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Mysterious Stranger Costume Build; Part 7: Gorget, or Neck Armor

This piece is the round plate that fits over the breastplate and wraps around the neck. In the claymation, this piece of armor is solid, however, when I attempted to make a solid piece, it strangled me, so I found another way of doing it that looks solid, but is flexible enough so that you don’t pass out. I made two separate segments, one is the gorget skirt, and one is the collar piece

Now, there are some variations to this. I made mine out of solid materials, so that I could make all the scrolled embelishments look really good, and also so that I could attch my shoulder plates to it. My reason for this was that I wanted the shoulder plates to be easily removable in case i needed to get the costume off quickly. The way I have done it, the shoulder plates tie onto the gorget, and the gorget fastens onto the breast plate. If you do not want to do this, you can make the gorget entirely out of foam, and simply thread THROUGH it and attach the shoulder plates to the joints at the top of the breast plate. It’s up to you, but honestly, either way, these instructions are helpful, since the construction process is similar

GORGET SKIRT:

Materials:

  • Sintra (or if you’re using wonderflex, or foam, a piece big enough to encompass both head and shoulders)
  • exacto knife and other cutting tools to cut out sintra
  • oven
  • foil
  • cloth gloves
  • sculpey light weight for jewelry making
  • glue that binds plastic to plastic (wood glue works well too, but is runny and must be carefully watched so that drips do not form)
  • blue craft foam (large sheets)
  • plaster fill (the kind that comes in a tiny tub and is used to repair hles in walls)
  • paint in red, tan, and blue
  • varnish or resin (resin will add to the strength o the piece)
  • industrial strength velcro (this can be purchased at any craft store, business store, or hardware store. It is most often used to adhere signs or notice boards to the wall)
  1. The first step is the maths. You have to calculate the dimensions of this big donut-shape. First measure your neck dimensions by wrapping a tape measure around your throat, but add to it a couple of inches so that you don’t get strangled. Now using the formula for the calculation of a radius (R=C/6.28) of your neck hole using the neck measurement that you took as the circumference. Make a compass by tying a string around a pen, cutting it to the length of the radius, then tracing out the circle onto your material (sintra or foam). Once you have made the neck circle, measure from your neck to the edge of your shoulder. Subtract one inch. Now use this measurement to determine the outer edges of your gorget skirt Go around the whole neck circle measuring outwards and marking. You should end up with a donut-like shape. Cut this out using your significant know how. (If you are using foam, this process will be easy, but if you’re using sintra or anything like that, make sure you obey the strict cutting instructions as per other entries on this blog. IMPORTANT NOTE: It is better that the neck hole be too small rather than too big, and that the edge be longer than your shoulder, rather than shorter. The reason for this is that you can very easily shave or cut pieces off, but ou cannot add on. So err on the side of to much rather than too little
  2. After you have created you donut, you are going to want to heat form it using the instructions for the breast plate armor. You preheat your oven to about 275, then lay the piece of sintra in it on top of a flat cookie sheet, so that you don’t get grill marks. Once it is floppy like a noodle, take it out quickly, while wearing cloth gloves, do a little ring toss action. What I mean is, unhook you mannequin (if it is hanging on a hanger) or if you are using a free standing form, lay the sintra circle over the neck and form
  3. NOTCH CUTTING: You may need to cut notches out around the shoulder area. Sintra can only bend so much, and it may be that the sintra creates a less sharp curve than you want. Mine did. So I removed it from the mannequin, madea a mark wear the raised area was, notch cut it, and then reformed the sirnta so that it laid flush all the way around the dress form, completely flush with the breast plate. When i had formed it exactly as I wanted it, I filled in the notches with the plaster (you can also use “plastic wood”, “bondo”, or even fiberglass, if you are ambitious)
  4. Cut a segment off the back of the neck skirt. (If you are making the gorget skirt out of foam, still follow this step, even though foam is more flexible. You’ll see why later) What I mean is, you have to get this around your neck somehow, in order to make the necessary alterations to it. So you must cut the back off the front, in order to create a space for you to slide your throat in. It is best NOT to cut along the shoulder seam of your breastplate. Cut farther back from that as per the diagram above. Once you have cut off this piece, try on your breast plate, slide the gorget skirt into place, and determine if you need to shave off any sintra from the neck hole, or from the shoulder edges.
  5. make all the alterations by shaving with the exacto knife, and sand every piece carefully, ESPECIALLY around the neck hole. You must make sure there are no sharp edges. In the case of the outer shoulder edge, make sure it does not go all the way to the arm hole of the breastplate, because you will be creating an edge in the coming steps, and you want THAT to line up with the shoulder
  6. Lay a sheet of blue crafting foam behind the front piece of the gorget skirt and trace the edge. Then measure out an inch or so and draw out the same curve. This will then be cut out and glued to the edge of the underside of the gorget skirt. This will give you the blue edge. Repeat this step or the back, making certain the edges line up.
  7. Take the foil and make a sheet of it that is several layers thick, and can fit over the neck hole. You are doing this so that you can create a replica of the exact dimensions of the neck hole, and also so that the clay you are about to use, can be easily removed, and bakes.
  8. make a fat snake out of the clay and lay it around the neck hole. This will become the neck emblishment. (If you are using foam, to make the gorget skirt, this clay will provide the piece with a lot of stability.) I created the rounded, swirly shapes by pressing the back end of the paint brush into it, almost like carving the wet clay.
  9. Once ou have the clay how you want it, remove the entire foil sheet of the dress form, and supporting it with metal bowls or whatever, bake the clay as per the instructions on the clay
  10. After this has cooled, cut it at the same places that you cut the gorget skirt and glue the two pieces to your gorget skirt.
  11. The skirt should now be completely finished. Paint it and varnish/resin coat it. Make certain to also paint the inside too. (If not resin coating, adhere the velcro FIRST then paint, because if you paint first, the velcro will not adhere and will fall off)
  12. Adhere the velcro to the underside if you have not already. Leave the two sides of the velcro stuck together, but peal off the paper back of the opposite side. Then place the gorget skirt on the breast plate. This will make certain the velcro is lined up perfectly
  13. press the skirt firmly onto the breast plate, then peel it off carefully to make sure that the velcro stays on both sides. smooth down the velcro carefully
The skirt should now be finished and able to adhere to the breast plate. If you plan to attach your shoulder panels to it, drill two holes close together at the place where you want the shoulder panels to attach
GORGET COLLAR:
Materials:
  • sheets of red or dark brown crafting foam
  • sheet of tan crafting foam
  • tan puf paint
  • hot glue gun and glue sticks
  • scissors
  • velcro
  1. The first step is to make the pattern. if you feel comfortable just making it on the foam, be my guest. This is what the piece should look like:
  2. Because your collar will have different dimmensions that mine, it’s really up to you to determine how the pattern should look and how it fits best. The above is an appx. of mine.
  3. You need to create the decorated edge of your collar. To do this, measure every space along the top edge, including the chin space
  4. cut a strip of tan foam that is as long as this measurement. its width should be as wide as it needs to be to fold over the edge in two equal parts. mine was about two inches wide.
  5. fold over the edge of the collar and glue into place. you will need to make cuts where the strip follows the curves of the chin space:
  6. cut a piece of foam to fill in the space created by the notched cut:glue this into place
  7. fill in the cuts and gaps with puff paint and let dry
  8. cut a piece of foam to use as a fastening device. Attache the soft side of the valcro to this loose piece, and attach the rough side to either side of the collar bck seam (on the inside)
  9. when puff piant is dry, try on the collar. Make certain that you can properly fasten it with the velcro strip
  10. once you determine that the collar fits properly, you can decorate the edge. Do this by “drawing” curls and swirls on it with puf paint. Make sure you do this on inside and outside
  11. You can do this in layers and build up the shapes until it looks like the clay snake you made for the gorget skirt. Just make sure that the puff paint is completely dry before applying the next layer
  12. once puff paint is completely dry, paint the whole piece as you like it.
  13. once painted, spray varnish it. This is easier because you get an even coat that can be repeated. you want the even coat because this will rub against the gorget skirt and any rough patches will catch on it and flake.
Now that you have both pieces made, here is how you try them all on together:
  1. put on the breast plate, but do not tighten laces
  2. put on the collar and tuck the flaps down into the breast plate neck hole
  3. slide the gorget skirt up into place, making sure that the little coiled snake of clay coveres the lower edge of the collar. you should see no gaps, and you should not choke. If you do choke, then you need to shave the inside edges of the gorget skirt until you feel comortable
  4. put the back gorget skirt piece on and make certain the whole thing looks seamless

3 comments on “Mysterious Stranger Costume Build; Part 7: Gorget, or Neck Armor

  1. […] Mysterious Stranger Costume Build; Part 7: Gorget, or Neck Armor … If you do not want to do this, you can make the gorget entirely out of foam, and simply thread THROUGH it and attach the shoulder plates to the joints at the top of the breast plate. It’s up to you, but honestly, either way, these instructions are . Attache the soft side of the valcro to this loose piece, and attach the rough side to either side of the collar bck seam (on the inside); when puff piant is dry, try on the collar. Make certain that you can properly fasten it with the velcro . […]

  2. Kristina, It’d be so rad if you had a link/page with JUST pics of the costumes. and, even video! I know it’s a lot to ask of my new massage therapist. Thanks for the awesome massage, btw! it was great!
    -Rosina

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