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!