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This is perhaps one of the harder things to make, or perhaps not if you just think about it for a moment. I have heard from many people the nightmares they have had trying to get it symmetrical. The simple solution to this is buy a cheap manikin. Its a good hard base to work from and the chest detailing is perfectly symmetrical. (providing you buy one thatís looking straight forwards.)The next step is to apply a layer of padding, in this case I used ridge foam, to smooth off the chest detail, but also make it a looser fit. It was then a case of marking out the chest armour shape and applying fibreglass matting to the marked out area, to give a firm base to work from.
With the basic shape marked out on the dummy, and the fibreglass matting applied it was time to start building up the higher areas. This requires as many all angle pictures as you can get your hands on, to make sure it looks as good as it can.Special attention is needed for the centre 'V' section, and also the small rectangular indent on the left-hand side, (looking at it.) Once you have the 'V' and rectangle bit positioned, you can then start to work out the outer edges and depth of it. Most of this is trial and error, till it looks like the pictures from any angle. Its very time consuming, as it might look right from one angle, but not the other. Perseverance is the name of the game.
So the finished item. Being made from fibreglass, not only is it very strong, but also very easy to attach the fixings on the underside for the straps and elastic. I have come across some real nightmares, when people with ABS suits have used the wrong glue or heat based glues and itís gone very bad. Fibreglass is an old substance compared to many of the newer materials around, but itís tried and tested and a safe bet to make stuff from. Also being able to colour the gelcoat surface any one of a hundred of so colours means most things can be made the colour they need to be, to save on painting, and re-painting when it gets scratched or marked. Best of all, it feels like proper hard armour, not flexi soft stuff. :)
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