Re: ROGUE ONE K-2SO Suit Build
Shifting plans from a suit to a puppet. More posts below.
Now I am about to tackle my most ambitious project yet. A K-2SO droid from Rogue One: A Star Wars Story.
I hope to catalog my build process here on the RPF and welcome your encouragement and support. My time table is to be done by the premieres in mid December. 170 days from this posting.
I first had this idea a few months ago, and am now in the R&D phase. Gathering information, costs, parts, materials, fabrication methods. There is a lot to do and very little to go on so far.
So an upfront warning, I will be posting pictures here I find from the internet as I source K2’s look. I don’t want to spoil the movie for myself but I ultimately need the info on this droid. So if you don’t want to see any images from Rouge One turn back now until after December 2016.
K2’s original design was a spin off from another project I had in R&D, an IG-88 puppet. My original plans were to have a K2 puppet a foot in front of me that was attached in a similar manner to how they did C-3PO in The Phantom Menace. But as I talked to costuming friends I realized the best option would be to do a K2 suit. Which of course had it’s own enormous challenges. My ultimate goal is to take K2 to a Rouge One premier in December if I can. This guided me down the path of Plan B, a suit. I’ll be posting several shots from my K2 notebook, it’s where I sketch ideas as my mind turns this droid over and over.
"Plan A vs Plan B, A puppet vs a suit"
"Mapping out the individual components for putting the suit on"
"Mock up of fitting inside suit, before full front image of K2 surfaced. K2 was 8.5' tall."
I begin setting up a modest budget of $500 dollars for parts and tools. I had just finished a GONK droid for around $250 but he needed specific parts to get the look I wanted. I may go beyond this estimate but it’s good to have limitations, they expand what you will try to make it happen.
One of the trickiest parts of the build is the very limited or non existent images of K-2SO. I’m hoping for a few more trailers and images but at least have a bit to start with. I really wish I knew his approximate hight as that would help me scale him, but I’ll get into that later.
Some key requirements I have for the suit are:
- That I can stand in it for long periods of time.
- Walk comfortably.
- Have good visibility.
- Be safe if I fall over.
From the first R1 trailer it appears that K2 is much taller than the average human. This makes the project even possible. As the real K2 never existed physically. He is a completely CG character. His legs are very very long, and his arms are elongated too. I decided to go with stilts for the legs and arm extensions for the forearms.
Once Entertainment Weekly released a full frontal shot of K2 I began to envision how I would fit inside the droid. My original plan was to have my entire upper body in his torso and use a camera to see. The head would be a puppet above my own. There is a 35% chance I will still go this route, but I will need to do some full size cardboard mock ups to confirm the direction I want to go in.
"K2! WHY CAN'T YOU STAND NEXT TO SOMEONE FOR SCALE?!"
"When you do stand next to someone i'll be ready K2!"
I took a picture of myself in my Stormtrooper under armor and using my 6’ hight for scale adjusted K2’s proportions to fit around my body. I do need to fit into the thing, and I can't move my hips or where my knees are. Talking with the twitter user @KayTooEsso
led me to believe his hight may be 6.75’ high. With trying to make myself fit inside him I had to make K2 around 7.5’ high to fit. And that is with my head being inside a helmet for his head. Not my first choice but again, the cardboard mockup will be my deciding factor.
"K2 doesn't wear shoes"
"Will he fit?
I plan to build K2 out of foam. I purchased a foamsmithing guide from Punished Props @chinbeard.
This will be my first foray into foam, having worked extensively in cardboard and ABS plastic in the past. 1/3rd scale Electra 10's and Stormtrooper Armor respectively. But I’m confident I can do it.
View attachment 639103
I am searching all over the internet for a pair of Marshalltown SKY2115 Skywalker stilts. They are the only ones I can find that look like a foot instead of two poles and a plate. But Marshalltown has discontinued their sale. I hope they won't eat up too much of my budget.
In the recent EW images it seems K2’s eyes have a bright ring around their edges with a soft glow in the middle. Very cool. Will need to figure out how to do this with LED’s. I have yet to determine if his head will be on my head, or above it. If I do wear it like a helmet I will try to cheat my neck by having a thin ribbed tube over the front which is the proper width of his neck and then have my neck in black cloth behind that. Giving the illusion of a thinner neck. But we will see.
If the head is a puppet I want to try to put my 170* back up camera in his vocabulator (mouth) to get a high view of where I am looking and walking.
Inside the torso I would have my monitor from the back up camera. My arms would also go up to K2’s elbows. So my wrist joint is his elbow joint. This will work well and is the most thought out part of the build so far.
I plan on using a backpack frame to support the torso/head on my person. All of these pieces will be foam for tooling and weight. I’m thinking of a double cup method to secure the torso to my backpack frame. This would let it be automatically guided into the cups and secured with rare earth magnets. (REM) I want to be able to don as much of this suit as I can by myself.
"Two (wrist) elbow ideas, going with the wrist elbow instead of the gear elbow"
I also came across a rendering of K2’s back which has a Stormtrooper feel with the cog and bars but with some cool antenna. This image alone will make it much easier to complete his torso design. If it is accurate.
I plan on making a (wrist) brace for me that I can mount into his elbow. I will also run wires down the forearm to his hands so I can close his fingers with my fingers. This is a simple technique used in many puppet arms. I can cheat making a right angle with my arms by coming through the lower part of his shoulder joint.
For the legs I plan on wearing the SKY2115 stilts. This number stands for the 2.1 version with a minimum 15” foot hight. But I can extend that up to 23” if I need to. My foot will be half way down his lower leg and the stilt foot will be covered with a shell to match K2’s width and look.
"Minimizing the look of a real foot on a stilt is a top priority. This image looks at ways to hide my toe, but now seeing K2's legs I will simply make an oval around my entire foot."
Once I have my stilts I will be practicing with them every week to be comfortable enough using them in the suit. I may also build a solid rod into the right arm so that if I begin to fall I can catch myself, probably sacrificing the hand.
- So for now I am continuing to look for my stilts.
- Determine K-2SO’s hight and other dimensions.
- Decide to use his head as a puppet or helmet.
Please feel free to comment with any info you have found on K2. I’m looking forward to the next 170 days.
"Posing with my friends desert GONK"
Today was a milestone. I found my STILTS!!!!!!
Marshalltown Skywalker 2.1 series, which expand between18" to 30". I'm planning on having them at 2 feet (24") for K-2SO. These have been very difficult to find for something besides full cost. Should arrive by July 21st.
This weekend is Star Wars Celebration Europe and I really really hope we get more of K-2SO. If anyone comes across images, specifications or merchandise please post it here on this forum for my research. Perhaps I will discover his elusive hight.
Once I have my stilts I will start practicing and constructing the legs out of cardboard for a test run. If that is successful I'll begin foam fabrication.
154 Days until Rogue One! Let's do this!