Tuesday, March 9, 2010

Snowtrooper: Second step

References are important when the goal is screen accurate costume. That’s why I made whole post about it. The second step is much vaster. It inncludes all the ground work and material selection.

Step two: Initialization

When you are pulling your costume from the ground, you need to start with choosing materials for the clothes and in our case for the armour. Again searching trough forums and other sites I found recommended materials for the uniform. We chose flannel for the coat and pouches and for the pants I used thick cotton. I used same stuff on my Bubblehead nurse costume, where it proved to be really nice quality and forgiving material. For the shoes I chose awning cloth for its durability and thickness. For attachments I used Velcro, rubber bands with different widths and plastic buckles. For the h
elmet shroud I had to buy white vinyl, with a nice tint of pink. Better material is on search.

For the armour I needed to dig deeper and the extra work was worth it. First we thought we would do the armour parts from fibreglass, but with that we would have needed a lot of help from our commissioner. In The Definitive How To: Snowtrooper I was introduced to vacuum forming, so I started to Google and eventually found many helpful sites from model builders homepages to How to- Youtube videos. I collected all the information together to form a plan suited for our project.

Our version of vacuum forming set-up

I draw patterns myself, so I didn’t have to go trough the horrible mission of finding close enough patterns to be later modified for the purpose. I used size 38 (UK 12) basic patterns for us both. I didn’t need to add any extra looseness, so the whole pattern process was really quick and effortless. I drew the coats little more form fitting than they are in the movie and designed some extra cuts for the upper part of the pants, which are hidden under the crotch piece.

The plan and structure for the shoes were born also quite fast. I’ve made few shoe covers and sandal-type shoes, but now we were building boots. I ended up using techniques I knew would work. I decided to construct the shoes over a “base shoe” using hot glue, cotton sheet and soft foam with the awning cloth.

More planning were put on the vacuum forming molds. They can be made almost from anything. I have seen people using metal, wood, plaster and ready-made objects. We needed a material which we could shape in home environment, so we didn’t even think of any other material instead of insulation foam. We had work with it before with props and small accessories. We knew what could be made out of it, how it would react to spray paints and wood filler, which we used to smooth out the surface and to prevent the foam from melting.

The molds were made of insulation foam, which was stacked and glued if needed. For some guidelines I took The Definitive how to Snowtrooper measurements, which I then scaled to suit us. I smartly though, that the measures are made for full-grown man and we don’t have quite the same frame. It was rather challenging to get the shapes and proportions right, but thanks to art classes it wasn’t over-powering. The only object, which I really fought with and almost lost my mind, was the chest armour. Not only was it the biggest part, it was also curvy and needed to sit on your shoulders beautifully coming down to your midriff and sides. It could not be “tried on” because it was huge, bulky piece of foam. Measurements and taking them multiple times were the only option I had. It took some patience and re-doing, but in the end it paid off.

After the mold issue was solved, the next step was to find the right plastic. I was really proud of myself when I, by myself actually found a company which could provide us with the material needed. Before I even got to look for the company, I had few alternatives in my hand. I somehow ended up with PETG-plastic, which was provided in clear sheets.

First frame and clear plastic sheet attached

When we were waiting for the plastic to arrive via mail, we commissioned the frames and the vacuum table from Esa. We had to bother him few times, because the first frame was too small for some armour parts. The second time was my fault and stupidity, but gladly he’s patient commissioner and didn’t think ill of me. So please think carefully of your working space, equipment and everything you might need before starting! You will save time later and don’t do ridiculous mistakes. And if you commission anything at all, make sure you have enough time for the order and the commissioner has enough time to carry trought your order.

No comments:

Post a Comment