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Picture of Samurai Armor (Total War: Shogun 2)
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In this fine Instructable i will be showing how to make a full suit of samurai armor that i got the idea off of the game Total War: Shogun 2

The Armor i built was a fairly simple design but due to my small body structure was a little difficult to form the armor. how ever it worked out and i only messed up once during the whole build process! (drilled the wrong holes in one of the armor panels.)

I built this for fun based on several other instructables and my wanting of a costume that i built from the ground up and designed myself as well as having a sweet costume for dragon con 2012 ;).

the total cost of this project was $110 and took just under two weeks by myself :)

the armor i made is made out of HDPE 3/8" or cutting board. this armor made from a design from a video game will be used in stunts with sharpened knives and swords and compared to other armor types of the period made out of the same material after the testing well be doing a "deadliest warrior" style challenge were we have a face off in the many armor and compete with real swords!

what youll need:
2 sheets of HDPE plastic or your choice of armor material. you can use ABS,Sintra etc. (noobies use sintra its easy to work with and cheap!)*** Some one mentioned that you can get used acid drums made out of HDPE and cut them out, that way the armor is already shaped and rounded.***
Lots of thread i used a 7/8" ribbed thread to thread the armor together and about 12 Spools of it.
sewing machine
thread
scissors
fabric (i used Brocade/Sari)
lighter for (burning the edges of the thread)
drill press
band saw
dremel
hot glue gun
sandpaper.



this is a moderate build took only two weeks at full time hours but it does require a lot of drilling and threading.

feel free to make your own changes to what ever you like! like paints, fabrics and threads!

feel free to ask questions and share comments with others! best of luck!
 
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Step 1: The Soft Goods (Robes and Pants)

Picture of The Soft Goods (Robes and Pants)
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lets begin with the sewing...

you don't have to be a seamstress to do this part of the build, I'm not one that's for sure. go to your local sewing/crafts store and get a template for Bath Robes. use these templates and measure them to your body accordingly. pick some awesome fabric! what you see in my build is red with black Japanese writing and symbols. its called sari or Brocade, its a very light fabric and looks amazing in the sun light but be warned it is difficult to work with because its just like satin or silk.

there's not much to be said here just follow the instruction in the template and they'll turn out great! :D i did some edits on my pattern i made it a tighter jacket and made it shorter so it didn't drop down below my waste to far. you want it a bit baggy so don't tapper it.

for the gloves socks and sandals i just went to a thrift store and dropped 6 bucks for matching set.

pick your own colors and add your own trim to it to make your own flare!

Step 2: Haidate (loose thigh armor)

the haidate is a simple design its basically 2 square panels of fabric that have a V shape to wrap around the waste and have "splints" or "scales" of armor on them.

start out with measuring half your waist line. you want both squares attached to reach from hip to hip evenly, then measure your waist to about 4 inches above your knee. these are measurements you want to stay inside off. :) its simple make 2 Square or rectangle with your measurements and double it over. ****VERY IMPORTANT**** be sure to cut 2 pieces of a strong cloth like denim or duck cloth to put inside the doubled fabric! this will keep an armored appearance to it and make fastening the armor easier and keep it from ripping in the future.

after you have the squares simple sew them together making a V Shape so you have freedom of movement along the crotch. then add your choice of trim or not its optional! also be sure to make a tie off for the back i used shoe lace its small and worked well enough.

after your soft good is all ready. take some of your armor material and cut them into "splints" or "scales" my measurements were 1.5" x 2.5" but you should measure out your own so it looks good to your body type and have fun with the design, mine are pretty simple but triangles or ovals would be cool too!

fasting them is a trick left up to you. originally i used rivets but it ended up weighing to much. so i used the wholes i punched with the rivets and used a shoes lace thread to thread them to the fabric and it worked and look great at the end!

i also added a little paint along the border of them i used folk art incan gold. it needed a couple of coats and didn't really stick well to the slick HDPE so i recommend a different paint. but if you paint the armor before it should work great.

Step 3: Suneate, Kote and Tekko (Shins, Fore Arms and Hands)

this is the easiest part of the armor and where you'll get your first taste of the joy of threading the armor. :D

for the shins and arms i used a very simple design of rectangles thinner shorter ones for the fore arms and wider longer ones for the shins. measure your arm length from wrist to inner elbow then take off 2 inches then measure the top part of your wrist with a flat ruler then subtract that by .5" that's the measurement you'll want for your fore arms mine worked out to be 1.5" x 6"

for your shins due the same measure from your ankle to your inner knee and take off 2 inches then measure your shin above your ankle with a flat ruler and subtract by .5". mine ended up being around 2" x 8"

after you get the shins and fore arms cut out. drill a whole every inch on both sides be sure they are even to each other. drill them with a 1/2" drill bit or just smaller then the thread size you used. then take your thread and lace them up so the center piece is is one whole down or up. i threaded it at and angle on the out side and flat across on the inside. then just hot glue the tabs of thread to the under side of the armor.

for the shins you want to wear the middle section up so that it slightly touch the knee and the sides wrap around the ankles while you want the fore arms to do the opposite with the longer part reaching over the wrist.

after those are wrapped and set cut out a design for the knee guards i made a 2 level over lapping square to cover the knees. draw it out and see what would look good on your armor :). drill a couple holes in each piece of your knee guards, tie them together with thread and give them a little hot glue for support then glue them or tie them to the shins.

the shins and wrists are done the same with putting them on your body simple hot glue some elastic straps so the fit snug against your lower and upper calf/ lower and upper for arm so the down slide down.


for the gloves just measure out a piece of material in any shape you want that covers the top of your hand and glue 2 straps for behind the thumb and across the palm again with hot glue.

glueing the elastics in these spot will keep all the armor pieces from sliding down and being uncomfortable. as well as allowing you to be able to swing and kick around with out the worry of them flying off. :)

then you can either round the edges with a dremel or keep them square and paint them up how you want!

Step 4: Do, Sode and Kusazuri (Cuirass, Shoulder/Pauldron and Upper Thigh)

all the armor in this section is done the same way, its all segmented pieces with 3 holes drilled vertically. there is a depiction of them in the photos.

once again start with measuring! i know, i know its the last time i promise! measure your upper body as you would if you were getting a suit, waist, pectorals and shoulders. after you have these measurements cut it to the diagram displayed in the pictures. i added 2 more segments the the diagram on mine just because i liked the look better.

once you have your material cut to the diagram measure out the shoulder pauldrons and upper thigh segments. for my shoulders i used a 4 3x6" for each shoulder and for the thighs i used 4 2x5" with a total of 12 segments for the thighs. once you have them cut out drill both of the shoulders and thighs with the same drill bit as the chest armor and in the same design with the 3 vertical pairs of holes. the more holes you use the better the armor will look. i personally drilled pairs of holes every inch.

start threading to the template below but don't tighten them as you go. start from the bottom and go up using one whole strand from top to bottom and tie it off at the top. for every pair of holes you'll use one thread. after all the pieces are caught up to the top tie them of with a double knot and cut off the excess make sure they are tight before hand. you'll want put a dab of glue on the knot and singe the ends of the thread so they don't split. do this for all of the armor thighs and chest.

once you have completed them put a nice bend in the shoulders and thigh. (if you used Sinatra you'll do this before the hardening obviously) for the chest drill holes up the sides underneath where the arms will be youll thread it just like you did with the shins. at this point you want to choose on how you want to put it on. mine is a simple slip on chest. you can create snaps or T connectors like the drawing in the intro or how ever you choose!

after its all threaded up get some cord or thread of your choice to attach the shoulders and thigh armor. start by glueing the cord to the shoulders and thighs first but do not attach to the armor! use tape to attach the shoulders and thighs to the chest piece so you make sure you got the right fit. if you want to sit down in the armor, move the thigh and shoulder pieces more the front so they dont pinch up in the back. after you find the fit you like just thread them to the straps or glue them to the armor simple as that!

Step 5: Kabuto (Helmet)

i had a lot of fun with the helmet. i started with a "MICH" style military helmet i had laying around from paintball scenarios i haven't used in an age. its comfy and comes in adult sizes which is great if your building this out of season of Halloween! there's a bunch on amazon for $20

its just like every other piece of the armor measure around the helmet to get a good fit then simple cut 2 or 3 segments of 49cm x 5cm and drill holes in and thread them accordingly. :) you can attach the segments anyway you choose. i just hot glued it and any gaps i had between the segments and helmet i filled with black silicon and smoothed it out.

the visor marking or helmet emblem was used to mark different clans and to show high ranking officers/generals. you can Google samurai helmets and get some ideas or create your own like i did or simply design a style you like, subtle or not then hot glue it onto the helmet.

after its all set to go add some paint and detail it to match your armor have fun with this one! some samurai wore masks as added jaw protection from blunt trauma so i just went on amazon and got a 300 immortal mask for $10 and painted it black. historically they cut out right below the eyes and the top half of the face was open. i kept it a full face because i have other plans for the costume ;)

Step 6: Sashimono (Banner Flag *Optional)

Picture of Sashimono (Banner Flag *Optional)
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banner flags were used to display unit types and ranks as well as clan identification of basic units but where not typically worn into battle. i made mind on the soul purpose for the dress of it.

its very simple to make

get a square Dowel rod cut it at 25% of its length make an angle brace for the corner and glue it together and add a screw going down into the dowel. use a dremmel to cut a grove in the dowel on the inside were you'll attach the banner. paint it the desired color use the dowel rod when assembled to make the template. find a fabric of your choice then get  2" elastic and sew them to your banner. simply staple the elastic in the grooves you made earlier and hot glue them in for a smoother look.

Step 7: Show Case Your Armor!

and thats it! that wasnt so bad was it? now you have a great costume and a huge feeling of accomplishment.

i would love to see your own version of the armor! contact me through instructables or towering productions and id be happy to to post your pics on this instructables with credit going to you of course!

hope you enjoyed reading and hope you give your own Samurai armor set a try!
feel free to check Towering productions out at our other projects on  our face book page and like us!
http://www.facebook.com/pages/Towering-Productions/264942270203718
ConnorF26 months ago

Exactly how much sintra do you need? I know you said two sheets, but what are the measurements of those sheets. I bought two 12 by 24 sheets of sintra off amazon but they look very small, and are probably not enough! Hopefully you still respond to comments on this page.

Towering Props (author)  ConnorF26 months ago
Hello! The sheets I was referring too were 24"x36". So yes you will need more sintra. Good luck!
Cheers!

Thanks!

Dakota Joel9811 months ago

Well done

Thank you I live in a small town and so I can't fin Sinatra or komatex any where for a reasonable price. I plan on wearing this at Momo con 2014 with my friend being in a geisha kimono
Towering Props (author)  pendragon6251 year ago
your welcome! ABS OR HIPS plastic is also a good choice because it can be formed with just a heat gun and is also very durable. both of these materials are usually cheaper then sintra if what you have doesnt work out.
have fun at the con!
cheers
I have a blue plastic barrel would it make good armor
Towering Props (author)  pendragon6251 year ago
i've heard good things about the barrels. some others have tried it with great results.
stunami3 years ago
Btw, how did you get the nice vertical bend on the shoulder pieces? And I see you laced on the front and back on one side, but how did you latch it on the other side?
Towering Props (author)  stunami3 years ago
they are actually 2 different pieces. the whole shoulder armor is bent a a crescent shape, once it was formed i just drew a outline on paper with it and added a couple inches and cut a piece out of the material based on the piece of paper.
pretty simple, just used a bit of epoxy and hot glue. im not sure what you mean by "latching it to the other i side" can you explain it a little more for me? :)
thanks!
By latching, I mean, how did you close the body section on the sides? You have to get in somehow, so it has to open. Did you use clamps? Ties? Frogs? Buttons? Zipper?

For your helmet, it would look a little better and be a bit more accurate if the lamination are tied outward so it gets successively wider instead of inside so it goes towards your neck. It's why the flange on your helmet looks so narrow.

Also, where did you get the inspiration for this design? It's always nice to site your sources ;)
Towering Props (author)  stunami2 years ago
oh! well since this ive modified the basic design for putting on the chest... what i ended up doing was keeping the lacing on it as decorative trim and make 3 holes about 2 - 3 inches apart under the arm on both sides of the armor and using the same gold trim rope as a tie off. essentially i tied a knot at the front holes, (each hole had its own cord) and threading in through the back holes you pull tight and tie it off the the access on the front. its simple and works but you may need an extra set of hands to tie it off.

i agree on some of the armor bits needing to be more accurate but this was a 2 week build after all and not one of my major costumes. also the material chosen is incredibly hard to shape it to flange out like you mentioned and i also like to look up with out a band of plastic burrowing into the back of my neck and shoulders.

viola! http://www.instructables.com/id/Samurai-Costume/
poofrabbit2 years ago
Congratulations on being a finalist in the Halloween contest!!! Can’t wait to see if you win! Good luck!
Towering Props (author)  poofrabbit2 years ago
thanks so much! cheers!
Cmdr. Vik2 years ago
Great tutorial and awesome work!
kcli2 years ago
Quite impressive and obviously a lot of research went into your costume. You got me vote!
kcli2 years ago
Quite impressive and obviously a lot of research went into your costume. You got me vote!
kcli2 years ago
Quite impressive and obviously a lot of research went into your costume. You got me vote!
Can I use steel? I like this type of armor due to how light it is compard to plate armor and it would just be even cooler. The steel would be cold-steel.
oh yah you can use steel, it would have a great effect on it too if you added dents and weathering. i've personally never used steel for armor so i have no advice to give but im sure you could use the same instructions. here is a great diagram for metal samurai armor, note the difference in the chest as its one whole piece.
http://www.japanese-armor.com/images/source/Samurai_Do_maru_armor_piece.jpg
LogTrotter2 years ago
Hey !
I have made the chest plate armor with interlocking mats, it was pretty hard but people can punch and kick me with it on and it doesn't hurt.
Towering Props (author)  LogTrotter2 years ago
haha, funny how that works out right? well great job! ill be looking forward to seeing it finished!
LogTrotter2 years ago
Is the armor on your back the same as the front?
Towering Props (author)  LogTrotter2 years ago
yes it is, its pretty much the exact same template used. the only difference is that the ring/ hole for the neck is less of that on the front piece of armor.
Thanks
LogTrotter3 years ago
Where did you buy the HDPE from and would those interlocking foam mats work? Cheers
Towering Props (author)  LogTrotter3 years ago
oddly enough Menard's had them with their plexi glass and acrylics in the windows and doors section. if your familiar with grainger you can also order it from them. they also have thickness selections which helps if you want thinner armor. you could very well use E.V.A foam (interlocking mats) would be easier to form but much harder to thread because it they give a lot cause of there density, you would also need to get the thinnest mats you could order but i personally recommend not using EVA. ill look for some other materials that would work and get back to you!
Cheers
Towering Props (author)  LogTrotter2 years ago
So I did some more looking around I found out yoga mats are the same material as eva foam. Once heated and formed it does harden and keep shape. Your more then welcome to try that out for the armor. I haven't attempted yoga mats yet but im going to try soon for a differnt project.
Ive bought some foam mats and i'm going to start making it soon.
Towering Props (author)  LogTrotter2 years ago
Alright let me know how it goes, best of luck.
stunami3 years ago
Cool design. It looks good.
Aleator7773 years ago
Great work. This is super cool!
rocketman73 years ago
Better Shoes?
They would not protect, and get wet very easily in your area or snow.
Towering Props (author)  rocketman73 years ago
i have made a seperate sandals out of bamboo with ayou heel lace since then to be more period but they really did where sandals in battle. some late period armor from the shins would come down ontop of the foot but do to restricting mobility wasnt very common.
in battle the last thing you would worry about is getting your feet wet haha. :)
EmcySquare3 years ago
The Flag is called Sashimono
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sashimono

Could be a little taller than that or your pals won't see you in the battle field

Great Job !!!
Towering Props (author)  EmcySquare3 years ago
thanks was trying to find it!
yah i wanted to make it tall but going through doors would have been a bit of an issue haha xD

thanks!
tinker2343 years ago
nice job love the armor
monsterlego3 years ago
Sweeeeeeeeeeeet