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Scalemail Beginner - General Advice Needed

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Hi everyone! 

I'm extremely new to cosplay, especially scale/chainmail. I previously wore a chest piece made from hand cut vinyl scales glued together on fabric, but have been looking into using precut scales for mail instead for durability, aesthetic, and transport. This is the first forum I've found dedicated to scale/chain mail, so I'm really hopeful that y'all can give me some advice.

I'm looking at building a chest to hips piece, and have roughly 7 months of time to build it, mostly weekends and a few week-long breaks (I'm a full time student, but willing to put in the time and effort). Is it realistic to even attempt to build it in that time frame, or would this be something to make to wear in a year? If I was going to attempt it, would the small scales with the 18g 3/16" rings or the medium with the 18g 1/4" rings be a better choice? And is the metal a better investment over the plastic ones (which i would have to paint)?

I'm a 5"7 female if that has an impact on the appearance/structure of the mail. It would be worn primarily in warm/hot weather. Thank you!!

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Getting ready for GenCon?

The larger the scales, the faster things would go. Given your available time and the fact that this will be your first project, small scales would be really ambitious. I would say that you're better off to go with medium, or even better large scales. Plastic scales would be lighter and, therefore, less fatiguing in the heat. Anodized aluminum scales would be somewhat heavier but more durable, so likely less repairs needed.

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As you have some time, you may want to get one of the "scale samplers" first, to see what the various sizes and materials actually look like.  You may find that the large scales are small enough for the look you want.  Large scales would save you a lot of time.  

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