My blog post this week follows on from making Kai's saddle - the next accessory I made for him were his leg guards. As per usual I gathered several references from different artworks, and tried to find a balance between all of them that looked best in 3D model form. Here's one example - a section from the manga with a nice back view of the leg guards. You can see the curves at the edges and the straps that hold them to the leg.
The first thing I did was made a pattern out of felt to try and establish the shape of the leg guards.
I used the same cord technique that I applied to the saddle to add some definition to the shape of the leg guards.
I then tried covering one of the leg guards in leather. However, I found that the shape warped and the felt wrinkled, leaving me with quite a messy and unsatisfying looking shape. So it was back to the drawing board.
I built leg guard mark II with a bit more structure, meaning that the shape looked more uniform, and would hopefully cover well too. The final guards have five layers - an initial calico pattern, lined with a thick suede, topped in felt, which is then smoothed out with nylon and finally covered in a thin layer of leather. This is one of the guards before the leather covering.
You can see the thick suede layer underneath, which really helped to solidify the shape.
Then the boots were covered in the same very thin leather I used for the saddle. You can see in this picture that the surface is much smoother and the shape more defined and accurate to the artwork. At this stage, they were just being held together with masking tape, waiting for real straps.
The final straps were made out of scrap leather I cut to size. I couldn't get the perfect colour I wanted, so painted them with enamel paints I mixed myself.
Kai is very happy with his new leg guards! Once I had finished these I moved on to make the saddle bags, which I'll cover in my next post.