I’ve been playing a lot of Heroes of the Storm alpha lately and one of my favorite heroes to play is Sonya the Barbarian. She’s tough, rough and damnit, her armor designs are pretty freagin’ rad. And I may be a little scrawny in comparison to the Barbarian’s body type but I do what I want. :p
I fell head over heels for Sonya the Barbarian’s “Warrior Tier 2″ skin in Heroes of the Storm. I liked the fact that the tier set wasn’t the exact replica of the original tier 2 warrior design. It was an updated version, and a hell of a lot more fitting for Sonya. I also have a thing for big and bulky armor, and that’s exactly what this armor is.
The base wig is from Epic Cosplay and was cut and styled by my co-worker (yay, how convenient!). Everything else was made by yours truly. I’m exceptionally proud in making this armor set because it was my first time using EVA foam mats for this WHOLE ENTIRE thing instead of Worbla. While I love using Worbla–and still do, I felt like I relied on it a little too much. Thus, I wanted to expand my knowledge in using other materials that could work just as well as Worbla.
Breastplate: I conveniently own a hollow-half-of-a-sphere which I used for this breastplate. For the breasts, I cut out a basic square of 1/2 inch thick EVA foam and warmed it up with a heat gun. I then forced the piece into the sphere until it cooled down. It created a fugly fold which I had to cut out and then used hot glue to glue back together so that there are no gaps in between. I created the rest of the top and bottom parts of the breastplate and then hot glued them together. There were a lot of noticeable seams but I was able to cover them up with trimmings (thank god for trimmings).
Shoulder “blades”: I glued three layers of 1/2 inch thick EVA foam together and then used a box cutter to carve a general shape of the blades. Since it was so rough, I had to use a dremel tool and a mouse sander to make the texture more smooth.
Skulls: These bad boys were also made entirely out of EVA foam. They were used for my shoulders, breastplate and boots. Instead of using 1/2 inch thick foam, I used 1/4 inch thick foam for more flexibility. I first created the basic shapes and features. After I had cut them out, I used a heat gun to form the shape to a typical curve/shape of a skull as much as I possibly could. After gluing them together, I used a dremel tool to make the shapes more rounded, realistic and detailed.
Bracers: The basic shape of the bracers should be pretty straight forward, though I do regret not making them into two different pieces. I basically took a small sheet of EVA foam, heated it up, rolled it up and then glued it together. Since it was so thick, the seams originally wanted to burst. This wouldn’t be too much of an issue had I separated them into two parts. The skulls were done a little differently than the previous skulls. For this one, I used 1/2 inch thick foam and a dremel tool to carve the shape out.
Belt: The belt part of the armor was very angular so I had to cut out “lines” of the foam and glue them together to make the angles more sharp. I used the same technique for my hip armor.
Boots: Just so I’m not walking completely funny (just slightly funny), the boots come in two different pieces, the foot and the leg.
Trimmings: All the beveled trimmings were done by using a dremel tool and sometimes a box cutter. It can be a bit time-consuming but the outcome is definitely worth it because it’s incredibly light and doesn’t add much weight to the armor when compared to Worbla or clay.
Painting and overall progress: Some folks like to put their entire focus on one small part of the costume, from creating the basic shape all the way to painting it before they work on the next part of the costume. As for me, I like to do the opposite just so I can try to keep a consistent and cohesive look for each of them.
Before painting, I sealed everything with 3-6 layers of Plastidip. Since the beveled trimmings were so annoyingly textured even after using a polish sanding drum, I used about three layers of mod podge on most of the trimmings and anything else that has really rough texture. And then I slapped on another three layers of Plastidip on the entire thing. I used acrylic paints and no spray paints this time. Painting gold and metal without making it look fake and tacky is definitely one of the more challenging parts of this costume.
All in all, I am very happy with how this armor came out regardless of the time constraints I had. I look forward to using EVA foam again for future armor cosplays because it’s incredibly light and mostly comfortable to wear.
Most of the armor parts were held together by magnets, specifically the breastplate, shoulder and belt. I added velcro on some of them for extra reinforcement, as shown below in this video:
Cosplay in Action!
These were all taken by various photographers at BlizzCon 2014!
Special thanks to…
Real Illusion Creations for personally offering tips on patterning a skull!
Ed Crane from Blizzard Entertainment who designed the actual in-game armor!
And my truly awesome and patient boyfriend for helping me figure out how to paint the gold trimmings when I had almost lost all hope (and nearly threw a fit…aand nearly cried like a child).