Monday, June 23, 2014

Attack of the Visor Part 1

Today I did my bold experiment. I attempted my vacuum forming set up.

Here are the results.


As you can see it is indeed vaguely visor shaped. The buck held up very well. Here are the mistakes I made.

1) I left the plastic in the over too long. It got a bit stuck on things. In an effort to dislodge those things from the sagging plastic, things got screwy. 

2) The vacuum still doesn't have enough pull so it did not suction around the buck. 

3) In my vain attempt to reheat and try again, things got very thin and papery. 
On the plus side, it takes color very well and I can still see through it. 

Also everything is the right size for working. So it's a good thing I already have another sheet of plastic on the way. I've learned from these mistakes. And we were CLOSE. 


Progress by inches

So I did do some smaller bits for my costumes although they're not done yet.

 Tali:
Gloves: Pattern cut and pinned
Sleeve: Pattern cut and pinned
Pants: Pattern cut and sorta pinned
Bandeau: Pattern cut

I attempted to do a test of my vacuum forming set up. Sadly, Somethings didn't quite work right.
The vacuum works fine, but I didn't secure my plastic right. So my practice plastic curled up instead of sag down. So today I'm out to get another window frame.
I also ordered another sheet of PETG plastic just in case I screw up.
Today may be the big day I try to finally vacuum form the visor.

Warden:
Tabard: Pattern cut

:) Yes. I finally, FINALLY did something with this project.
The next step would be to finally finish off the foam bases for the armor pieces. Just need to cut out the shoulder bits.

Friday, June 13, 2014

Costume Fears and Hall of Shame


How I feel that my costumes are going to turn out sometimes...
Well...because I've had some...major fails. Usually in an effort to remain on budget I cut out a lot of quality. 
But we learn from mistakes so here's my little walk of shame of costumes and cosplay that really didn't come out as planned. 

Princess Kraehe 

My first "real" honest attempt at a cosplay was this character: Kraehe from Princess Tutu.

At the time I was planning on going to AnimeFest in Dallas almost last minute with some friends. My game company was called Corvidology or "Study of Crows"...so I thought Kraehe would be super appropriate. Plus I knew I could pull it off. Well...here are the results.
I did take ballet in college for a semester...and in first grade! LOOK AT THAT GRACE!
I'm in the corner resting my feet. 
Well...I DID try. And for a budget costume it wasn't super bad...but most pictures of me were ummm unflattering. Some things I learned: 
Black Ballet shoes do NOT exist. I had to dye them. I used Rit Dye and they're still black. (yeah I still have them.) But getting them wet shrank them so, the already snug fit was deathgripping my child size foot. They were also Pre-Pointed shoes for practice. I went up on my toes only with support. I was pretty proud of my head feather that I found. It was a black halo. My hair was short so I simply sprayed it black. (It was red at the time.)
Everything else was pretty much bought on the cheap: a leotard and a black tutu from Party City. I didn't even try to make it look like Kraehe's real tutu. (To be honest, it was a bit too showy for my taste.) But I did focus on a lot of details like long purple nails, the slippers and eyelashes oddly enough. 

Do the Robot


Can not compute how this made me feel.

 This...this costume had so much promise. I was SO excited with my design drawings. I thought it couldn't fail. Well...prepare for failbot. 
The worst part was how much I actually prepared for this costume. Months went into planning it. This was also shortly after I made my Halo Armor. I drew things out, researched makeup, scoured the internet for the right shoes. 

I did have gloves but eating with them was tricky so I had them off when someone wanted a photo. 
Some of the fail is because of a desire to really stay low cost. Ebay, Amazon and Party City helped me out. 
The wig, dress, pants, makeup and the unseen gloves were from Party City. The silver shirt which was originally for a Gally Cosplay that I actually ended up not wearing to Anime Fest. The glasses were from Amazon and the shoes I found on some shoe site. Here's the thing, the pants didn't really fit very well but I didn't think to try them on until the night of the party. (My own mistake). The dress was too small. I had to sew in a zipper...which I was proud of myself for doing. But I should have gone with the plain sequin dress or silver dress instead of this Lady Gaga one. The gloves REALLY didn't match because they were for Optimus Prime. All of the silvers were different shades. The makeup application went on pretty messy. 

Again, I focused a lot on cool little details like LED shoe laces that I used as "loose wire". The glasses and a glowstick for my mouth and blue lips. I wanted a certain shape for the dress that was funky and sexy boots. I planned and researched the make-up but it turns out that cheap cream make up is really prone to smearing and coming off. I put in a lot of cute little details in the pants, shirt and make up that don't get picked up on camera. 

But I'm not ashamed of everything I've done. 

Stride of Pride

I don't even like the game! :D
Gally from Battle Angel Alita.
And the Sacred Heart of Jesus. 
Lady Galadriel really did suit me.
Maybe I can use this as my wedding dress.


All shall fear me and not pass

Ah, the perfect costume for my pale skin.


Usually I find what makes a costume look GOOD on me are a couple of factors: high quality pieces, I make it myself, and if I can hide my face. 
Sometimes I do manage to make a "thrift store" bought together costume work. Gally for instance is pretty much all bought. (I ended up getting a different shirt for the sleeves. I used it on my Robot Girl. More shiny.)
The catsuit was a LUCKY ebay find. It was pretty much exactly what I was looking for and it cost a pretty penny. (It's also technically fetish wear...yeah...and then a year later my mother visited and cleaned my closet...where I had that hidden. *shame*)

The Vampire was also bits of other costume parts I had around. The bodice I got at the Ren Faire and the skirt was an internet buy for a steam punk fashion show that I went to. It bustles. I love it. The jewelry is my nice pearls and the teeth are the nice Scarecrow brand. Not too big. And the wig I think I got at Walmart in the halloween section. ;) 

Galadriel I sewed the dress myself from a pattern I found. I got the wig from Amazon and the circlet from ebay. I actually do have a replica of her Ring too. The leaf was a gift I got from a guy back when I was in college or something. 

And Halo Spartan is when I started making this my cosplay blog. 

Anyway, just some thoughts as I work on my current projects. And pray they don't end up like Robot Girl. (Which the Warden Armor is in danger of doing.) 



Thursday, June 12, 2014

Anticipation, then Results (soon to come)

So, my molds are ready for sanding and then...the great experiment can begin. To see if I can even get the vacuum forming to work. My vacuum may not have enough power to suck things down. So...but I did see a cheap 1 gallon shop vac at walmart for like $20. First I have to use what I have. I'll be testing things this weekend if everything goes as planned.

Here are my two molds so far.

Plaster Face


And Clay dish.

Clay dish I could use to make a new solid plaster buck. Plaster face I could actually use as my buck. I'll have to remember to pickup sandpaper today...and cat food. Poor Lucius is low.

Update: Dish Face has died. Long live plaster face. :P The clay dish fell apart, but the plaster mold held together very well and took some sanding work.



Also did a quick strength test with my vacuum, and indeed, I need to secure a small shop vac.

Wednesday, June 4, 2014

Molds and Casting Lessons

Some quick tips I'm learning for self-reference mostly.

1) Don't cast like into like. Meaning that I shouldn't make a plaster cast in a plaster mold (like I was thinking of doing!

2) For my purpose, it'd be easier to have some kind of brush on mold instead of a fill a box with liquid mold.

SO here's the new plan. Let's see if it works.

Mold with Air Dry Clay: Simplest and cheapest solution really. Cover the head + mask in air dry clay. Once clay is dry, coat with modge podge or craft glue + water mixture to strengthen. Then cast with plaster.

Alternative things to try that sound cool: http://cockeyed.com/lessons/silicone/silicone.php
ERMAGERD! Silicone Caulk + plaster banadges or paper mache...might be way cheaper could totally work for mold making. Then cast with plaster...or resin maybe. Probably plaster. I wonder...hmmm.

So in the future it may have been more economical to work with air dry clay or paper clay to begin with. Using the foam head + the clay I could have formed a better mask buck. Maybe.

This is exciting!

Update: I got some more supplies including air dry clay, plaster bandages, resin, and some airbrush paint I want to try. (I got that paint gun, I want to see if it works well enough.) Man, why is the work day so long?? I want to PLAY with things.

Update 2:
I got to play. Yay.
This is air dry clay over the mask which is on a Styrofoam head. It's going to take a long time to dry. I tried going over it with the heat gun to at least soak up the moisture on it. But I guess I have to be patient.
Also I made this:
This is as jerry rigged as they come. 

Update 3: 
As the clay dried it started to crack and fissure. :P So I tried filling the cracks with water putty. Seems to be working. It sands. 

Update 4: 
 Cracks are still being finicky so I've gone ahead and used the plaster bandages. Put coconut oil on the clay prior to laying on the plaster. It'd be super nice if I don't have to destroy the clay buck, but most likely I will have to. 

In preparation for that, I've started a 2nd mold using the leftover clay and the plaster indent mold I made. I will either fill with Resin or homemade plaster. (Really don't want to buy more PoP) Looks like Flour and water are common. (Yesss I have that stuff.) 

Hopefully this weekend I can test out the vacuum table I made. :P 

Tuesday, June 3, 2014

Plans for Making and Painting the Visor (Some results)

 For the visor I will be following a very budgeted version of this:

You will note that they use a pretty fair sized piece of plastic over the form and an airbrush to paint with.
The video uses .05 PETG plastic, Pebeo Paint thinned with turpentine.

So I did some shopping...a shame how experimenting can become so expensive.

My Alternatives to the PETG Plastic Sheet

 None...I actually hopped onto Amazon and got some .04 PETG plastic. I got a 12" x 48" sheet. Proabably enough for 1.
My other alternative which is a big experiment is the PETG plastic bottle I have from my 2 liter pop. (Or soda...it was Pepsi if you're curious.) Pepsi products still have unshaped 2 liter bottles while Coke products have a waistline.
In my Visor Hate Post I had one experiment with the plastic bottle that was a mighty promising option.

Alternative to the Vacuum Form Table

 I really have my doubts that this will work, but I'm going to do my best to jerry-rig a vacuum forming system.

I have clamps, aluminum turkey baking pans, card board boxes, tape of the duct variety, and resolve. Oh and a vacuum and a pair of cutty tools.

Assembly PLAN

Pan with cardboard taped to top. Holes drilled with power drill because I'm too impatient and use tools like an advanced primate or something. Hole cut into the baking tin vacuum hose taped in. (May double up the turkey tin for pressure. I have some scrap wood in the back of my car from some project my dad helped me with. )

Pray.

Cut another tin in half, use top half as a frame.
Clip plastic to frame and set frame on top of another baking tin.
Pre-heat oven to 250 or 300 degrees or something. May have to look that up. (update: Set to broil seems to be the best advice/Bake at 250 - 320 degrees for PETG.)

Pray again.

Turn on the vacuum just before pulling out the sagging fabric. Push that fabric onto the form like a boss!

Pray it works. Praying is a good thing to do in the process. If it doesn't work, at least you prayed for souls in purgatory. At least that's what I would do.

That's the plan. Results are coming soon.

The Buck/Model form. 

In the video I posted, the artist created a dummy form of her head and then put clay over it. Then she sanded the heck out of it to produce a smooth enough surface.

Want to see how I did this without really sculpting at ALL? Welcome to the sculpting impaired version of Tali's helmet visor or a Quarian helmet visor. Should work in theory.

According to my pepakura test with paper, I have the rough size of what will be seen through the helmet.

I have a no-face chrome plastic mask and a no face styrofoam head. The head is wrapped in Duct Tape because I was playing with a heat gun. Tee hee. (Note: I've also seen the mask at Party City and Halloween Stores and the head I actually got a Michael's or Joann's or Hobby Lobby.)

I put the mask on the head. Masking tape works a bit better than using the string so it doesn't deform.

You could cut off the back of the head to make it lay flat on the table. I don't want to do this so I'm doing a whole bunch more unnecessary steps. I mean. You could do it this way too.

So I happen to have laying around my craft table silicon mold which was meant for another project that I'll never finish. (Because I can't sculpt).
Going for a one part mold using one of the many extra turkey tins I have. (Cut down to size, hot glued to card board. suspend head face down with duct tape.) Mix the mold, pour in

Take out the head and use the mold to cast a buck! I've got plaster of Paris to experiment with. I hope it's tough enough to withstand the pressure.

Mix 2 cups of plaster and 1 cup of water. Pour into the mold and let it set forever.

UPDATE: Okay so I went to mix my silicone mold and it turns out that it expired. So I couldn't mix it.
I'm attempting a plaster mold. I didn't have enough though. So I have to figure out how to make enough mixture for a mold.

Update 2: I've decided I can make a mold from plaster of paris and gauze or gypsona bandages.
I've also remembered I have water putty.
Casting with plaster will work though.

Tinting the Visor

The video used Pebeo Vitrea paint mixed with turpentine then airbrushed. 
Using the many 20 fl oz plastic bottles I have scattered about, I'll experiment with the best paint to use. 

Paint Options

Tamiya Transparent Color. I used it on the image above. It's pretty good. I was concerned however when I couldn't see through my visor made from the safety mask. 
I have some enamel glass paint that I will thin down and try. 
I also think I'll use alcohol ink colors like this blog project here.

Alternative to the Airbrush

So if I go with the Tamiya paint, I don't need an airbrush as it is in an aerosol can. What I DID get from Home Depot is a spray can handle...which is going to be my new love for awhile. (So going to help with the warden project! ) And it was SO cheap. :D So it's like I don't even NEED an airbrush Shah!

Also another alternative that I will try with the paints is THIS: Complete Spray Gun also from Home Depot. Also SO CHEAP. Combine this with the spray handle and we're golden. I'm so excited to try this. 

Results

 So a mix of stamping ink with a makeup sponge + the Tamiya Paint make a nice warm dark purple color that I can see through the PETG sheet. I did test with everything...and sadly I won't need my spray gun for this one. :(
So others can save their pennies on this one.