How It Was Made: Prince Dastan
March 12, 2015
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In this edition, I’ll be outlining the creation of a Prince Dastan costume from film version of The Prince of Persia.

The first thing we noticed from our reference images was that the vest leather actually has a semi-floral embossed pattern in it. So, while looking around and deciding how best to do that, we happened to find two hides of pre-embossed leather in almost a perfect pattern. The first image is the reference image and the second is the leather we used.

leather-pattern-1 leather-pattern-2

We mapped out all the overlaying and interlocking vest pieces and cut them all out of the leather. For the lower section that goes all the way around the ribs and holds the large medallion, we actually glued the thinner, embossed leather to a thicker, smooth piece and then cut it out to make sure it was heavy enough to hold up. Since the upper part has so many overlapping pieces and we wanted to make sure it was still flexible enough for him to move, we left it the original thickness.

raw-leather

The pieces were all riveted together, the edges burnished and the entire piece hand-dyed.

dyed-leather

We found some belt blanks that were a good color match for the vest, so we beat those up a bit and used them for the two vest belts, the back straps and the straps that hold it all together. The vest actually goes on over the head, closes using two ‘plates’ on the shoulder and the lower part laces up the back. We used Worbla to create the shoulder plates, riveted them down on the back and used Chicago screws to secure the front. We also went ahead and put the Worbla collar band down at this point. I’ll come to the ‘metal’ accent bands in a bit.

vest-1 vest-2

Next, I got the pants and waist sash together. The pants are made of a brushed cotton with accents made of a rough woven silk. The pants cross over in the front and close at the waistband. The sash is a heavy linen that we dyed to make look distressed (though this picture washed it out a bit).

dastan-pants

With all of these pieces together, it was time for an initial test fitting. This image also includes the ‘waist wrap’ that he wears under the vest to cover the midriff between the belts.

test-fit-1 test-fit-2

The next thing to attend to was all of the decorations on the vest. We decided that the best route for all of the small pieces was to scuplt them in Sculpey, bake them off, pull molds and cast them in resin. We tackled the large center medallion first.

center-medallion-1

The actual piece is very intricate. Rather than try to sculpt the whole thing, I found this medallion on Amazon that was a good size and thought it would be a great starting point. We used this as the main detail of the piece and then sculpted the rest around it.

Picture1

We tried to sculpt everything at once so that we only needed to pull a few molds. For all the little tiles that go around the bottom of the vest, we only sculpted 3 different ones and just kept casting them until we had enough. Same for the 2 pieces on the middle belt on the vest and the little buckles for the belt that goes around the sash.

belt-accents-1 lower-belt-buckles-1

When they were all done and baked, we pulled the molds. I’ll note here that we did all of the left-hand gauntlet pieces as well. To get a curve in the pieces that have to go around the wrist, we cast them almost flat and then were able to pull them before the resin completely set. We formed them around a mannequin arm and masking taped them down to finish curing and they had a perfect curve to fit his arm. I didn’t get pictures of that process, but I wanted to mention it anyway.

Here are the final baked pieces and the molds. The baked pieces were spray painted to help them release from the rubber molds.

sculpts-1molds

Here’s a little more detail of the sculpts and all the little carvings that were included. For the pyramids on some pieces, we used furniture tacks stuck into the Sculpey before baking. To create the filigree patterns on the backgrounds of the gauntlet pieces, we found an embossed coat button and just pressed it into the Sculpey like a stencil. Everything else was sculpted by hand using modelling tools.

sculpts-2

Here’s how they turned out in resin after being painted.

belts sculpts-3 scuplts-4

The bands that go around the center medallion and edge that section of the vest and also make up the collar were made from Worbla. The pieces were cut and contact cemented and riveted to the leather. We then went along the pieces and used a heat gun to soften it and carve in the edge detail with a butter knife. For the symbol motif that runs along the center of the bands, we created a stamp out of Sculpey. As the pieces were being heated and the edges carved, the motif was stamped into the soft Worbla.

collar stamp

With the main pieces well on the way, it was time to move on to the accessories. We began with the left arm. Having the pieces already cast, the rest of the gauntlet was made using a combination of faux and genuine leather. Once the base pieces were assembled, the cast and painted pieces were epoxied on and the pieces were finished with grommets and laces.

left-arm-1 left-arm-2 left-arm-3 left-arm-4 left-arm-5

The right arm gauntlet was also made of faux leather and incorporated two different purchased embellishments – small medallions (that actually have a compass motiff) and metal ‘acorn’ beads.

large concho small conchos

 

Here is the right arm gauntlet assembled.

right-arm-1 right-arm-4 right-arm-5

Next we had some fun with the wig. We didn’t photograph or video this process (as much as I wanted to), but we found one that worked well and cut and styled it to create the ‘wind-blown’ desert look. Here’s a test fitting of the costume so far. At this point there are some details still to be added to the vest and adjustments to be made to the gauntlets. And, hopefully, a less sleepy face to be made when the costume actually goes public. We’ll just hope for the best…

test-fit-3

The boots were created using a different faux leather for the tops and straps. These were put over a pair of walking boots and all the pieces were painted with several different colors of NuLife to match and have a distressed look. The image here is after the first coat of color only. However, you can see the pieces and how they fit together.

boots

And, here is the final costume.

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