Tuesday, September 4, 2018

Ironman Costume Sidetrack: the Godkiller Helmet

A while back, I made a pretty decent MkIII Ironman costume.  In the midst of a series of distractions and various commissioned projects, it took just a shade over ten months to build the whole thing.

Among the many distractions was this particular helmet:

You'll see this photo again.

It's the helmet for the Space Armor MkIII which Tony Stark uses throughout the "Godkiller" story arc in the comics.  I'm not sure what prompted me to make this particular helmet, but once the idea was stuck in my head I couldn't shake it until the thing was made.  I'm sure it'll turn out to be some sort of brain tumor...

Anyhow, for more photos and some details about how it was made, read on.

Friday, August 31, 2018

The Wolf Helm of Russ

Forever ago I got a slow start on my rendition of the Wolf Helm of Russ, an ancient artifact of war belonging to the Space Wolves chapter of Space Marines in the tabletop wargame Warhammer 40,000.

There are a lot of different renditions of this helmet.  Here's just a couple:

All of the reference artwork I could find tends to show the helmet with slightly different details, so I decided to take a bit of license with the design and streamline some of the goofier details.  Here's the fully-wearable, life-size end result:
Finished Wolf Helm of Russ

To see how I made it, read on...

Saturday, July 14, 2018

July 2018 UFO Sightings in the Workshop

As usual I find I've got way too many irons in the fire and there's a shortage of time to sit down and blog about it.  That combined with the fact that I tend to only write up full articles about projects once they're done means that I haven't been doing near enough blogging lately.

To make amends, here's a stack of photos of current UnFinished Objects in and around the shop.

First off, I've started tinkering with a lot of Star Wars stuff again.  I've decided to move my Episode 7 flametrooper build a little higher up on the priority list, so the D-93 Incinerator is now a work in progress.  Here's the digital model I'm starting with:
Incinerator Digital Model

Because it's made of so many tiny little parts, it's not very well suited to CNC carving.  Instead, I've had to settle for 3D printing the whole thing.  Here's how it looks right about now:
First Order Incinerator Begins

The barrels and muzzle block are currently printing, so it's only a matter of time before the whole thing will be assembled and prepped for molding.

On the subject of First Order props, I've also printed the "quadnoculars":
First Order Quadnoculars Begin
These are the clunky, huge binoculars that showed up in the visual dictionary for Episode 7 and were on display at the Star Wars Launch Bay at Disneyland, but so far haven't actually appeared in the films.  Still, I'm making them because I'm about to accidentally reproduce the entire First Order.

The other thing I've just barely started is the Sisters of Battle armor from Warhammer 40k.  I started with the helmet:
Sisters Helmet in Progress
I'll probably make a handful of copies of the costume and most of them don't wear helmets, but I wanted something that would make the armor present well on a mannequin and allow people to wear the costume even if they weren't all pasty and pale like the women in the artwork.

For scale, here's my new workshop assistant Rachel trying on the sculpt in progress:
Sororitas Helmet Test Fit

The other 40k project that I've been tinkering with again is my replica of the Wolf Helm of Russ.  Here's how it looks right now:
Wolf Helm Test Fit

It's a little stuffy inside, but I'm liking it:
Wolf Helm Fit Success

I've also built a custom display stand for that one:
Wolf Helm on Stand

On the subject of nearly done things, there's also the Fallout T-60 power armor I've been working on off and on for the past year or two.  So far I've managed to take the (nearly ready) costume out for two location photoshoots.  Here's a teaser photo from the first shoot:
T-60 Evening Stroll
As you can see, the rigging still needed a few tweaks.

Here's a shot from last weekend:
Fallout 4 T-60 photo by Hep Svadja
So it's coming right along.

But as soon as I finish that project, there have to be at least four or five to work on in its place.  So I've started tinkering with more Halo props again.  Namely, I've decided to start making the helmet for Locus from Red vs. Blue.  Here's the assembled prototype:
Locus Helmet Camera Arrangement Test

Once the nose piece is installed, it'll be impossible to see out of this helmet.  So I'm using a pair of video goggles inside the helmet to allow visibility:
Locus Helmet Goggles Test 5

The video feed comes from a tiny camera mounted in the helmet's mouth:
Locus Helmet Camera Position

The resolution isn't great, but it'll keep me from walking into walls while I'm in costume.

As long as I'm screwing around, I've also picked up a kit to build a Patrol Trooper helmet:
Patrol Trooper Helmet Fine Smoothing

If you don't recognize that guy, don't worry.  He's one of the new variants of Imperial stormtrooper that showed up for all of five seconds in the Solo movie.

And last, but certainly not least, I've been collaborating with my friend Jon to bring the War Machine armor from Ironman 2 to life.  Jon just pulled a set of legs out of the mold a little while ago:
War Machine Legs

Meanwhile, I've been making slow progress on the chest and back:
WM Chest Test Fit with Helmet

So that's getting closer to done too.

I'm sure there's more stuff in the works that I'm not thinking of at the moment, but stay tuned and there will be more.  This is a big year for finishing projects for me.

Monday, June 4, 2018

I Read the Comments

On rare occasions, after something I’ve done gets noticed and some media outlet posts a bit of video or an article about me or my projects, I get a chance to see someone else’s take on what I’m doing with all of my time.  Then, even though I know I shouldn’t and it’ll almost always sour my mood, I do the one thing I never should.

I read the comments.

Usually, they’re pretty positive.  But then, almost always, there’s the trolls.  The smug web-dwellers that seem consumed with a need to talk about how pointless my endeavors are, how frivolous or meaningless my latest achievement is, or just make blatant assumptions about who I am or what my motives are, then proceed to talk down to me from there.  I'll never fully understand what drives people to think their time is well-spent by shoveling crap on top of someone else’s efforts, but it always manages to get under my skin just a little.

Today a friend of mine pointed out that those folks who usually have the harshest critique about something others create tend to have done the least with their own lives.  He tells me that the hot air spewing from the nobodies who claim they're certain they could have or would have done better is hardly my concern. 

On an intellectual level I know that their vitriol is a manifestation of their own festering doubts and insecurities.  A malignant side-effect of what they haven't done with their own time.  A re-branding of their concern that they're utterly wasting their short lives.  They go about their mundane day to day doing nothing challenging, bringing nothing of any particular interest to the rest of the world. They live in fear that the shaky timbers of their fragile ego might any second be beaten down by the roaring waves of reality.  Their only hope; to discourage the doers to the point of inaction so that mediocrity becomes just the way of things rather than their own personal failure.

I welcome criticism.  It’s always valuable to have an objective viewpoint that can point out the details that I may have overlooked or a distant third-party who is unhindered by the limited view from my particular trench and can offer the occasional insight that must come from outside.  This is the kind of feedback that drives us to learn and improve, and in so doing thrive.

But these are not critics.  These people are faceless shadows in the night calling you into a dark alley. Their words, occasionally even disguised as wisdom, are traps.  They are every bit as lost as any one of us.  But unlike those of us who create, who dare to fail, they’re too cowardly to try.  Too afraid to admit their potential for fallibility.

These comments are the death-thumps of sad little pigeons slamming into life’s windows.  Pitiful, ignorable noises of hapless creatures flailing and failing to understand a limited attempt to show them something.  

If you’ve ever found yourself feeling down after getting unnecessarily negative feedback, just remember they're most likely just upset that you’ve reminded them just how little they do.  How little they are.  How ridiculous they look.

If you’re about to post a nasty comment to make yourself feel better about what you’re not doing, realize that the only difference between a dream and a goal is a solid plan and the only difference between a goal and an achievement is solid effort...

...and the only thing holding you back is you.

A Couple of Videos from the 2018 Bay Area Maker Faire

Every time I go to the Bay Area Maker Faire, it seems like there's at least a few different times where someone sticks a camera and a microphone in front of me and asks what I'm doing there. This year was no exception. Here's a couple of videos that I've found so far.

For starters, Caleb Kraft from Make: was livestreaming a walking tour of the Faire. You can see it cued up to start with my segment here:


Then Norm and the guys from Tested.com stopped by to take a look at the newly-finished Fallout power armor:   

I'm sure there will be more as time goes by.  Not everyone gets their posts online in a timely manner like I do.