Game of Foam pt 2: Suzumebachi

So in October last year I presented my first attempt at Cosplay armour using foam. It’s been a while since then, and the armour got left to one side for quite some time because I had other projects that I needed to work on.

Then other things got in the way and I simply didn’t have the time or money to complete it. Which is a shame, because I was really excited about this piece. I saw it as the next step in my mission to become “a proper Cosplayer”, because in my eyes, I am still just a dabbler. I have only ever truly finished one costume, and even then it was a rush-job that I wasn’t happy with.

In that time between then and now, I managed to acquire the bits I needed to finish the prop off, almost without even noticing! It wasn’t until I was cleaning up my workspace one day that I realised I was in a position to get it completed. So I did!

For those who couldn’t guess from last time, this prop is Suzumebachi, the Shikai form of SoiFon from Bleach’s Zanpakuto weapon. You can see a picture from the anime here.

Firstly, at the end of the last post I was beginning to seal the foam with a PVA glue and water mix. This helps the paint to adhere to the foam without sinking into it and prevents “bleeding”. I used somewhere in the region of 5-6 coats of glue. This made the armour pretty strong, but still flexible. I then added the first coat of paint to both the gauntlet and the stinger. For this I used a matte black spray paint from the models section of the local Boyes and a gold Rub ‘n’ Buff.

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Once the first coat of paint was on I made a small hole in the bottom point of the stinger and attached a gold jump ring. To this, I also attached a length of gold chain. This will be the connecting chain between the gauntlet and the stinger.

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Closing the gauntlet was my next conundrum. Suzumebachi doesn’t have any closures or clasps in the anime/manga, because it forms directly around SoiFon’s wrist. It is tight fitting, with no visible seams. I decided to create a lacing for it, so that I could pull the gauntlet tight without bulges from magnets or visible clasps on the outside. To do this I glued a line of picture hanging hooks (the round ones with a screw bottom) to the inside of the gauntlet. Once dry, I ran a line of ribbon through them, simple!

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I wasn’t happy with the paint-job. The gold wasn’t rich enough and the lines we so wobbly I could have cried! So I went back over everything. I went over the black with a regular black acrylic paint, while deepening the gold with a Citadel gold paint (sorry, I don’t remember the exact colour!). The gold didn’t want to stick to the Rub ‘n’ Buff at first, so I actually did buff it! That seemed to do the trick, removing the worst of the waxy residue and letting me paint over it properly. I then attached the loose end of the chain to the housing on the top with superglue. I also stuck it to myself, so that was…. interesting….

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So there we go, my first attempt at foam prop-making! It’s not perfect, but I am pretty happy with it, considering I have NEVER worked with this stuff before.

Now all I need is to finish the rest of the Cosplay!

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