When last I posted about this project, it was the end of a very long day and we all needed a break:
Unfortunately, no break was about to come. Instead, I was going to be so busy building things that I haven't had a chance to update my blog until right just now.
The good thing is that I have still been able to take pictures. Lots of pictures. The only problem is that the last half of last week have turned into one great big blur and I'm only vaguely aware of what pictures are supposed to be in which order. I apologize if this entry leads to a bit of confusion, but I'm doing my best to keep it straight...
Here's yet another shot of the workshop disaster unfolding. By this time I'd managed to put a base color coat on all of the rifles and pistols as well as Alex's stunt double (which we'd started calling "smart Alex" and/or "Winston," not sure why):
Since some of the masking on the black parts of the Marine helmets had failed, I had Mallory go back through and clean up the edges on the black parts:
She was quite proud of her work:
Still, later on we'd ended up piling more of the project on top of it:
Since Smart Alex had no functional feet, I had to build a pipe and wood frame arrangement to hold him upright. Then I inserted the whole arrangement into his ankle holes and filled his legs with expanding foam. Here's Mallory about to be glued to his right shin as the black pigmented foam started to overflow from the ankle:
After peeling her hand off of the dummy, she set to work putting the base colors on all of the vacformed panels:
I guess it was about that same time that Matt started cutting out components of the radar mast:
Adding a salvaged rotisserie motor, some PVC pipe, and a handful of random scraps and trinkets from the workshop, it finally started to look like something:
As the crew started fading away, the last person I had helping me that night was Trevor. The last thing to do before losing consciousness was to coat the insides of the display racks with aluminum-colored paint for better reflectivity. Somewhere in the middle of this process, we noticed that an earwig had met his demise while trying to crawl across the wet paint:
The dead earwig ended up giving us cause to pause. We pondered whether this counted as a blood sacrifice to the Project Gods or if perhaps we would offend them with such a lowly offering. Then we marveled at the aesthetic beauty of the shimmering metallic trail he'd left in the paint as he made his final voyage. Then we started talking about how well preserved his little body would be, trapped for eternity in oil-based enamel. An entomological time capsule to be discovered millenia from now by hyper-intelligent earwig archaeologists. We wondered what they would think of him. What could have driven this wayward character to such an end? What desperation could possibly lead this poor, paint-besotten soul to try to cross this vast ocean of poison?
About twenty minutes into this conversation we realized that we were both pretty low on sleep and high on paint fumes. It was time to call it a night. I think that was Thursday night. Maybe Friday morning? Hell, maybe Wednesday afternoon...
I don't know. Really.
I do know that despite the fact that I was wearing rubber gloves most of the time, I still managed to paint, stain, and cut my hands like nobody's business:
At some point in the last couple of days of the build, some of the crew started making progress on rough trimming the marine armor:
My friend Breana also spent quite a few hours hanging out and cutting out some of the parts:
Here's a shot of me explaining how the chest armor would come together:
Here's Trevor doing some fine trimming and installing some of the straps:
I'm not sure exactly when it happened, but somewhere along the way, I'd finished painting and weathering Smart Alex as well as building him a mostly vacformed rifle. He looked pretty damned good:
I also started doing some detail painting on some of the helmets:
I'm absolutely certain that that was Wednesday night. That night I went to my boat and slept the sleep of the dead for about four hours. Then, just like every day since I got back from Japan, I awoke wide awake for no reason at all at around 6am.
Matt had taken some vacation time to help me set up shop and deliver the pieces of this build to their destination in San Mateo on Thursday morning. He was running pretty late though, so I took advantage of the delay to finish the assembly of the display racks. Here they are with the insides painted silvery:
Here's the frosted sheet inserts laid in place:
On a whim I threw on some striped tape:
Then I cut some shelving rails to the right length to fit over the seams:
Once I'd screwed them all into place, Matt showed up and we loaded the first truckload of stuff and headed to San Mateo. When we got there, we found out that we'd been allotted quite a bit more space than I had planned on. When we got there, our area looked like so:
By the time we were done with it, it looked like so:
When we got back to the workshop, folks had begun trickling in to help with the final details:
Somewhere late on Thursday night, my sister Sheryl arrived to add some much needed mirth to the workshop:
Since nobody had ever actually worn it, I had her try on the hard-to-fit parts of the black suit. It turns out that my random guess was actually a pretty decent fit:
I also had her test-fit some of the marine gear:
The next morning we made the last big push to get things together. At this point half of the costumes weren't even built and there were still three truckloads of stuff that needed to make the drive to San Mateo, so it was amazing that we'd all managed to maintain our sense of humor.
I have Rose and Sheryl to thank for that:
At 2:30 in the afternoon, it was time to call it quits. Many things were still undone, but if we were going to get everything on station, and ready to go, the parts that weren't finished would have to be good enough. That's when we piled everything into vehicles and headed out.
Here's the pile of helmets in the backseat of the big green truck:
Once we'd arrived at the site, the traffic made it clear that we were in the right place:
Friday afternoon and evening were spent dressing up the booth:
Everybody lent a hand putting together the last details:
Sheryl set up the comms gear for me:
I had worried about how it would all come together, but at this point things were really shaping up:
The next morning marked the beginning of the 2011 Maker Faire. At this point I had all of my support troops geared up and ready to go:
But the real stars of my show were the armored Spartans:
Even the guy on the roof:
I'll be posting oodles and gobs of pictures from the weekend as well as detailed build writeups about the Marine costumes and the guy on the roof very soon.