Made in Tampa Bay: Wicked Armor turns costuming into wearable art

- Cosplay has become a serious business for those who dream of bringing fantasy to life.

As cosplayers move from casual con-goers to serious character actors, their desire for professional-looking gear grows. 

That's where Rob Rodgers from Wicked Armor comes in.

Rodgers makes costume armor. His pieces are mostly inspired by characters on the big screen and in video games, but his abilities are only limited by your imagination.

Rodgers gave FOX 13 News an inside look at how he makes his masterpieces, showing off a large collection of "Star Wars" inspired pieces. 

His process is fairly simple. He makes rubber molds and then fills them with polyurethane to create masks and piece of armor. A mask-sized piece takes him about a day to make.

"I got started on this in my dorm room, I was actually in physics at the time. I was teaching classes and I wasn't able to do art as much as I liked, so I just started making these things, whatever I wanted to have myself," Rodgers explained. "People liked it, and I started selling these out of my college apartment. That was over 10 years ago."

What sets his armor apart is his attention to detail, from the creation of the mold to the hand and airbrush painting, Rodgers gives every tiny detail the attention he feels it deserves.

"I make masks and helmets and full-body armor, fabric costumes, sculptures. I also do prop accessories from time to time. This is similar to what is 3D-printing right now," he said.

His customers wear the pieces to cons, charity events, or put them on display. At any given moment, he has about 50 open orders and he ships all over the world. 

He's made hundreds of costumes, with masks being his most requested item.

Rodgers said the first mask he made was Darth Revan from "Star Wars." He showed us a costume he made based on the video game "Republic Commando."

"It was a Star Wars game that came out in the year 2005. It's a really popular character, one of the more cooler looking clone troopers, so I've been making those for clients recently," Rodgers said.

For more information on Wicked Armor, visit https://wickedarmor.com/.

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