N00b Needs Help: Otachi Costume Woes

Don't want to see this ad? Sign up for anRPF Premium Membershiptoday. Support the community. Stop the ads.

Miki

New Member
Hello!

I'm newer than new, but I made an account as I have some pressing issues I need help with and no one I know personally could possibly help me out with the dilemmas I'm faced with. (it's hard not having any artist friends).



I am trying to make a full body Costume of Otachi's flight form (arm wings instead of a quad).
I have an aircraft engineer assisting me with the mechanics of the wings, so hopefully those will be okay in the end.
Here is her head nearly completed (just need to add the battery pack to the LEDs and fan in the nose)
otachi_10_by_crovv-d8bhsre.jpg

My current issue is her tail. otachitail.jpg

That image is me getting ideas down, so things are not 100% or to scale.
I plan to have a pool-noodle tail which has been bulked up with foam. I have some stretch fabric I'll be using to cover all that before I start to put on the plates and the... underside of the tail (those round things that have the spike and light on each; I've taken to calling them "foam Boobs" because I have no idea what else to call them). So it's the foam boobs I'm worried about. They are sound-ish and bulbus, and the back side of them curve to hug the curve of the tail and there are LOTS of them (a set for each side of the tail) I cannot possibly fathom trying to hand cut foam into these shapes: are they all uniform, how long would that take to make 30, and HOW in the heck am I going to cover the colour of the foam up and still have it look good.


What on earth can I make these things out of that will look good?! I'm so lost. I've only just started making costumes and I think I've maybe bitten off more than I can chew! (won't stop me, but still, Dang!). I've taken to the idea of maybe I'll have to cast my own "foam boobs" using flexfoam probably from Smooth-on. Problem? Cash and NO experience casting ANYTHING. There are so many ways, so many products, so much STUFF it's making my head spin. I'd actually prefer NOT to have to cast stuff and find another way around it. The "foam boobs" need an indent where I can insert the circular LEDs and a slot where I can slip a spike in each. Another issue is these foam boobs are round, there is no flat edge, it would be along the lines of casting a sphere. It might be possible to do two halves and glue them together but I'd prefer not having a seem.

Here is a very nice view of the upcoming otachi toy which I've been trying to roughly reference (I don't think it has to be 100%. I'm an amateur trying to do my best, and I have to work with what I've got or else I'd have made Otachi more of the correct colour. I'm trying).

Otachi Toy----------------------------------> http://i2.wp.com/thefwoosh.com/wp-content/uploads/2014/09/NECA-Pacific-Rim-Kaiju-Otachi-1.jpg


I need to brainstorm with some artistic-type folks to maybe get some more ideas out there as to what I can do. I'm really not keen on the idea of the casting.
 

Don't want to see this ad? Sign up for anRPF Premium Membershiptoday. Support the community. Stop the ads.

pandatrooper

Well-Known Member
Great work so far!

If you don't want to cast anything you'll have to make each "bulb". This is what I would do:

First off: principle. People will go " Awesome! Kaiju from Pacific rim!" What they are not doing is lying on the ground 8 inches from the tail expecting to see the underside of each bulb to be perfectly sculpted.

I would take the pool noodle and cut it into thirds lengthwise about one third down the tail from the butt. Then glue in long triangular tapered cuts of foam to put it back together. This will make the tail nice and wide at the base and narrow at the tip / claw.

For the bulbs, start with the largest bulb at the base of the tail. Cut it out of 1/2" or thicker EVA foam. Cut the shape out. When you're happy with finessing the shape make a cardboard template of it. Then resize the template on a photo copier to make 3 more templates, each one about 15% smaller. So you will have 4 templates for the bulbs getting progressively smaller. Make additional templates if you need a more gradual transition. The templates should also have a circle for each glowing spot (for an led I assume) which will also scale smaller.

When you have your first bulb cut out, heat it with a heat gun to dome the shape a bit and round / sand all the edges to give it a rounder shape. Again, no one is looking for a perfect sphere on the underside, if each one looks "roundish" it will be good enough.

Hot glue each one to the pool noodle and space them out a bit to let the tail have some flex. Finish and paint maybe with PVA glue and acrylics. Don't bother with the fabric.

The tail will be dragging on the ground, get stepped on etc. So foam is a good choice to keep it flexible, easy to repair and the costs down.
 

Miki

New Member
Thank you Panda! I'm at work now so I cannot fully grasp the concept at this given moment, but a quick run through maybe seems possible. My problem is I'm a perfectionist and any small detail that I can see, I know at some point someone else can see, then I freak out. The tail, however, will not be dragging on the ground, what I do is take a strip of whatever I have on hand (strong fabric, leather, whatever) and glue it down the back side of the tail base. I pull it tight as I glue down so I cause the tail to curve upwards (for downwards just the same thing only on the underside). That way her tail wont have to drag on the ground (as I'll have to also be on rough cement and it will tear everything apart). Her tail will have just enough curve to keep it off the ground and still hold up the claw at the end. So Taking your idea and maybe filling the few boob bulbs, whatever, with some poofy caulking or something, craving them down, finishing them, then painting them would still allow for light weight but also covering my butt.

I am concerned that the "bulbs" wont really be solid, for some reason that unsettles me, that's probably the perfectionist part of me freaking out.
 

pandatrooper

Well-Known Member
I still think you're worrying about something that no one will really notice. Part of costume design on a budget or timeframe is putting the "money where it counts". Concentrating on the head and wings / hands is a great idea, but the underside of the tail, not so much. People will be looking for "a tail with segmented parts, glowing dots and the claw at the end". They won't see the underside.

I can tell you now that a tension strip on the back of the tail won't really work. I built an Aliens warrior years ago in similar fashion and I built essentially a "strap on butt harness" for the tail, to attach to my butt which supported the weight of the tail. Even in foam, your tail will way several pounds at that scale and with the claw at the end. You'll need some strapping around your waist / abdomen to support the weight.

Make some kind of harness, and have a curved section of PVC pipe securely attached to the base. Heat the pipe with a heat gun and bend it to the angle you want and then some (as the weight will cause it to droop slightly) then build your tail on top. You "could" also have the last half of the tail have wound aluminum armature wire as a core to allow for some posability.
 

Miki

New Member
Sorry I think you misunderstood what I meant about the strap. The one strap is simply to cause a curve which does work as I have it implemented in my draconian costume. That strap is simply for the curve, not for attaching to my body, the butt end of the tail will feature four straps, one attached to a section of the back via buckle to ensure no slippage, two for side support and one under-crotch all held on via belt inside the costume.

I need to try and ween myself off from the fear of the imperfection. The "bulbs" are a huge stress on me and the wings are also, but the wings are a whole'nother kettle of fish. I think I need to sit down and test your theory (once I can read it in full, proper detail) and test out a few things.
 

Don't want to see this ad? Sign up for anRPF Premium Membershiptoday. Support the community. Stop the ads.

Miki

New Member
Hnmmmm. Maybe if I buy eva foam exercise blocks I can carve them -ponders- Would be a ton of work, but I could simply paint them afterwards vs trying to hide in fabric and I can custom make the slots for the LEDs and the spikes. I'll try one of everything but the casting. Casting is an absolute last resort. I'll try your idea with the cut foam sheet, I'll try making some out of foam (when I say foam I mean the green squishy foam often used for bulking up costumes, or muscles), and I'll try carving an eva foam exercise block with a hot wand and dremel.
 

fallimar

Sr Member
RPF PREMIUM MEMBER
FFFFFF!

Holy Marbles, you're rather amazingly good at this, aren't you?
That head is insanely good, and the draconian is beyond belief. wish I was doing that kind of stuff, I'm far better with soft foam and fabric!

Have you considered carving the foam boobs from a soft upholstery foam? It's quick to do and you can coat them in either liquid latex or plasti-dip for a smooth finish. I only suggest it since I've used that technique a few times to make egg-shaped noses and such for cartoony characters and it works very well. You can get a suprisingly smooth shape with only scissors . You could also use thickish sheet foam and make a sort of cylindrical pattern cut to points so it folds into the egg shape, leaving the bottom open for LED wiring and such. Same idea to coat it and all.
I love foam, can you tell? :p

EDIT: Oh, of course pandatrooper beat me to the idea, just with a different kind of foam. That's exactly what I meant as my second suggestion. Great minds and all, eh?
 

Miki

New Member
FFFFFF!

Holy Marbles, you're rather amazingly good at this, aren't you?
That head is insanely good, and the draconian is beyond belief. wish I was doing that kind of stuff, I'm far better with soft foam and fabric!

Have you considered carving the foam boobs from a soft upholstery foam? It's quick to do and you can coat them in either liquid latex or plasti-dip for a smooth finish. I only suggest it since I've used that technique a few times to make egg-shaped noses and such for cartoony characters and it works very well. You can get a suprisingly smooth shape with only scissors . You could also use thickish sheet foam and make a sort of cylindrical pattern cut to points so it folds into the egg shape, leaving the bottom open for LED wiring and such. Same idea to coat it and all.
I love foam, can you tell? :p

First off, wow! Thank you so much for your kind words. The draconian is kinda neat but honestly it was my first full-scale costume and I didn't have the slightest idea of what the heck to do. The armour hides all the imperfections, hah. That's part of the reason I'm freaking out so much with Otachi, she doesn't get to wear cloths or armour to hide stuff, she must be absolutely seamless :( I doubt I can achieve exactly what I'm after, specially with the skin, but I hope to make her so I can go back over and cover her in a custom skin I'll make....some time. But for now I just need to pump something out.

Foam is really what I'm used to using also, the green upholstery foam is what I predominantly use for everything. I was always wondering if you could coat the foam in something so it wont be porous, I knew there was stuff out there like the plastic dips and stuff but I never knew if it would have a negative reaction to the foam (like super glue and foam, the glue eats it). My concern is the sheer amount of time hand cutting each one would be. Oww! No to mention the intense pain it will cause ( I need about 30 of these things and they are medium in size, not little). Next up, you have to worry about uniformity, one false move and OOPS looks like that one is junk. -sigh- I love foam also, it's just for this one thing it seems like it will be nearly impossibly to use.
But I'll also see if I can find some sort of dip. We have plastic spray paint that I'm unsure if it will work or not, worth a shot! This way I'll try every possible way to make these and find something that is suitable.
 

fallimar

Sr Member
RPF PREMIUM MEMBER
You'll make it work!
It sounds like you work in the same way I do - research and test the heck out of absolutely everything with the fear things won't come out like you want them to. It's such an annoying hurdle. Your work really is incredible though, if that gives you any nudge toward confidence :)
If there's one thing I've learned in the (frankly embarrassing amount of) years I've done this, it's that jumping in and just -doing- things is scary, but often the results are much better than you fear they're going to be. "Just do it, and make it work" is my motto for those days I'm too scared of screwing something up.
 

Miki

New Member
I hope so! I know exactly what you're talking about that you need to just do it and get going and you'll be pleasantly surprised. Happens every time. Pandatrooper is 200% correct though in saying people just wont care that much. I know because when I'm at a con (and wearing a costume where I can actually see other people) I don't care if they are imperfect, I love seeing the effort and the stuff is just way cool regardless. I know it's true, but it's just so hard to get over it. It stresses me out so much!

Have been working on seeing where I need to bulk up my body suit with foam to create her body! It's going to be A LOT of foam, whooooo mama! 4 pics, ugly, out of shape me with the mask on, next up is the silhouette, then the outline to show how much foam that really is, the a more detailed outline. They are NOT to scale, but more there to give a general idea of what I should be doing. I didn't want to lean over too far for pictures as it gets REALLY tiring to hold it for long, so i tried to make a build that I didn't have to bend over that far for comfort's sake.

OtachiFoam1.jpg
Just me standing there with the mask on and the base of the hood. Sorry, I'm really out of shape and am trying to lose 40lbs.-hides-
OtachiFoam2.jpg
Here is the Silhouette of what I want her to look like. I didn't want to leaning over too much as it is VERY tiring to hold that for a long time. I made this build to get a pretty good Otachi feel without having to lean over much. Obviously the sings and arms are not included in this. This is to get a feel of where I need to be on the body as I can't do much for the wings until the skeleton is done,
OtachiFoam3.jpg
Here is the silhouette outlined to show just how bulked up it really is. It's pretty damn bulky! Look how much foam I need to add to my feet! I have size 2 in little kids (like barbie and batman shoes....without laces). Those are going to feel like some seriously huge feet to me! I'll have to be VERY careful when walking. (the feet are vary important to me because with my Draconian, I jumped the gun because I was too excited to make the feet. I made the feet to really fit me and they ended up looking a little silly as they were so tiny. I want to avoid that with Otachi).
OtachiFoam4.jpg
Some doodled in details. again, NOT to scale or accurate, it's really just to get a general feel. Once I get her body bulked out, then I can make a plate...scale thing pattern to go over it that will all fit into place. This shows where pieces will have to go via dashed lines. Neck / tail attached to body. Also shows a box on her back. That box is going to be a compartment where the foam is hollowed out. This compartment will be accessible via one of her back plated being able to flip up (like the hood of a car). In this compartment will be repair kits, extra batteries, pain killers, just, whatever we might need.
 

Don't want to see this ad? Sign up for anRPF Premium Membershiptoday. Support the community. Stop the ads.

fallimar

Sr Member
RPF PREMIUM MEMBER
Awesome!
And huzzah for someone else who does photo proportion sketches too. :D
Can't wait to see where you go from here. Subscribed!
 

Miki

New Member
I fidn the only way I can really gauge how much I need to bulk up is to simply colour in a silhouette over myself until i like the look or at least find it good enough to get the essence of the character. Obviously, Otachis really not shaped like I've drawn here, but I'm a human and thus have to sort of at least have human proportions. My skills are no where near where they need to be to do more awesome stuff like a quadsuit or anything. I actually got a snow day today, one of a couple of benefits of working at a University, muahaha. I'll be getting started on foaming right after I book my camping trip for the summer!!
 

fallimar

Sr Member
RPF PREMIUM MEMBER
Idea: maybe use foam pipe insulators for the underside of the tail? Something to ponder upon!

Actually that sounds like a really good idea, the foam is soft and carves really easily and the hole through the middle would be good for holding LEDs and the spike thingy. Also comes in different sizes and is already cylindrical - good plan!
 

Miki

New Member
Otachifeet1.jpg otachifeet.jpg
Building Otachi's feet. These are HUGE feet. If you're wondering why I duct taped the foam job it's to add massive amounts of durability, these will be near indestructible by the end. The feet are actually backwards in the picture, the nearly complete foot is the left, and the slipper glued to a frog foot...thing is the right, the second image has the lft foot on the left as that smaller toe is supposed to be on the outside. I normally add the claws in AFTER I get the final outer layer on the feet (I just slice a line into the tip of the toe going into the foam then shove the claw with some hot glue on into the hole). These claws were SO big, I had to add them in before the outer layer.
OtachiBIGfeet.jpg
When I say BIG feet, I mean BIG. The feet are about double the size of my own.
 

Don't want to see this ad? Sign up for anRPF Premium Membershiptoday. Support the community. Stop the ads.

Miki

New Member
Bought new fabric for the body and hopefully it will come out okay :/ Working on the body suit now, bulking her up. I still don't know what I'm really doing for the bobbles on the tail.
 

fallimar

Sr Member
RPF PREMIUM MEMBER
Your idea to use insulation foam tubing sounds like a winner to me! Ordered my own fabric and hair for Darunia last week so I'm waiting too.
 

Miki

New Member
I'm so excited to see Darunia come together! I'm completely out of money, lol, I'm praying for a switch tax return as it seems I'm going to need a TON more foam.

I also bumped into this tutorial: http://rarsuit.livejournal.com/44876.html

This is actually a good idea as maybe I can just pre-shape the bobbles into foam tail halves then glue the tow halves together onto a central, wiggly base. Hnnnnm. Hnnnnnnmmmmm. *ponder ponder ponder*
 

Miki

New Member
much work has been done with a little more then a month to go. Legs are all done MINUS the part where the foot and leg will connect. I am trying some sort of crazy idea for the back bulk up because I did NOT want to have to carry massive amounts of pure foam on my back. Heavy, hot, uncomfy, and just aweful! So I'm trying sort of a skeletal type deal. It's very sturdy (I can pick up the whole costume (including a duct tape dummy inside) by the structure.

I also purchased the foam for the tail. I finally decided to just roll with foam -sigh- we'll see how this turns out *fingers crossed*

legs.jpg
Side view of the legs and their bulk up.

back.jpg
Back structure we're going to test out and see if it will work. I sort of want to add a large computer fan in there but my husband doesn't want to add more electronics, so I'll see how it goes for AB15 and if it's way too hot, I'll kindly ask him to help me install a fan back there. (the lower back has a Velcro pouch where you can put an ice pack if you want to help keep cool).

tail.jpg
Here is the foam I got for the tail. Massive 6 inch foam placed side by side to hit 12 inches across, meter stick there for scale.
 

Miki

New Member
annnnnd I got one measly leg covered in her final fabric skin and started to work on her scales. Each one is individually hand painted on. My wrist hurts.
otachiscales.jpg
 

Don't want to see this ad? Sign up for anRPF Premium Membershiptoday. Support the community. Stop the ads.

Don't want to see this ad? Sign up for anRPF Premium Membershiptoday. Support the community. Stop the ads.

Top