Full Metal Alchemist - Alphonse Armor Notes

This project was started in 2006 and was worn at AnimeDetour 2007. I didn't take nearly as many pictures of it as I should have but what I've got I'll post here along with a few production notes:

I started by drawing schematics of the character and comparing them to the size of my body. Needless to say, parts of my body would have to be reshaped and extended to get this costume looking the way it needed to look.

I made the breastplate section first and planned to make the rest of the armor in proportion to it. The chest was about 65 inches around and the full suit was made to stand to stand about 6'8" feet tall ( I was only 5' 7", by the way.)

I used tagboard to make the pattern prototype for the chest armor, the final version of which was made of sheets of 6mm craft foam coated with transparent styrene:

In this picture you can see me taping tagboard shapes together (which I then taped to the finished part of the armor:)

Tagboard is a good material to use for making armor patterns, as it behaves in much the same way as styrene (and is much cheaper of course).

It's starting to look a little more like Al, as you can see.

I had to use high-density bedfoam (the green spongy sheet foam that you can buy at any fabric store) to create the thickness necessary to make the collar. (I glued several layers of plastic onto the inside and outside of the collar to make it stable. I could have used a thicker version of flexible foam, like a section cut from a yoga or exercise mat, or ordered a thick slab of closed-cell EVA foam from an industrial supply site, but the green bedfoam seemed the easiest, cheapest solution to the problem.)

Here is the leg, which I also made using green bedfoam:

Leg armor that doesn't have any obvious closures or buckles can really be a pain in the ass to recreate because you have to guess how the character wearing it managed to get into it. To create the necessary length for the lower leg (and to insure that the legs were in proper proportion to the torso) I had to build the footplates around a boot with a massive heel. (About 4" in height.) I've seen too many armor Al costumes where he has a massive torso like a gorilla and tiny bulldog legs. Clearly, to get the heroic, tank-like proportions of the character, some prosthetics were needed.

Here's the upper body after I had constructed the shoulder pauldrons (which I made out of 3mm craft foam which I cut and notched. I then hotglued the notches in the material together to make a rounded shape almost like a bowl. I coated the outside of the pauldrons with a thin layer of .020" styrene.)

I needed to wear prosthetics on my arms to extend their length:

These took forever for me to work out. At first, I wanted to wire each individual finger for movement, but the fingers kept getting tangled with each other . Since time was running out, I worked out a simple system with two pulling rings (with half the fingers connected to one ring, half to the other.) This made the fingers much less likely to conflict with each other AND made it much easier for the fingers of my REAL hand to grasp the rings.

I've skimmed over a lot of the construction process (notably, making the shoulders, knees, knuckes and elbows, and adding spikes to them) I did manage to get a picture of all of the armor components before they were painted and attached to each other:

I mixed blue metal flake and silver metallic paint together (testor's brush-on paint, that is,) and applied that to the outside of the armor. I even managed to paint in the blood seal...

I applied brown to the areas around the armor ridges and spikes to give the armor a lived in, rusty look.

Alas, I didn't get as many good close pictures of it as I would have liked--I did however win a workmanship award at AnimeDetour (and am grateful to the people who helped me backstage and who agreed to appear onstage with me.)

You can see more pictures of this costume here in this Alphonse Gallery.

I do regret that I no longer have a pattern for this armor (I recycled the tagboard into other projects.) I regret also not taking pictures of the actual "hotgluing the styrene coating to the foam understructure" process but hopefully, if you're planning on making this yourself, you'll be able to figure out how to do it without much trouble.

Questions? Comments? Leave 'em below or e-mail me at dietzt@REMOVEMEcloudnet.com
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Thank you.