Here’s the first of my progress photos for My Sparrow skin Genji from Overwatch and it’s the shin armor! I made a template in Illustrator and then printed “mockup” on paper! I measured it on my leg to check the fit and sizing. When I was ready to go, I traced and mirrored all the pieces into craft foam and then covered it in black worbla. There are a total of 4 pieces for the shin armor. The top, bottom and two sides (with holes for the green cord). Doing it this way saves you worbla since you don’t need an foundation layer that covers your entire shin! The results are much more light weight and still extremely durable!
Next up its bracers: These were done the same way as the shin armor. Here you can see the blueprint I created in Illustrator. I only draw up half of the armor and I print two copies on paper and tape them together to test fit it to my body! I do it this way so they are as accurate to the reference picture as possible as I’m bad at freehand drawing patterns.
I made the base of my Sparrow skin Genji belt with two layers of craft foam. I carefully cut curved details from the 2nd craft foam and glued it on using glue stick for temporary adhesion. After I was done, I sandwiched it between two pieces of worbla and carefully used sculpting tools for sculpey clay to push all the worbla down and create sharp, crisp lines! I really like the way it came out and it was super fun to make
The completed belt for Sparrow skin Genji right before priming and painting! I used two layers of worbla strips to line the edges and give it a finished look. The side bevel swirls were made out of worbla scraps and I used AMACO Tri-bead roller to shape them out perfectly (you can get it from Amazon). I love using black worbla for making the bevels as the results are extremely smooth and is very easy to work with! I rubbed hand creme in the bead roller before pressing in the worbla so that it doesn’t stick.
I started making the pauldron for my Sparrow skin Genji by printing out the blueprint I made in Illustrator. Then I sandwiched card stock in between two layers of worbla and puzzled each piece together slowly. It’s a bit of work and the results are thinner than using craft foam. There’s lots of prep work in doing it this way but it’s not the only way to do it – You can use EVA foam, pink insulation foam or worbla scraps! Don’t be afraid to experiment since you’ll never know what you might discover!
The beginning phases of my pauldron. I traced and cut the craft foam using the blueprint I made in Illustrator and then covered both sides of it with black worbla. I trimmed the excess worbla away with Gingher brand dressmaker shears to get a nice clean edge. Then I added the swirl design I made. I carefully and lightly heated the design and the pauldron base before I joined the two pieces together to make sure the bond is super strong. Definitely one of the harder pieces to construct but I love the challenge and seeing it come to life!
Here’s the completed pauldron build. The holes were made with a tool used to cut out clay jewelry and they make the perfect holes for the green cord that’s to go through them later.
Shoe armor! I used mini d-rings and secured them to the armor using worbla strips. I put one on top of the toe part and tied it to the shoe laces to prevent them from slipping down. I used pleather strings to secure it to the bottom of my shoe and walking all day in them doesn’t rip these either – They’re super tough! Shoe armor is one of the hardest to get to stay put. I tried out lots of ideas before I wear them to a con, always test your attachments!
The Breastplate: I started at the bottom of the breastplate and made my way upwards and slightly layered each tier over the other to save on worbla and weight.
I cut out the shapes of the boobie cups first and combined 2 layers of worbla for each side. I draped the heated worbla over a 6 inch acrylic globe used for lamps I found at my local hardware store. I used hand creme to make sure it doesn’t stick to the acrylic globe.
This works better for armor that doesn’t call for very large boobies since the black worbla doesn’t stretch as much as regular worbla. Black worbla has great structural integrity and I was able to get an awesome looking breastplate with less effort than regular worbla!
I was able to get really smooth boobie cups for my breastplate by using a polycarbonate globe I found at my local hardware store in the lighting section! This one is made of plastic, hollow and has an opening at the bottom so it doesn’t roll around when you drape hot worbla over it. I also use Burt Bees Hand Creme as a releasing agent so that the worbla doesn’t stick to the plastic surface. Plus it smells awesome and keeps my hands soft after working with worbla so long! You can roughly cut out the shape of the cups and then shape it with the polycarbonate globe, wait for it to cool of completely, then remove it from the globe and trim off the excess with sharp Ginger dressmaker scissors! I use two layers of worbla for each cup with Black Worbla and found them to be sturdy and easy to work with.
Priming! One of my least favorite stages of the armor making process, yet it is essential to achieving a flawless paint job. I really like black worbla for this step since it only takes 2 layers of wood glue to get a super smooth finish.
I use the Gorilla brand wood glue made for outdoor use and I don’t dilute it at all. I squeeze some into a small bowl and then dip my brush in and paint it on my armor. I allow the first layer to dry completely and you can tell when it turns completely clear (around 10 to 20 minutes depending on your location). Then I apply the second layer and I wait until it dries clear again. It doesn’t matter how neat the wood glue is applied at this point as long as the surface is fully covered and there are no crazy pooling or drips, you can have streaks! Then I take 400 fine grit sandpaper that I submerged in warm water and lightly wet sand the surface. This makes the top layer of glue turn pasty and you are able to get a smooth finish and at the same time add texture onto the surface for the paint to hold on to. It is best to wet sand up to an hour after the second layer has dried. After 24 hours it will completely harden so allocate some time before you begin. You can see in the pic the difference in the surface texture. The left is before and the right is after I sanded it.
I used a new product to prime my shoe armor called “Flexbond” and I got mine from CosplaySupplies! They come in the smaller 16oz bottles which is the perfect amount for a cosplay project! It’s my new favorite way to prime shoe armor and armors that will show more signs or wear and tear. It’s way more flexible than wood glue and adheres to black worbla better. Wood glue is easier to wet sand so you’ll have to be careful when applying Flexbond to the armor since it will be harder to fix streaks and pooling. But the results are amazing and definitely a keeper in my cosplay stash!
After I finish priming all the armor pieces, I paint it all a matte black. I use Winsor & Newton paints in Mars Black but any matte black paint will do! I like to brush on my paints as there is little space to do much spray painting when living in tiny apartments in NYC! And the next part is my most favorite part! Painting! I’ll show you how to bring black armor to life using silver paint and other techniques!
Painting black armor was super tricky! After I painted my whole armor set a matte black, I dry painted a really thin layer of silver paint using dabbing motions with my paint brush. I found that the silver was too pronounced and so I diluted black paint in some water and gave it a wash to dull the metallic look. I just brushed on the diluted black paint all over and wiped off the excess with a paper towel. The results were great! The armor had dimension from the silver yet appeared to be black armor from the wash!
And here is the completed paint job after the green paint details! I added black details lines with a small brush and regular acrylic paint in the crevices of the armor to make the lines pop! I used a bunch of dark greens and layered on lighter greens in the center to make the green bold! I even added some green interference paint to give it a glow when the armor hits the light.
This is how I made the shurikans for my Sparrow skin Genji! I stared out by tracing the outline of the ninja stars. I just opened Overwatch, zoomed onto it from the hero gallery and put the paper right on to my computer screen and traced it. Then I made the base out of craft foam and wrapped it in worbla. Then I applied triangular details with one layer of worbla. I used left over worbla scraps and rolled them into circles and cut them into 3 pieces and applied it carefully with a crafting knife and ruler making sure to slightly heat up the base and circle for a strong bond. After that, I primed the worbla with 2 layers of wood glue and painted them with black acrylic paint. I layered silver paint on the blade edges and the raised details and done!
Photos by Paincakes Photography