First post for VERY long build...

Discussion in 'Replica Costumes' started by kangazang, Mar 15, 2012.

  1. kangazang

    kangazang New Member

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    Hi all, my first post on here, I hope it's in the right place.
    Basically, I'm building a life size, wearable robot suit, but it's not form a movie or TV show - it's a character from my own series of sci-fi novels. (www.kangazang.co.uk)

    Put simply, it's a female robot named M25 (or 'Tailback' as she's later known).
    My plan is to construct a wearable suit that can be worn by promotional models to help sell my book at public appearances.

    Visually, she needs to be a blend of Sorayama's 'sexy robot' drawings, Macintosh or Honda elegance and a little C3PO in places.

    I've built stormtrooper armour before and some small props, but nothing of this magnitude, so I thought this place might be the best place to ask help and advice along the way....
     
    Last edited: Apr 5, 2012
  2. kangazang

    kangazang New Member

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    Okay, so my first and most important step (after designing which is pretty much all done) is to work on the head/helmet.

    I went and bought a great looking mannequin, but it's clear that it's too small to cup open and use as a base. It'll never fit my 10 yr old daughter, let alone an adult. So my choices are to use it as a base and build outwards and cast it up, or sculpt on top of it.

    Either way it'll be tricky and what I really want to end up with are a couple of vacuum-formed sections that I can trim, connect and detail up, like a Stormtrooper helmet does.

    Question: (to myself if noreplies are forthcoming...)
    do I use:

    a) clay, mould, cast in fastcast resin?

    b )clay, papier mache, bondo, filler, vacform?

    hmm.
     
  3. kangazang

    kangazang New Member

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    One other observation that I feel I should point out - it's a bit of a cop-out to build something of my own design. It's not like I'm building R2D2 so that people on here van see if it's any good or not - I can tweak and adjust this project to suit my skills and budget and as the creator, what I say is acceptable is ok in my eyes already.

    This site is full of incredibly talented, skilled people who I can not compete with. But I'm not here to try to do that, just chronicle my project and ask those in the know for tips along the way.
     
  4. Chrisisall

    Chrisisall Sr Member

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    The absolute beauty of creating your own thing is that whatever you do, it's RIGHT! No limitations, no constraints!
    GO FOR IT!!!
    But keep us posted, okay?

    Just for my part, when constructing armour (I did the Master Chief for my Son last Halloween), I used cardboard for the base, easy to work with, cheap, and light in weight. Later you can coat it with all manner of stuff, sand it & whatnot.
     
    Last edited: Mar 16, 2012
  5. kangazang

    kangazang New Member

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    Thanks for the encouragement Chris!

    Yes, I think for the arms and leg armour, I'll try to make it out of something very light like cardboard and then look at coating it in a harder resin. I've not done this before, although I've used fibreglass and fastcast before.
     
  6. Nobby

    Nobby Sr Member

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    I'll be following this one :)
    Do you have any artwork to show us what you are aiming for?
     
  7. jaybible

    jaybible Well-Known Member RPF PREMIUM MEMBER

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    Interesting project, it would be nice to see some concept art and designs to get a feel for the project and what would be the best way to approach this.

    If you're planning on vac forming then medium chavant clay and filler sheeting is the way to go.

    I personally would try and get a hold of a full size mannequin if these are to be worn by promo girls. It will make sizing and fitting so much more straightforward.
     
  8. kangazang

    kangazang New Member

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    Here are soem sketches that I did to try and decide what she should look like...
    [​IMG]
    [​IMG]
    And in the pic below, some photo reference of similar things - the pics in the top centre and the colour on in the top right corner are both by me:
    [​IMG]
     
  9. Chrisisall

    Chrisisall Sr Member

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    Ambitious! I like it.
     
  10. Nobby

    Nobby Sr Member

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    Nice one Terry.
    Only just figured out who you are :D
     
  11. kangazang

    kangazang New Member

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    You mean you saw my usename and STILL didn't get it???

    I just worked out who you are too! ;P
     
  12. kangazang

    kangazang New Member

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    Some more sketching here...

    Since time has passed, I realised that not everyone will be able to fit in this suit. The original intended recipient is no longer in touch with me - she was about 5'7", size 8 -10.

    Since then I've met two willing victi---er models, who couldn't be more different - one is about 4'8" the other is a whopping (and VERY impressive) 6'2" !

    I'm inclined to go with the taller model (lol- who isn't?) because she'd have an amazing impact on the public. The proposed boots have 3" heels, which will make the finished robot six and a half feet tall. I'm only 5'8". She'd tower over, or at least match most UKG Vaders I know!

    Which is very cool.

    Anyway, I've been brainstorming with a pencil and put down ideas for an adjustable system for the arms and legs - simple telescoping sections that can be pinned to be longer or shorter.

    Here be the scribbles. Apologies fo rthe indecipherable writing, but I need me notes!

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    More to come...
     
  13. Contec

    Contec Master Member

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    the suit looks pretty skinthight so maybe it would be better to make a cast of the female model to work from. Then you could maybe make the suit from foamlatex or something else that can conform to the human body a little better than any armor.
     
  14. kangazang

    kangazang New Member

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    In an ideal situation, yes, that would be the way to go. But I don't have a very big budget, nor a designated workspace. All I aim to do is get close to my designs, and amend/tweak all the way. It may be that she ends up looking more like a pink and white Iron Man, but if its made well enough, I'll be happy.
     
  15. kangazang

    kangazang New Member

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    Okay, been researching for a couple of days and I think I've decided on a method.
    I'm going to do some small experiments with EVA foam and plasti-dip paint.
    My first idea was to go with sculpting and vac-forming etc, but I realise that I have neither the space, money nor assistance to do all of that myself. But EVA will, I hope, prove to be lighter and more manageable in terms of weight, workability and cost.
     
  16. kangazang

    kangazang New Member

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    Okay, some more sketches. (btw, I sketch as a method of brainstorming, I find I can metally go through a process and work out most of the problems this way.)
    I think I know what I'm going to do regarding the torso and face.

    Face will have to be vacformed. I can't foresee it being done satisfactorily in EVA, so
    I'm going to sculpt a basic face shape and mould it thus:
    [​IMG]

    Then cast it in fastcast and finally get it to a vacformer to make a few pulls in ABS or HIPS.

    Torso - been working on ideas to match my original design as close as possible, and thinking about the shapes that will go into making it:

    [​IMG]

    btw, I contracted a friend to cut up and paint up a mannequin last year:
    [​IMG]
    Looks ok, but I'm kind of abandoning that as it was too small even for my (then) size 8 girlfriend and the EVA will be more comfortable, flexible and hopefully just as good to see.
     
  17. Werstrooper

    Werstrooper Well-Known Member

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    love the drawings!
     
  18. SampleName

    SampleName Well-Known Member

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    The painted mannequin looks sweet! I'm interested as to how this will turn out.
     
  19. Leander

    Leander Active Member

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    might be nice to make the white really clean like the faces in the reference photo and the pink shiny like it's metal-ish

    can't wait to see this project grow

    good luck
     
  20. kangazang

    kangazang New Member

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    Thanks chaps. Although the painted mannequinb looks good, it's *way* too small and would probably cost a fortune to re-do it or fix it. I'm going to try the foam route for now as it'll be lighter, more comfortable for the performer and hopefully easy to maintain. Not to mention cheaper.
     
  21. kangazang

    kangazang New Member

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    Okay, some experimentation.
    Made a cardboard mockup of an arm in three sections, to fit myself. This will, I hope help me work out shapes etc, and make a secondary one when I've taken some measurements of the performer.
    [​IMG]
    [​IMG]
    [​IMG]
    ...And begun the plasticine sculpt for the face plate. Still very small, needs much more clay on it:
    [​IMG]

    That's all for tonight, more soon.
     
  22. welshwarrior123

    welshwarrior123 Well-Known Member

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    Hello hello hello mate, didnt know you were on here. Those are some epic concept sketches youve been doing. And I just saw your sculpt on Facebook. Glad to see that your still going to be building this up. After seeing you VOC I know this is going to come out good.

    I'll be following this now closely, look forward to seeing some more. And if you need any help im just down the road.

    Lewis
     
  23. Heatshock

    Heatshock Well-Known Member

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    lol was this what it was abt the other day T man
    you know where skip and I are mate

    Nate
     
  24. pwrofbauer

    pwrofbauer Active Member

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    This looks really interesting! Looking forward to more! :)
     
  25. kangazang

    kangazang New Member

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    Hello Lewis and Nate,
    Yeah, I'm still trying to get this made. Going the EVA route now as other methods involve too much money, mess and cash. Will document it here as I go along! :)
     
  26. Looch

    Looch Sr Member RPF PREMIUM MEMBER

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    Wow, this is going to be awesome! I cannot wait to watch the progress-good and great luck with it!
     
  27. kangazang

    kangazang New Member

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    Update April 3:
    Taking some measurements from my model next week, and decided to try and work in mainly 10mm EVA. FOund a supplier (UK) who does 6' X 4' sheets for £19ish. NOt sure if that's a good price, but seems reasonable.

    Spending today drawing up some shapes to transfer to cardboard for mocking up the upper arm. I can then take this (and the forearm I've already done) to try onto the model and her immensely long arms.

    Once I get he permission, I'll post a photo up of her, so you can see just how tall and slender she is - she walks in any room and all eyes are on her! She'll make an impact, for sure!
     
  28. kangazang

    kangazang New Member

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    okay, did a little buying and a little sculpting.
    Here's the basic face shape in plasticine. Looks simplistic, and it's far from ready yet, but I'm trying to concentrate on smoothness and symmetry. Remember it's going to be vacformed over so ultra smoothness isn't crucial. But I can't finalise it until I measure the model's head to ensure it fits comfortably and the eyes line up etc:
    [​IMG]

    Buying wise, I ordered a sheet of 10mm EVA foam (6 feet x 4 feet) and some ZapAGap glue, and finally some plastic test tubes - why? Because they're perfect for cutting into sections and attaching to gloves so they'll be kinda like C3PO's hands!
     
  29. Skupilkinson

    Skupilkinson Active Member

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    Looking forward to this one mate. ;)
     
  30. kangazang

    kangazang New Member

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    Minor update - Zap-A-Gap arrived today: 2 bottles. One bottle was openi in transit, leaked everywhere. Argh! Seller posting a replacement out. Yay.
    Tried glueing some 'camping mat' EVA - didn't work at all. I'm hoping the 'Horse Box' EVA will do better otherwise it's back to Hot Glue Gun.
     
  31. kangazang

    kangazang New Member

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    My giant sheet of 10mm EVA arrived on Friday, at my office, so I'm going to see it on Tuesday and work out if I have enough. Should do. Then I have to get me a heat gun, and meet with my model lady and measure her up.

    Oh, and I got the boots today -

    [​IMG]

    Model lady says they might be a little high to walk in, but the price is so good, I bought em anyway. If she tells me they're uncomfortable, we'll go for flatter white boots. Not a biggie.
     
  32. kangazang

    kangazang New Member

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    Better update tomorrow, as I go to see my 6' x 4' sheet of 10mm EVA !:)
     
  33. Nobby

    Nobby Sr Member

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    Nice boots, Terry. Don't think I'd want to wear them for too long though! :)
     
  34. kangazang

    kangazang New Member

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    Okay, well I had a play with the 10mm EVA and some Zap A Gap, and it's brilliant. I didn't think it'd work, but I must remember the wise teachings of Master Skip, who knows his stuff!

    I'm still trying to get my diary to sync up with Model lady to take some measurements, but while I'm waiting, I've ordered 2 sets of platic test tubes, that I can cut into sections and form plastic finger shells, which will go onto gloves, in a similar way to C3PO.
     
  35. Rotwang

    Rotwang Sr Member

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    Any news on this project ?
     
  36. kangazang

    kangazang New Member

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    Well, Thank yo uRotwang (great name btw!) for the poke.
    There is no 'real' news to report, bu tthe project is not yet abandoned.
    I got sidetracked with getting my C3PO project sorted and some personal problems (a bad couple of months). Now I'm looking at it afresh.
    I've still not decided on a plan of attack, be it sculpting, fibreglass or foam. But I've made some enquiries wit people as to how to get what I want.
    My problem is that I don't have a workshop or place to work, and my budget is limited too. I do have some skill and enjoy thinking laterally to get around a problem though.

    My tentative deadline is March 2013 - the date of a convention in Cardiff. So I am looking at ways to move ahead. I still think EVA will be best for the torso and limbs. And my extremely tall model is still willing to work on it. :)
     

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