Something DifferentSome of you may have noticed that one of my latest deviations was
Well, it's milestone 1 of 3 of a full bipedal Twilight Sparkle (likely non-Alicorn) costume that I'm planning to have ready for and wear to the next BronyCon. As this is my first experience doing any kind of costuming, I thought it might be fun to keep a few journals going while it's a WIP.
Unfortunately, since I kind of thought of this mid-project, there's no WIP pictures for the tail. I have been keeping some for the head, though, and plan to do the same once the bodysuit really gets underway.
Current progress on my milestones is:
1) Tail - Completed.
2) Bodysuit - Test suit created for fitting
3) Head - Working on the foam layer.
For the head, I'm working very loosely off of the tutorials at Spark Costumes ( http://www.sparkcostumes.com/index.html ).
Well, first thing's first, I had to build the skull. This was done with plastic canvas/meshing (these two terms being used interchangeably threw me off f
Quick update on the bodysuit first: it's still kind of in disarray, but stuff is getting done. We added some stiff interfacing to the hooves to give them consistent shape and finished the bottoms of the forehooves. Currently, the hocks on the hind legs and the cutie mark are each about half done. It's still not really in a very wearable shape where it won't fall off, so getting meaningful pictures is pretty difficult.
Luckily, I've got plenty of head photos instead.
We last left off at the gluing, which is quite possibly one of the most nerve-wracking parts of the project. Hot glue makes a huge mess of fur and trying to lay it down, but keep it clear of the massive blob of fur that was Twi's facial coat was a two-person job. This was because the horn made the amount of lift and flexibility of the cloth pretty close to non-existent.
It's also possible with long fur to accidentally get the roots in the wrong place, which is what happened with her right brow. I had to go in and do razor-blade surgery, which was, thankfully, not as hard as I'd feared. Anyway, we took a break after getting everything that could be hot glued down, glued down (therefore, why the eyes aren't glued below).
Following that, gluing the eyes was much less of a two-person job, although it helped move things along a lot faster. I picked up some craft glue, which takes approximately an hour to get a strong grip and 23 hours after that to fully set. This gave us a lot of wiggle room with setup around the eyes. On the other hand, this also meant that I needed to make sure the fur wouldn't pull itself loose. The end result was each eye took about an hour, gluing the perimeter about a third at a time. After each eye was finished, I grabbed the pins and went to work:
One might notice that the right brow was still be a little difficult.
After that, we decided that rather than gluing the back of the mane, it would be easier to sew. So after waiting for the glue to set, that's what we did.
At this point I thought things were completed, but there was a slight problem. When I tried the head on, despite the foam-minimal design, the air circulation could only be charitably be described as "stupidly awful". Now, I'm the type of person who is really good with extreme temperatures in either direction, but, unfortunately, that doesn't cover "lack of oxygen". I was looking at about five minutes, tops, in the head, before the carbon dioxide pockets got too bad. This was a big scare, because I wasn't sure how easily the problem could be fixed and it was quite possible, the thing I'd just lovingly spent months on was a bust (and I'm not bull-headed enough to risk suffocation).
I took three steps to try to rectify this. First, I found a way to prop the mouth open (it's non-moving, but since it was made off of a moving design, there was some leeway here). This made things just barely tolerable. In 21C indoor conditions. Which meant, at the predicted 31C temperatures, the air was unlikely to move fast enough. Second, I shaved down the back of the head, which I had originally left unshaved. I still didn't want to make it as short as the front of the face, though, so I used a 1/2" guard. This seemed to pretty much not help. The third, and final step, was a day's undertaking all on its own.
After checking around town, I ended up with a 50mm computer fan, a 9 volt battery holder (it's apparently stupidly hard to find the things around here), a battery for said holder, a small slide switch and a cheap plastic pencil case. "Why the case?" one might ask. Basically, we lopped a piece out of it to use as a mount for everything else. We drilled holes for the screw holes on the fan and two of the holes on the battery holder. As it turns out, we couldn't find good flat screws for something that small. So the other two holes had to be bound up with aluminum wiring (the ends being duct taped up so as not to stab me). There was no real good place to attempt to screw the switch in, so I just hot glued it.
Anyway, after that, we chopped up the wiring so it wasn't overly long and so that we could strip the ends. After soldering everything into place, it was time to give it a spin (pun not intended >.>)! And it didn't start up. I was beginning to doubt my twenty-minutes-Googling knowledge of wiring, but then we found the problem was actually physical. That is, the pencil case lip was too long and obstructed the fins of the fan. It was easy enough to unscrew the fan and get rid of all the lip excess.
So one false start later and I finally had a working muzzle-fan. I was really worried about positioning, since the fan wouldn't be drawing directly from an outer source, not to mention the muzzle was a bit of a tight fit. The latter worked for me in the end, though, as because it's such a tight fit, I don't need to do anything else to secure the fan inside. I could literally wear the head and snap it around and the fan didn't move so much as a centimeter.
Anyway, there was one more problem before things would work properly. The way I'd found to prop the mouth open pressed against the roof of upper jaw brace, which is where the fan was sitting. This caused the plastic mesh to obstruct the fan blades. I ended up having to do two mesh props on the left and right parts of the mouth. I was worried that this would be visible, but as it turns out, my Twi's face is so floofy, they're well-hidden.
Anyway, here's the actual completed project:
The forelock is a bit out of alignment in the pics, but I'm sure everyone gets the idea (I can adjust them easily enough).