Albireo: Lightweight Scale Mail with Craft Foam

Armor plus skintight is a fairly common combination in anime and video games. After this cosplay, I can’t honestly say it became one of my favorites. But I still love Albireo.

System Administrator Albireo from .hack//A.I. Buster wears a sleeveless shirt of scale mail. He has a gangly sort of frame, and in the illustrations, his armor clings to that. In cosplay, it looks like I’m wearing a silver pinecone even though the base shirt is so tight I couldn’t get in without a separating side zipper–I had to seam rip myself out of it the first time.  I gave myself a waist and stronger shoulders again by widening his belts, and pulling them very, very tight. But even with that, I’m kind of fond of my silver pinecone. It wasn’t hard to make, even though it did take some time between one thing and another.

After making the base tank top, the individual scales were cut out from craft foam and sealed because craft foam is really thirsty. I spray painted the reverse side with normal silver spray paint, then bought a hole punch from the papercrafting section at Hobby Lobby and put holes into each scale before I finished the front sides.

While making the costume, I liked to contrast Albireo to another character, Balmung of Azure Sky, as a way to figure out what textures would fit Albireo. So while Balmung would have bright shining armor, I used hammered metal Rustoleum for Albireo’s armor. This is the part that took so long for me–I kept underestimating how much spray paint I needed.

I threaded strips of vinyl through the holes in each scales and ran lines of zig stitching across the base shirt, spacing out and staggering the scales. Vinyl trim from Joanns closed off the collar, and that was it!

Much love,



About greyrondo

My name is greyrondo. I've been a cosplayer since Fall 2006, and I've noticed that the best conversations I have with cosplayers usually involve the question, 'so how DID you do that?' So after studying costuming and making a closet's worth of costumes, that's what I'd like to help answer. Drop in and stay awhile whether you're a cosplayer or just a curious spectator; one of my musings is bound to be what you're looking for. If you have a question or something to say, leave a comment or contact me! I don't bite, I promise. View all posts by greyrondo

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