Operation NT-D: Episode 3

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Three days to show time. Given this is only the third real time I’ve worked with my partner on the armor, a lot of it was done by him alone. We’re really crunching on this one, and the rushed effort shows.

Most of the armor is taking shape this time around, though a very important aspect has yet to be finalized: attachment. He can’t wear this thing if we don’t figure out ways to put the armor on his body soon…

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Starting off with the backpack, I made some good progress on it. The pieces that were cut out and shown last time have been added, and the whole thing is taking on its proper shape. Many of the bits and pieces have been 3D-ized. The flaps on the side that house the secondary thrusters are a tad too small, but you can only do so much with human proportions.

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Getting some footwork in there. My partner’s shoe is literally hot glued onto the slab of wood, with the foam armor plates built around it. We had originally intended to strap the shoe down via some Gorilla Tape onto the block of wood, but we built the armor around the wood first, negating that method.

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Both feet armored up. The bits and pieces around the actual shoe area are bound to rub and bump against the ankle armor on the lower legs, but hopefully they’ll hold up. My partner was adamant about not gluing them down too tight, or the rubbing and pumping will break them off as opposed to just bending them and having them spring back.

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Lower legs getting somewhere. Due to my comrade’s lack of sleep during this project and the rushed nature of it all, a lot of the pieces certainly are a bit rough around the edges. One of the knees isn’t even glued on straight, but in all fairness this is hard to tell when everything is put together anyways.

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At the moment we’re thinking of attaching the lower legs via a strap of velcro that will wrap around the top of my comrade’s calf, therefore preventing the armor from sliding down. The strips of velcro seen above will be used to attach the back plate of the legs, sealing him in.

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Lower legs and feet, rough positioning. There’s a rather large gap in the ankle area, and it will probably reveal my partner’s shoe if not covered up properly. Hopefully we can manage it…

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For last year’s armor, we cut out cardboard and shaped it to create the circles on the RX-78-2’s legs and arms. This time, since we’re not using cardboard, we opted to cut some soda cans up and stick them on the Unicorn’s lower legs to achieve the effect. Not gonna lie it was a pretty scary experience trying to cut through the aluminum which could like slice my hand open at any moment, but everything thankfully worked out in the end.

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As far as the torso goes, we got the gray slapped on there and did some touch-ups on the red and white.

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The gray on the front of the torso didn’t come out very clean; it was rough and oddly textured upon application. For some reason though, it came out pretty smoothly on the back plate.

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A shoulder piece on the left and the crotch piece on the right. Unfortunately, I doubt we’ll have enough time to flesh out the shoulders, so the top of them will most likely be left as a single flat foam plate.

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My partner working at the cutting and gluing station.

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We wanted to be as frugal as possible with the paint this year, since it does cost money, so we re-purposed most of what was used for last year’s armor. The red, gray, black, and yellow all worked with the Unicorn, but unfortunately the bright blue from before does not. We were originally just going to go with it for the backpack, but in the end decided that it looked way too weird.

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Most of it painted in the Strike Blue we used last year. It just doesn’t feel Unicorn, doesn’t feel right. So we opted for another alternative…

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I gave my partner the MG Unicorn Gundam Ver. Ka. backpack that I had been using as reference for building the actual backpack so he could take it to Home Depot and get some matching paint mixed for us.

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The results were pretty fantastic. Though hard to tell here, the dark blue paint works like a charm, and helps the parts look much more Unicorn-esque.

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We used a semi-gloss finish, and it did certainly take a while to paint the backpack given all the bumps and small pieces scattered about.

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Backpack almost fully painted in the dark blue. Had to go in with a tiny brush for the circle areas that I made out of cups.

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A slight problem arose when painting though – because the foam is all covered in paper, the paint didn’t take particularly well to that. As a result it crumpled up quite a bit and I had to remove the paper from the foam completely. This happened in quite a few places, therefore negating a lot of my paint work. Rather irking.

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Also had to hit the feet with some of that dark blue. I gotta say, it looks damn good when the paint is on there; makes it feel like Unicorn at last.

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For the arms, I was in charge of making them. Unfortunately while I was putting them together, I realized something went horribly wrong. For some reason things just wouldn’t fit, and I had ended up with two right arms. I had mentioned before that the two forearms were of different sizes, but it got so bad I opted to just say screw it and toss the old versions to make new ones from scratch.

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Drawing out the armor panels on the new arms. They were actually pretty easy to make, and I got ’em done within the hour.

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Attaching some armor. I actually had a fairly hard time with these parts since they had to bend around the arm. In the end I just gave up and split them up into several pieces to glue on separately.

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Fun fact: times actually got so desperate that my partner and I had to pull out an old relic and chop it up for service. Yes, that foam board does say “PROM” and it did belong to my comrade. It was just a test run though, so it was usable for the project. That red paint on there is our precious red glitter spray paint, of which we have no more of.

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Given that we pretty much bought and used all the red glitter blast spray there is in our city, we had to come up with an alternative to take care of the rest of the psycho-frame.

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The answer was re-using the red paint from last year’s armor coupled with some extra fine ruby glitter sprinkled on top before the paint had dried. I know, this sounds like a really bad idea, glitter on armor, but it actually worked.

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The glitter-sprinkled red and the red glitter spray actually matched quite well; you can only really tell the difference in the light at the right angle. Had we known this sooner we wouldn’t have had to drop $8 per can of unreliable red glitter spray.

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Painting is actually some pretty tedious and plentiful work though, so we called in some help. Thankfully the guys can always be relied upon in times of need when manual unpaid labor is required.

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Getting somewhere. We didn’t worry so much with being sloppy with the red; my partner and I are going to clean it up with some white paint later anyways. That red writing on the lower arms is a result of the cannibalized Prom poster…

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Torso getting touched up.

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The workplace, with five of us there in total. Thanks to our buddies, work actually progressed very quickly. And here my partner and I thought we wouldn’t make it in time with painting.

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One of our friends is actually also cosplaying for Anime Expo, as a character from something called Trigun (I’ve never heard of it). He bought the prop he was working on with him to our workshop, and it looks pretty insane. Many props to him (pun intended) for the metal working and crazy framework in that cross. Most impressif.

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At the end of the night, the workspace is a rather large mess, but a lot of the pieces have actually been finalized, sans the attachment points. For a whole day’s work, that’s pretty good progress.

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Painting away at those red splotches, there’s our buddy in the back surrounded by wood and duct tape, working on his cross.

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Another very important part of the armor that we haven’t touched upon yet is also in the works – the helmet. My partner will be taking charge of this on his own, but we already have a base frame in mind. The lower half of a certain large Easter egg happens to fit my partner’s head quite well…

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So all in all, it was a good session this time around. We don’t have much time left before the big day, but at the same time we don’t have much left to do anyways. The whole thing does look quite a bit rough around the edges and not as well refined as last year’s armor, but for starters this is a much more complex suit we’re trying to do, and we didn’t work on it for nearly as long as we did last year. With any luck everything will come together soon and look presentable, fingers crossed.

Read on the rest of the build:

Episode 0

Episode 1

Episode 2

Episode 4

 

 

 

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