Friday, August 26, 2011

YouTube Friday: Sintra Armor

One of the persona's I'm investigating playing in Exiles requires some pretty intense costuming, which includes a fair amount of armor that you can't take off. Since we play the game during the summer, I'm trying to find lightweight and cool alternatives to make the costume. And I was told to look into Sintra.

Sintra is the brand name for PVC board, which has a pretty unique and ideal quality for armor. Basically, it is malleable whenever it's hot, and is rigid when it cools back down. This allows for you to custom fit it on the body (or on a mold). Additionally, it's quite thin and it's pretty light, which helps us dramatically. My only concern is whether it will hold up or not under LARPing conditions, but we'll only know if we try.

If you're interested in using it like I was, you'll probably find a bunch of videos on YouTube about making Mandalorian armor, because everyone wants to be a Fett.

Anyways, here's the most helpful video I've found on the subject so far. Mad props for showing the use of rub and buff to make it look metallic.



  1. I must say I was very surprised to learn of NERO's summer armor rules at my first event this July. I am much more accustomed to suffering through, though I have found that armor isn't the killer, the padding underneath it is.

    That said, good luck with your project, and see you at Sycamore!

  2. I used this painting technique on an iron golem costume in the NERO Chicago Dungeon at GenCon. The costume was painted camp foam though, not Sintra. It definitley works great but when the suit saw action there was some chipping of the paint due to weapon contact.

    The two biggest problems with sintra is it's low melting point and how resistant to weapon damage is. I honestly don't know how tough it is vs. boffer weapons - I don't think anyone has tried it. Its low melting point is good since it makes it easy to mold with minimal tools but you can't store it in you car on a hot day or else it will warp.

    My recommendation is to obtain some test pieces and try it out. You can either buy it or maybe get it free. Go to a local sign shop and ask if they use sintra (they probably do). If they do ask them if you can have some discarded pieces.

    Regardless, I would first mold a test piece and then whack on it for a while with a boffer weapon and see how it holds up. If it does hold up you should be good to go.

    A suit of sintra armor won't be easy to keep cool since the material doesn't breathe. The only thing you're buying with Sintra is its ease of shaping and its light weight.

  3. I like this material, some friends of mine made parts of their Stormtrooper armor out of it.

  4. In preliminary work on the Sintra I got, it's actually a lot more durable than you first think. I got 3mm thickness, and immediately thought "There's no way I'm not going to break this." Jenn thought the same thing. So I let her try and break it, and with enough pressure, it folded in half, but it didn't break.

    I make a couple of bracers out of it and it seems a bit stronger when it's molded with some curves, probably due to the tension from the satin finish. Ultimately, I think it'll work really well for sectional armor, since the breathing in that armor comes from the holes, not from the material itself.

  5. @Austin

    Yeah, I think the summer armor rules are more due to the fact that NERO players are a little less physical than other games that use realistic armor, and they tend to put the health and welfare of their characters ahead of RL health and welfare. We've had a high number of people who don't hydrate properly or suffer from heat exhaustion. The best solution would be for people to be smart about playing a game, but that's much easier said than done.

    I'm still trying to figure out the underside of the armor. I'm not sure how much I'll need, because it's going to be assembled as a layered armor and won't have a tight fit on the body. I'm thinking a thin layer of foam (like foamies), but I'm open to ideas.

    And looking forward to playing Exiles with you guys again. As an added benefit - I don't think it will be 9 million degrees this time. Knock on wood!