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I knew this armoring experiment would be a challenge. The fact that I had managed to locate a decent paper pattern and a set of construction notes of an automail arm published by CosMode (site defunct) was of great help to me. I made one set of automail using this pattern. I then set about making a second version using the same pattern (tweaking it a little to make it appear closer to the character reference pics, and utilizing all the wisdom I had managed to pick up while making the first arm.) I also took pictures as I went along and somehow managed to slap the whole thing together into (what I hope will be) a clear and coherent tutorial.

Here is a link to the automail construction article. (It should provide a handy reference on how things should be put together:)

Image Archive of Japanese Automail Tutorial

Here is a folder where you'll find the pattern pieces. (Most of these I lifted from Jan's site. A few of them are sketches of the changes I made to the patterns in my version.)

Link to automail pattern ZIP file.

You'll have to adjust the scale of some of the patterns using a graphics program like Photoshop. (If you don't have a graphics program at your disposal, you can find and download a free graphics software program here.) The patterns for the finger plates, hand armor, upper arm, shoulder plates and elbow pieces seem to work fine without any re-scaling, but the rest of the patterns you will probably have to print out and resize until you come up with something that fits. You may also need to change the proportions of some of the patterns to tailor them to your individual shape. ( Needless to say, if you have experience with drawing or drafting clothing patterns, you'll have an easier time of it. If you need advice on pattern drafting, check out the Props and Accessories forums at )

NOTE: Please read and familiarize yourself with my Main Armormaking Tutorial before you attempt this project, as most of the info you'll need to know about materials and methods can be found in the Materials and Construction sections. (found in those handy, clickable links to your left.) For this project, you'll need 3mm thick craft foam (about 5 11" x 17" sheets should be enough), and a sheet of .030 styrene at least 4' x 4' square. I'll explain everything else you will need as I go along. (This is a project with an Intermediate-Advanced difficulty level so I'd recommend developing your armormaking skills with smaller, simpler projects before you tackle this one.)

Now then, let's move on to the first step of this project: making the pattern.

After resizing and printing out the patterns, I cut them out. While cutting out the fingerplate patterns, I made sure to label them as I went along to identify which finger they belonged to. (This step would serve to greatly avoid confusion later on, since most of those pieces look identical.)

I typically use a thin layer (.030 ) of styrene over a layer of craft foam when building armor. However, in this case, I opted to use just the styrene with no foam underneath, as that would've made the finger armor appear bulky. I placed the pattern for each finger piece over the styrene and traced around it. I then cut out each fingerpiece and labelled it.

I then hotglued the side tabs of the fingerplates together. Like so:

After 70 gajillion hours of work, I finally finished construction of the fingerplates. I had two options at this point: paint them with silver enamel, or create a metallic surface using a different technique. I figured the fingerplates were going to be rubbing against each other and other objects quite a bit, so I opted for a finish which I felt would be more durable than paint.

Viola. This stuff is AVERY 5701 METALLIC SILVER SIGN VINYL and I bought a roll of it off of ebay for 18 bucks. It's a thin vinyl sheeting with adhesive on the back which is used in making decals and letters/numbers for signs. (You may also be able to find a similar material in hobby shops or places that sell model cars. Silver vinyl sheeting is often used to make stick-on chrome for model car bumpers.) I covered the fingerplates by peeling off the backing of the vinyl and then slowly applying it to the surface of the styrene.

I should add that while this type of adhesive-backed vinyl is good for covering small objects, it's not-so-good for covering bigger surfaces, as it's very wrinkle-prone (and it makes any bump, bubble, or imperfection underneath it stick out like a sore thumb.)

Here's a picture of what the finished fingerpiece should look like (taken before I figured out how to adjust the distance/flash setting on my digital camera).

Now that the fingerplates have been covered, they have to be attached to each other. This I did by taking strips of 1/4" black elastic and hotgluing them to the inside of the fingerpieces along the top, starting with the fingertips...

...and working my way down the finger. I made sure I left a little bit of black elastic trailing at the bottom. (this will be glued to the inside of the handplate.) The elastic allows for the fingerpieces to stretch as you flex them, (thereby making the fingers more mobile.)

Here's what the fingerpieces look like once they've been covered with vinyl and assembled:

On to the next page, construction of the rest of the hand...

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All anime characters featured are copyright their respective owners.
All costumes created by and all pictures property of Amethyst Angel c. 2005 (c. 2016)