Operation Barbatos: Form 4


Only four days left as of this writing until the big day – I thought we’d have a few days before the Expo to cool off and chill out, but it looks like the deadline is breathing down our necks once again. The upside is that we’re very close to actually being finished – he can wear half the suit already!


We ran out of our second roll of EVA foam, so had to make a trip to our local Pep Boys Auto for more. We checked two Pep Boys in our local vicinity and both were out of stock – either everyone else was also buying EVA foam for their cosplays or we happened to buy them out with just two rolls before.

P1180411While they were out of the thinner rolled foam though, they did still have some of the thicker foam “plates” in stock. Since we’re on a timetable, we had no choice but to pick up the slightly different foam and just make it work. This stuff comes in puzzle-piece-like plates that have removable strips on their ends. It’s two dollars less expensive than the usual roll we get, but we lost four square feet of foam.


It’s also a tad thicker than our previous material – something like 1/32 of an inch thicker or something like that – it’s barely noticeable but feels a lot sturdier and less bendy than the previous stuff.

A downside to this is that I have to adjust measurements accordingly because I need to make two remaining leg thrusters out of this stuff when the previous two were made from the thinner foam, and it’s also a bit harder to cut through.


The thruster on the left is made of the new foam while the one on the right was done with the thinner foam. It’s not something anyone would ever notice unless they’re really scrutinizing the details, but just the fact that they’re ever so slightly different irritates me a bit.

P1180424Finishing up the legs by filling in the backsides. Beveling the new foam is actually a bit easier now because it’s thicker and therefore holds its shape a bit better once cut.


My comrade working on the thighs now that I’ve basically completed the lower legs. As always, simple stuff.


Obviously a lot bulkier and fatter than the actual mobile suit’s thigh, but that’s what happens when you try to fit Gundam proportions onto humans.


The panel line down the sides makes it look like a really cool armor-split, but my partner screwed up just a bit with an extra line.


He made the same mistake on the backpack earlier, but wood glue should (hopefully) fill it in and offer a good fix.

P1180452Said same mistake being fixed with wood glue as well.

P1180407PVC backpack frame glued to the backplate and straps attached.


Doing it in the same fashion as we did last year with the Nu – an X-Shape across my partner’s chest secured by parachute buckles.

P1180440Much thinner straps and smaller buckles than last time, since there really won’t be any serious loads on the back.


Hands and fingers primed.


Painted a dark metallic gray color, similar to gunmetal but not quite. It’s officially “oil rubbed bronze” by Rustoleum, but we see no bronze.

P1180438Hand caps painted white, just need to be hot glued onto our Gorilla Gloves now.


My partner literally burns himself with every dab of the hot glue on his fingers while attaching the foam to the gloves. No other way to do it though – we don’t exactly have mannequin hands lying around.

P1180453End result looks pretty sick.


Plasti Dipping the legs now that construction has finished.

P1180435We run through cans of Plasti Dip and primer like a change of socks, but hopefully it’ll provide a secure coat for all the pieces so they don’t chip or crack during the Expo.

P1180437Test fitting the legs. Turns out the lower legs might actually be a tad too long, but I blame that more on my partner just not being tall enough.


Strapped in.


Everything seems pretty secure – no issues yet, though there shouldn’t be as long as the straps are glued in properly.


Parachute buckles are honestly the best way to secure cosplay and armor, I think. They just offer the most secure support and ease of removal. The downside is that the ones we were buying were ridiculously expensive at almost $4 for a pack of two. It’s too late to order cheaper ones from online, so we just had to suck it up for a few sets.

P1180486Four buckles were needed to secure the front torso to the back plate that’s already strapped to my partner’s chest.


Test fit. It works!

P1180488It looks super weird right now with an oversized head and giant blanks where the shoulders should be, but we’re working on that.


Next up was to secure the backpack assembly to the actual back plate.


Had to cut some holes to make it fit, but it worked out. Now we gotta make more panels to fill in those gaps there.

P1180425So the whole reason we used a PVC frame for the backpack was so it could support the load of the shoulders – the backpack itself isn’t heavy, but we needed a way to basically suspend the shoulders and make them “float” off of my partner’s body so it looked proportional as could be.


Something like this. At least, the concept is there. I was the one who provided the original pipe measurements for my comrade to cut out, but I may have been just a tad off. I clearly made it too long on purpose to compensate for my partner’s otherwise lack of length.

P1180498The pipes will technically be visible from the back, but once they’re painted black they should be fairly inconspicuous.

P1180515The shoulders had a cardboard piece glued inside with a hole dremeled in so the PVC pipe could be glued and secured within.


Cut ’em down. It fits properly now. Looks pretty good huh?

P1180494Add a helmet for good measure. Man the torso looks so small compared to just about everything else now.


Just about everything we have built has been painted white. We’ll then be masking off the separate sections that have to be painted yellow, red, gray, and blue.

P1180497The red emblems will be painted in by hand with acrylic paints though.


We could also do a Barbatos variation color scheme that’s all white if we run out of time to paint.


Why do we always stumble upon our best assets and tools so late in the game.

P1180481The funny story behind how we found this wall-filling putty – my comrade and I were at WalMart for some budget spray paints, but because of their policies I had to be alone when purchasing and obtaining the paint because I was the only one with a state-issued ID (my comrade can’t drive yet). As such, he was off wandering the hardware aisles when he stumbled upon this gem.

P1180482It’s basically the perfect seam-filling putty we’ve been looking for. We got wood glue at first for this purpose, screwed around and nearly poisoned our lungs irreversibly with Bondo, and used up most of my modeling Tamiya White putty before finally coming across this stuff.


Seams like these are why we need the stuff.

P1180484It goes on pink and dries white – then it’s capable of being sanded down for a nice smooth, seamless finish. Miraculous, right?


We basically went crazy with the stuff and hit just about every seam we could – the shoulders were particularly bad offenders because of the multi-piece nature of creating the domes. Too bad we didn’t have this stuff when we needed it for the helmet.


The limbs will be held to my partner’s body by elastic bands, as we’ve done before.

P1180508Gutted a simple piece of cardboard to wrap a band of elastic around.

P1180509Stapled in at first for general test fitting, then drowned in a combo of E6000 industrial glue and hot glue to ensure that they’re secure when under stress when my partner’s limbs fit through.

P1180507Inserted in the arm assembly. Should be a simple slip-on affair when he wears it.


Our wood-working friend also finally came through with our wooden feet blocks. Now we can finally start building the actual feet around these.


They lift my partner four inches off the ground, allowing him to barely reach my standard height. (He doesn’t drink enough milk).

P1180514Everything that can be fitted is fitted. He skipped leg day.

P1180513The shoulders honestly look a bit too wide to me, but that might be because we literally don’t have anything below the chest fitted yet. It obviously looks top-heavy right now so I’m super hoping everything will balance out.


We also made another Home Depot run and stumbled upon a gold mine – cheap as hell parachute buckles that we’ll be using for all the skirt and leg connections. Hard to beat $0.97 for two sets in-store.


The downside is that they are absolutely tiny and feel very cheap compared to the premium stuff we’ve been getting up until now, but they won’t be bearing any outstandingly heavy loads anyway so it shouldn’t be an issue.


And because we’re so cheap, we’re literally cutting fabric up to use as straps.


The next installment should be the final Form (Ha HA get it I made a punny) before Anime Expo rolls around on the first of July. Everything’s basically white right now, but once we get the traditional Gundam colors on there it’ll really start looking iconic. We still have the metal piping throughout the suit left to figure out as our last major hurdle though.

Read on the rest of the build:

Form 1

Form 2

Form 3

Form 5

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