I was more than a little bit apprehensive about putting together Mahariel’s armour – other than the scale maille, I haven’t had very much experience crafting with and painting foam, so it’s something of a relief to now have the most complicated part finished.
The Regalia of Weisshaupt armour, from Dragon Age II, has three slightly different designs depending on Hawke’s class. A slightly updated version is seen in Inquisition – the armour worn by your Grey Warden contact looks like a cross between the rogue and warrior versions – but as my Mahariel is a rogue, I found it easier to screenshot reference pictures of the armour on Hawke.
The armour is listed as four separate components in game, which I broke down into the following pieces:
- Warden Scout’s Cap: Hooded bolero jacket.
- Warden Scout’s Tunic: Scale maille tabard; breastplate; tassets.
- Warden Scout’s Gloves: Gauntlets and couters.
- Warden Scout’s Boots: Gaiters and poleyns
Since I’ve just finished painting the breastplate, that’s where we’ll start…
When I was putting together my references and writing up my shopping lists, I had planned to do all of the armoured pieces as Worbla over foam. As it happened, I’ve not had time to play with the pieces of Worbla I bought a few months back, and I ended up just bodging it together.
The first piece I actually made was the griffon insignia and built the rest of the breastplate around it. It wasn’t until I was ready to glue everything together that I found something I had missed in my reference pictures: the raised edge around the larger piece. After spending a good ten minutes cursing the pictures, the computer and myself, I cut the extra pieces and layered it all up to see whether I needed to either cut a smaller pair of griffons or a taller base. Then I decided I actually liked the effect of having the tips of the wings over the border, glued it all together and sealed it with a coat of clear glaze.
After gently heat-shaping the foam, I tied the corners together to support the shape and gave it another couple of coats of glaze. I have loads of silver PlatiKote left from the scales, so I decided to use the spray for the base colour.
Once it was dry I thought it was much too shiny and “new” looking, and all of the creases and marks on the foam were suddenly glaringly obvious. I made up a bucket of not-quite-gesso* and gave it two generous coats, which have left the breastplate pretty sturdy but it still has plenty of flex.
- 1 part casting powder (I use Scola, which sets really quickly so I recommend making lots of small batches rather than making a whole bowlful at once)
- 1 part PVA glue
- 1 part warm water
Once it had set, I sanded it down (I definitely need to get a rotary tool!) and painted the front with black acrylic and PVA…
Then layered on the first coat of silver acrylic.
I much preferred the acrylic paint to the PlastiKote. Yes, it took significantly longer than the spray but I think the matte finish really suits the piece and it made weathering much easier.
I may find myself adding a little to the weathering over the next couple of days, and I still can’t decide whether I want to risk going overboard on it to work in some darkspawn blood before I seal it. Other than that, the only job left for my breastplate is to fit all the straps and buckles!