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Saturday, 3 October 2015

UPDATE October 2015

Time for an update:

Two other 3PO gus have completed their suits, (JD and Pedge) while I'm sadly still treading water.

On the plus side, I have a new job which will enable me to pay more towards getting it completed. Also, one of my new work colleagues is a paint genius who has said that he may be able to finish the suit in a very convincing gold for me - a paint finish that will be extremely hardwearing.

So although the perfection of Vacuum Metallizing is within my grasp, I still prefer the appeal of a finish that will not wear off or chip, and will be easily repaintable if it does suffer any damage.

Diet-wise, my job keeps me more active so that should contribute to the exercise side, but I have to be even more dedicated to eating healthily and not fall into the trap of microwave meals and pub grub.

As I migh thave said before, unless a miracle happens I don' think I'll be redy to be C3PO by December now. There's too much work to do on the costume, the finishing and electronics, and also the physical aspect of getting into shape for it. Plus my job only gives me just Saturday and Sunday free (I stay in B&B's during the week) to get anything done  - and those days, I hav eto do 'everyday stuff' - like pay bills, laundry for the following week, spend time with my daughter etc. So it's a case of being in an equally awkward position - where before I had this job, I had no money and lots of time, now I have more money and no time! AARGH!

Anyway, it's still ongoing. I'm not giving up yet! Watch this space.

Wednesday, 19 August 2015

Update August 2015: Shorts 'n' Reports...

Hello humans!

Okay, so after a bit of a lull, for which I apologise, and also the usual issues like life, work and finances (or lack thereof) getting in the way, I am back with an update.

It's good news. Another small step along the road.

I recently ditched my ABS shorts as they weren't very roomy and were thin and prone to cracking. Putting them on was looking impossible.

Now I have a new pair, form the maket of the recently-aquired helmet, and again, they're awesome.

Now I have very little left in the way of things to get - eye parts & neck bolts, mainly.

Then a LOAD of sanding and fittings.
Then a VERY expensive gold coat. 
Then assembly.

During which time I need to seriously get back in the habit of watching the calories, in order to reduce my belly area!

But in case you don't want to read all that (chances are you just did...) Here's a video to explain it all.

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


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


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


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:
 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.