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Casting Pauldrons

I pulled my General Kael pauldrons out of the bin they had been sitting in for over a year, and they were starting to warp and come apart at the seams. They had been built by heating and shaping Wondeflex, but instead of repairing them, I thought it would be beneficial to make them by sculpting, molding, and casting complete new ones. This way I could easily make replicas if anyone else wanted a set. Despite being "General Kael" pauldrons, they're pretty universal looking as far as I'm concerned, and I think they would be appropriate for a number of custom knightly costumes.

I started with the under spaulders. Rather than make them a section of plates as I had done before, I made them with a complete rounded top. Again, as I was making a mold, I figured they would work as early medieval spaulders all by themselves. Might as well kill two birds with one stone, as they say.

I started by sculpting clay over a vacuum formed spaulder I had in stock. After adding the plate lines, I placed the studs and covered it with a clear coat spray.

Now it was time to mold. I planned on using Rebound 25 Silicone, which is a brush on silicone, but I still wanted to make a mold wall. Though it is a brush on product, the first layer is pretty runny, as you don't want to thicken it yet. That way the silicone can find it's way into every detail. I added Thi-vex to the remaining layers to thicken the silicone. Once the silicone was cured, I made a mother mold out of Free-Form Air. I flattened the top so it wouldn't roll around when flipped.


Once the mold was ready, I used Magic Cast Pig Iron Grey, which is a fine metal powder. I brushed a thin layer into the mold, then cast Smooth Cast 325 resin dyed black. I roto-cast the resin for a bit before switching to a brush. Another option is the semi-rigid 57D resin, which is better for roto-casting, but it's a softer plastic. With such a small surface area, and since it wasn't completely round like a helmet, I found the 325 was easy enough to use. Dying it slightly extends the pot life, so it's flash cure occurs more slowly. The patina was achieved by dry-brushing brown and black acrylic paint.


The same process of sculpting and molding was repeated for the upper pauldron. Without a pauldron base, it took me quite a while to get the right curve and shape. For the spikes, I fabricated one out of ABS plastic and glued it to a bottle cap. I added a layer of dry wall putty and sanded it down to a smooth finish. I made a quick mold out of Mold Star 16 Fast silicone, and cast three spikes out of SC-300 resin. Of course it was only after I made the mold that I noticed the spikes had little rivets on them, so I had to add them afterwards. Once the spikes were in placed, I sculpting around them to make it look like they were welded on. I don't know what the medieval technique of welding was, but that detail was on the movie costume, so I added it to mine.


Again, a mold wall was built, and Rebound 25 silicone was used for the mold. The mother mold was going to have to be a two part mold because of the spikes. I made the first half out of Free Form Air, and sculpted in some registration keys. I also added a block of wood to be used as a leg when flipped upside down. Once cured, I used Vaseline as a release agent and made the second half.


Once more I used the Pig Iron metal powder. Definitely use this stuff outside. It floats everywhere, no matter how gently you brush it. I debated molding the pauldrons without the spikes, so they could be especially universal. But in the end I decided the spikes would be much stronger if they were part of the casting. I filled them in one at a time first. Then I used the dyed black SC-325, first roto casting, then finishing with a brush.


The patina was once again added with dry brushing brown and black acrylics, and all that's left to do is fit it to the costume. As with the movie, and my old pauldrons, the plan is to attach them separately for a greater range of motion. Seeing as they aren't actually articulated armor, strapping them tightly together would pretty much mean I wouldn't be able to lift my arms. You can see in the comparison picture how much cleaner the lines and shapes are compared to my old ones, and how much more accurate they are too. Add to the fact that they're much, much stronger and easily replaceable, I'd say this project was worth it. Now to make a new gauntlet and new set of greaves.


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