Back-to-back building days so far; I don’t think we’ve ever just chugged through an armor as consistently as we are now. I’ve noticed that I’m slowly burning out though – I was most productive that first day with the helmet – now I’ll barely make half a shoulder before deciding it’s the next day’s business to finish up.
We’ve always chosen our mobile suit cosplays based largely upon what we could accomplish pragmatically with cardboard and duct tape, as that’s what the suits have always been built upon. Those materials usually don’t take well to rounded surfaces, so we’ve been steering clear of armor that employed such designs.
The Barbatos of course has quite a few rounded bits, most prominently at the giant ball-shoulders.
It was easy to look at the design and split it up into basic shapes. The wild card is the actual round bulge though – my partner said to just heat-form the foam over a round object like a basketball or something to get the shape, but it didn’t turn out to be quite so simple.
I got the general cut out and figured it would be able to bend with a little heat into a properly rounded form. The reverse power button insignia was carved out and re-glued underneath just as it was done for the chest.
Turned out not to be so simple. The rest of the shoulder was easy – heat bending that into a U-shape was child’s play because the curves didn’t actually have to make a sphere.
I even staggered the bits that wrap around the front of the Barbatos to stay faithful to the original design – I could’ve omitted this detail and just made the entire wrap-around bit as one piece but decided against it.
No matter how much I bent it or took the heat gun to it to try forming it to the proper spherical shape, it didn’t quite fit the cut-out I had for the rest of the shoulder.
At a loss, I turned back to our trusty ‘ol friend – Ben – a maestro when it comes to round shapes.
I basically repeated the steps I took for the helmet, except I had my partner trace an outline of Ben’s rear skull so we could make a bulge for the shoulder.
Once again, four pieces per “bulge,” done twice over to create two sets.
It was really just sheer coincidence that Ben’s skull happened to be the right size for the shoulders, but we’ll use anything we have if it does the job.
I really didn’t want to do it this way at first because it’s such a meticulous and painstaking process, but it certainly did end up filling in the shoulders nigh-perfectly.
That flayed cut on the edge is what happens when you try forcing a dull knife through foam. A fresh Exacto cuts like butter, but they dull way too quickly, and we unfortunately are too basic to get our hands on a hand-sharpener.
Cutting the emblems into already-round parts was no fun – they were drawn on completely arbitrarily with no measurements of any sort.
Staggering the cut-out strips underneath was also ridiculously time-consuming; I couldn’t simply make a plate to glue underneath either because the shoulder is way too round.
Torso basically finished, just needs some small trimming and seam-filling here and there.
I used Tamiya White Putty to fill the giant seams in the gaps of the v-fin last time, but that stuff is both toxic and expensive. Cue wood glue – generally non-toxic, cheap, and dries hard so we can sand fillings down.
Drowned the helmet in the stuff because I put it together with hot glue before we had access to contact cement, and therefore had some abhorrent seams.
It takes quite a while to dry, and in some cases it could shrink in the gaps we apply it to, but the benefit is that it takes well to sanding. We’re basically using it as putty.
Took the helmet to a belt sander after basically dunking it in wood glue. It’s better, but still not pretty. In retrospect I really should’ve waited until we had contact cement to put it together, but can’t change the facts now. The upside is that the seams are really only on the back of the head; the front has all the adorning bits like the crest and v-fin to cover up the rest.
Made a Home Depot run for the Barbatos’ signature tubing. We had to look around for a while before we stumbled upon the jackpot – this thin silver metal hosing was only $0.57 a foot! We don’t really know what it’s supposed to be used for, but it would serve perfectly for the suit’s details.
Adding in some more detail in the form of the panel lines on the Barbatos’ v-fin. Because they’re thicker lines than normal, I cut into the material with an exacto first, heated it so it would expand, and expanded it further by shoving a ruler in there to widen it out.
Once again though, I’ve documented all my personal work really well so far – the shoulders and head are basically my brainchild at the moment. My partner’s been cookin’ up other stuff.
He thought he could build the arms in a day. It’s been around two and the elbows still aren’t in yet.
Granted the design is a lot more complex than we initially thought – you don’t notice these things until you really start to analyze a mobile suit design and ask, “but how do we build it?”
Also started going at some of the completed pieces (just helmet and faceplate so far) with the plasti-dip to see if the foam seals up and smooths out. It’ll take a few coats per part, but it should work out.
Nearly at the half-way point now; ironically parts that we’ve left for last in the past (the helmet) and stuff that we expected to be difficult (the shoulders) have basically been finished already.
Read on the rest of the build: