Photo credit: Noir13
We asked seasoned foamsmith, Spectra Cosplay to test drive our L200 Foam and compare it to EVA foam since we get a lot of questions on how to apply the different materials to cosplay. We sent him enough foam to create his Gore Magala Monster Hunter armor! Here’s a summary of what he found it can and can’t do so you know what to expect.
L200 Foam is a lower density type of foam that is also very light weight! It is smooth on both sides and can be heat formed. It takes texturing by dremel very quickly.
I am super excited to be chosen for this opportunity to use CosplaySupplies’s L200 foam for a dream build of mine. The Gore Magala armor set is one of my favorites from Monster Hunter 4 Ultimate. It has a sort of Batman/Demon look to it which matches the monster itself. When I first got the L200 foam I noticed it has a lighter feel to it than what I am used to. It has a strange texture that doesn’t feel like most eva foam I had used in the past. I ran a few test to see if I was capable of doing my usual tricks and techniques on this foam.
I started with my detail cuts I do on my armor builds to add a little extra detail to them. For those unfamiliar with this technique, it involves scoring the surface of the EVA foam (without cutting all the way through) and applying heat to expand and accentuate the cut. Like an engraving. While cutting into the L200 foam isn’t the problem, when I tried heating it up I noticed the foam kind of sealed itself back up. It doesn’t seem to hold the detail cuts well which isn’t too much of an issue if you are doing detailing a different way like layering foam or dremeling texture. If you rely a lot on the scoring/heating technique to create embedded lines then you would want to use EVA foam for it.
These cuts are used on the underside of armor to give angles and ridges to foam. You carefully cut a “v” groove/valley into the foam without piercing to the other side. That way when you fold and glue it, it gives you a smooth line on the top side. By cutting into the L200 foam & gluing the inside seams together I noticed I was able to get my desired look the same way I’d expect from EVA.
My main concern was that I wouldn’t be able to use the L200 like I usually do with EVA, but those fears were put to rest. It is also really similar to most EVA foam to sand. So after a few tests I got to work creating my big Monster Hunter build.
Building Gore Magala
Like with any armor project I take on I like to start by making my patterns. After measuring myself for the appropriate armor pieces I was able to make them to my measurements. Gore Magala’s armor has a mix of scales and layered plates. So the first step in this build is to get the base armor pieces done before getting the layers and scales done.
It’s important to utilize as much space as possible on your foam mats so you aren’t wasting any material. As stated before it is more important to me to get the base armor pieces done first. So I did the shins, thigh, hips, ab, chest, shoulders, and arm guards first.
Note: I went through several Xacto blades in order to cut all that foam. It can be tough cutting this foam with a dull blade, so making sure your blades are sharp before doing so.
After cutting out all the base armor pieces, the next step was to trace out where I’ll be laying out the armor plates and scale on their respective pieces. Once I had these traces done I took my dremel to it to sand my armor pieces to have cleaner edges as well as some battle wear detail to it as well.
Next step in this build were the shoulder pads. The Gore Magala armor has these weird claw shaped shoulder pads that are layered. Six claw style armor pieces that go over the shoulder and halfway down the back. These were going to be the biggest part of the armor. The claws alone took up a whole sheet of L200 foam.
Again cutting these out took a few blades to get nice clean cuts. In the end I was pleased with the end result. I went right into sanding these pieces before assembling them.
With the base parts cut out & the layer/scale tracing steps done, the next step was to sand, detail, and start gluing everything together for the assembly. This build has been a lot of fun to do and I am very pleased with how it is all came together. Detailing is always favorite part of any armor build I do, and there was plenty of opportunities for that with Gore Magala.
The finished costume worn to Yeticon! The armor was made by me. The sword was lent to me by another cosplayer at the Monster Hunter shoot. Photos by Noir13