When last we left our intrepid heroes.......
In the last blog post, I detailed how I made Threshy's head. In this post I'll be going over the claws, and if it isn't as long as the last part I'll go over the paint as well.
Speaking of claws, let's get back to Row 4 shall we?
The entirety of the last three sheets of Row 4 were the small claws, which made things really easy to keep organized. Because of this, both the upper and lower sections of the claws came together quickly.
As with the pics in Part 1, a lot of the updates and photos happened late at night and the lighting in that room is terrible, especially for photos. Still though, once those were done I started on the more difficult middle sections.
Bit of a jump around in progress here - this update happened on my wife's birthday, the day in which I promised that her present from me was getting Threshy out of her living room and into his proper home, the garage. A good friend of mine let me use his jigsaw, and I got right to work on the cart.
Didn't quite have enough time to finish it up, but got enough done that I could do the rest at home with my circular saw. Meantime, got Threshy outside safely! Also picked up a metric buttload of paint for later.
With that done, and the party over, it was time to get back to work. Time crunch!
You'll notice the claw isn't on it just yet. I planned to do them all at once since I needed to layer the foam, cut them out with the bandsaw, then hand shape them on the belt sander. Opted to do that all last, in one big go since I didn't have a ton of time during the day to work.
Pulled out the circular saw, and sharpened up my chisels, then got the cart all done!
Threshy now has a sweet ride! It's a simple set-up, and not the greatest, but I needed to be able to push him around Atlanta in full costume if travels called for it, and I needed to be able to take it all down so everything could fit in my van for the trip. Here's a test shot with the first claw:
Since I also need to be able to remove the claws for transport, I started work on the inner frame. I also started covering Threshy's head with Mod Podge, and then Epsilon, all to hopefully strengthen the seams and give him a slightly harder shell on the carapace.
Once that was all dry, I put on three full layers of Plasti Dip. I would have gone straight to primer, but there were sections of foam I left uncovered (in particular the part someone stands in) to keep its flexibility, and I also wanted to make sure if I missed any foam areas they would be covered well enough for the paint to not seep through.
That and I know how Plasti Dip works for me, and since I don't have a lot of time I went with what I know.
In the midst of all this (since I can paint, then go inside and cut/glue while it dries), I got going on the other middle claw section, and had a startling thought:
Green Lantern's..... Maw? That's literally the first thought I had when I put the middle bit together like this. Got that put together, assembled the second claw, then threw them on Threshy to see how they look.
That's the end of Row 4 finally, and it's lookin' good so far! Next I threw on the primer, a darker brown I would also be using for the base skin color.
I also got more work done on the inner frame, and realized that I should have made that first.
Since it was raining that day, I had opted to go out, measure, come back in, cut, then assemble it and toss it inside Threshy. I also had planned to use the backpack frame I used way back when for my Giant Robot contraption, to help hold Threshy up while walking. Too thin, unfortunately. I had to remove it, extend the upper beams, then everything fit better.
This frame still had its issues, but it was much easier to carry Threshy around this way than without anything at all. Once that was done, I got to work on painting the skin areas.
It's a little hard to tell here, but I went for a mottled skin effect with the spray paints. Hard to do well, especially for someone like me who isn't very skilled at that sort of thing (especially with spray cans), but I think it turned out pretty well. I started with that primer base, then dusted areas with various lighter browns. Not entirely, some areas more than others, and some more lightly speckled than dusted in an attempt to make it more flesh-like.
Then, I masked around the edges of the carapace, and went to town again.
I didn't tape off a lot, because I wasn't worried at all about overspray. It was easy enough to cover that back up using the same methods I applied earlier. Since the carapace is more bone-like, I started with an ivory as a base, then to age and weather it I covered most of that with a khaki brown, and highlighted some areas with a dark brown on top. Then I went over the whole skin area again, with the lighter browns, and ever so slightly pressed down on the spray tip, making it only spurt out droplets.
You can see it best in the second pic, and I think it made it a touch more realistic. Again, not the prettiest job, but I'm learning!
Now on to the large claws, which are basically the exact same as the small ones but with only 2 sections and a much larger pointy. The upper section was simple, if huge, and both sides came together quickly.
The lower section was a bit more complicated, but made easier than the smaller version again because of its size.
Can we say Krogan scythe? XD
In that last shot the claw isn't really attached, it's just resting on the frame bit and being held up by the PVC pipe I'll be adding to it later. The next day after this was done, my wife was home all day, so I decided to push out all the pointy bits and get them done and ready.
Started up the Epsilon on the small claws now that they are fully assembled, and added some dowels to the large one to hold the pointy end in shape. Much floppier than I expected, unfortunately, so the dowels added strength and shaped the claw in the direction I wanted. I hindsight I should have used clear acrylic dowels to look more invisible, but again time constraints and with all the painting and sunlight it really wouldn't have looked much better.
These large claws are as big as Threshy. It's insane. I put the pipes into the three claws, then put them in place for a shot.
I ended up securing the pipes inside with Great Stuff expanding foam, so they didn't twist around. Still needed more support to sit still though, so I starting thinking about fishing wire.
In the midst of all this, Threshy wasn't looking quite right. Something important was missing, and unless I got it done it was going to bug me forever. So I painted in the fake eyes.
There. NOW I could focus on the claws without being distracted. Back to the second large claw!
I stopped by my local acrylics dealer as well, to pick up a wonderful bit of awesomeness to add, which finished off the head completely.
Go for the eyes, Boo! Go for the eyes!! RrraaaAAGHGHH!!!! I used a transparent blue spray paint by Testors, which worked swimmingly for these half-round spheres. Still lets light in, and looks amazing! Really sets off the full effect.
Finished off the other large claw with its support dowels, then got to Epsilon'ing everything.
And with that, Threshy was completely assembled and there would be nothing else I had to cut out. Time for paint!
Unfortunately the pipe connection on this one twisted while drying, so I had to cut that off and fix it. No biggie though.
For those wanting a nice, in-depth step by step on the painting on these, I decided to take a shot of each step on the last claw.
1 - First, three layers of Plasti Dip, followed by the primer base coat.
2 - Once that dried, a single coat of the Ivory, being a bit lenient in coverage (about 95-99%)
3 - Immediately after finishing with the Ivory, spray on the khaki layer. This helped the blending, and once again no need to cover the entire area. Quick, light sprays preferred, keeping the coverage uneven.
4 - Once again, immediately after finishing the khaki layer, spot-spray a darker brown with much less area coverage. This gives it a fuller effect, and really makes the coloring pop. Add blood spray as needed.
At this point, Threshy was 99% done. I still had to work out the large claws, both with the need to continue being removable for transport but have enough support to stay up without twisting around in movement.
I ended up taking off the angle brackets, which gave two results. Not only did it end up looking better, but it put the base of the claws closer to the head and looked much better. I also tied fishing wire between the claws, which wasn't strong enough and stretched out too badly to be used, but stayed together long enough for a final shot.
This result was thanks to a good friend from the group coming by to help me get this last bit figured out, who held up one claw while I tied them together. Unfortunately, as I said, it didn't stay fixed long, so I ended up going with his suggestion of just buying some rope to use. The rope worked just long enough to get Threshy through the parade, which was good enough for me. :D
At the parade, Threshy got connected to his body for the first time ever, and was a big hit during the event. I wish he had survived longer, but thanks to the eight people inside who puppeted him it worked out wonderfully for how long he *did* last. The BioWare devs that were there and got to see him really loved it, and I got Mark Meer (voice of BroShep, the Hanar, the Vorcha, and prancing around in his very awesome Vorcha costume) to sign one of the large claws!
The claw he signed is now in its rightful place, displayed as a hunting trophy above my television.
Big thanks to Laura at Rebel Among the Stars Studios for coming up with the idea for a Chinese Parade Dragon Thresher Maw, Lexi at Keelah Monster Cosplay for making the body (and his name), the N7 Elite for funding the materials, and HUGE thanks to the handlers (Ryan, Alonzo, Chase, Kate, Matthew, Jesse, Heather, and Robert)! If it weren't for the handlers Threshy never would have even marched, and they did an awesome job of it.
Unfortunately, due to how he held up during the parade and the large problems the claws ended up being (as well as some damage sustained later due to my brother's negligence) I have basically retired Threshy at the moment. I intend to remake him later, both to hide all the large amount of seams but to also, hopefully, incorporate more moving parts and a much more sturdy frame. Threshy 2.0 will happen, hopefully sooner rather than later!
Oh boy. My first attempt at something massive. I'm daunted even writing this write-up about it. First, let me show you my inspiration for this massive thing.
This is the giant robot that YouTube and WIRED Magazine got together with the Stan Winston School and Legacy Effects to make for San Diego Comic Con 2013. Whew. Did I get all those links? Okay. Anyway, what they wanted was a huge cosplay to bring to SDCC and show the world why practical effects are still a viable option.
When I saw it, I said simply, "I'm-a make one!"
This is one of the few times I've really absolutely had to make something, with the last big one being my first set of N7 armor for the ME3 release. This time, just like then, I immediately had a reason for it. My local convention, Anime Banzai, has a certain theme every year, and this year it was giant robots and mechs. So, I thought, what better way to fit the theme than with a giant friggin' robot?
First up came the research. Lucky for me, SWS has a YouTube channel where they share a lot of great information. Right after SDCC YouTube held Geek Week, and every day of that week Stan Winston School shared a five to ten minute clip of the process they went through to make theirs. This made it a lot easier for me, since I wanted to make one that was similar enough to theirs, though maybe with less electronics and stuff.
I also learned that while it only took them a month, they had over twenty people working on it. I had about two months to build, and just little ol' me. Undaunted, I set forth!
Right away I thought I had a problem, as this was the back and I initially thought it would need to fold forward a bit as I stretched with it. Turned out later to be more of a hindrance, but I was doing this on the fly.
Put in a bar for the spine support and added an extra pipe at the top and bottom. This would allow for flexing of the back. I also initially had the shoulder bits at the top directly attached to the arm, until I realized they not only needed up and down movement but forward and reverse movement as well.
I had to start working outside here, since it was already way too big for the room I work in (back in my parent's house, very little room for anything unfortunately). The twisting motion for the arms was a pain to figure out, and quite a bit bulkier than I had wanted, but again it worked and I had to stick with it.
The elbow joint was easier, and demonstrates how the whole thing will work: a bunch of parallelograms! Keeps everything even, and makes movement 1:1 (hopefully).
Now that the upper, massive arms were laid out and attached, it was time to secure it to me and start working on my arms, which would power them.
This was an idea my minion gave me. I was trying to figure out how to strap the frame to me in such a way that was both comfortable and strong. I had an old frame backpack that I hadn't used in years, which he suggested I used, so after making a few holes and screwing in some more bolts, it worked perfectly!
This thing was already massive, and that was just the frame! I intended to also be on 18" stilts, but we'll get to that. For now, I had to have a way to move the massive arms. That meant attaching more pipes and making some handles.
I connected two pipes to the back section of the elbows, then had to corner them each to the right distance so that it would line up properly. Again, flying by the seat of my pants, but it did what I wanted it to. Of course, this was where I started noticing problems with the back section, as shown in my first test video.
Clicking, clacking, and a smack to the back of the head. Did some more work on the frame to clean up the movement, threw a couple straps on the arm handles to make it easier to control, and used industrial zip ties to hold down the back, then started to work on the stilts.
For those interested, you can find the plans I followed here. Of course, I'd never used stilts like this before, and I discovered that you can't stand still very easily at all. What I wanted was these: drywall stilts that are adjustable and relatively easy to use, but they were well out of budget. I ended up scrapping the idea, though I still have the stilts.
Anyway, when I scrapped that idea I started on the actual body of the robot. Thankfully as I went I determined stilts wouldn't have been a good idea anyway. First up was the upper back.
This started as an amalgamation of several objects, which came together into the nice, large reactor powerstation. I really like how this part turned out. A great lesson was learned here as well, which will help with future foam projects. A while back a good friend of mine suggested filling seams with superglue, then powdering baking soda over that. This bubbles for a little bit, then turns hard as a rock, which fills the seam and can be sanded down smooth. I decided to try it out on several areas of the robot and, wouldn't you know, it worked like a charm! I'll definitely be using this technique in the future. Of course, with the robot, I left the solid mass on in places to look like a weld seam.
All in the details!
The chest was a lot simpler, but still had some sections on it I had plans for (namely the large holes you see). I also started throwing together the large right arm, in the form of a gatling, as well as starting the covers for the smaller arms.
The gatling is made of 1/4" styrene circles, and six PVC pipes, which is not a good plan. I'll get to that in a bit though. Wearable progress thus far, and another test video!
As you can see, the chest ended up being a lot higher than I intended, due to the frame backpack. My arms were supposed to be about where my head is on the thing, and the height of the chest is supposed to be there after I have the stilts on. Right here is about when I decided to forego the stilts, as it would have been way too unwieldy. Oh well! Finished up the large gatling and one of the smaller arms.
Then came the fun part: attaching it all and filling out the details!
For this section I used pipe insulation foam. Bendable, easily cut, and really adds to the ambiance. Unfortunately I found out I didn't have the right kind of glue to attach these, so I ended up using electrical tape to attach the hose to the corner, then more to keep them out of the way of the arms. The corners worked well in the holds of the chest, and I cut out more holes in the back for the long hoses, so that they wouldn't break off on a whim. I also threw on some basic shoulders, to help build it out and cover some of the framework.
Then it came time to attach the gatling, and the problems started.
The gatling fit exactly where I wanted it to, but it made the arm too heavy. I could lift it, but I couldn't move it up and down very well. In fact, the arm frame nearly broke, even after trying to add counterweight, and has been slightly bent downward ever since. Had to take it off the arm entirely. All was not lost yet, though, and after suggestions from many of my Facebook followers, I moved it to a more prominent position!
I still had to figure out what to do with the arm, but this helped me figure out what to do with the spine support pipe that had been sticking out like a sore thumb on top. You can also see that I have added some rib-like pieces, to help cover my head a bit to add to the illusion.
Test vid of silliness, go!
Moar claws! :D
Getting down to the wire, so unfortunately from this point on I had to take a few shortcuts. What you've seen so far, in its entirety, is (in my opinion) the only really great looking portion. Not that the rest is bad - it's just obviously rushed from here on. A few other problems cropped up too, so there's that.
Anyway, two weeks to go, so I pushed out the legs. They're more like massive boots, naturally, but I added a bit to the top.
I used 1" thick EVA foam, to make it more comfortable to walk on, then built up from there. I did build up some supports that I could slip my shoes into and still walk with, which you can kind of see in the third picture. I also built up walls in the back that could be removed via velcro, to again make it easier to get in and out. (Later on I just removed the velcro and glued it, since it was easier and faster to just lift my feet straight into it. That and the velcro didn't stay on too well.)
For the top bit, above the knee, I made a taller section to help cover the upper legs. This also had a velcroed back section (which was also eventually glued straight on) and a pair of chicago screws to make it easier for me to move around in. Once all that was done, it went straight into the plasti dip, then sprayed with Krylon Metallic Silver with an overspray of Metallic Black, to give it a worn, aged look. This became the overall scheme of the robot.
Then came the large arms, with a different sort of minigun on the right and a laser-like contraption on the left. I actually kinda like how the laser thing turned out. I also threw on a curved portion over the bicep section to cover up the massive connection that was the rotation bit.
The power went out as I was starting work on the lower back, to cover up the massive rear side of the frame backpack. It was late when I started, but thanks to the outage I had to finish it up the next day, which was about a week before the convention. Grrr. Luckily I was able to use some more of the corrugated pipe I had (only came in six foot lengths, and the Wall Safe barely needed eight inches). It didn't cover it all the way, but it worked and, again, I liked it.
I also threw in some plastic mesh for screen doors and windows into the rib area, to again cover up my head better but still allow me to see out.
Threw together a quick ab cover, finished up the small left arm's claws, and all but the head was assembled!
This is the final video I have of it, pretty much fully assembled, which also shows the back. I've got other videos which I'll share later, but here's mine:
Still no head, but shortly after this video I had it all painted and ready for detailing.
Home stretch! Threw a bunch of tape around, marking off areas, including some that wouldn't be easily seen (like a giant 06 on the upper part of the left shoulder). I've always been under the belief that the most important details are the ones no one will ever see, which helps me remember to hit everywhere with something: weathering, decals, small parts, whatever.
Then came the head. This one came out of nowhere - no design, no idea, nothing. The eyes are made from scrap acrylic from the Tali helmet, with LEDs glued in to the back. In hindsight, the eyes look a bit derpy, and I should have put the two LEDs on the same line or next to each other. Oh well! What's done is done.
I finally threw on a few layers of weathering, with a bit of brown, white, black, and some bits of a darker silver here and there to really make things pop. With that, the robot was complete!
Out of nowhere, one of the convention heads contacted me to see if I'd be willing to come be on a live news broadcast promoting the convention, so I said yes! That got me really excited, though unfortunately this caused some problems with the robot due to the transportation. Unfortunately, all they had was a pickup truck, and the tie-down web I borrowed from my father squished down the gatling (once again, always the gatling) and tore off the pipe going from it to the upper pipe. A few other spots got squished or tore a little, which needed repair afterward. Grrr.
Here's the link to the news broadcast, though!
It was still really cool and a lot of fun, and there was even a point where they were talking to one of the staff and it zoomed in for a great shot of my shop name! It was cool. Anyway, got home, fixed the damaged areas, removed the gatling for the final and ultimate time, moved the head back to center, and the robot ended in its final form. With nearly a week to spare!
Had a blast at Anime Banzai, though I was pretty much entirely in my robot. Wore it for about two hour stints, and rested just as long, just so I wouldn't kill myself. Here's a few pics I really liked from the event, with more that can be found on my Facebook page as well as in the Photo Gallery!
Hope you guys enjoyed this (rather long) build!
Whew! Got back from NDK last night, but spent today relaxing. Legs hurt, neck hurts, but I had an absolute blast. Hotel treatment was atrocious, but that's another story, and NDK more than made up for it! I have to say, for a first time attendee, and my first major cosplay, it felt great (and weird at the same time) to only be able to move two feet before someone asked me for a picture, proceeded by a wall of cameras as everyone else took the opportunity. It was awesome.
Because of this, I didn't get much of a chance to take pictures of everyone else, but you can see a whole ton on the forums. For now, I wanted to show you a few of my favorites, and then I will throw the rest up on the Photo Gallery page, with more in as they get shared on NDK's forums.
Hello all! I just wanted to get some really awesome news out to you, some of which I promised via Twitter yesterday. Firstly, while randomly browsing the interwebs for inspiration for new items for the Shop, I came across a neat little link:
Apparently, my Etsy listing for the M8 rifle was featured on walyou! It's a short, simple one, but they were very kind and hey, it's my stuff! I'm honored! Thank you to Jude Cavale, the writer of the article, and sorry that I didn't see it sooner (was posted in June)!
Next, the really super awesome exciting news! I have been a long time fan/supporter of Child's Play, a great organization that benefits children in hospitals. I have looked up to them since first hearing about them, and have always wanted to be able to donate (stupid lack of moneys). My chance to help, however, may have just arrived at my doorstep! I have been approached by Mass Effect Marathon, who are holding their third main event this October/November, and raise money for Child's Play while doing a huge run of the Mass Effect series. They do fun things all the while, like donation based silliness (see the site - it's awesome) and other fun things like raffles and auctions.
In a nutshell, they have asked if I could donate something for their event, and I have wholeheartedly agreed. I've got some extra items left over from Steam Fest that I may send, and I would like to send one of each of the weapons I make for the Shop, so go keep an eye out on their website! This may be a great chance for one of you to win one of these awesome toys, and for one of the best causes out there!
Have I mentioned I love Child's Play? No? Well I do!
Anyway, on to the final bit of excellent news: I have finally finished pepping out every piece of the Fallout armor! I saved the third helmet for last, and here it is:
Ain't it a beauty? The awesome thing is....
It fits perfectly! Admittedly it is a tiny bit big, but that means it'll have room for padding and gizmos and me being able to breathe/see in it. I'm so happy! No more superglue all over my fingers! No more backache from all the bent-over cutting! Woooooo!
The first one was too small. The second one was too big. The third one? Juuuuuuust right. ;)
...and the final pile. The forearms are hiding inside the biceps and are great at holding up the pauldrons! The belt/cod is still a bit big, but I plan to cut it down a good chunk anyway. The rest of it, though, is ready to head to the resin/bondo stage. Yay!
Keep an eye out on my twitter feed, which I update constantly with new pictures. I'll update the blog when I have gotten some good progress. Now to find my respirator again! Wheeeeeee!
Just got back from Salt City Steam Fest, and boy am I beat! Not only is this the first major steampunk festival that I know of in SLC/Utah in general (besides the mass trade thing), this was also the first time I've ever run a booth! At least for me anyway. Despite the ungodly heat (poor AC system.... a requiem will be played in your honor), people showed up in droves, dressed to the nines. It was absolutely amazing seeing all the variety, both of style and age! Seriously, it was awesome seeing a few six year old cosplayers, only to turn around and see a few 80 year olds! I had an absolute blast.
I will admit, it was kind of a bummer that I didn't end up selling anything, but I gave out a crap-ton of business cards and people were very interested in what I had made. I also sat by a lady who does some awesome leatherwork as a hobby, and got a few tips and pointers from her while we sat chatting.
Anyway, here's what pictures I was able to take of just some of the awesome costumes! I didn't get a lot, but there were times where it was so packed, if I stopped anyone it would have caused a problem. Oh well. Enjoy! These are all pretty freaking epic! Apologies that some came out a little blurry. Also if you see yourself, let me know in the comments below and I will tag your picture with your names!