This build log is going to be kind of whack. In years previous, it would be a post per day we worked on the armor, but that was when I actually had the time to write a log entry at the end of each day. Nowadays, we go hard until around 1AM (average end time) so I don’t exactly have the luxury of typing out a post in real time. As such, I’ve combined the logs so each post now is around two day’s worth of work.
We decided to employ the same rail sliding system used on the original RX-78-2 armor. The idea is to have a half-circle piece attached to a plate that would form one side of the arms, and slide said plate into rails on the main arm, which would have the other half of the circle as an opening for the wearer’s arm, effectively sealing the armor when everything is slid together.
With our first armor though, the rails could easily be seen on the underside of the arms. It was unsightly, but we took it as an acceptable loss of aesthetic because well…it was just the underside.
This time though, we figured there was an easy way around that – just add a thin strip on the original sliding piece and sandwich another board on top. This way the rails would be hidden under the topmost board which would form the outer armor, but still preserve the sliding system.
It works pretty well, and looks great all around, relatively speaking. But then we ran into a bit of a speedbump…
Drawing out the circle to cut in the sliding portion for my comrade to fit his arm through.
Exact same half-circle system was used two years ago; nothing new or too crazy innovative.
When we actually test fitted the arms though…things didn’t go as they did back in the past. This system always relied on a simple friction hold between the two half-circles clamping together on my comrade’s arm, but he’s able to just fit his arms through the armor, meaning there really isn’t any strong friction there to hold everything in place.
We only realized this after I had finished putting together the first rail system, which was pretty devastating to say the least. We actually couldn’t remember why we used this system during year one in the first place, and came up with only the two reasons written on the armor shown above. While Rule of Cool is a necessity, the second reason of easier access to the straps or whatever else we were gonna have in there kinda shoved this whole idea into the Awesome but Impractical category.
Ended up taping the whole thing together into a solid block once we realized our old systems couldn’t and didn’t hold water. The rails and everything are still built in there though, even if they are effectively useless now. Literally an unused design concept that’s still present and half-finished on the final product.
So we’re doing something just a little different here. The ends of the arms still have the circles cut out that would allow my comrade to easily slip his arm through, but near the front of the armor it would have a little platform/pad inside that would sit against his wrist, aligning it to the center of the inside portion of the armor.
Went out to do a little shopping at our local craft store.
Carabiners, buckles, belt lace, and elastic. All for actually attaching our armor to my buddy’s body.
We decided to go with elastic for the arms. It would be attached to that plate I mentioned above, and stretch to wrap tight around the wearer’s wrist section. The upper part of his forearms would already be secured by the cut-out circles where it’s relatively snug, and the platform with the elastic secures it tight right before his actual hands.
We’re confident that this system will work well, though the biggest (and only, we think) point of failure would be the connection between the elastic and the cardboard. If we fail to attach those two components properly (as in the elastic pulls and snaps off the cardboard) then our whole system crumbles. As such, I had to resort to some pretty tough components for this job.
Enter E600. I mentioned trying to use this stuff on the Unicorn armor before, but ultimately deciding against it because it was hella toxic. Well, after using it for a few household appliances here and there, I’ve concluded that it’s literally the toughest glue I’ve ever had the chance to work with. It doesn’t mess around when it says Industrial Strength Adhesive. It’ll take my ex to break the bonds this stuff creates.
The other forearm. The Nu does sport a bit of an asymmetrical design. While the right forearm I’ve been discussing above is nearly identical to our first RX-78-2’s, the left forearm here is just a bit more complex.
I’m very grateful to my comrade for working so hard to design all these pieces so meticulously, but ironically I still have to make some significant changes to his initial mock-ups, since sometimes pieces just don’t like to fit, no matter how well they seemed to do so on paper.
Left forearm basically put together. That empty hole is supposed to be for a beam saber, but we’ll figure that out later. Note how the bottom of the piece says “side.” It was one of those bits that needed just a bit of tweaking during assembly.
Our buddy thought it made him a unicorn.
The duct tape we were using was pretty atrocious; it kept peeling, usually overnight but sometimes within an hour or two. Not an encouraging sign of a solid cosplay.
Thankfully we found some sort of remedy for that though, in the form of some good ‘ol Mod Podge.
We were initially going to color the Nu Gundam by covering it with paper and probably spraying it down with spray adhesive first. This was a pretty risky idea for a number of reasons though (spray adhesive is very messy after all) so we ended up abandoning it and going back to the classic paint-and-play approach. The one thing we didn’t like about how our original RX-78-2 was painted was the cardboard texture that could still be seen through the paint though.
Example from year one:
You can still see the duct tape and rigid cardboard underneath the paint, which we wanted to remedy this year. Enter the Mod Podge. Apparently the stuff is supposed to be good for smoothing out such textures and adding some much-needed durability to our craft. It should also seal the peeling tape, which will be a much-needed benefit.
It’s basically school glue, though we’ll see how it actually works after it cures and a few more coats are applied. Crossing our fingers for now.
Random bendy metal things that we feel like we could use but don’t actually know where we would place.
As I mentioned before, we basically ran off soda. Some of us get off on it in different ways though.
Thighs done! Though they weren’t difficult in the first place; very simple stuff. Just gotta work on connecting it to my buddy’s body now.
And arms are basically done. The elastic strap system is all set up inside; just need to wait for the industrial glue to cure and test-fit them on my comrade come the next morning. Seriously hoping this works, since we haven’t used elastic before. It’s been velcro up until now, but experience has taught us that there has to be a better method. With any luck this will be it, and if so we can apply it to the rest of the suit for a solid and secure hold that’ll last through the entire expo this year.
Read on the rest of the build: