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Author Topic: Spanner's Fit and Finish Corner. Tips for making a good costume GREAT!  (Read 21029 times)

Spanner Murraan

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I want to talk a little bit about paint, weathering, texture and depth and how they relate to your Mandalorian costume. I will be breaking this down into individual sections.  These four concepts will greatly affect the over-all appearance, realism, and “Believability” of your kit.

PAINT:
Your paint job is the first thing that people are going to see when they look at your costume.  Your paint scheme sets the whole tone for your armor, and will instantly label you as credible if it is done well, and laughable is it is not.  Choose colors that reflect not only your personal style, but your Mando’s style, and function.  Nothing worse than a fluorescent orange painted sniper.  Flat, muted colors will always look better on a Mandalorian than bright, shiny gloss.   It’s like the difference in seeing a Marine in full combat rig, vs seeing a guy in plastic soldier costume from Halloween USA.  See below.


See the difference? Your paint goes a long way to affect the look of realism in your kit.  Think of ways to make your paint more realistic.  In these forums, I am going to concentrate on ways to take the accepted and highly practiced methods of paint and Gather Round, boys and girls….
evolve them and expand on them to give our members and those who want to be members a real edge in the costuming world.

WEATHERING:
Weathering goes right along with paint. They are like Ben and Jerry, or Laurel and Hardy.  Natural-looking weathering is not as sporadic as you would think it is, but sure as heck aint deliberate either.  Natural weathering mostly will occur on the high points of your armor.  Do this experiment:  Take a brick and spray paint it black, then roll it down the street or driveway.  The edges and corners are going to be more heavily damaged than the flat surfaces.  Same is true for just about any shape.  Think of a steel handrailing that has been there for years.  The parts that get the most traffic most likely have the paint rubbed off, polished smooth and have a nice patina.

Also… the amount of weathering you add is completely up to you.  I am more concerned with the quality of weathering, rather than the quantity.  My personal armor is heavily weathered, but that is due to the nature of my character.  Perhaps you are more of a behind-the-scenes mando, a pilot or such and feel your weathering should be light.  That is granted… but there would still be some wear and tear on the armors paint, and on the soft parts.

That brings me to another point… DO NOT NEGLECT THE SOFT PARTS!!!  Few things will take someone out of the realm of fantasy quicker than a mando with heavily scratched and grimy armor and a pristine vest and flight suit.  See pictures below.





TEXTURE and DEPTH:

Texture and depth are two concepts that work hand-in-hand and really make the difference between a good costume, and a Great costume.  They are also the two MOST over-looked aspects of a costume’s aesthetic.  The fabrics used, the type of weathering, materials for ammo pouches and belts, and so many other factors affect texture and depth. Take a look at the pictures below.  The first two are costumers using off-the-rack , cheap fabrics that I like to call “Joann Slick”.  The Roman Soldier and the Viking/Anglo-saxon here look great for the Renn Faire or any kind of con…




Now compare them to the corresponding Images here from the movie “King Arthur” (I use this movie because the costumes, though not historically accurate, were amazing).



 See the difference in the fabrics used?  The looser, rougher weaves of the linens make them feel more real, and they look as though if you were to touch them,  you might be left with some residual grime, or at the very least, a dusting of dirt.  This is texture and depth.  Layers Layers Layers.

Also... look closely at the Movie Used Jango Armor... even though his armor was bare metal, it was NOT pristine as a lot tend to think..




See the weathering and grime?  Trust me, if they weren't there, YOU WOULD KNOW.

I will go more into these topics a little later, and if anyone has any questions or comments, feel free to post them up.  I am also including a link to the reference gallery at The Dented Helmet, for those who would like to see the four concepts I discussed as it pertains to Mandalorians, as they have a very extensive library.


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This is amazing.  It should be required reading!

Ohl'd Vart

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Great work, Span...good stuff.  ;)

Which leads me to a question: What if there are instances when a person doesn't want a weathered Mando? Is that not also canon? I ask that, because when we first see Jango on Kamino, it's conceivable that he doesn't have all the dirt and grime that he acquires by the time he loses his nut to Windu on Geonosis....and I know that some folks like to look pristine and clean in their kits, as opposed to the "battle-hardened junk-man" look of Boba Fett..... ;)

Rob
"This, too, shall pass." - Abraham Lincoln, 1859

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Jare Hasan

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Great work, Span...good stuff.  ;)

Which leads me to a question: What if there are instances when a person doesn't want a weathered Mando? Is that not also canon? I ask that, because when we first see Jango on Kamino, it's conceivable that he doesn't have all the dirt and grime that he acquires by the time he loses his nut to Windu on Geonosis....and I know that some folks like to look pristine and clean in their kits, as opposed to the "battle-hardened junk-man" look of Boba Fett..... ;)

Rob

Looking at screencaps of the Kamino costume, the same black wash grime is present on the Jango kit.
I'd suggest...if you really have to have a clean, unweathered Mando...that you look into the paint and finish on the Vader kits.  You'd be amazed at how much the costume masters had to work to get Vader looking clean and pristine, while still lived-in.

Also, "canon" is really the wrong context to think of this in.  It's not "canon", it's just what all movie costumes look like.  Or rather, what all good movie costumes look like.  Wear gives it depth.
« Last Edit: Jul 22, 2010, 11:02 AM by Jare Hasan »
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Ohl'd Vart

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Looking at screencaps of the Kamino costume, the same black wash grime is present on the Jango kit.
I'd suggest...if you really have to have a clean, unweathered Mando...that you look into the paint and finish on the Vader kits.  You'd be amazed at how much the costume masters had to work to get Vader looking clean and pristine, while still lived-in.

I guess I'm thinking of the promo shots of Jango...he looks so pristine!  :)





Quote
Also, "canon" is really the wrong context to think of this in.  It's not "canon", it's just what all movie costumes look like.  Or rather, what all good movie costumes look like.  Wear gives it depth.

Agreed.  ;)

Rob
"This, too, shall pass." - Abraham Lincoln, 1859

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BVC Tutorial thread: http://mandalorianmercs.org/forum/index.php?topic=52355.0

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Jare Hasan

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Rob, I'm not starting an argument or anything (just CYA, Rob knows)  but if you look at those pictures in a good size format, you'll see all the grime and weathering (subtle as it is) is present in all the pics you posted.  Like Spanner said, you may now know it's there, but if it wasn't, you'd know immediately.
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Ohl'd Vart

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Rob, I'm not starting an argument or anything (just CYA, Rob knows)  but if you look at those pictures in a good size format, you'll see all the grime and weathering (subtle as it is) is present in all the pics you posted.  Like Spanner said, you may now know it's there, but if it wasn't, you'd know immediately.

I know, brother...it's all cool; no argument here... ;)...and I see the grime you're talking about. We have a few guys in our WW2 reenacting unit who like to look like poster boys for the US Quartermaster Corps, like they just stepped off the boat or something, but I personally prefer the "lived in" combat theater look for my kit.  ;)

I will say, however, that I'm not (personally) a fan of over-done damage and weathering (I was guilty of that, once  ;))...I've seen a lot of Mando kits that have weathering/damage details in places that wouldn't necessarily ever get damaged...I believe there should be a certain "logic" to what's done to portray everyday usage and wear patterns.

Rob
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BVC Tutorial thread: http://mandalorianmercs.org/forum/index.php?topic=52355.0

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OriKad

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Here's what I did to weather my kit:

Wear it.

Sounds pretty simple, but after a couple outings, it will acquire smudges and scratches and fingerprints and chipped paint.  Subtle weathering.  Of course, I'm gonna be converting to a VERY weathered look.  Grimy and tarnished bare metal.  That'll be fun.

Jare Hasan

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I will say, however, that I'm not (personally) a fan of over-done damage and weathering (I was guilty of that, once  ;))...I've seen a lot of Mando kits that have weathering/damage details in places that wouldn't necessarily ever get damaged...I believe there should be a certain "logic" to what's done to portray everyday usage and wear patterns.


I hear you.  My present kit is very overly weathered in some places.  Steel plates make it very easy to add too many dings and scrapes.  My next set is all vac-formed, so it'll be more subtle.  And my soft parts are going to get a lot more attention.
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Hondo Karr

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Wonderful thread Spanner. It's much along the lines of the PO's Tip of the Day I was doing on Facebook.

As Ive always mentioned...nothing in the Star Wars U is clean and pristine. GL intentionally gave it an old dirty lived in look for realism and to go against the established Sci-Fi genre of the time. It paid off with something that looks and feels real and has become the accepted norm used by many other serials since. I have the "to each his own" thoughts on weathering. I'd love to see every member at least have that "lived in" weathered look. However, if someone wants to look like a guy who doesn't get his hands dirty I can support that too. Although to be honest, in a way, especially using the movies as a measuring stick, a clean kit isn't canon... unless you're a senetor or a princess.

The pix of Jango are great. No matter how many times I argue the point with people, no ones wants to belive his kit was filthy. It sure as heck is/was! And, as you mentioned, you'd notice it it weren't,it wouldnt look right.

Ohl'd Vart

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You can see the grime in this desktop image....

Rob
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Spanner Murraan

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I do what I can. I would like to continually add to this thread and give tips on weathering.  I have been painting (mostly automotive and aircraft) for a long time, and doing theater and costume make-up for years as well, So i think i can help add to the general knowlege of the group.

Fit and finish are my bread and butter. I really beleive that the devil is in the details, and that is what is going to make any kit really stand out.


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Arden Fisk

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All good advice!

I'd like to add one of my own pet peeves-- one Spanner touched on, but I'd like to expand on it.  REALISTIC chipping and grime.  I've seen a lot of helmets and armor come through here with unrealistic weathering-- I call it 'leopard spots.'  A series of round-ish dots, fairly evenly distributed, of a uniform size, all over the armor.  This is completely unrealistic-- have you really ever seen anything where the paint was chipped off so regularly?  The areas that get the most handling would get the most chipping-- whereas the areas that get the least handling would have the most grime.  When you do your chipping paint apply your masking medium in irregular patterns.  Usually it helps not to think about it too much.  ;)  Overdeliberation on the chips USUALLY leads to unrealistic distribution.

Hope that makes sense.
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Spanner Murraan

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Thats a great point, Arden.  Damage is almost never uniform. The molecular structure of cured paint is usually crystaline, meaning it has lots of angular lines that interlock, so when it chips, it will chip in angular, jagged chunks. Here is a picture of Paint chipping from a piece of Steel:



See how UNFLUID it is?  I find the best way to simulate paint chipping on plastic armor is to use the toothpaste method (using toothpaste to mask off the damage BEFORE you paint) and a rigid bristle brush.  Toothbrushes work ok, but I recommend oil paint brushed with a rigid flat blade (Bristle pattern).

For metal armor, the chipping is fairly easy to accomplish by first blasting it with some heat, like from a heat gun or small pocket torch to loosen the paint a bit, then using a small chisel to meticulously chip away the paint. 

And as far as applying grime: One of the easiest ways is to mist the entire piece in flat black spray paint, then take a rag damped with acetone and bristly rub the entire surface before the black has cured.  The black paint will settle into the deep areas, bringing out the scratches and low points.  Then just let it dry.

If you want to take the black was to a more realistic level of texture and depth (see what I did there?) you can use ground up artists charcoal.  Grind the charcoal into a fine dust and just use your finger to rub it into the low spots, and then you can use a make-up brush to give the entire surface a light dusting if you so wish.  After you have reached the level of grime you want, hit the whole thing with a clear coat of your choice (I prefer acrylic flat).

I will be posting a tutorial on the toothpaste method I am using on my new kit, along with rub-n-buff and the charcoal method soon.  These methods are for those that want to go beyond the silver spray paint for their base coat, and really add some realism to their kits.  It is a bit more expensive, but marginally so, but it really gives a "Fresh off the set" look to your kit.




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Great info! Thanks!

Topic bookmarked...

 


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