LIARA (Mass Effect) Armor Build: 1. Inspiration and Breastplate

Time for a new project. I’ve never worked with foam before… Liara, though admittedly NOT my favorite Mass Effect character, offers a chance for a fun makeup in addition to some basic armor. GOLD. So, here goes…

STEP 1: References

A couple of tutorials/blogs inspired me…(Bioweapons shows a complete N7 armor build, both male and female Shep! So great! AND Emmabellish shows a simplified life casting process and a broken down molding/casting/application process!).

I chose my armor:


Pretty similar to standard N7… missing collar, different textures. A few more references:


STEP 2: Patterning

I wanted to pick ONE piece of this costume to work from start to finish, just for the sake of learning the medium, and the breastplate seemed like the most important hurdle to overcome. After this I’m hoping to slow down and build all of the armor pieces before painting and attaching.

BREASTPLATE: I hand-drew a pattern, drawing only one half and using tracing paper to make sure everything is symmetrical. In terms of sizing, I just tried to measure major landmarks (For example: nipple-to-nipple, ladies… it’s a reliable measurement, amazingly).

Next step was tough… I needed two identical half-spheres, each just smaller than the size I wanted the breasts portions of my armor to be. DOLLAR STORE. Found a Nerf ball that seemed to work for size, but I was really hoping for something rigid. I cut the Nerf ball into halves and covered each half in worbla to add structure. The below device is comprised of these nerf/worbla spheres nailed to a wooden board and a sheet of plexiglass cut to the desired “underwire” shape (which took a few tries, by the way). The foam was stretched over the globes and pressed with the plexiglass to form a hard line.

I used the oven to heat the pre-cut piece of foam (250 degrees for about 10-12 minutes), then shaped the plate over my breast mold for about 3-4 minutes. I used the heat gun, too, after the initial shaping, just to make the underwire line as crisp as possible. Once the cups were formed, I removed the plate and hand-shaped the entire piece to fit more snugly (neck and sides bent inwards, for instance).

VOILA! We have a breastplate.

Coming soon: Detailing, painting, and weathering!