Operation 𝜈 : Turn 3

P1140273It’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’reΒ  nearly done with construction.

P1140222Left off last time working on the arms. Test fitted here after a night for the E600 Glue to dry, and voilaΒ  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.

11429959_920925424596962_1943745985_nYou 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.”

P1140224Once 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.

P1140235Most impressive. They look a bit small, but my friend’s proportions are only human.

P1140234The taping job is honestly pretty gnarly. Gonna need a lot of patching up for those seams.

P1140225So 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.

P1140226We grabbed a few buckles from JoAnn’s and some belt material; it generally threads together pretty well.

P1140227Folding it through and securing it together with a whole mess of staples. Should be pretty solid.

P1140228Enter some Industrial Glue, E600 to the rescue to secure the little straps and buckles to the insides of the torso components.

P1140225Then another coat of duct tape on top to make sure everything is really secure.

P1140236End 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.

P1140231A 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.

P1140232Not sure how well it’ll work for some of the more nasty duct tape folds, but with enough layers I like to believe that anything should be possible.

P1140233Moving 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.

P1140237All the skirt pieces with their belt loops glued on. Should be pretty solid.

P1140238Test 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.

P1140240Something tells me he’s wearing it wrong…

P1140243Lookin’ damn good. To be honest, it still doesn’t quite scream Nu Gundam. Just looking at this, with no color or other defining features, it looks like a pretty bland mobile suit armor set.

P1140244It’s the small details that count.

P1140245Fold that piece together and boom, chest camera completed.

P1140246Vent trims added and glued in. Torso detailing is basically done.

P1140247Lower legs! Look at that absolutely abhorring duct tape.

P1140249Those 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.

P1140250A bit of a test fit. I was just a bit worried about the proportions between the lower legs and thighs, as I feared the calves and whatnot would look awkwardly small.

P1140251Some knees should bulk out the lower legs nicely.

P1140252Seems legit? The knees on the Nu are actually really round, though we’ll just have to work with the next best effect.

P1140253Because the arm attachment methods were a success, it makes sense to do the same for the legs, right?

P1140254Looping the elastic completely around the cushion piece this time to ensure maximum durability.

P1140255This piece will then be drowned in Industrial Glue and shoved into the empty leg armor.

P1140257Like 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.

P1140256It fits!

P1140258We 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.

P1140260

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.

P1140261Also 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.

P1140266The thighs are a good fit, but need to be suspended from my comrade’s belt nonetheless. Same strap and carabiners system as used on the skirts will be employed.

P1140262Ran out on another Home Depot run to grab some PVC pipes. Time to get to work on the ever-important backpack that’ll house the Nu’s infamous funnels.

P1140264Ignoring every known safety procedure when working with a saw and PVC. No eyewear, gloves, or secure cutting position? 0/10 would not work with.

P1140265Backpack 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.

P1140269The 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.

P1140270Now 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.

P1140267Suit-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.

P1140272Gotta 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:

START

Turn 2

Turn 4

Turn 5

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