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Last commission for a while...

So I this set of armor is the last commission will be doing for a while. I am trying to move to NYC to get my career started and shoot some short films for a web series. I will be living with two friends for the first month or so and they have no space for anything, but me and my clothes. That and I will need to get work to save money to get a place with roommates of course and there has to be some space for me to do this work. So it might be Dec. or January before I have the space to do so. I might also restrict some of the work to mostly for myself and a random commission every now and then. Commissions take up so much time to make. This armor I started July 11th and just got finished last Thursday night. I was also working on a helmet for another work as well.. but this took way to long because I had to make scales. Most of my time was spent on the scales. A friend commented I am not charging enough for the amount of work I put into these commissions. The only problem is most people think I charge too much, but if they spent the time to do the figures on how many hours a day and days a week I put into it.. it would equate to a full time job and I would be getting about 3-500 a week. I work 10- 12 hours on this stuff. So I have to reconsider how I approach doing commissions for other people. And now the armor.
The show Game of Thrones is a great show. The commissioner wanted me to make Jaimie Lannister's Kings Guard armor he wears. I think this is the most detailed project I have ever done. I loved it so much I really didn't want to give it up.. but that is part of doing art and commissions.

It is a difficult piece at this time since I've never engraved knot work, never made scale male and it's all with the thin plastic. This is difficult because you can't go too deep other wise you will affect structural integrity.

In order to get the knot patterns I had to get several pictures from different angles and try to draw it out. This is difficult since lighting and size of the image can alter how it looks. But I am certain that I've got 95% of this correct. I think it is not correct in the top of the wing area. I think there might be a twist knot instead of the pieces laying side by side. But it still looks good.

Here I you can see where I'm fusing the plastic with Pvc glue. You have to clamp it down to make the pieces fuse properly. The bottom I was molding the bottom panels which will be attached to the belt and scales. I am still working out the details on that.

Scales are tricky. I don't have time to make them properly like scales, but I can at least give it the look. I will talk more about it in the completion. It's all about the movement. In scale mail all plates are connected together. Generally one plate is attached to three other depending on location.

As you can see here is the front and back pieces and I've been carving the knot patterns on the top and sides. I had to mold this onto a mannequin and then trim edges and reheat the tips to bend them outward. The bottom bend was a pain in the ass.. but I just flipped the mannequin around and used the rib cage s the upward bend.

Closer picture of the top knot pattern. It is actually the repeated on the the shoulders as well. I am 98% sure the pattern is correct.. but on my positioning is slightly off since I had to squeeze it in. Still needs some detailing.

Here is the side pattern. The top and side patterns got a heavier engraving since they were larger and on multiple layers of plastic. I still have more detailing include fake rivets to add to it.

This piece I would add the lip, spot putty it and then make a mold for duplication. But don't have the money for mold duplications.
In order to get this shape I used my vacuum form machine and formed the plastic onto a bowl, trimmed the bowl piece and reheated the round part to get out the ridge the best I can. I then took the piece that I trimmed and flipped it up, split forked and fused it to the top piece. I used mesh and bondo to work out details of that edge.

Finished armor.. or as finished as the budget will allow. I've been on this thing almost non stop. 12 and 15 hours a day long. But it is done and I am relly happy with it. There will always be somethings which I wish I could've done better with the proper supplies, but I really like this. Wish I could keep it or had the funds to make a silicone rubber mold of all the pieces for duplication.

I tried to get the color and patterns as accurate as possible. The bronze color looks better in daylight it's funny how the valspar brand classic bronze is almost the same color as rustoleum's antique brass. There is a slight hint of difference, but not much. I guess the spray paint companies still don't have it 100% right. I need to get to know my airbrush more so I can mix more colors. I actually used to spray colors on here, because one had the hammered chemical in it. So I did a light one coat of it. It gives a little bit of hammered in the right places and I went back with a metal file and jabbed more hammered marks in other areas. Then I sprayed it with the bronze. I also dirtied it differently. I normally just do black. This time though I mixed a brown with the black to get something that wasn't rust but not black. I wanted it to accent the bronze color and simulate dust, but not be rust. Then I went and rubbed specific spots with a tiny bit of black on a rag. Just tiny spots where I wanted to accent.

Shoulder. The should pattern is just a repeat of the front top pattern just smaller. I need to work on getting the bend back better next time. If I had the funds I would clean it up more and make a mold off of it and then pour resin for the final. Then it would really be one piece instead of several put together. Also need to remember to dirty the armor before you paint on white next time. Cleaning brown out of white tiny engravings is such a pain. Another thing about the shoulders. They are buckled on with leather. In all the pics i could find they all had to places where they attached to the main armor. Only in one did it use one spot(when he was riding a horse. I guess that was because he need more movement.)

The best part about doing commissions... I get to try on the armor when done. =b

This is Nick the commissioner. He is going to wear it to Dragoncon, so if you want to pose with him, just ask him. He will also have a cloak with it.


i just want you to understand your own worth and value.

if somebody wants something else cheaper, let them buy some crappy plastic shit at the halloween store that would only survive a couple of wears. the shit you make will last beyond 10 years, even more!

you are skilled. you build to last. you put a LOT of time and effort into what you do.

charging as little as you do demeans your own value, and people who whine about the prices have no concept of time and craftsmanship.

next time somebody whines about the price, ask them if they have that amount of time to attempt to do it themselves. if they have no prior cosplay making experience, tell them to double that amount of time, even triple.

i want you to know you are worth it.
i also want you tro push your boundaries.
maybe step away from the plastic, move onto something new.
get out of that comfort zone :p

now make me something complicated for free.
(stupid fingers, take two)

My experience with art commissions (both what I've done and seen from others doing) is that most people who commission work have NO FUCKING CLUE about how much they're undervaluing the artist. Worse, you get people who undercut like crazy. I've seen people offer up full-color full-body character portraits for something stupid like $10. Or people who get mad when they want something insanely complex and/or time-consuming and the artist prices according to that.

The worst are the people who think you should just do art for free. Grr.

The good news is, people who can do what you do are RARE. Your market's not nearly as saturated as mine. :) You'll probably never be able to charge according to your hours spent on a commission (not unless your commissioner is crazy rich) but what you do is /valuable/ and you ought to price accordingly.
Thank you lisa.. do you want armor for your cat Video? =P
Thank you for you concern. And I do appreciate the kind words. Wondering about the pushing the boundaries part?...call me confused.
You are flipping amazing!!! O_O
Thank you Tiney.=)
Wow O_O just... WOW!
Thank you Neeko.
This is a gorgeous piece. I also wish you'd had the ability to made molds of this, however, with it being from a copyrighted series, would you have been able to sell it without giving a cut to the studio?

I know one of my friends had to cease and desist making these adorable rag dolls based off of Doctor Who characters which she was selling. She didn't get into any legal trouble, but she was contacted by the studios, who told her they would take action if she didn't stop making the dolls.

That said, it's an amazing amount of work, and I love it.
It depends on how greedy or protective a series is. Look at star wars... people still make storm trooper armor and props and sell them on ebay or as commissions. There are many places that still sell 300 armor all the time. The people that did the cease and desist order should've offered her a job making and selling the items for them instead of telling her to stop. On top of that if you just post a commission service on line they can't say squat. You are doing commissions for orders specifically tailored to that person. So it really is about how dickish a company might be. If I created a show or a movie.. then I expect to get toy companies and others manufacturers to help me create the stuff and sell it. But if it's something we don't sell or don't find marketable then.. go for people. It's about the free market.
But thank you again for the compliment. =)
You're very welcome for the compliment! I meant it.

Yeah, that's what she was hoping for, but she couldn't mass-produce the rag dolls, as she'd used a pattern from Butterick, I think, for at least the doll base...there were all sorts of legal quandries, and the Beeb didn't want to let go of any Doctor Who stuff. It had to come from them directly. Granted, a handmade rag doll, even back then, could've easily gone for some big bucks (for the time), considering what I've seen commissioned dolls going for lately.