Introduction: Foam Clone Trooper Armour
This Instructable will show you how to build a suit of Clone Armour out of ordinary foam, cardboard, and duct tape. This particular suit was constructed for my 12-year-old step-brother, using an action figure as reference. A few pieces are missing (such as the hand guards, ab plate, and thermal detonator) but the look is definitely conveyed. From start to finish, this project took about a month and-a-half to complete. I can't accurately determine a budget, as I already had several of the materials on hand, but expect to pay $50+ if you are buying everything. Anyway, on to the steps!
Step 1: Materials
Interlocking Foam floor mats- Found at Home Depot and Harbor Freight Tools, comes in packs of four-$18 (you will need 2 four-packs)
Cardboard-Any will work as long as it's corrugated-Free!
Craft foam-Sold at most craft stores in 12"x18' sheets-99 cents a sheet
Plasti-Dip Spray-Sold at Home Depot-$6.95 a can-This build requires at least six cans
Glossy White Spray Paint-$4.48 a can-You will need about four cans.
Poster board or other stiff paper-For making templates
Duct Tape!-Also found at Home Depot and most craft stores
Elastic straps-Found at most craft stores
Heat gun-Used for shaping the foam
Hot glue gun+hot glue-Used to assemble the suit
Dremel-Used for relief details
(Optional) Latex caulking-Used to fill in the seams where the foam comes together. Gives a more "solid" look, but isn't entirely necessary
Step 2: Making Templates
Using an action figure or reference photos as a guide, take your poster board and tape multiple pieces to your model. Work out the shape of the pieces, cutting away and taping on where necessary. The chest is made in two pieces to give it more dimension. Note that the chest, cod/butt plate, and shoulder bells will be made from the foam floor mats, while the arm and leg pieces will be made from cardboard covered with craft foam.
Step 3: Cutting Out the Pieces
Using a marker, transfer your templates onto the foam and cardboard, and cut them out with a sharp ex-acto blade. Use the heat gun to give the chest and back plates a curve. Simply heat up the piece, bend it into shape, and let it cool. Assemble the arm and thigh pieces with duct tape. Be sure to seal the cut ends of the cardboard: this will help prevent tearing.
Step 4: Glueing It All Together
Hot glue the chest pieces together, and glue the craft foam pieces to the cardboard. You'll also want to carve a groove down the center of the chest plate with the dremel. Also carve a groove following the blue line shown on the codpiece. If you choose to use the latex caulking, lay down a line along the seam, and smooth it with a paper towel. After that's done, cut some elastic straps and and glue the chest and back together at the shoulders and sides. I didn't get many pictures of the strapping process, as I was wrapped up with college at the time, but I'll try to explain it as best I can. The shins (not pictured) are held together by three straps on each side. The shoulder bells connect to the shoulder straps with a single piece of elastic, and an additional strap is glued to the bottom edge of the bell that connects to the upper arm. There is also a loop on the bell that keeps it from flopping around. The thighs are connected to the codpiece with a single strap on each side. The bottom of the cod piece connects to the bottom of the butt plate with a single strap.
Step 5: Plasti-dip
Before you can paint the pieces, they will need to be sealed, as foam is porous (and will therefore absorb paint). Plasti-Dip is a rubberized spray that is usually used to give tools "grip," and will seal porous surfaces. Prepare your working area, set up your pieces, and spray. Each piece will need two coats. For the first coat, just spray until you can't see the color of the foam anymore. After it dries, the foam will have absorbed the spray in a few areas. For the second coat, spray a heavier coating on the areas that got absorbed, and rub it in with a paper towel. Use a circular motion, as this will give a smooth surface.
Step 6: Painting
Now take your glossy white spray paint and spray your pieces. Like the Plasti-Dip, each piece will require two coats of paint. Be sure not to go too heavy, or else the paint will crack when it flexes(it will crack slightly, but it isn't too noticeable unless your are really looking for it).
Step 7: Put It All On!
Now that your armor is complete, suit up and grab a blaster!