Template making

Time taken: 2 evenings (approximately 3 hours).
Materials: Light-to-medium weight cardboard, sellotape.
Tools: Scissors, pencil, metre ruler, T-square, quad book.
Techniques: Tech drawing.
Difficulty level: Pretty straightforward, a bit of maths involved but only basic stuff.

This time the ref pic I was working off was this one, which shows a clear view of the three things I wanted to make templates for – the belt, the breastplate and the pauldrons:

That bit is the only part of the belt you can see, but having spent a substantial amount of time just staring at my reference pics and thinking very hard, I’ve come to the conclusion that it’s actually a part of the breastplate. It acts like a band that goes around the bottom and holds it in place at hip level. The bit you see is decorated with a House of Tides style of chevron pattern (which I find ironic), and I want to use applique to create that on top of a belt arrangement that will be fairly strong and eventually will be sewn on to the bottom of the breastplate.

So first, I measured my model (waist circumference and the distance between roughly belly button and, erm, crotch) and wrote the measurements down in the ubiquitous quad book*. Having those little squares makes scaling SO.MUCH.EASIER.

You can see in that pic where I’ve drawn a rough outline of how I think it should look, and experimented with where each part of the chevron should go. I can then use the grid squares to scale the drawing to full size and put it on cardboard:

That was pretty straightforward. The next bit was the breastplate. For this I measured my model again – armpit to armpit, centre of collarbone to hip, and armpit to centre of collarbone. Then I drew a rough rounded diamond/breastplate shape in the quad book and ruled lines where the flat planes of the breastplate would meet. Then again, scaled it and transferred it to cardboard.

However, the breastplate isn’t flat, it’s slightly domed. In order to get this effect, I cut along each of the lines I’d drawn for the plane edges – not all the way, just at the top and bottom for about 15-20cm. Then I overlapped these edges just a little and sellotaped them in place to form the curves needed to get the breastplate shape. This part was a matter of trial and error to see how much overlap was needed. It’s never going to sit perfectly on cardboard, but you can get an idea of how it’ll look.

Then I tried my template on my model, realised it was too small, and redid the whole thing quite a lot wider and a bit longer. It ended up being 58cm wide and 50cm long. When I cut the shapes from the final material, I’ll cut the whole thing flat but remove the bits that aren’t needed once I’ve worked out how far they’ll overlap.

Then it was onto the pauldrons. I’ve never made pauldrons before, but my intense staring had led me to conclude that Cullen’s ones are in two parts – the under part which is attached to the jerkin, and the bit most people would see as pauldrons that go over the top. To get a handle on the under part I used this pic:

It shows the two plates that sit on top of the shoulder, and I could work out from that how the rest of it would fit. Then I used the quad book-to-cardboard method to produce a model of it:

This is in three pieces – the centre part is joined in the middle and overlaps somewhat to follow the curve of the shoulder. The bit that goes by his ear and the tip are separate bits. Getting the curve was also a case of trial and error, just snipping away little bits till it sat right. The overlapping pointy bits ended up being 12cm wide at the lowest, going up to 14cm wide at the top.

Then I made the worlds tiniest pauldron! Teddy bear size!

This was just using guessed-at small cutout shapes and folding them to try and get an idea of how they’d go together. You can see in the pic they’ve been folded in quite a few places to try and get it right. Once I was happy with it, I undid the sellotape and traced around the shapes in the quad book. Then I had to do some maths to work out where the points and angles were. Again, using the grid makes this kind of thing easy.

I got the scale from the under-pauldron – the top of the under-pauldron must fit just inside the point of the over-pauldron, so I knew that the very outer part of the over-pauldron needed to be more than 14cm wide. You can see that measurement in the above photo – the horizontal line that cuts across the point on the inverted triangle. So 11 squares in the quad book = 15cm, which gave me a scale of 1 square = 1.36cm. From there I could extrapolate the lengths of all the sides using this formula and the grid, and transfer it to cardboard.

And then I got out the sellotape and put it all together, and then I ran around the house going *squeee look what I made* for a while, because I didn’t expect it to come out that well first try!

I still have to make templates for the tassets, the shield and the gloves/gauntlets, but working out the pauldrons is a nice thing to have out of the way. And when I have decided what medium to use for them and saved up enough to buy it, making them will be much quicker through having done this. Stoked!

* Every now and then I have flights of fancy that other people might find my quad book really interesting when I’m dead because of all the projects that are outlined in there.

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