Level 1-2: Press Start to Replay?

16 Jul

It was a long and frustrating weekend.

Subject Delta Helmet Reference

That being said, we started with a couple of fantastic finds that got us really stoked: the jumpsuit and the boots for Subject Delta. We were going to buy me some new clothes and just happened by this store called Uniforms To You and Daniel said, let’s go take a look and I was feeling particularly adventurous because I was about to get some new clothing so I said why not. And here’s what we found.. on sale.

Subject Delta's Boots Subject Delta's Jumpsuit

The boots were normally $45 and we got them for $30. They are designed to go over another pair of shoes so they fit perfectly over Daniel’s Chucks so he’s going to be able to wear some comfy shoes and, let’s face it, those buckles look awesome; slap a little bronze paint over those buckles and we’re almost ready to go! I even had him walk around, first with an affected walk, trying to emulate Subject Delta’s movements, and then I asked him to try to walk normally. Those suckers gave him a character perfect walk without him even trying! Anything to make his time in the get up easier, right?

The suit was normally around $150 and we got it for $73!! Holy crap right?! It adds all the bulk we want so he’s not going to have to mess with any sort of padding to help making him look larger than life. He was surprised how breathable it was, but then it is actually meant to be worked in so I guess that’s just a plus of finding something functional over a straight up costume piece. What great luck!

Since we were so close to making Subject Delta’s helmet the first time around, we just knew that we could whip it up on a dedicated Saturday. The plan was to make the frame in the morning,  papier-mâché in the evening and have our helmet completed and ready to go by dinner time. Easy as pie. Right?

Have you ever actually made a pie?

We cut our strips of card board again as well as a million strips of duct tape in advance. Daniel put on the coveralls and the newly stripped construction helmet, gave me a kiss and a word of encouragement and then we went to work. We decided that he should stand so that his sitting posture wouldn’t affect the shape of the frame. We had an actual tape measure as well as chalk so I could mark his suit up – I felt like a pro with my tape measure around my neck , bobbing and weaving around my subject. What we didn’t take into account was the humidity and how this practical suit would absorb his sweat. Duct tape may be darn close to perfect in any situation, but it will not stay stuck to a damp cloth surface nor will it stay stuck to the surface of another strip of duct tape.

3 1/2 hours into the session and Daniel’s feet hurt, his back hurt, he was hot and I was freaking out because nothing was staying stuck. I would have to go back and try to push the tape and cardboard back together each time I stepped away to grab another piece of tape. He needed me to hurry and nothing, I repeat, nothing was sticking. NOTHING. I’ve never been so frustrated. At one point he said to me, “Just hurry up and finish, I have to sit down.” To which I snapped, “I’m trying!”

He finally got to sit and he pulled the helmet off and I watched, angrily, as 4 hours of work  sloughed to pieces in his hands. I was disgusted and Daniel was in pain and we were both disgusted.

failed Subject Delta helmet

We ate a very sad lunch, watched a movie. And then we took another stab at it. Bad decision. I had a full on melt down during which Daniel said “Maybe we should be doing this right now.” To which I said, “I’m really sorry,” and retreated to the bedroom to read some comics and wallow in my shame.

The next day Daniel didn’t mention the helmet. After breakfast I looked at him and said, “I need to get that helmet done today.” He asked if I was sure, and I was. We went and purchased some plastic packing tape. It’s sole purpose is to stick to card board right?!

This time he sat and we didn’t talk a lot. It was all business. It took us 3 1/2 hours. Would you like to see how it turned out?

Subject Delta Helmet Success Profile Subject Delta Helmet Success Front

Looks pretty awesome with that jump suit huh? And later that night, Daniel papier-mâchéd.  — Sara

Shortly after we completed work on the new and improved frame, our friend Wyatt stopped by. So we took a couple-hours break in which we watched the second half of Despicable Me and grilled some red hots to snack on with potato salad. Yum!

Fed and rested we were itching to begin the papier-mâché on this new frame to see if we truly did as well as we thought. We cut up yet another Red Eye into 1″ wide strips, mixed our glue and set to work. Sara and I started off alternating. She would lay a strip while I held the helmet steady and then I would lay a strip while she held it for me. After only a couple of turns in this way, I asked Sara if she would mind letting me take the reins since I was unable to help with the frame. She was hesitant, maybe a little grumpy at first but I told her that she’d done all the building and that I really wanted to contribute. So she lounged on the couch and watched TV while I worked, giving me a bird’s-eye-view bit of direction here and there and when I asked for her thoughts on a particular section.

With the first helmet we layered the papier-mâché onto the frame a little too heavily and ‘painted it on’ with too much glue.  The result was that the paper clung to the frame creating subtle valleys and crests and amplifying mistakes.  My focus this time around was to let the paper do the work; to lay it on the frame in a way that it would follow the natural contour of the helmet and, where needed, bridge the gaps over any defects. As I started I was using longer strips about 6″ long, but the further up the helmet I worked, the shorter I found the strips needed to in order to follow the various shapes of the helmet without creating folds or crinkles. I went from 6″ longs strips on the harness to 3″ and 4″ strips around the transition from the harness to the shoulder/neck junction, to 1″ and 2″ strips around the brim of the helmet and finally 1/2″ patches to conform to the rounded crest. As I worked I also made sure to alternate between horizontal and vertical placements where needed. The more I applied the more we could see just how amazing and improved the overall shape was!

After about 2 hours of sculpting and scrutinizing the initial layer was complete. It was time to call it quits for the night and clean up; but the finished product for the day left us feeling accomplished and very hopeful.

Subject Delta helmet mache2 Subject Delta helmet extended mache1

Sara, still feeling the sting from the previous day, freaked out about the right side of the harness. I thought it was good enough. We argued back and forth about whether or not it was even possible to put extensions on the harness, I was stressed that we would ruin the amazing work we’d already done. But she bent me to her will, like she did those cardboard strips and look how it turned out in the picture on the left.

17 hours in and this is what we’ve got.

Subject Delta helmet Success

Not too shabby. — Daniel

We hope you enjoyed our new format and the progress pictures! Have you ever had what felt like a crushing defeat when working on a cosplay of your own? Why not share your phoenix story with us in the comments section below?

See you next Tuesday! — TCG

9 Responses to “Level 1-2: Press Start to Replay?”

  1. thecreativecortex July 17, 2013 at 2:00 PM #

    It’s looking awesome 🙂 I love seeing your progress. Sounds pretty stressful though, but does that make it feel more special when it’s done because you’ve worked so hard for it? I haven’t had any cosplay disasters yet, but I’m planning a LOTR one for next year and I expect there’ll be stress over the bow and arrows 😛

    • thosecrazygilberts July 17, 2013 at 4:13 PM #

      We were so much happier with the look of this new helmet! Isn’t it funny what you can learn from a good old crash and burn? I don’t think I have to guess what LOTR character you’re working on since you mentioned bow and arrows but I don’t want to make assumptions! Who are you working on? – Sara

      • thecreativecortex July 18, 2013 at 2:57 AM #

        So true, but sometimes hard to remember that in the disappointment of the moment 😛 I’m working on 2 LOTR characters, really. My sister is going as Legolas and I’m going as Gimli, but I’ve put myself in charge of weaponry 🙂 What con are you taking your cosplay to, btw? You’ve probably already said but I can’t remember.

      • thosecrazygilberts July 18, 2013 at 10:00 AM #

        That’s such a great idea! I hope you’ll post pics and stories when you start working on those. We’re aiming to have it ready by C2E2 (Chicago Comic and Entertainment Expo) which is where we first got the bug to cosplay in the first place. We actually have a count down at the bottom of our blog which sort of gives me hives every time I look at it. Even though it’s still months away – any sort of ticking clock makes me antsy. 🙂 — Sara

      • thecreativecortex July 19, 2013 at 3:51 AM #

        I will 🙂 I’d love to go to c2e2 one day, but I’m in London, oh well…

  2. Stuff Jeff Reads July 22, 2013 at 12:05 PM #

    My daughter expressed an interest in going to Comic Con. I said not next year, but maybe the following year. I’ll be consulting y’all regarding costumes when the time comes. 😉


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