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 Kat's Early Crusader (picture heavy)

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BioKat


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Kat's Early Crusader (picture heavy)
« on: Mar 22, 2023, 09:19 PM »
After taking some time to look through the various WIPs and completed kits, I've decided that a leather-based kit would be a great second kit, and am starting on an Early Crusader armor.  I have a bit of experience working with leather, and think this would be a great second project.

So, a WIP here with LOTS of details and pictures so hopefully those who are fully versed in the lore/background material for this era will assist in catching things which are horribly inaccurate and inappropriate for the era, but might not be explicitly detailed in the CRLs.  After looking through the easily-accessible reference material, I have a basic plan.  I have several patterns I can modify and extrapolate to get into a form that will work well as mandalorian armor styles, so no need to go out and find patterns specifically for that.  I plan to make all of the pieces out of a base of leather and, where appropriate, add bone and metal on those leather bases.

First up: pattern draping and drafting.

I started with the torso, as those would likely need the most modification.  Chest, ab, back, and base of the upper arms along with strapping. 






Back plate is going to be a single plate, while the front is the main chest plate along with two overlapping ab plates.  Back plate may need to be shortened a bit, but looks like it should be close to correct based on current placement on the mannequin.  Base arms are asymmetrical with one having a close-to-standard shoulder/upper arm piece and the other will be a spaced double band that I'm probably going to put bones on as connections/extra armor pieces.  Strapping will be single shoulder straps and two side straps.  Base layers of arm armor will be attached with straps to the shoulder straps.

Then I built the upper shoulder pieces. 






One is a solid piece with a curve by the neck to protect that joint.  The other is small panels/scales of leather attached to one another.

I used cardstock/notecards to draft up the base shapes for the torso armor.  I find it works well as a stand in  because it has stiffness like thicker leather, and then can also be disassembled and used as the template/pattern without having to re-draft it onto a new piece of paper.

I'm still working on the strapping details for the shoulders and shaping of the lower layer of the right arm.  The lower layer of the one arm/shoulder may need to be reshaped a bit to sit lower on my arm to not interfere with movement.  I am leaning toward having the upper arm pieces as a separate piece to attach, and building a sheet for a knife into the strapping for them, rather than having all of the torso and upper arm armor as one piece to try to wrangle on and off. 



I have a bit of appropriate-for-armor weight leather (7-10 oz veg tan), a belt blank, and a few thrift store belts to start with.  I'll need to pick up a lighter weight section of hide along with more of the heavy weight for the main armor pieces, and probably at least one or two more belt blanks for various strapping.

I also have on the way a few molds for making bones and bone-like pieces which I will be adding as accents in places once I decide on type of plastic to use.

I have an idea for a Kama with leather armored loincloth and a belt to attach them to, along with a template for hip plates which I'm confident will work well.  The shins, knees, shoe plates, and gauntlets are still works in progress, but I have base patterns cut out for them and am modifying them a bit more before posting. 

Current plan is to use strapping to assemble the torso armor plates independent of a jumpsuit or flak vest. 

Flight suit will be either dark brown, dark grey, or black.  Leather will be dyed various shades of brown.  Potentially a small amount of green fabric as accents and embellishments of certain areas.

The helmet will likely be one of the last items I work on.  I'm hoping to be able to get some metal for that along with using the bone-like molds to make some plates, but that will come later once the molds arrive and I have a chance to play around with them a bit.

Looking for some basic input on items so far that look like they will be glaringly out of place/need to be reworked prior to cutting into the leather.

Thank you!

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Karl Dha'Werda


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Re: Kat's Early Crusader (picture heavy)
« Reply #1 on: Mar 22, 2023, 09:27 PM »
Commenting to follow another of your awesome build WIPs.  There are lots of resources in other WIPs here on the forums as well.  Suggest PMs for older WIPs to reach directly out to each Vod.

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Fair warning I like to take pictures and I've written a novel, so be prepared for both.
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Tiric Keel


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Re: Kat's Early Crusader (picture heavy)
« Reply #2 on: Mar 22, 2023, 09:31 PM »
This will be epic!  Following for sure!

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BioKat


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Re: Kat's Early Crusader (picture heavy)
« Reply #3 on: Mar 23, 2023, 07:58 PM »
Thank you!  I hope it turns out well.

Wasn't expecting to have anything to update about so quickly, but the molds I ordered from Etsy earlier this week have already arrived!  I honestly wasn't expecting them to show up until at least next week.



I ordered three larger molds, one small, and a roller.  The small one is for some tiny bones.

These two are supposed to be for 'wood', but I thought they looked like some close ups of weathered bone or insect carapaces, which seemed like they would work well for texture from large creatures.



This one is supposed to be 'pebbles' or 'rocks', but also looks like some reptile or other creature skins.



And the roller is reptile skin



I'm hoping to use these to get some nice textures for whatever thermoplastic I end up using for the 'not-leather-not-metal' pieces.  And they have the potential for some added texture to the leather as well.

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BioKat


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Re: Kat's Early Crusader (picture heavy)
« Reply #4 on: Mar 26, 2023, 10:06 AM »
I got a chance to play with the molds today.  I know I wonít be able to actually use this test on my kit, but I dug out some clay to test out the molds and make sure they would look correct for what I want to use them for. 



I pulled out the duct tape arms I made for another project a few years ago


And use them to help give the clay an appropriate curve to fit better later



Iím liking the detail I managed to get out of the molds for this test. I want to let it dry and see how they look with a little paint to make sure the details still look good with color added.

Once I make sure they look correct Iíll work on figuring out what thermoplastic to use that will give me the detail I want along with being able to withstand the >100F weather we get during the summer here without wilting/melting.

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BioKat


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Re: Kat's Early Crusader (picture heavy)
« Reply #5 on: Mar 31, 2023, 04:00 PM »
Updates on progress.

I have been able to get quite a bit of work done on the leather this week.   I started on the main torso pieces, and added from there on the first piece of leather.

First, I took all of my cardstock templates and traced them out on my leather, being sure to label them.  I like doing this on the back so there is no chance of my marking being visible on the front.  One very nice thing about an early crusader is that I didn't have to worry about any blemishes in the leather - in fact, I shifted a couple pieces to make sure I actually GOT some of the blemishes in a few pieces.  It was an easy way to make it look more 'rough' without any real effort on my part.


I pulled out a nice, new, sharp blade to cut the pieces out



And then pulled out the leather tools to work on some edging.  Again, since this is meant to look a bit rough, I didn't take nearly as much time as I usually would on these 'finishing/polishing' steps.  But here's a picture of an edge before


and after trimming


I ended up with a pile of leather spaghetti


After that, I started the process of soaking pieces before any shaping could occur.


Which includes slicking the edges more smooth.
Before


After


For those who aren't sure what you're looking at, you can see the before image the edge of the leather where it was cut looks more frayed and ragged than the edge after.  I would usually try for a completely smooth edge if I was going for a more finished product, but since this is meant to look rough, I left it only partially smoothed.

After getting some fluffy assistance in picking width of stitches


Got everything punched and pulled out the leather sewing tools.


I VERY BRIEFLY debated using the leather sewing machine on this, but quickly decided that I wanted it to look more organic, and a machine will look too even for that.  So hand stitching it is.

I liked this as my thread because it's thicker than most threads, but not leather cording itself.


Stitching went SUPER fast







And I managed to get two hip plates, two knee plates, chest, ab, and one lower shoulder completely sewn this week.
I also have one of the upper shoulder pieces and a gauntlet wrapped on forms and drying into shape.

Instead of cutting out any new pieces this week, I focused on sewing the pieces I had already cut out and then sitting down and doing some math for my belt.

I had sketched a basic idea for a belt with attached Kama and armored loincloth


And found two different sizes of metal rings I wanted to use as the connector between panels


So I had to do some math to make sure I had correctly sized pieces before being able to cut them out of my leather.


I also had a watch party for the new Mandalorian episode, where I was able to get a knitted neck seal started.  I pulled out some wool yarn I have on hand and knitted it up quickly using a k2, p2 pattern with 72 sts on a US8 needle, knitted in the round (which will make no sense to anyone who doesn't knit, but may be useful to anyone who does).  I made it extra long so that I could hopefully attach it directly to my top and it will just be able to pull over my head and I won't have to worry about it rolling up.  From a distance you can't even tell it's knit (and knitting is something that exists in Star Wars - I checked before I made it).

Next items on the list -
Cutting out the remaining pieces of arm and leg armor from leather
Finish assembly of arm pieces
Cut out and assemble belt/kama/loincloth
Dig out the natural dye books and verify what color I want to be dying the leather.
Use the natural dye books to verify what color I want the fabric pieces made out of.  Currently figuring I will need at least two colors - one for the flight suit and one for the belt/loin/kama piece and any accents.
Play around with the leather dyes I already have to see what color combinations I can get.  I currently have black, mahogany, and dark brown.
Continue researching thermoplastics to find one that will permit details desired while withstanding the -40C/-40F to 40C/>100F weather we regularly get in this part of the world.

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Karl Dha'Werda


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Re: Kat's Early Crusader (picture heavy)
« Reply #6 on: Mar 31, 2023, 04:48 PM »
Great job!  Too much math for me though, haha I leave math at work.

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Orin Urakto


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Re: Kat's Early Crusader (picture heavy)
« Reply #7 on: Apr 01, 2023, 01:05 AM »
Loving the work so far. We need more Early Crusaders!!

Have you been doing leatherworking long? I just started learning it for my build.

BioKat


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Re: Kat's Early Crusader (picture heavy)
« Reply #8 on: Apr 01, 2023, 11:08 PM »
I’ve been doing basic leather working for a while. I learned for another not-star-wars-cosplay almost ten years ago now and have done smaller items off and on since then. The videos that tandy puts out were extremely helpful when I was just starting out.

This is my first big leather project since then and the first I’ve drafted all of my own patterns.

« Last Edit: Apr 01, 2023, 11:11 PM by BioKat » Logged

BioKat


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Re: Kat's Early Crusader (picture heavy)
« Reply #9 on: Apr 02, 2023, 08:35 PM »
Got some more work done this weekend.

Only minimal work got on the plastic pieces this weekend -
I picked up some plastic pellets at a local craft store to try out.  They say to heat to >150F, so I'm hopeful they will survive the heat here in summer.




I'm trying a bit of paint for weathering and to make them look like real things instead of just plastic.  Will slowly add a few more layers of paint to see if I can get them to look more realistic or if I need to find a different type of plastic.





And I got quite a bit more done on the leather.
For the previously cut out pieces I got almost all of them stitched up (the only one left was the plated shoulder, and I wanted that to be dyed first.


First I mocked up the belt with cardstock to make sure it was close to fitting.




Then I cut out the pieces (and as many other pieces as I could fit on the first piece of hide I had left)



Then I pulled out the dyes and purposefully did a first coat that is splotchy.  That will make it easier to get some nice weathering later and makes it look more worn than it really is.


Then I added a second coat to get it more even, let it mostly dry,


and buffed it a bit with a scrap of fabric (that I intend to use as wraps for other things later.


Once the leather has a day or two to completely dry I'll punch stitching holes for the belt and loincloth, and shoulder and assemble those.

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Orin Urakto


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Re: Kat's Early Crusader (picture heavy)
« Reply #10 on: Apr 02, 2023, 11:49 PM »
I love all that stiching! This is going to be fantastic!!!

BioKat


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Re: Kat's Early Crusader (picture heavy)
« Reply #11 on: Apr 03, 2023, 09:07 PM »
I pulled out the natural dye information today to cover the 'not-armor' soft part color choices.  While I will be using fabrics which are already dyed, I wanted to have the information available on the colors just in case there was someone more adventurous than me and decides to actually dye the raw fabric themselves.  I know this is for a costume of a plastic (or leather) space person, and from a galaxy far, far away, but from the clothing and flora shown, it is likely they have plants which produce similar pigments as those found on Earth, so I'm going with the 'Earth equivalent' theory and listing the Earth dyes.

I've worked out the basic color scheme that I'll be sourcing fabric for, but wanted to have the list of colors before actually picking final colors.  Since my armor pieces will be on the red/brown scale, I decided to go with grey/blue/green to compliment that.

Here is a picture of the natural dyes (and mordants/etc used with them) and the color variations possible with them to give an idea of color scheme.











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BioKat


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Re: Kat's Early Crusader (picture heavy)
« Reply #12 on: Apr 09, 2023, 08:29 PM »
Got some more work done with sewing things this week.

I assembled the loincloth. I purposefully spaced the stitching so it was uneven in a few spots just so that it wasnít all too neat and precise.


I also started assembly of the double layered belt pieces and the ring spacers.


I think I got my fabrics figured out too. A nice plain black (that is more of a REALLY dark grayish and already has that Ďjust slightly faded from true blackí color that looks more like naturally dyed black fabric) and a blue-green that isnít completely even that I think looks fairly good with the leather. I plan to use the black for my flight suit and the blue-green as accents (mainly in the Kama/loin base layer and a belt/sash and maybe a few bits sticking out from under armor plates.)


I had to run to a hardware store for other not-costuming things and, while wandering, picked up some pipe pieces to assemble into a staff. I figured that would be a fairly con/small children event safe option that I wouldnít have to worry about getting nabbed like my current modern kitís five bazillion knives. Thinking of having a knife of some sort as well. So far Iíve sanded the pieces and started gluing the segments together. I plan to make it so it can come apart into the three shown pieces for ease of transport.


I broke out the VERY rusty macrame skills and started on a strap.




I still need to figure out the other end, but hopefully that doesnít end up being too horrible. Iíve also still got three segments of belt to assemble and attach, along with cutting out 5e last ew armor pieces.  Hoping to get more of those done this week.

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B'kal Cho'l


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Re: Kat's Early Crusader (picture heavy)
« Reply #13 on: Apr 14, 2023, 04:20 AM »
This is great :)
Currently planning for an Early-build and really appreciate you wip-thread here and follow it with great interest :)

Oya!
B'Kal

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BioKat


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Re: Kat's Early Crusader (picture heavy)
« Reply #14 on: Apr 17, 2023, 08:24 PM »
Updates!

Belt -
Double layers of all pieces assembled.  And then pieces assembled into the base.  Still need to attach straps, the armored loin piece, and figure out the lower layer of the loincloth and entirety of the Kama.


Attached the other D-ring to the other end of the weapon strap.  It's a bit messy, but I plan to have it on the bottom and attach some beads and such with the extra lengths.


I've got some dirty fabric to use as wraps for the weapons as well


And started more detail work on the weapons.
The staff I first sanded everything down, then used some hot glue to fill in the large gaps.




It was sunny still when I got home, so I pulled out the UV resin


and started the first of the many thin layers to fill the gaps in and make it easily finished later


For the short blade I started with sanding


And then started shaping something to look like the end of a bone using hot glue


And started the resin layers on that as well


Currently letting this solidify in the sun before adding even more layers.  Should hopefully work fairly well at making it look like bone and yet also be a layer that can be sanded and painted without worry.

Working on a few ideas for possible strapping of things, since I'm getting close to the point of needing to sort that out.

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