Monday, July 28, 2008

Comic Con 2008 - Day 3

Not a whole lot to report from day 3, since it was mostly spent wandering the exhibit hall, picking up free stuff, and buying a ton of comics, books, and t-shirts. I wore my Phenomenauts cadet uniform to help promote the band, and a number of people recognized it and told me they love the Phenomenauts. A couple of people even thought that I was one of the band members!

My dad wore his officers jacket as well...

Marvel had the Iron Monger suit on display...

All in all, a great year at the con!

Comic Con 2008 - Day 2

Saturday was Terminator day for us. Me dressed as the T-1000, and Claire as Sarah Connor in T2. From the moment I got to the convention center, people were stopping me constantly for photos.

In the morning, Claire was saving a spot in the enormous line to get into Hall H, and I was on my way to meet up with her. As soon as I saw her, I broke into a run towards her and chased her all over the line. The hundreds of onlookers waiting in the line cheered for us and applauded when our chase ended with Claire throwing herself down on the ground and shooting me with her machine gun.

We ran into a guy who was dressed as the T-800 from the first movie, and posed for photos with him:

A very nice police officer let us pose for pictures in front of his motorcycle:

Now, the highlight of the day... the Terminator: Salvation panel, which was held in Hall H (the convention center's largest presentation hall, holding 6,500 people). Claire and I lined up at the microphone for the Q and A portion. Instead of describing it in detail, I'll just show you IFC's coverage of the panel on youTube.

Watch the part between about 6:30 and 8:30 to see the part we are in... I also show up around 11:00 when Common answers a question.

It was an incredibly surreal experience... The cast members were all really nice to us, and for the rest of the day people were coming up to us saying, "you were great on the panel" and "you guys were so funny!" Also, since then articles covering the panel have popped up around the internet, and there have been more than a few articles that talk about our appearance at it.

Here's a write-up from Ain't It Cool News, including a great photo of us on the stage.

Also, an article from Entertainment Weekly online, which mentions us at the end.

There are countless others, but those are a couple that stood out as being really great. IMDB also has a great photo of the cast and us at on the stage.

Anyway, it was another fabulous day at the Con...
Sunday report will follow soon.

Comic Con 2008 - Day 1

Friday at Comic Con was wonderful! Even though it was too crowded to get into many of the panels, we had a great time wandering around the exhibit hall, and saying hello to friends.
The jetpack was a big hit. Although a few people were confused and couldn't figure out what character I was supposed to be, the majority of people who approached me recognized it as an original steampunk design, and were very impressed! People liked the fans in particular. I think it was too dark at the ball to see the fans properly, and too bright at the Con to see some of the light functions.

Claire joined me in wearing a steampunk outfit, premiering her new corset that she made in her digital fabric printing class.

The highlight of the day had to be when I stopped by the Weta booth, where they had a number of their ray guns on display. Their newest model is a huge ray-blunderbuss! The people at the booth were very impressed with my outfit, and suggested I pose for some photos with the blunderbuss and its designer, Greg Broadmore!

After posing for the photos, I got the chance to meet Richard Taylor, the head of Weta Workshop, and a great hero of mine! He was incredibly friendly, and told me that the jetpack was "bloody marvelous!" I just about fell over right there.
I spent the evening having dinner and socializing with the League of S.T.E.A.M.... a wonderful end to a wonderful day!
Day 2 report is on its way.

Monday, July 14, 2008

Jetpack Project, Part 2 (The Finished Product)

Well, it's finished! I'm really pleased with how this came out... I got a little lazy about taking WIP photos as I got further into the process and got more crazed in trying to finish it in time for the ball on Saturday, but I think there aren't too many changes in the structural development of the pack, mostly just surface details.

Anyway, enough blathering. Here it is!

It's all treated with a brass coating and Ferric Nitrate patina to give it an authentic aged look. Then, I dripped some acrylic down it and airbrushed India Ink to give it that nice filthy appearance.

Here's a back view to show how the leather straps are fitted. Apparently the 99 cent store is the place to go for inexpensive leather belts!

Detail of the thrusters (formerly vegetable steamers) at the bottom, complete with glowing LEDs.

The "intake fans" at the top were CPU fans, run off of a battery in the control box.

Detail of the control box. The switches and knobs are functional, with switches controlling each bottom thruster light, a switch for the top fan lights, and one extra in case I ever decide to add anything. The knobs are potentiometers that can activate and control the brightness of the control panel lights and the speed of the intake fans. The little rivets you see are all cast resin, and the weld lines are made of hot glue.

Here's a rare shot of me in my outfit, along with my friend Kelly, at the Masquerade Ball on Saturday (I had to take this on my cell phone, since my digital camera's batteries died).

It's difficult to see in the picture, but I also modified my welding goggles to match the jetpack, with brass edges and faux wood sides, along with tarnished wire mesh to replace the dark lenses (much easier to see things at night that way!).

And finally, a back view, to show how it looks while being worn.

I'm really happy with the way this came out... everything came together very nicely, all the electronics work, it's not too heavy, it looks like my original concept drawing, and even though it looks filthy, it really is the most finely crafted prop/costume piece that I've made yet. I didn't compromise on anything really, and in fact I think I outdid my original plans, especially in terms of the functionality of the lights and motors.

Now... time to start planning for next year's ball!

Friday, July 04, 2008

Jetpack Project, Part 1

Hey folks, this is an in-progress post about my current project: a Neo-Victorian jetpack! This is something I'm making as part of the outfit I'm wearing to this year's Labyrinth of Jareth Masquerade Ball in Hollywood (in exactly one week).

Anyway, here's a piece of concept art to give you the general idea of what it's going to look like.

The back piece is a big huge sheet of 3/16" High-Impact Styrene. It took many hours of patterning, cutting, sanding, dremeling, and hand-molding with a heat gun in order to get the nice elegant Manta Ray shape. Definitely worth it though to have a nice solid foundation.

The engines are two 18" lengths of 4" ABS piping, bolted to the back piece.

The bottom thrusters on the engines are collapsible vegetable steamers! Since I was a young lad, I've always enjoyed playing with these and they've always made me think of some sort of science fiction device, so I'm finally using some in this project.

The control box is made of wood, and will provide the housing for all of the fully-functional switch- and knob-controlled battery-powered functions, including lights in the thrusters, spinning intake fans on top of the engines, lights above the fans, and indicator lights on the control box.

I'm very proud that I've self-taught myself some fundamental skills of electronics and circuitry, as this is going to be my first attempt at a costume/prop that includes lights and motor functions that I've made by myself. In the past I've adapted other devices (LED tap lights, etc.) to suit my needs, but now that I'm doing it myself, I can achieve results that are much more specific to my needs and are truly custom-made for the project itself!

Anywho, as you can tell I've still got a ton of work to do this week (wiring, assembling, painting, sewing of the leather harness, etc) but I'm really pleased with the results thus far, and I'm feeling very motivated and I anticipate that it's going to look great when finished!