I converted my dining room into a studio, and it is super exciting. I then went out and bought a few basic art supplies and sat down to figure out a few things. First and foremost, I needed to figure out how much leather was necessary. So I began to make a template, estimating sizes based on ratio.
The cardboard template:
I spent about 4 hours cutting the template out of the Leather that I had bought during lunch, and experimented with attaching the pieces to the supporting belts.
Finally I also bought some basswood and laminated birch plywood to experiment with for developing the knives. Initially I had thought to construct it with wood, then coat with resin for a smooth finish, but I figured that point this will be a template for a resin cast - that way I can weight it evenly when I cast, as well as utilize clay/bondo/epoxy/polyurethane to make a super smooth surface.
I then spent a good 5 hours marking out and cutting the leather. I ended up with *just* enough for the belt and his left arm's bracer. I'd still another belly half of thinner leather which I'll be using for lace and other parts. Wouldn't mind having extra, though :)
After I cut them all out I had to slot them for the 3 cross belts, which was a major pain, and I later realized that I would have been a lot faster to simply punch holes on the end, and connect them with a single cut.
I still needed to punch a LOT of holes for the connective lace, as well as the decorations. Spent another few hours beveling the edges of the leather, as well as bending it backwards against the smooth surface to add texture.
After that was taken care of I primarily worked on the Arakh - the long curved sword, that we don't actually see him use, but I figure will be fun to have around. I started out by laminating two pieces of 1 1/2" strips of pinewood together, then cutting them accordingly into pieces to match the curve, and re-connecting them. From there I further cut the shape, and cut the bevel of the blade's edge with a knife and a large wood rasp. Then i started experimenting with Apoxie sculpt and filling spaces, before just adding a large amount to the hilt to make it fit the hand:
Furthermore, the blade is starting to feel bulky and heavy, which is exactly what I was hoping for. At this point, I'm wondering if I should even consider re-casting the entire thing in resin, or if I should just focus on working it to a good state with the apoxie sculpt. We'll see what happens when I get to the detail on the hilt ... it may be a job for NSP, in which case I'll definitely need to cast it.
Here we can see the more completed Arakh, along with the knife, and the cut and woven and holepunched arm band.
I later coated the entire knife in fiberglass resin sans fiberglass, which was delightfully viscous and thick, allowing for a 1-2 millimeter thick coating over everything, and further smoothing. Sooo then I punched out most of the holes for the girdle, and added a tempoaray set of leather stiching. Looking good!
In addition to all that, I've started to think about the leather pants, and how I'm going to manage that. As luck would have it, today when I was dropping off my rent check I spied by a dumpster a chair that was upholstered with leather. Checking it out I noted that it was broken, but still in halfway decent shape.
Naturally I drove home and got my compound bow, and while ghost-riding my car drove by and nailed the beast just behind its front haunches. It didn't want to part with this world, so I had to nail it again before I reigned in my steed and performed the coup de grace. With deft hands I flayed its fallen body, making quick, skillful cuts in the right areas to let the hide be removed easily from the corpse.
The chair yielded what would appear to be just enough material to make the pants, and even better, despite the fact that it was finished, it would appear that the leather can be dyed easily. It may not be one large solid piece to be divided up into the pants pattern, but ultimately its an all in all good solution that just happened to drop from the sky.
I then spent some time working on the arm band, and experimenting with dye. The results are pretty good!
Clearly some work is yet to be done here. I need to finish dying up the edges, and the man who's instructing me on leatherworking has stated that after waxing the leather, adding 'antiquing' dye thats been diluted all of those edges and bright spots will be covered up. He also recommended that I pull it tight over some wood and slash at the whole affair lightly with a knife a few times to simulate combat damage. As the leather is pretty thin, I worry about marring it to destruction. I'm also slightly worried that its a bit too red ... though that only appears to be the case under incandescent light and direct sunlight. I recently purchased some more dye - this time black - and will be experimenting with adding more dark to leather before I go to dye the primary girdle. I've also attached a bit of pigskin leather to the interior, which needs to be worn down a bit, and possibly dyed itself to match the feel of the latticed part. A tshirt that has been cut into long strips attaches this to my arm rather snugly - this is but a placeholder until I purchase some more leather.
Today I also received 3 bridle strap buckles, which will serve to attach the girdle to me before the corset style lacing goes over. This should allow me a good deal of adjustability, both for comfort and good fit. Once this has all been completed and installed, I'll be ready to dye and more or less finish! I'm so excited!
I've also begun to re-carve the wedding belt, this time in 'Hard' Chavant NSP, which has proven to be more flexible than its 'medium counterpart' -- if at any point I find it too hard, a quick blast of a heatgun will get it to medium, another to soft. And its hard enough to allow for very fine details, should I want them.
More updates in the future.