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MannieBothans Profile
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Sidekick

Registered: 12-2007
Posts: 406
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Suit Materials Comparisons


Okay, let's make a thread fit for the archives...

In one spot can we compare the pros and cons of each material from the perspective of the wearer?

If you ranked them in durability from most to least, what would be the proper order of urethane, flesh, foam, latex, etc.?

What is the proper way to care for each of the common materials?

If you ranked them by comfort (say, for a cowl) from most to least, what would be the proper order of foam, flesh, latex, urethane, etc.?

Can we get some of our resident experts to weigh in here with a comprehensive explanation and analysis? Youngbat? Mr. Pea?

Last edited by TheKingaSwing, 12/12/2011, 7:01 am


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This city is afraid of me. It has seen my true face.
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Mr Justin Profile
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Dark Knight

Registered: 04-2008
Posts: 778
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Re: Cowl/Suit Material Comparison


From what experiance I do have with different materials (latex, urethane, and now foam latex thanks to Bob D), I'd have to say that overall, Foam Latex is the best in terms of comfort; and from what I can tell, is just as good or better than Urethane in terms of durability. I'm not a big fan of regular latex, Urethane is realy nice, but foam latex is sooooo comfortable to wear, and it is LIGHT! Makes a big difference.

So, on a scale of 1-10, I'd go like this...

Latex:
Durability: 5.5
Comfort: 5.0

Urethane:
Durability: 8.5-9.0
Comfort: 7.5

Foam Latex:
Durability: 8.5-9.5
Comfort: 10+

As far as care for each material, I'd say there isn't a whole lot of difference between the three, of course, I'm still somewhat new to it all still. Again though, Foam gets my vote! :up

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doesitcomeinblack101 Profile
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Caped Crusader

Registered: 08-2007
Posts: 2621
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Re: Cowl/Suit Material Comparison


I think I prefer latex? You see, I am not quite sure if my '89 is latex or not.Whatever it is I love it! But my Reevz Dead End hurt too much getting it off, which is urethane, so I added a zipper.

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Eden
Official Spelunker in The Cave and The Bat's Lair
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inkmonkey Profile
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Caped Crusader

Registered: 11-2005
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Re: Cowl/Suit Material Comparison


Justin, I think you may want to speak at depth with Bob about the care of foam latex. If you treat it just like any other rubber I think you might be disappointed in a year. The oils in your skin, petroleum products, and sunlight can eat away at foam in no time.

Slip latex is by far the strongest/most durable of all the rubbers you mention. Urethane (depending on the shore) can have the tendency to tear. And foam can also be very strong but I think even Bob will tell you that slip latex is stronger as far as tear strength.

If when you say "durabilty" you mean how long this stuff will last - they'll all last a lifetime if you take care of them. There's a reason you see serious collectors put their foam parts in air tight u/v protected custom made boxes.

And there is little doubt that foam is THE product when it comes to comfort. Having owned one of Bob's cowls I can vouch for that. But I still wouldn't want a full suit of it for the abuse I put a suit through while costuming. It's ok for million dollar movie productions who are not concerned if they tear the suit. Or even for photo ops or display. Nothing better I'm sure. But for costuming it's urethane or slip latex for me.

Just my opinion based on years of wearing and handling all of this stuff.

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4/9/2009, 9:28 am Link to this post Send Email to inkmonkey
 
MannieBothans Profile
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Sidekick

Registered: 12-2007
Posts: 406
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Re: Cowl/Suit Material Comparison


Thanks all, very helpful consolidation. Are there any quality cowl care, (or armor care) comprehensive tutorials out there that (we can link to so we can) consolidate the best advice for cleaning and storing that which is actually worn and used?


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This city is afraid of me. It has seen my true face.
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doesitcomeinblack101 Profile
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Caped Crusader

Registered: 08-2007
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Re: Cowl/Suit Material Comparison


Out of sunlight, an occasional Armor-All rub. Rub the inside with a mild dish detergent to remove the oils from you skin after every wear.

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Eden
Official Spelunker in The Cave and The Bat's Lair
4/9/2009, 9:50 am Link to this post Send Email to doesitcomeinblack101   Send PM to doesitcomeinblack101
 
HamelinGraphix Profile
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Caped Crusader

Registered: 10-2007
Location: St-Tite, Québec (Can)
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Re: Cowl/Suit Material Comparison


retard question
Slip latex is the same as latex?

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Mr Justin Profile
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Dark Knight

Registered: 04-2008
Posts: 778
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Re: Cowl/Suit Material Comparison


Quote:

inkmonkey wrote:

Justin, I think you may want to speak at depth with Bob about the care of foam latex. If you treat it just like any other rubber I think you might be disappointed in a year. The oils in your skin, petroleum products, and sunlight can eat away at foam in no time.

Slip latex is by far the strongest/most durable of all the rubbers you mention. Urethane (depending on the shore) can have the tendency to tear. And foam can also be very strong but I think even Bob will tell you that slip latex is stronger as far as tear strength.

If when you say "durabilty" you mean how long this stuff will last - they'll all last a lifetime if you take care of them. There's a reason you see serious collectors put their foam parts in air tight u/v protected custom made boxes.

And there is little doubt that foam is THE product when it comes to comfort. Having owned one of Bob's cowls I can vouch for that. But I still wouldn't want a full suit of it for the abuse I put a suit through while costuming. It's ok for million dollar movie productions who are not concerned if they tear the suit. Or even for photo ops or display. Nothing better I'm sure. But for costuming it's urethane or slip latex for me.

Just my opinion based on years of wearing and handling all of this stuff.



Yeah, you're right. I know that baby powder is to be used before ever putting on the cowl, but as for long term storage, I haven't really gotten into that yet. Thanks for the advice though, I'm definetly gonna look into that.

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aceofknaves88 Profile
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Caped Crusader

Registered: 04-2008
Posts: 2767
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Re: Cowl/Suit Material Comparison


I only have ever had a urethane cowl as I only have one. My one complaint with it is that it doesn't have much give for putting it on, but once it's on it's not bad at all.

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--Matt


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youngbat Profile
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Caped Crusader

Registered: 02-2004
Posts: 1182
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Re: Cowl/Suit Material Comparison


I don't think that there really is a "best" material. I think that what works best depends on a variety of variables. Here are some.

1. the skill set of the person running the piece, regardless of the material. And this may mean the mold itself. technique by which the piece is ran. All of it matters.
2. the Brand.
3. the application. intended use. What type of conditions does the piece have to endure?

All rubbers react to certain elements, and conditions. That's why they make armourall for car interiors. To protect and beautify the vinyl, rubber, of car interiors. So obviously that stuff gets eaten by U.V. light, and greasy french fries, spilled pop, etc..

Both slip latex, and foam latex come from the same rubber latex tree. Most manufactures get their bases from the same producer. So Inkmonkeys slip cowl has the same latex base as my foam latex cowl. The difference is that my foam cowl has a foaming agent, a curing agent, a gelling agent, which allows me to whip it all in a mixer to produce a foam out of the same base.
The only difference in the base is that slip has been "pre-vulcanized", while I have to vulcanize the latex with heat. So petroleum, copper, U.V. light all affect slip the same way as foam.

If I don't whip up the foam at all, or much, I get roughly the same product as slip but because I'm injecting the material into 2part molds that can be upto 1" thick, you can only imagine how heavy that's gonna be. So by whipping it up really high I get a 60%material to about 40% air. Both shrink in percentage of the CONTAINED MASS. So if a slip piece is not very thick, it may not shrink much, Same with foam, OR - if I don't whip the foam up it will shrink more, OR - if I whip the foam up really high it will shrink less.

Foam latex is the only foam available to hands on people that has elasticity. 2 part polyfoam doesn't that I know of. It bends, but does not stretch. The injection process guarntees me a pre-determined wall thickness, which will be the same EVERY TIME I run that piece. In the case of a cowl, the space between my lifecast, and the inside of the neg will be that wall thickness. No guesswork, or hoping I got that area thick enough. That's a nice thing.. But keep catwoman away with the sharp claws....

When I did pieces for six flaggs back in the early 90's I had some guys whose ears literly stuck together on stage during a performance, because the U.V. light ate the urethane, and made it gooey. U.V. seems to eat everything(accept silicone), but other things that attack this, may not attack that.

So here are the materials that one could use on any given piece:
1. foam latex, HUGE differences in density, and softness, all depends on the runner.
2. slip latex, some hardness choices.
3. urethane, various shore hardnesses from super soft, to near hard plastic.
4. silicone, various shore hardnesses.
5. 2-part urethane polyfoam, various densities, and quality varies from manufacturer. to manufacturer. None I know of stretch.
6. Silicone foam. used in the medical field for replacement of ears, noses. Mega expensive. Last I knew one small can in the palm of your hand about $70.00. Does not stretch that I knew of. Great cell structure though. From what I understood bends some.
7. and any other material I don't know about, or haven't thought of in this writing.

Obviously a foam light density foam is going to be lighter, and more comfortable if it stretches. Obviously a thick solid mass rubber will be heavier, unless it is very thin. Weight on a pair of legs can be an issue. If you are going to be in heavy physical exertion, weight can be an issue. Or if you are going to see physical combat, certain types of durability are an issue. Foam latex is not bulletproof, nor can it be made to be, but urethane could be made to be bullet proof(incarceration of bulletproof material).
  Both latex's and urethanes are highly flammable. Urethane contains petroleum by products, while the sulphur in both latex's (think of a match head) will go up like a candle. So if you need to jump off a building in flames, you might consider silicone as an option.

Slip latex needs to loose the water it has to cure up. While plaster sucks up the water quickest, it gets eaten by the chemicals in the latex quick. might want to try EPOXICAL. which can take a lickin, AND suck up the water. You can brush slip in thin layers in fiberglass as many people do, but not to well in silicone, And if you do trap some moisture between the the inside of the mold, and the last layer exposed to the air, it may never cure, and you pull it, only to have a massively distorted piece.

Brush-up applications with urethane have the headache of you never knowing if you have a truly even coat, or if there are little thin spots which can quickly tear until you pull the piece out, then you want to candle it to see if light shows through. Also what goes up if uncured, must come down, so either you add a thickening agent, or use a kick-it type product quickly thickens the urethane, or you may be sitting there brushing up a wall for an hour or so.

So what is best?. Whatever works for your specific set of rules and conditions. Your own needs in terms of weight, visual aspects, tensile strength, impact resistance, etc..etc.. etc.. You first have to define EXACTLY what your needs are. I can tell you that odds are that one given material alone will probably not satisfy EVERY situation. Just some.

We are lucky we have a passion for something that allows us to escape from the tough world that surrounds us, if for just a little while.

Last edited by TheKingaSwing, 12/12/2011, 6:54 am
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