Sunday, 10 August 2014

Backpacking

The final ingredient was the backpack. This was the hardest part of the build, mainly because of the sheer number of individual pieces. The size of the pieces only added to the complexity; Shepard's backpack has a small metal bone to represent his vertebrae. That's a lot of cutting.

The second problem was the neck guard. As mentioned previously, I was worried that this would rub against other components, ruining the finish and causing an irritating, chalky noise as they bounced together. At first I designed the backpack with the neck guards, and decided I'd figure out what to do once I had the costume ready.

The build was time-consuming and cost an entire pack of glue sticks. Simply put there were three distinct layers, which interlocked with other layers to create a supportive base. In reality, it meant I had to paint things separately as there was a black layer between two textured grey layers. It was a small puzzle that ended up with a very strange backpack that spooned out at the sides.

The neck guards were also a problem. It became immediately apparent on fitting that they were going to create a false effect, with space where there should be solid metal. For pro builds this kind of issue isn't too much of a problem, but as I'm an amateur working alone, it meant that I was looking at open-spaced arcs of up to an inch in size. It would have cheapened the entire effect of the costume.

Welcome to my shiny, jet pack future.
And it wasn't like Shep was worried about being shot in the neck; the dude I was replicating doesn't wear a helmet.

So, in a last-minute change, I hacked off the neck guards. This created an ugly build with a clearly serrated line of blue, unpainted foam. It looked terrible.

I did the only rational thing - covered it up with a little pipe insulation I had lying around (a tube is a whole $4). I also neglected to include a light system or shield generator, instead favouring insulating pipe and a little paint for the job.

The end result, however, looked suitably like space armour, or possibly even a jetpack, for it to work.

This was the final piece of the puzzle: completed a full three weeks ahead of Cam Con. Now all I needed to do was fix the Velcro to my undershirt, give a quick brush-down with tissue coated with metallic paint, and tidy up any scuffs.

The next post will show how I got on at the Con.

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