I have only been going to comic conventions for a few years and while my friends usually wear a costume of some sort, I never have. I like the idea of wearing one but I have started a few costumes and unlike all the weapons I have made, I lose interest in finishing them. It might be that I’m now starting feel a little like the odd one out, because I have set myself the challenge of completing a costume and wearing it to a con this year or next.
During my recent first play throught of Dark Souls I met the character Solaire of Astora. I quite liked the character and engaged in lots of jolly co-operation killing bosses. This gave me the idea to create a costume of him and all ready having a chainmail hauberk, should be easy to complete. All that’s needed is the helmet, tabard and green fur, chausses, scabbard and possibly a sword to ‘treat’ myself when it’s all done.
I started by gathering up some good references and got lucky by finding many great images of a Solaire statue. I choose to start by making the helmet. While I have made some helmets from aluminium and steel before, I decided to make this one from foam. 8mm mats would be used for the base of the helmet with 3 and 5 mm for the details.
With the foam, glue and references ready I began by working out how the helmet would go together, measuring my head and then drawing out some templates on paper. After taking your nose into acount it is better to make the helm a little bigger for comfort. So I scaled the templates up and then transfered them onto my foam. Updated versions of the templates I used are available to buy from my Etsy store page.
The body of the helmet consists of two identical halves with an oval of foam filling the top and helping to hold the shape. While I tried to make the best possible joins I would be hiding most of them later.
Details were added around the eye slit and the top of the helm with 3mm foam. A 3mm sheet was placed on the top to cover all the seems and then was then trimmed. 5mm foam was used down the front and back of the helmet. The rivets were cut from 3mm foam using the lid of a marker pen. This conveniently was the right size, so I sharpened the edges with a knife it so it would cut better.
Solaire’s helm is basically a great helm with an attached gorget, but getting this curved section right caused me a lot of trouble. After several experiments it was solved by cutting the bottom of the helmet at an angle, but keeping the top of the gorget square.
Any seems that required it were filled with caulk; I made sure to get the smoothest finish as it can’t be sanded later. With that done and all the foam details added, I used my Dremel to round the top of the helm, carve in dents and scratches and cut groves into the gorget. Finally I gave it 5 coats of modge podge followed by a light sand to remove any brush marks.
As usual for painting metal, I sprayed it dark brown and built up the colour by dry brushing several shades and layers of silver. Weathering was then added using a mix of brown/black paint. The helm was them sprayed with satin varnish. All that was needed was a red feather to complete this part of the costume.
This was a relatively quick build (even with the gorget issue) where I only spent a few hours a day over a week working on it. I’m happy with how it turned out and this just leaves the tabard, chausses (which I have started on) and the scabbard to go. Fingers crossed.