Rex - Boots and Leg Armor Tutorial


Hello! This cosplay tutorial shows how to make the following pieces of Rex.
 
 
Rex is the protagonist of the Nintendo Switch game named Xenoblade Chronicles 2. His boots and leg armor are very imposing!

The boots

Rex’s boots are quite massive and occupy a lot of volume. There’s also leg armor that rests on top of them. To reach this effect and to have a base on which we can work on, we can use rain or heavy duty work boots and build the outside and final boots on top of them! Here are those I bought at a Wal-Mart store:
 
 
You can then find the final width and length you need for each foot by tracing the foot for each boot on paper and then add the extra width/length you need, which will serve as a reference later:
 
 
To add the required extra width/length to give each foot its beefy and huge look, we will add thick 10 mm EVA foam on top of the boot. We will therefore need to know exactly which pieces we need to cut and what shape. It is then time to make patterns!
 
To make a pattern, first let’s cover the boot with either aluminium or plastic foil (aluminium foil in the next picture), on which we will apply tape after. The foil is to allow us to not have the tape stuck to the boot.
 
 
Please note that you only need to make the patterns once (for one foot only). Rex’s boot shape is similar for both feet.
 
Then, it is time to add the tape. You don’t need to cover the whole boot, just enough to cover the final visible surface, as the top half of the boot will be hidden by the leg armor.
 
 
Now, we need the trace the principal portions of Rex’s boot. Here is a reference picture with some key details to not forget:
 
 
Let’s now transfer some of these on the pattern:
 
 
You can see here that the brown sole and the golden band on the top of the foot are clearly marked. This allows us to divide the pattern into sections that can be handled separately.
 
I have added a top-to-bottom division at the front the top to work with smaller pieces and will be assembled later:
 
 
Then, it is time to carefully cut, with a sharp knife (ex: X-acto), these divisions and remove the patterns from the boot:
 
 
The top portion of the boot can then be cut following the top-to-bottom line we have done earlier:
 
 
To not get lost in your patterns, it is a good idea to mark down key locations at the edge of the patterns, for example, where the back of the foot is, and other things.
 
Once the patterns are cut, you need to make them flat in order to transfer them on foam or a more durable pattern (ex: on drawing paper). For curvy patterns, like the tip of Rex’s foot, you can just flatten them easily as you will lose the 3D effect. You will need to create openings in the patterns. Each opening edge will be reunited with its opening neighbor from the “other side of the street” later, don’t worry!
 
 
You might need to do the same technique (create some openings) for some curvy parts of the other patterns, for example, near the heel. If you look closely at the patterns, there are some openings near the heel, both the front and the back of the pieces (more visible in the next image).
 
Once all patterns are ready, it is time to transfer them on 10mm EVA foam and cut these pieces:
 
 
Tip: it is very recommended to build both boots at the same time. So, everything you see in this tutorial from now on should be done for both feet. This way, your 2 boots will look the same and will be built using the same techniques, glue and materials.
 
Remember what I said earlier about reuniting the opening neighbors together for the tip of Rex’s boot? You can apply strong glue or (better) Barge contact cement to do this reunion!
 
 
Here is how it looks like on the base boot:
 
 
You can then use contact cement to glue the inside of the foam piece to the tip of the base boot:
 
 
Repeat the same thing for the other parts of the boot:
 
 
If some of the EVA foam sections do not hold well to the boot, do not hesitate to add more contact cement. You can also make finishing glue touches using Gorilla Glue in its gel form.
 
To make sure there are no gaps at all, you can add small foam pieces in the cracks, add foam clay in the cracks and/or sand some parts with a rotating tool such as a Dremel. At the end, you should have a nice clean boot from all sides:
 
 
The following image is a shot from the back of the boot. I had to build custom foam pieces separately per boot to close all gaps. It might not be the prettiest result, but keep in mind that 80% of the foam will be hidden by the leg armor, so don’t worry too much about it!
 
 
Here is a top shot from the boots at this point. Notice that I have added a 10 mm thick EVA foam band around the entire feet. This is for the brown sole. To do it, you only need to measure the circumference of your foot, then cut a strip of 10 mm thick EVA foam and glue it to the bottom of the boot using Barge contact cement.
 
 
Next will be all the other details on Rex’s boots. You can then trace them on the foam using a Sharpie marker:
 
 
You may see in the previous photo important markings I have made for the golden portions of the boot. I have already glued the golden band on top of Rex’s boot using a 5mm EVA foam piece. For the oblique golden piece (shown in the next photo), I have used 2mm EVA foam pieces:
 
 
To make sure you are reproducing the same shape: here is a pattern you can use for this.
 
 
For the golden module on top of Rex’s boots, it is exactly the same as the ones on Rex’s gloves. If you have followed my tutorial for the gloves, you can refer to it for more information. The only difference in my case is that I have used 5 mm EVA foam instead of 2 mm EVA foam for all major sections of the golden modules:
 
 
Using thicker foam allows you to make small bevels on each sides of the golden module, like this:
 
 
I have used 2 mm EVA foam for the “screws” on the golden module. You can cut a small X opening at their middle using a knife and then heat it with a heat gun to make the X expand, this will create the cavity for the screws :
 
 
For the donut shapes on each side of the boot, you first need to create a pattern and then measure the desired width of the donut. In my case, it was 1.4 cm.
 
 
There is an inclinaison for the donut, as its surface is not flat. We therefore need to create a bevel. It would be easier to create a long strip of 10 mm EVA foam for the circumference of the donut, then cut and sand what is required for the bevel and finally glue both extremities of the foam strip to create the donut.
 
First, let’s cut ourselves a piece and do the cutting lines for the bevel. Remember that we want to keep a smooth and untouched side to the surface:
 
 
Then, after doing an angled cut to remove the foam and making the final result smooth with a Dremel, you should have a clean result like this:
 
 
If you have cut or sanded too much foam, you can always add foam clay where there is foam missing, let it dry for 24-48 hours and then gently sand the dried foam clay to get the desired smooth result without any foam missing.
 
In the last picture, it may seem that there is no angle on the contour of the donuts, but keep in mind that there is a gap below the donut sides and once they are glued and stuck to the surface, the angle will form.
 
For the small holes around the donuts, I recommend marking them with a Sharpie marker, then gently used a lead pencil (or a pen) with a not-too-sharp end and then, force it inside the foam to create a small hole, like I did in the previous picture. You can then use a Dremel with the cone end to widen the hole and produce the final result.
 
Once the donuts are glued to the boot, it should give you this:
 
 
There are 2 final details missing, as shown in red in the previous picture, the opening separating the heel to the rest of the foot, and a small circle on top of both golden bands. For the circle, it is very easy to do, just cut a circle into 2 mm EVA foam and fill half of its bottom with foam clay to fill the gap created by the 2 golden bands. Then, you can glue it to the boot using the strong glue of your choice:
 
 
Then, for the opening, you only need to use a knife to remove the foam, then sand the opening to make it smooth.
 
Now, you should have your 2 boots fully constructed and ready to be primed and painted!
 
The first step is to first seal the foam of the boots (close all these minuscule openings) with a heat gun. This will be required for the effeciency of the next step, which is to add at least 3 layers of Flexbond (from Rosco) on the boots foam.
 
 
The Flexbond can be applied by using brushes (look out for the brush strokes when the Flexbond dries) or with a sponge, which avoids the brush strokes effect.
 
 
Then, once all Flexbond layers have been applied, it is time for painting. For the golden bands, I am using these layers of paint, in this order:
  • Yellow ocre (to make a base color);
  • A mix of 50% metallic gold and 50% metallic silver (for the final color);
Here is the paint I have used (metallic gold and silver shown), bought at a DeSerres store in Montreal:
 
 
Then, let’s paint these golden bands carefully with a brush (yellow ocre layer shown in the next picture). You can see in bonus some color tests I have made for the brown of the boots:
 
 
For the brown color, I have made a mix of brown and white to have the desired color:
 
 
You can notice that the sole of the boot is darker than the rest. This is intended.
To highlight the darker spots of the boot and the golden bands, you can add touches of black paint in the donut holes and around the golden bands:
 
 
Don’t forget to add black paint on the top of the boots too and in all cracks of the golden modules:
 
 
Once you are satisfied with the paint job, it’s time to protect the paint by covering it with 2-3 layers of a coater such as Mod Podge:
 
 
And then, congratulations, you are done with Rex’s boots!
 
 

The leg armor

The boots are done and we must now cover their upper part. Thankfully, the upper portion of the base boot that is still there will serve as the holder for the leg armor we have to build!
 
Let’s take a closer look at the reference look and highlight some important details:
 
Now that we know what to focus on, let’s start building the 2 leg armor pieces!
 
First, we will need to make a pattern using drawing paper. You will need to make 2 important measurements:
 
  • the desired circumference of your leg at midpoint for the leg armor (the concave portion);
  • the desired circumference of your leg at the extremities of the leg armor (what stands out, minus the golden bands)
To achieve the concave effect, we cannot simply cut a rectangular pattern, we need to create some depth at the middle of the leg armor. To achieve this, we need to first do a pattern for one of the “portions” of the leg armor:
 
 
The trick is to concatenate multiple times this pattern onto a new pattern. This is what you should have for the final pattern:
 
 
This is how the pattern should look on you. You can notice the concave effect caused by the spacing inside the pattern. You may use painter’s tape to close all openings and form the pattern before trying it:
 
 
Tip: it’s ok if you have to try multiple times (and redo the pattern) in order to have the right shape. You might also need to remove some portions of the pattern at the end.
 
Then, once you are satisfied, it is time to trace this pattern on 10mm EVA foam:
 
 
Carefully remove the foam where the openings are located and make sure the cuts are clean. To achieve this, you can use a new blade for your cutting knife or you can sharpen it.
 
 
Then, you can proceed with gluing both sides of the openings together, which will create the concave effect. I have used Gorilla Glue gel for this, but if I had to do it again, I would definitively use Barge contact cement for this.
 
 
Take a look at this concave beauty!
 
 
Then, it’s time to glue both vertical extremities of the foam piece together to form the leg armor base. You should use a very strong glue such as Barge contact cement for this.
 
 
There might be some small gaps at the now-glued openings (especially if you use Gorilla Glue gel, which I do not recommend), you can then fill them with bits of foam clay and then sand the excess (using dremel and/or sand paper) once it’s dry to form a smooth surface:
 
 
Once it’s done, you should have this very impressive result! Now, let’s repeat these steps for the second leg!
 
 
With the base of the leg armor done, it’s now time to add the upper and lower horizontal golden bands on it. You will need to do key measurements for this (length and height of the bands + dimensions for the arrow shapes):
 
 
You can then test your patterns to make sure they are of the right dimension for your leg armor:
 
 
Once you are satisfied, it is time to cut triangles in 10 mm EVA foam and then create bevels for the angled lower perimeter using a sharp knife and a dremel (with the sanding head) for the finish:
 
 
As a reminder, you have 6 of these triangles to make (4 for the front, 2 for the back):
 
 
These triangles will be mounted on the golden bands. To make them, it is exactly the same technique that you have already used on the donuts on each side of the boots. We first need to cut long 10 mm EVA foam strips. Their length needs to be the circumference of the leg armor at its vertical extremities.
 
 
Then, you need to remove angled portions of foam on each of them (using a knife and a dremel). You can then use Barge contact them to glue these angled surfaces together to have the desired angled shape at the center of the band. At the end, you should have 4 bands:
 
 
Then, you can use Barge contact cement to glue these bands at each vertical extremity of the leg armor pieces. If there is a small gap formed at the extremities of the golden bands (like the one in the next picture), you can cover it with foam clay and/or Kwik Seal:
 
 
A quick word about the triangles: you will need to make a bevel at their base to fit with the angle on the golden bands, so that both pieces fit well together.
 
 
Then, you may proceed with gluing the triangles to the leg armor using Barge contact cement:
 
 
There is one thing left to do for the triangles: the screws at the base of every triangle (2 per triangle). To do them, let’s create small circles into 10 mm EVA foam. By the way, using leftover foam scraps is a good opportunity for this! You will need 12 circles and using a sharp knife for this, with a dremel to smooth all surfaces after, is best.
 
 
Tip: when using a dremel on these very tiny pieces, plant a toothpick at the middle of the foam circles (where there will be a cavity for the “screwdriver” anyway) and hold it while using the dremel on it.
 
For the screwdriver cavity, you may create very small openings using a knife and then heat them with a heat gun:
 
 
Then, you can use the cone head of your dremel to create small holes on the sides of each triangle of your leg armor, on which each screw will be installed after:
 
 
Then, you may use Gorilla Glue gel inside each hole to install each screw by pushing them into the hole and let the glue grip on each screw:
 
 
The final thing that is needed for the leg armor is the vertical line and the small cavities around it. To do the vertical line, it is quite easy: make a small opening and heat it with a heat gun. You can widen the line with a small dremel head if required after. For the holes, first mark them with a pencil / marker and create small openings with the cone head of a dremel:
 
 
Now, let’s move to the triangular module on top of the leg armor that has the purpose of holding the skirt (its knee part) that we will build in the future. This is an easy part of the leg armor to make! First, you will need a pattern:
 
 
Then, we must keep the portions that are slightly elevated when compared to the rest:
 
 
Then, let’s use 5 mm EVA foam to build the base triangle, with more 5 mm EVA foam to do all these little bands on top on the base triangle:
 
 
And then, you can use Barge contact cement to glue each triangle to the center top of the leg armor, on its upper rim. You may want to heat the piece with a heat gun and give it a slight curve as the top of the leg armor is circular, it will help you hold the triangle module in place in an efficient way:
 
 
Finally, don’t forget the opening on each side of the leg armor at its bottom for each boot donut. Sadly, I don’t have any WIP pictures for this part, so I leave it up to you!
Once it’s done: congratulations, you are done with the main construction of Rex’s leg armor!
 
I fully recommend that you walk with it (and the boots too) and that you make sure that you are comfortable and that you can put on / remove the full boots (boots + armor) without any problem. This is a very important step!
 
The next step is the fun part: priming and painting the leg armor! First, just like the boots, you will need to heat seal the EVA foam of the leg armor using a heat gun and then, apply 3 layers of Flexbond. Then, it is painting time!
 
 
For the golden portions, the same mix of paint than the one for the boots is needed (yellow ocre for the base + 50-50 of metallic gold and metallic silver).
 
For the blue color, I have decided to go with acrylic paint (code 14 - Opaque Cobalt Blue Hue) from Pebeo. The brown color for the upper triangular module is the same as the main color used for the boots.
 
 
Just like the boots, you can use black paint to highlight the depths and the golden bands. You can also use it to create shades that would be caused by the angles on the golden bands. Black color can be used to highlight the vertical line and the small cavities on the side of the leg armor.
 
 
Don’t forget to coat the paint with 2-3 layers of Mod Podge!
 
 
And then you have it: Rex’s boots and leg armor are complete!
 

Conclusion

Now you know how to make Rex’s boots and leg armor! If you wish to see more tutorials for Rex, keep following my cosplay account GDICommander on social media (Facebook, Instagram). If you have any question or if there is something missing / that needs more explanation, let me know in the comments section!

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