Bethesda Armor Build in One Week

L to R: Justine K. Klewin-Ruiz, Jay Michael Lee, Mike Leckrone

I put together a collection of some of the progress photos taken while we worked on a full suit of armor for the Bethesda Soft 2013 Tamriel Beer Garden event at Pax East. We only had about a week to work and it wasn't even a full week at that. Jobs, car repairs and distances interfered along the way. But sometimes not sleeping for several nights is worth it, often revealing a hidden overdrive one can have but not always show or have access to.

Test fitting the paper template.

Cutting out shapes from templates in Worbla.

The first step before you begin in any project is to layout what pieces you will need. Templates were made based on art that was provided and a basic idea was formed on how we were going to assemble them together. We then traced those templates onto Worbla, a thermoplastic sheet that softens with heat and hardens when cooled. It's the first time I had ever used the stuff and look forward to using it again in the future. After seeing what people can do with the stuff I want to try again when I'm not in such a rush.

Justine working on the undershirt.

Sculpting the belt buckle and clasps.

As we made progress we split off into doing tasks that fell on individuals. Justine was in charge of sewing the undershirt and pants while Jay and I tackled the sculpting. Nothing was ever definite though as we kept going with what ever needed to be done. I'm surprised at how smooth that actually went over the course of several days.

Casted buckles and clasps and Worbla forms ready for the next step.

Formed front and back chest plate with a boot.

Applying Apoxie Sculpt to the Worbla.

Adding a pitted texture to the Apoxie Sculpt.

Applying heat to Apoxie to speed up the curing process.

Fitting the neck piece.

After the Worbla was shaped we began to add a layer of Apoxie Sculpt. This is a two part epoxie that is ultra light and hard as a rock when cured. It's like concrete and styrofoam got together and had a kid. It's a little tough to manipulate so prepare to do a lot of shaping and sanding afterward. Since we didn't have a lot of time to wait for curing, heating the Apoxie with a heat gun cured it faster so we could continue. You Just have to make sure you don't burn it. Also, the thicker the Apoxie, the faster it heats and cures. We had a few times where we mixed up too much and while we were working the ball of mixed Apoxie hardened while what we were working with didn't. So keep it flat while working and it will last a little longer.

Priming the pieces. Let the paint marathon begin!

Black acrylic being applied over the base metallic enamel.

Black acrylic being wiped off, revealing the pitted texture.

Darkening the edges to emphasize the borders.

We had a lot going against us throughout the week. Paint should be applied in 60-70 degree weather and as we began painting, the temperature dropped into the low 30's. The base metallic wasn't spraying properly and taking too long to dry and at one point it started snowing. We eventually got everything based out and moved inside to add the black acrylic wipe. The black paint was sprayed on with an airbrush then wiped off, leaving the pitted areas black and the higher surfaces the metallic base color. After going back and darkening the edges, silver was sprayed around the trim areas to contrast the warm metallic base color.

Had I the time, I would have applied many more details to the armor, adding subtle color fades to the warm metallic base color and bringing out details like the battle damage. There was actually, no gap in between finishing the suit and leaving to deliver it. We used every minute we possibly could.

Thumb approved finished pieces.

Chest piece being fitted for straps and details.

Clasp and strap detail.

Side details.

Leg and boot pieces.

It's hard to tell but Jay's actually sleeping.

Finished suit.

The last hour or so was spent adding the velcro straps and gluing on details. Jay was the closest fit to the size of the model that would be wearing it so he was the template throughout the entire process.

It was exhausting to say the least, but we had fun. We had some pretty good laughs, watched all three seasons of Archer (3rd season twice as I was out painting the first time) in the process, and got a visit from the recently knighted Sir Nigel, perhaps the cutest dog on the planet.

Sir Nigel in his doggy armor.


All content © Mike Leckrone unless otherwise noted. All rights reserved