Fiberglass Armor Construction: Intro

Introduction

Myself in the finished armor.

The following pages detail my experiences, thoughts and ideas for making fiberglass armor. While my experiences are from making a costume of the Japanese Anime character Lantis of "Magic Knight Rayearth" this information can be used as a guide for other genres as well. Some people may also find the information useful for making things that are wholly unrelated.

From the beginning my goal was to make fiberglass armor. I chose fiberglass for these reasons; cost, experience, strength and shape are the main ones.

  • Cost comes first because you can get a gallon of resin and a few yards of cloth and matte for less than $50.
  • I have had a little experience with fiberglass as I was brought up on a fiberglass boat as a child. Given this exposure I felt quite comfortable in working with the stuff and addressing the safety issues.
  • Fiberglass is strong, 'nuff said.
  • Given that the armor I am making is very curved and form-fitting fiberglass seemed like the best material to use to make the shapes since I can lay it to conform to various shapes and angles in ways that other materials would not or could not for the price.

A Few Thoughts

In this guide I hope to answer all questions that you may have, but

most likely will not be able to. If you have a question please feel free to email me. However, I do have very little time to answer emails so if the question is covered in here I probably will not respond. If it is a new question I will add it to a FAQs and send you a reply, but please understand that this may take a good while. If you need a fast answer I would suggest posting to one of the forums that I list in the references section.

Making armor is expensive. If you want to do a good job it costs both time and money. If you are only doing a small piece of armor (say something for the shoulders) the cost should not be too great, but if you plan to make something significantly larger be sure to budget adequate funds and time, especially if you have a deadline. Also, if you have a significant other I hope that person is well known for their patience and understanding.

If you do end up using this as a guide to make something please drop me a line with a picture as I am always interested to see what people make.

I Write teh Good!

As a word of warning, these instructions are not the best written piece of documentation you will find. There are grammatical errors galore and I have a tendency to repeat myself (and be redundant ;) as I try to explain things in different ways hoping that one explanation might "click" with someone better than anotherr explanations. This whole doc was written as a stream of conscience, or conversation, with a focus on passing on all the information. However, that does not always make it easy to read, so I had two choices. I could spend some time editing everything, or I could just put the site up as is as the information is more important than the writing in this case. I opted for the first option in late Summer 2004, when I finished the version you are reading. Currently it is Spring of 2005 and I have not had time to edit even one line. So, given this stellar rate of progress I figure I should put it up as is, or it ain't ever getting up. So... Enjoy. I hope you find it useful!