It’s coming together…surprisingly quickly. When you’re working on something this big nearly every day of the week for several hours at a time the whole experience tends to just blur together. It seemed very segmented in previous years, though now it seems like everything’s just rushing together, with no brakes on this cosplay train. We still have more than a week until AX, and we’re nearly done with construction.
Left off last time working on the arms. Test fitted here after a night for the E600 Glue to dry, and voila they work! The elastic is apparently tight enough to keep them from turning all over the place too much or dropping off my comrade’s arms.
You know shit’s getting tough when you have to resort to 3D computer modeling to plan pieces out. (Okay, maybe this is normal for professional cosplayers, but c’mon our work ethic motto is basically YOLO).
Major props to my comrade for taking the time to draw this stuff out on the screen and work it all together. We’re limited to cardboard by our skill sets and budget, so we can’t exactly get all crazy with rounded foam or anything. As such, rounded parts on the suit such as the calves will have to be improvised and done as best we can with the polygons at our disposal.
We’ve affectionately nicknamed the calves “rupees.”
Once we had the computer model finalized, it was a pretty straightforward affair to just get all the measurements and angles as dictated by the computer and translate them into solid cardboard. All those bundled pieces are in sets of four, one piece per calf. He even numbered and labeled them; it’s like building Gunpla on a larger and more primitive scale because duct tape is required for assembly.
So for the torso halves, I’ve already shown before that we’re doing it as we’ve always done – a front and a back piece clamping together with my comrade sandwiched inside. Usually the pieces hang off his shoulder via some connection method or another (it was usually Velcro on past armors) but this time we decided to get a little more advanced after seeing a particular Iron Man armor at the Expo last year using this technique.
End result looks a little something like this (this is the back plate). The two halves of the torso should now be able to clip together, providing for a nice and solid hold on my comrade’s body. If the connection between the straps and cardboard fails though, we’re done for. Hopefully the whombo combo of E600 will be able to keep everything together even through the pressure of the buckles being secure and pulling against each other.
A look at some of the Mod Podge work on the rear skirt, which we tested early last time. It’s dried clear, and works like magic. The surface is now pretty smooth; it’s hard to tell where the duct tape ends and where the cardboard starts, which is exactly the effect we needed.
Moving onto the skirt connections. We got the carabiners last time as the primary skirt connectors; I’d be using the same belt connection as used on the torso shown above and clipping them onto the carabiners which will be attached to the wearer’s belt.
Test fitted torso and skirts. Looks like the skirts get an awkward gap because they’re attached to the bottom of the carabiners. We adjusted it and attached them to the top instead, closing the gap perfectly.
Those rupees look damn good, taping job aside. I feel bad for my pal who worked his arse off on the little flare in the ankles down below, but the effect is barely noticeable. Figuring out and fitting those triangles were no easy feat.
Like so. The glue will hold everything together really well when it dries, but the problem is that it just takes so long to dry. It’s not the instant-grab variety of adhesive. As such, I need to make sure constant pressure is applied to clamp the pieces together, done in the form of the duct tape shown above that keeps everything together.
We had originally had the elastic go around the back of my comrade’s calves, but found that it would constantly slide down because the attachment point was too low. Therefore, some adjustments were made so that there are two straps in the legs; one that goes around his shin area and another that wraps from the back of the legs around to the area right below his knees.
Knees attached, it does look much more proportionate now. Morphsuit game also incredibly strong. We used my partner’s Amazon Prime membership just to order the suit in time. It’ll be a big step up from the simple black shirt and pants he’s donned in the past.
Also got a gallon of Mod Podge online. It’s way too expensive in-store, even with coupons. Unfortunately, there was no Hard Podge available in the gallon size, so we just went with the normal variety. Shouldn’t be too much of a difference; as far as we’ve researched it seems the only difference is that the Hard Podge is more durable. We just need it to even out the texture of the armor though, so hopefully in that respect both versions will work equally well.
Backpack frame constructed. Because of the heavy weight of the funnels on his back, there needs to be a solid frame for the backpack, which would be this PVC contraption. The protruding piece will have a long pipe attached to it where the funnels will be attached.
The funnel measurements were totally arbitrary. The single guiding principle was for them to be large enough to not look dinky and small enough to be practical on a cosplay. Apparently no other Nu Gundam has ever actually done the funnels before. Not sure if that makes us daring and adventurous or just plain stupid.
Now it’s looking like the Nu we all know and love. I can’t believe the funnels look so damn good on the first try. Of course, these are just the bases; we’ll have to work hard to make them 3D and fold and attach in all the proper positions, but the most uncertain part of the process is over with.
Suit-up test with everything we have so far, including the morph suit. It looks a bit top-heavy right now because of the large shoulders and smaller lower legs, but once we have the elevated platform feet on there it should balance out well.
Gotta say, it’s looking damn good so far. Yes, the duct tape job does look pretty unprofessionally disgusting, but Mod Podge is the magic fixing wonder…I hope. Once we slap some paint and color on this it should look very familiar. I’m honestly pretty proud that everything fits together securely (for now) since most of the straps and attachment systems were my work. The key isn’t having it work and look good on a test-fit though; it’s gotta last through all three days of the Expo.
Read on the rest of the build: