Operation 𝜈 : Turn 5

P1140337The last phase is at hand; Anime Expo is technically already in session but I’m lagging a bit so here’s the last episode of our armor-crafting adventure this year. We barely scraped together and only did our first actual full-final fitting at the Expo on Day 1.

P1140317Feet were constructed around 6lb wood blocks, both of which were nailed to the inside of my comrade’s shoes. We lifted the soles first to get the nails in there, then added some E6000 beneath the shoes for added security. There shouldn’t be an issue with the shoes coming off, hopefully.

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While we did grab some matte paint at first, we went ahead and switched it out at the last minute for some semi-gloss/gloss paints instead, as I had mentioned the questionable durability of flat paints versus the sturdier gloss variety.

P1140364Because my comrade has a thing for matte suits/Gundams though, we still grabbed some Krylon flat spray to spray as a final coat, which will hopefully also add to the durability and limit Expo battle damage.

P1140319Also got the PVC into the entire Funnel assembly in the meantime. Had to cut holes through each funnel where the pipe would pass through, then do my best to secure the pipe inside the funnels where there quite frankly wasn’t much to secure it to.

P1140320It angles upwards quite a bit, but I think it screams Nu Gundam just enough. The damn thing is like a massive cleaver axe when wielded by the pole.

P1140321Backpack trim and cosmetics mostly in place. Note the little hole cut out to let the connecting PVC pipe for the funnels to stick through.

P1140322This entire assembly is built on top of the PVC pipe frame we showed previously, which is strapped directly to my comrade’s chest via some buckles and straps. Therefore, this entire backpack is technically just for show; it isn’t actually attached to the pipes underneath in any way and acts more as a hollow shell.

P1140323Race-car-like straps that are connected to the pipe frame assembly and looped through the back plate. We’re actually connecting them to my buddy’s back in an X-shape though, not the traditional backpack-style strap setup.

P1140324One early issue we found whilst working with the PVC pipe and funnel assembly was the (expected) effect of the funnels to cause the pipe to turn within their connecting sockets, therefore rotating down and not keeping their proper positions suspended in the air. To fix this, we needed a solid way to keep the pipes from moving in their connectors. Enter some deathly toxic PVC Pipe Cement – apparently this stuff basically melts the pipes together – the pipes would crack and snap before the connection actually became loose.

P1140332Our first attempt working with it though…ended up nothing short of hilariously disastrous. Trying to figure out how to open the completely metal top of the cans was one thing (we had never worked with those crazy devices before) but spilling half the primer while trying is a whole different story. Thankfully I wasn’t actually directly involved in this; it was my two buddies at the end of the garage who fumbled.

P1140330It got all over his hands and shirt, which means we didn’t even have to pay to get a glimpse at those glorious abs.

joranCensored for sensitive viewers.

Seriously, you could grate cheese on those things. He assures me that the smell tends to linger something awful though.

P1140333Finally got our shit together outside. Apparently these cans basically smell like death incarnate; my comrade actually started hacking and coughing his lungs out when working with them so I wasn’t about to try validating his claim.

P1140334Apparently their definition of “brush” is “lolipop can lid.” Seriously, what the hell? I mean I guess it makes it easier to put it on the inside of the pipe connectors?

P1140347We secured all the potential moving pieces of the pipe assembly, and found that they were absolutely solid. The process is actually two-step; a purple PVC Pipe Primer must be applied first and the actual cement applied on top of it for the connection to work. Everything has to be applied while it’s all wet apparently, so it wasn’t a traditional put-primer-down-wait-for-it-to-dry-and-then-cement deal.

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Success! It’s still extremely nerve-wracking seeing the thing bounce whenever he walks around, but even all of our upper body strength (which is probably less in torque than the weight of the funnels alone) couldn’t turn those pipes after they had been cemented.

P1140335Finally starting with the painting process. Throwing on the semi-gloss white first.

P1140336The Mod Podge was supposed to hide most of the gnarly duct tape-to-cardboard textures, but just from the first coat of paint I’m not seeing encouraging results. I should reserve all my judgements until the final layer has been put down though.

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He’s gotta lace those shoes, then we can put another minor plate in for the feet to cover it a bit more. One issue I had with the Unicorn armor last year was how ostentatious and conspicuous my buddy’s shoes were within the armor. Hoping to remedy that and hide them better this year.

P1140339Second coat of white looks pretty solid. Lots of detail to fill in later, of course.

P1140340Ugh the paint texture makes me sad. I like the semi-gloss finish, though we’ll be sealing it all away with matte later. Hopefully that last coat will hide this a bit more.

P1140341Those sad reject pieces just lying around the garage, waiting for someone or something to find attachment with, though knowing it’ll never happen.

P1140342My other buddy’s mask for his cosplay coming along incredibly well. Those eyeholes are on-point.

P1140343Kind of what Mod Podge looks like before it fully dries clear. It’s like milk as it cures.

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Oh my god he’s so kawaii. *fangirl squeal*

P1140352A cut-away of the backpack assembly to reveal the pipe frame underneath. As I mentioned before, it’s connected directly to the wearer’s body via straps instead of to the back plate.

P1140353And with the other half on. Should be pretty solid, we hope.

P1140355My buddy working on the beam rifle. Certainly a step up from our first-year rifle, that sagged very unfavorably.

P1140354No muzzle yet, but damn that looks good already.

P1140356Added some more trim to the funnels in the form of the square-ish thrusters.

P1140357Mod Podging this whole assembly wasn’t the most time-efficient thing to do; we had to podge one side, wait for it to dry, podge it again as a second coat, then flip, rinse, and repeat for the second side.

P1140358a small PVC pipe serves as the rifle handle. The muzzle is on there and is a bit stubby, but the entire gun has been adjusted for human proportions so it’s a bit wider too.

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Starting with the first coat of white on the funnels.P1140360

The duct tape texture showing through the paint makes me really sad. It feels like we haven’t really advanced from first year despite our best efforts to do so, but I guess we’ll compare the final products at completion to really measure progress.

P1140361Advanced paint drying techniques 101. The black on that forearm is fresh, and there really wasn’t a good way to set it down, so we had to improvise a bit.

P1140362First coat of black going down after the white had generally been done. It’s starting to look like a proper Gundam!

P1140363Painting the head wasn’t fun, but then again it never is. The texture on the dome of the head is absolutely horrendous, and there’s nothing the paint and Mod Podge can really do to hide that.

P1140365Throwing the red and yellow on there. Suddenly much more ostentatious. It’s a unicorn!

P1140366Faceplate and crotch emblem getting finalized. We’re painting the mouth vents on instead of actually cutting them in.

P1140367Backpack is mostly black with half a yellow drum. There are actually two bits that are supposed to be white back there too, but we simply didn’t have the time to worry about absolute accuracy. Had to cut our losses when we were working into around 4AM on the day of the Expo.

P1140368Thrusters made out of cheap plastic cups as always. Primed gray, sprayed with Tamiya Light Gunmetal outside. Insides painted red and glued onto the suit with E6000 adhesive.

P1140369The left forearm wasn’t fun. The beam saber we ended up sticking inside (that isn’t actually removable, sadly) was made out of a small PVC pipe wrapped in cardboard for thickness. The constant repainting for all the separate color bits was just a bit of a hassle; notice how messy the yellow bit is shown above. We had to wait for that to dry and go over it in black to achieve the desired clean lines.

P1140370Solid white, even though the two end funnels will actually be black. One of my pals pointed out that it looks like the shaka hand sign. I can’t unsee it now.

P1140371Shoulder trim done in yellow, though I’m pretty sure this isn’t actually accurate to the actual mobile suit. Acceptable losses though.

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Traced out the rear skirt blocks in Extra Large red Sharpie, then painted them in red. Messed up once with the smaller box, had to compensate and enlarge.

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That single lone funnel, sitting idly on the garage floor waiting to join its brothers. It’ll be cut up a bit and added to the rest of the assembly with Velcro. The idea is for this one to be easily removable from the rest while still being there so we can have easy access to the PVC pipes to pull them off by hand.

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Facemask comparisons from the first year to now. I like to think we’ve gotten somewhere.

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Mostly for Rule of Cool, we added magnets to the inside of the helmet and facemask for ease of removal. Velcro worked just as well before on our first suit, but magnets are magical.

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Backpack just about complete. It looks damn good I think; the cardboard texture beneath the black paint is certainly an eyesore, but that’s only really noticeable in the light or if you look really close. From a distance or at first glance, it’s pretty awesome.

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As I mentioned above, we worked well into the night and only got about an hour’s worth of sleep before the big day. We’re cutting it close as always, but if everything went right for once, we shouldn’t have an issue suiting up for the first time at the ‘Con.

Read on the rest of the build:

START

Turn 2

Turn 3

Turn 4

 

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