Operation 𝜈 : START

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It’s that time of year once again. Anime Expo is exactly two weeks away, which means my comrade and I are continuing the annual suit-up with more cardboard and duct-tape goodness.

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My comrade and I have been UC purists for the last few years, having started with the OG Granddaddy and following up last year with the much more advanced Unicorn. We’ve hit a bit of a mid ground this year by choosing the Nu Gundam as our next cardboard cosplay, mostly because other lead Gundams would be too difficult or too obscure.

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We started way back in 2013 with the classic cardboard and duct tape approach, but betrayed our roots last year by making Unicorn mostly out of foam board, duct tape, and hot glue. It didn’t prove to be as durable as our year one venture though, so we’ve opted to return to our humble beginnings this time around.

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Starting out with the classic grid-paper schematics as always. I was almost worried for a moment when my friend was using his HGUC Hi-Nu Gundam as a reference because I thought he didn’t think there was a difference between the suits, but then realized quickly that he actually knew what he was doing.

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We’re joined for a bit this time by one of our other cosplaying adventurers, who did a Trigun cosplay last year with our friendo group.

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I’m not sure what anime his cosplay is from this time, but it involves a mask he intends to make himself from fiberglass, epoxy, and a bunch of other scary materials. Major props when I’ve just bought the mask for my own cosplay in years past.

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Starting on the Nu with the chest block, as usual.

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It has the general Gundam shape, though our redesign has skewed things a bit. The Nu is properly 22 meters to the original Gundam’s 18 though, so we had to shrink things down quite a bit.

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When scrap cardboard conveniently end up as beam rifles. Pew pew!

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Cutting circles for the neck; we’re following our tried and true designs of having the front and back of the torso clamp together over our wearer.

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Stomach and hip area kinda built out. Went for a surprising amount of detail here with the little crease dent in the stomach near the halfway point of the cockpit.

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Having snacks in between. I actually don’t know what those fruity things are and didn’t particularly like one when my comrades fed one to me.

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Our other pal working on a mock-up face mold for his mask.

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Duct tape mayhem and dedication.

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It fits! Kind of. It looks a bit small compared to years previous, but we’re trying to keep the size fairly form-fitting while still actually being armor (as opposed to some skimpy Gundam-Girl style flair).

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Getting the back half on there. The back plate will clip together with the front, but the entire Nu’s backpack and funnels will be a different story we plan to deal with father down the line.

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Having just a bit of fun. The way the Nu’s cockpit indents always made it look like a mouth to me; just had to add proper eyes.

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Measuring cardboard and fitting pieces – tedious work – even moreso when things don’t fit together as they should in theory.

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Our pal still going ham on that face mold. Pretty impressive dome he’s got together; we should’ve adopted something similar for our helmet during year one.

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More schematics, of the skirts and crotch piece. Getting the central unit down before spreading out towards the limbs.

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Front skirts coming together. Easier to draw our shapes out on the cardboard, score them, and just fold everything into place and secure it at one or two points with duct tape.

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Dat ass. It’s literally the middle block that goes between his cheeks.

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Front skirts together. I’m actually really digging the raised vent-like portions and slanted edges. Definitely a step up from our previous suits.

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And now he’s added paper!

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I dig the kitty ears. Very well made, for being a quick scratched-together rough reference made from cardboard alone.

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Controlled chaos in our workspace. Just a few fresh-out-of-high-school-graduates scrapping together a cardboard suit of armor in a garage, nothing out of the ordinary.

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Drawing out the side skirts. You can see where my comrade initially said “screw it” and tried to just make them “T”s instead of the proper crazy angled stuff the skirts properly should be.

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Most of the final pieces needed to make said side skirts (not even all of them – one was missing and I had to make it again).

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They look like Star Wars snowspeeders!

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Getting started on the shoulders. They’re a bit funky with the part that protrudes near the torso, but we’ll work it out…

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Ironically extremely simple compared to small stuff like the skirts featured above. Kind of flat and flimsy though; might have to do something about that.

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We basically ran on soda for the past few nights. It doesn’t help that my comrade’s garage has literally box-fulls of cans just ripe for the drawings.

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Skirts and central torso done for now; onto the arms and upper legs next. The curvy lower legs will be an incredible pain, but I suppose as our cosplay we can really make it as complex or simple as we want. We don’t have long until the big day is at hand, so the next week or two will probably be spent straight just cranking this suit out.

Read on the rest of the build:

Turn 2

Turn 3

Turn 4

Turn 5

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