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I make toys for kids who don't want to grow up. I'm on the lookout for new projects. If you're interested in commissioning me to build something ridiculous, shoot me an email.

Saturday, September 10, 2022

Major Vonreg: a Quick Cosplay Build that Took Years to Finish

A while back I was working on my girlfriend's Captain Phasma costume and decided I'd like to have something appropriate to wear alongside her.  Since we'd probably be going around without another person to act as handler, it was important to make sure that I'd be able to use my hands and be more mobile in order to help her with any issues she might have in her very movement restricting outfit.  It would also be good to have pockets.

Somewhere along the way I settled on this guy:

This is Baron Elrik Vonreg, a First Order TIE Fighter Pilot during the era of the New Republic with the rank of Major.  He was a regular character in the animated series "the Resistance."  In the show he reported to Captain Phasma.  Apparently the rank structure of the First Order is very different from what I'm used to in the US military.

At a glance, he looks like a somewhat modified version of the standard First Order TIE pilot with a different helmet and chest box.  I'd made a lot of TIE pilots, so this should be a piece of cake.  I'd just need a new red flight suit and I'd be off to the races.

As is usually the case, shortly after a shiny new character appears on screen for the first time, the Star Wars costuming crowd swings into action.  Dissecting every detail of the costume and poring over every shot from every imaginable angle, it's only a matter of time before someone starts offering casts of the helmet and armor parts.  

So in no time at all, I'd ordered a tailored red flight suit from Gio at crowprops.com and a raw cast helmet from the very talented Jsin Dieron, of Jsinprops.com. Shortly after the helmet arrived, I had it trimmed and prepped for paint:

VonReg Helmet Progress 00

About that same time, I got the digital models for the remaining custom parts from my friend Danny Chen.  The chest box and belt boxes were printed pretty quickly:
Chest Box and Belt Boxes

Then I commenced to goofing around.  As I do:
Printed Chest Box 2

With the helmet trimmed, the least I could do is give it a coat of primer:
VonReg Helmet Progress 01

Then paint it red:
VonReg Helmet Progress 02
Major Vonreg's outfit has three different shades of red (if you don't count the red glowing buttons on his back).  The red pictured above turns out to be none of them.  This was a red I had left over from the Makey Robot build that was way too orange to match the logo he was based on.  It was also way too orange for Major Vonreg.  One of these years I'll find a use for this red.

In any case, that's as far as I got with this project before it was sidelined by some other more important project.

That was in 2019.

Then this project was sat on the backburner waiting for a reason for me to finish it. Since then, the character died in the series, the world took a two year break from doing cool stuff, and I've been busy with every manner of other thing. 

Fast forward to 2022.  We were gearing up to go to Star Wars Celebration in Anaheim.  The convention had been postponed for two consecutive years due to the COVID19 pandemic and I was really excited to go out and play dress-up again.  To prevent myself from getting carried away and making everything stressful for no good reason, I had resolved that I wouldn't build anything new for this convention.  I could get away with just dusting off finished things and make the trip nothing but fun and easy. 

I failed to keep that particular promise to myself.  The compromise I reached was, rather than building anything new, I would just finish some of the works in progress that were tucked away in and around the shop.  So I pulled out the old First Order TIE Pilot molds, laid up a fiberglass chest, back, and shoulders, and got to work modifying them to work as Major Vonreg's armor.  Step one was grafting the chest box onto the chest:
Final push

There was also a raised section on the back:
Final push

Just to gauge proportions, I went ahead and set the shoulders in place:
Final push
So far so good:
Final push

Once I'd smoothed out the border area around the chest box, I gave it all a couple of coats of red filler primer:
Vonreg Chest

The results, with a tiny bit of cleanup the parts were ready for paint:
Chest Armor Mods Complete 

The only modification the shoulders needed was these raised triangular details around the top edge.  I sculpted them on with Bondo.  Then smoothed them out and gave them a coat of filler primer as well:   Shoulder Armor Mods Complete

The forearms were a pair of my standard First Order TIE Pilot forearms with the top edge trimmed down and a pair of triangular details added on the backside of the wrist end:
Vonreg Forearm Mods Sculpted

The shins and knees were basically just 3D printed parts that I smoothed out and used as-is:
Vonreg Shins and Knee Printed

Once everything was sanded and primed, I laid out all of the parts that would be painted the darkest shade of red:
Final push

They came out pretty great:
Vonreg Small Dark Red Bits

You'd never guess that the chest was a kludged together collection of three different materials:
Final push

Once that red was dry, I went ahead and sprayed the lighter red:
Final push

The lighter red parts were basically just the helmet the top of the shoulders for some reason:
Final push

Why the production decided this section of the armor should be a brighter red, I have no idea:
Final push

The last thing I had to do was put the circle decals on the shoulders and strap everything together:
Vonreg Dark Red Bits Painted

Of course, at this stage we were getting close to time to rush off to the convention.  So I didn't get any slick photos of that stage of the process:
Final push

What I did get was a few glorious photos of our arrival at the convention center:
SWCC 2022 Phasma and Vonreg Arrive

As usual, Doctor Girlfriend looks a lot better than I do.  But that didn't stop me from having fun with all of the photo op sets they had scattered around the convention center:
SWCC 2022 Vonreg in the Cockpit

SWCC 2022 Vonreg Phasma

SWCC 2022 Vonreg Phasma Conference

Some were much less serious than others:
SWCC 2022 Vonreg in TIE Fighter

I also found at least one person dressed as a similarly obscure but still recognizable character:
SWCC 2022 Vonreg and Sidon Ithano

It was nice to meet some very lovely fans:
SWCC 2022 Vonreg with Bespin Leia

SWCC 2022 Calvin Mondragon

Including the guy who made my helmet kit:
SWCC 2022 Jsin Meeting Vonreg

Jsin himself:
SWCC 2022 Shawn and Jsin

In the end a good time was had by all:
SWCC 2022 First Order Leaders

The total build time for this costume was about two weeks.  There just happened to be a three year pause in between those two weeks.  I hate when that happens.

Now I just need a nudge to get back to work on the rest of my First Order costumes.  Somewhere in my storage bin is a nearly complete First Order Stormtrooper, Captain Cardinal, Commander Pyre, and a pair of Flametroopers.  It's only a matter of time.

Stay tuned...