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Wednesday, 20 May 2015

General update

Had a day or two off the 3PO because of bad weather and day work. But I'm back on it tomorrow!(Weds 21st May).

Latest update on torso - Justin has been filling in the details


I've also been researching the voice kit and sound effects modules for the back of the suit:


In the meantime, here's a quick update on 3PO and other things....


Monday, 18 May 2015

Backache!

Some more decent progress today.

I tried the torso on yesterday, for the first time in aaaages, and sadly it didn't quite fit. The top half was fine, but as I'd put weight on, the bottom half didn't. (*NB: I will be, and currently am, dieting to lose weight!)

After a lot of discussion with my mate from Ascension_FX and JD, the original 3PO head maker, We decided the a major modification had to be made to he back of the torso - cut a massive chunk of it out and re-fit it slightly further out, widening the torso be about an inch at the bottom and half an inch at the top.

here be the progress in pictorial form...

As a side note: I do know how to do fibreglassing, but I haven't done it for a good few years, so I was unsure of my skills. Nor did I have the tools or workspace to carry it out. But thanks to Justin at Ascension FX , we have made some good progress and it's helped me get back into the swing of things.

Working outdoors - less dust and fumes inhalation
Gentle Giant 3PO statuette for reference
We spent a while comparing my Gentle Giant statuette (above) with the real thing to ascertain what angles were needed and proportions that would be acceptable when modding the suit.

We used a jigsaw to carefully remove the entire back section, which would then be set further back, making sure to align the lower edge and the moulded lines and channels. 
Preparing to cut out the back using jigsaw

And it's off!
So after cutting the back section out, we spent a lot of time carefully working out how far we could offset it to buy me more breathing room in the top half, more abdomen space (not for my beer belly - for the waist matting and wire section etc), while retaining a shape that didn't look too obviously distorted.

A rather sizeable chunk taken out. The side edges were left on because they needed to line up with and join the chest plate.

After that, we hot-glued wooden sticks around the panel to set it at the right distance from the main part of the body:

The sticks are wooden tongue depressors, often used as stirring sticks for fibreglass and other moulding liquids.

After that, we taped up the outer gap, so that we could apply the new fibreglass matting inside without worrying about resin dripping out:

covering the gap to prevent resin from seeping through

You can see the sticks acting as struts to space the back panel. 

We used a dremel to remove the primer paint from the sides, so that the new fibreglass would have a decent surface to stick to.

We carefully applied two layers of coarse matting on the inside of the gap. We worked in small sections at a time, rather than trying to do the entire thing in one fell swoop.

Below you can see one side almost done:


Beginning to seal the side gaps with fibreglass.
After the sides had set, we could remove the chest plate and tidy up the seams a bit, using a dremel sander and fresh resin.
End of day progress - all inner fibreglassing completed.
Tomorrow, we'll finish a few more layers of matting to add strength then cut away som of the outer contours that need to be replaced and realigned.  This will be achieved  with more fibreglass and some body filler paste (brand name 'P38' in the UK, 'Bondo' in the USA).

Thanks for following the blog. More news tomorrow!

Saturday, 16 May 2015

FITNESS!

Well, not fitness in the exercise sense, but it's amazing to finally announce

I HAVE A C3PO HEAD AND IT FITS!!!

I think it's better to let the videos tell the story...



Monday, 11 May 2015

Christmas is coming

Yes, Christmas is coming....literally, and figuratively in two ways:

In one way, my Christmas is going to be pretty fricking awesome as Episode 7 - The Force Awakens is released on December 18th, (two days before my 46th birthday - there's a sobering thought) and also Christmas, in the sense of a big and exciting present to be unwrapped, is also on the way.

And that big pressie is in the form of the Holy Grail - which is, as you might gather from my previous posts, is a C3PO head that will fit me (damn my wide photogenic cheekbones!).

I've agonized for years - literally about 3 years - about how to get this piece of the puzzle to fit - I've bought two separate heads - a fibreglass one, which was accurate but tiny,  a polyurethane one, which was un-moddable, considered a third vac-formed one, considered casting up the poly one and modifying it into a wider one, spoken to two international makers about getting a larger one to try out, asked two people to mould it up for me (cost a bit too) and none of it has come to pass. It's taken a lot of time and money so far.

Without a head that fits me, I'm stuffed. Over. Doomed. I even had a lapse of mojo recently and declared that I was on the brink of giving up.

Finally though, the agony is over. My friend from Ireland has used his considerable skills to make himself a head that not only fits a slightly larger head (thankfully we hare the same head size), but it's an absolute work of art because it looks exactly like 3PO. Not a 'that'll do' job, or a slightly wider deformation - this thing looks perfect. nobody would realise that it's a new version to fit. It's perfect.

And here it is:



I hasten to add that this is not my copy,nor is it in my possession.  UPDATE: It IS my copy, and it'll be in my grubby mitts by next week!!!  It's a resin outer with a fibreglass inner. And boy, is it beautiful. 

Now, the icing on the cake is that the maker didn't need to let me get a copy from him. He did all the work from scratch, and he'd be perfectly within his rights to say, "Nope, sorry, I made this for me and I'm not prepared to give you one." But he understood my situation and the agony of wanting to do this so badly, that he has been good enough to let me benefit from all his work.

He employed the equally impressive skills of another prop maker from Scotland to cast this up, and I know first hand how much of a pain this process can be. How easy it would be to mess it up. (I was offered the original head to cast up, but I declined because although I have experience with silicone and fibreglass etc, I'm pretty rusty, and didn't want to ruin a lovely master). I'm incredibly grateful to both of these guys for their help and kindness.

Now, as I wait for the news that my copy of this piece of art is on the way, I'm like a kid who's been told by Santa that he's going to get the one thing he really wants for Xmas.

Knowing that this will fit me (I've done the measurements and they all check out) - I'm stoked. It means the long period of waiting and procrastinating is coming to an end, and aside from the final push, (preparation, chroming and diet aside), I can honestly see myself as C3PO before the end of the year. And December 18 is the deadline. I did a little dance when I saw this head. Happy days!

Tuesday, 5 May 2015

Counting the pieces...

As I now know that I've got a head that will fit me (in progress somewhere), I think it's time to do an inventory of all the parts needed versus all the parts I have.

Rather than trying to remember it all piece by piece, here's a pictorial version with names of the parts that I've got in GREEN, and those still to get in RED.

I've used a pic of a CGI model Threepio, as it's quite clear in detail and less reflective so the parts can easily be seen. I know it's not 100% accurate but as a diagram, it's fine for the purpose. CLick to enlarge the pic:
  
CLICK TO ENLARGE
 As you can see, only a few small items left to get. I do have a pair of Knee Pistons, but I marked them red as I want a better, more defined pair.

I've marked the head as green, as mine is in progress now.

I need to get an eye set (preferably going for 10mm tubes for added vision) and a voice kit, which, aside from the chroming, will be the most expensive part. But worth it to have servo sound effects to go with the voice modulator.


Saturday, 2 May 2015

Head Way. Headway.

Today is another BIG step closer to D Day (Droid Day)

I have now sold my un-usable (smaller) yellow head and put the cash aside for my final choice. The larger fan-sculpt has been pulled from the mould in Ireland and here's the results:






This is a fresh pull, sanded in places, to sharpen up and clean the head. Its worn here by JD, the original sculptor, whose head is comparable to mine in size.

I've been reliably informed that I'm first in line to receive one of these beauties.  You've no idea how exciting that is!






The black one on the right is the original master that the copy was made from. It's been sculpted to be larger to fit noggins like mine.

I can't get over how perfect it is - the expression has not changed, and it looks exactly as it should, as if  it was scaled up a small amount, not deformed in any way to take larger heads into account.


It looks just beautiful. I am reminded that I have to purchase machined brass eye grilles now. About £65 ish.


I can't wait to get one of these heads now. It's the longest running issue I've had with this costume and the solution is in sight.

My biggest concerns now are:

1) Continue to diet for the midsection
2) Pay for gold finish
3) Voice and sound FX.
All the above are achievable with willpower and focus.


Friday, 24 April 2015

Diet Day #4

Day 4 of my newly-motivated Diet.

Doing well. My diet (if you can call it that) is the JAKE shake. (www.jakeshake.eu) It's NOT a slim-fast thing, nor is it a protein shake. It's ONE HUNDRED PERCENT of every dietary and nutritional ingredient that a person needs, divided by 3 and in powder form. Yes, you can live on it. Three shakes a day.

I won't go into the history of it all,, or my dieting history, but I've tried a number of things and this works well for me. I'm walking at least a mile a day (can't jog due to knee & eye problems), and I'm stayingat about 1600 calories a day. I plan to weigh myself as soon as I can. Then we'll see how it's going, but for now I estimate my weight being the standard 168lbs.

I'll know when I'm approaching a target because like before, I'll lose weight in my face and neck first, then the rest will follow.

I've just bought my Celebration 2016 tickets so I hope to be 3PO there too.

I'm planning to unbox everything I have and make a list of the things that need to be done to it. I'm sure I'm missing a couple of small greeblies etc. And I want new shorts and knee pistons.

Other than that, I should be good. Main costs will be head #3 (in progress I think), gold finish and electronics - voice amp and servo sounds.

Regarding the gold finish, I have decided to go silver shin, OT style. And anyone who asks why it's silver will be told to go watch the films again!

Cheers!

T