around the chest which made curving the armor a little more difficult than usual.
Our customer and I had the same hip measurements, so the belt fit me, so making a pattern for a wide, thick foam belt was easy. I could start with the base and layer the details on top. I made a few mistakes with the cylinder on the belt, despite multiple attempts at altering my pattern, I didn’t smooth out the seams very well. I should have use a thicker EVA foam and sanded down the seams and filled them instead of just attempting to fill them.
All the armor was heat sealed, plasti-dip’d, then painted with spray paints and weathered with browns and blacks, and using Rub’n’Buff silver paint for edges and scratches applied with an old, worn paint brush.