Working with Worbla: King Loki Armor Build – Spaulders

I just learned a new word. Yup, I had no idea what a spaulder was until I looked it up. I was just going to call this piece the shoulder armor thingy but I figured there was a fancier armorers name.

The spaulders are the first piece of the King Loki build I decided to tackle. Not sure why I decided to start there. Turns out they're quite complicated due to the need of being curved over the shoulder. For the most part I am happy with the progress so far.

Loki Worbla Shoulder 1

Worbla is so easy, yet finicky at the same time. One thing I was not prepared for was the massive amount of prep needed to get Worbla's surface somewhat smooth. In my research I discovered most techniques involve many coats of either gesso, wood glue or primer. I used these to test what process I like the most. What I've learned is it really doesn't matter. If you want a smooth surface you're pretty much going to have to do a lot of sanding.

My process was: 4 coats of spray on shellac, sanded with 120 grit, 2 coats of brushed on wood glue, rough spots sanded with 150 grit. Then 2 or 3 coats of Krylon primer 150 grit sanded between coats on the rough spots. Total PITA so I'm trying something different on the other to get the process down less. Some have just used 4-6 coats of wood glue but I really hate hand painting that stuff so many times. 

UPDATE: I've changed my method for getting a super smooth finish on Worbla since this was posted. Please see this info graphic for more info.

Loki Worbla Shoulder 2
Layers of Shellac, wood glue and first primer coat applied and sanded ready for 3 more primer coats.

The reason you only see one of the spaulders ready for paint is I've put off the second because it needs to be sanded and primed and sanded again. Ugh, I hate sanding.

Loki Worbla Shoulder 3

Paint base coat in dark metallic brown.

Final paint base coat,

Final paint with weathering.

Final Helm, Spaulder, Belt armor and Spaulder

For building technique I pretty much followed the Worbla tutorials posted online by the amazing Kamui Cosplay. I also purchased a copy of her ebook which I highly recommend if you want her excellent info in an easy to read/research/return-to format.

For the detail "rivets" I used these metal round domes.

The domes are the perfect size but I was hoping the tacks would easily press into the Worbla; they don't. It would probably work fine if I was able to heat the Worbla, I can't because the heat makes the primer begin to lift. So instead I have to clip off every single one of those tiny little tacks then adhere them instead. The rest of the details were hand painted on with dimension fabric paint. I thought I took a picture of the spaulder after I applied the dimension paint and domes (prior to covering with primer) but I couldn't find it. Apparently I only thought of taking that specific shot.

For those wondering you can order Worbla from The stuff is not cheap but it is quite easy to shape and mold. Worbla adheres to itself, you can cut it with scissors, heat it up, shape it and once it cools it becomes hard plastic again. Pretty fantastic for armor building, if you can put up with the prep for finishing.

Update: Discovered that my little project got a mention on the Facebook page for Cast4Art.

I hadn't heard of Cast4Art before but apparently they're the worldwide distributor for Worbla's Finest Art (that's the actual full name for the stuff we just plainly refer to as Worbla.)

Also I didn't realize I had comments turned off when I made this post. Comments are on now. So if you found my page and have any questions feel free to ask. One of my favorite things about building stuff is sharing ideas with others.

If you liked this post you can see my work in progress over at my Facebook page: Coregeek Cosplay and Creations which I update regularly as I build. I write these longer build posts after the project is finished. I'd appreciate you "liking" my page while you are there.