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Topics - Junon

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Just thought I'd share my month long project that I started just before FanimeCon hit.

By the end of April 2012, as FanimeCon was approaching, I decided to make life difficult for myself and began working on a Mass Effect 2: N7 Armor. I've seen the many versions of N7 costumes which impressed me and I wanted one for myself. There was one particular N7 Armor I've seen by cosplayer randerdis who made herself a Femshep N7 Armor -- it was the inspiration I needed to get started on mine, and she was very helpful with advice, suggestions and online-emotional support which was needed by the week of Fanime. :P

I originally started off like everyone else did, I used the EVA foam to get that carbon texture and the thickness all set. As I kept working with the foam I couldn't get the cuts to come out smooth and straight, and I kept misaligning the texture to patterns, so it was all over the place. I almost gave up when I decided to try it out with styrene, I originally didn't want to use styrene because I didn't want to do any vacuum forming, if I had to. And I will also lose the texture and the costume would weigh about 30+ pounds. But despite that, this turned out to be a wise decision.

I had a set of 8 sheets of 1/6th inch styrene at 24 x 18. I designed patterns in paper for testing scale and applied it to the styrene. Now using this styrene also added some pressure on me to not mess up and waste the styrene, as the the group of styrene I was going to start off with is something of a relic. The styrene I used is at least 50 years old, it belonged to my GF's grandfather who has passed long ago. I was told by her family that back in the 60's/70's, he used this styrene to work on model train sets. Adding to that, he was also a war vet, and when completed, I get to wear his styrene on Memorial Day. So making the armor was more than just a goal to make N7 Armor. (And yes, this may in fact make my N7 Armor, literally, the oldest ever created).

Back to making the armor, I managed to get all of the curves and other shapes without any kind of heat or vacuum forming. I simply cut pieces and glued them together in layers and bent many of them by hand until they stayed. Loc-Tite Professional is the glue of my choice with styrene, I also used it on the Claymore Teresa costume I made for my GF last year which I posted on this forum.


Multi-layered styrene making it weigh about 10+ pounds.

When the final week hit, I wasn't nearly as done as I wanted to be. I didn't have any of the leg armor done, I didn't have any straps setup, none of the armor created was painted and the LEDs weren't wired up to the battery and switch yet. With a few days left I crunched down on everything as quickly as I could. I got a lot done by Day 0, my plan was to get the pre-reg badges and rush home to take care of painting and the final wiring for the LEDs. Problem was, that plan was destroyed when the pre-reg line took 6+ hours. By the time I got home it was almost 11pm and I had no time to do anything I needed to finish up, so I slept in early and woke up early the next day.

By Day 1, I rushed to get the costume working, I started to prime the armor, ran out of primer and had to go to store to get more (wasting 30 minutes). Then as I resumed priming, the worst thing happened. It started to rain! I had to stop and bring in the armor as this freakish May storm hit. Its been sunny and warm all month long, and at this very moment, of all times, it had to rain. This made me give up, because the con was going on right now, and at 3pm I'm still home trying to get the costume finished. Disappointment isn't a word that could describe my feelings on this disaster.

I took a shower to give myself time to think this through, I decided that since I did get most of the stuff primed, all I needed to do was paint on the accents, strap it up and then finish soldering the LED's. It wasn't as bad when put into perspective, so I decided to take everything with me, costume, parts, tools, paints, and work on this in the hotel room. I toggled time between food, convention panels and costume building between Day 1 and Day 3. I had a lot more to do than I thought and I rarely slept much. At times I wanted to give up, but every time I made a small breakthrough, it kept me going.


At-con painting, Day 3.

By Day 3, afternoon, I finally got it done. While I didn't get every detail I wanted, such as missing the boots entirely, and not being able to get it to work without pants/belt (originally going to use wet suit), I thought that most of it was completed and looked good enough to be con worthy. I wasn't about to let a few details set back a whole month of work, energy and money and stop me being all the Shepard I could be.

When I finally went out with this, many people took pictures, called me Shepard and gave great compliments. I felt even for the small amount of time I did get to wear it, that it paid off. I had a couple of malfunctions which I was able to take back to the hotel room and fix in about 10 minutes, went back out and enjoyed myself for the next 2 hours. I got to meet some other Shepards which looked awesome.

In the end, while very stressful, it was worth it and fun. I plan to finally complete the entire armor with painted accents and the armored boots soon, so next year I'll have the costume done and spend more time wearing it. I hope to have it completed by this year's Sac-Con, because Jennifer Hale (voice actress of Female Commander Shepard) will be there and I would love for her to autograph my N7!


The defining moment..

Thanks for viewing! :)

Link to my FB Gallery with some images from the beginning to end.

https://www.facebook.com/media/set/?set=a.10150976029246679.535819.657926678&type=3&l=757bce0a3e

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Earlier this year, I registered a couple of pre-reg badges. In the faq it says I can pick them up Thursday, and of course has to be me since I am the group leader.

However the FAQ doesn't cover this.

I just added another badge to the group today, however it says the new badge is early-registration, and the faq says early-reg is picked up on Friday not Thursday. If I went on Thursday for the pre-reg badges, will they also give the early-reg badge with this pick-up? Or do I need to stand in the Line of the Infinite on Friday as well? It would make no sense to have to do that twice, and if I decided to pick up the pre-reg badges Friday, would pretty much not make them worth the concept of pre-reg.

So what happens here? Thanks!

3
I'd like some feedback (don't matter negative and positive) on the armor I created. This is the first time I ever created armor, and the first time I ever made a costume based on an anime character, Teresa from Claymore.

I started in January of 2011 with research. I had to learn how to make armor, and what can be used to make it. I wasn't going to start construction until around Feb/March when I got my movie check from the IRS.

In February I started experimenting with different kinds of techniques and materials, from craft foam, styrene and fiberglass. I figured at this point I was going to do vacuum forming with Polystyrene to get the desired results I found at a local Tap Plastics in my city (1 block from my job) where I can easily buy styrene cheaply and cut to size.

March I went on a mad spending spree on buying the selected material (styrene) and all the tools I needed, this includes all the PVC pipes and couplers for things like the sword. That month I also built the vacuum former which I used to shape the pauldrons from a mold I carved from X-30 Expanding Foam. I then learned how to use the vacuum former, by melting the styrene in the oven and failing a lot of tests (which became costly over time).

By April I had some early casts, but they weren't my final ones. I just needed them to assemble quickly to test on my GF's body for sizing. This armor was made for her body type and height. My goal was to make sure that it fit her, was comfortable and have it look convincing (not something just slapped on her). The armor would have the appearance and momentum of thick/heavy armor, but it was lighter than my biggest cat.

During May I rebuilt all casts out of thicker styrene because the thinner ones cracked and warped during gluing, but I intended to rebuild them anyway. I also got into assembly and had to figure out the physics of everything working together. Every piece of armor had to have it's own movement, to way she walked and moved her arms -- they were very dynamic and not static.

The day before Fanime, I finally got to priming the parts and painting them chrome, they come out excellent, it looked like REAL metal. (So many people at Fanime thought it was until we told them it was styrene).

4.30 am Friday, Day 1, I'm at home working on 2 hours of sleep the day before, I finished the sword and sheath, and they were functional -- as in the sword can be sheathed and it would actually hold it in place. I finally worked my first piece of fabric, the cape. I had to build the cape holders to be able to hold the cape and stay in place as gravity and momentum moves the cape in all directions. I also didn't want them to bend and bounce around as my GF makes sudden moves, but I nailed it. Finally got to bed around 4.30 am. I woke up around 11am, dropped my GF and her friend off at Fanime, and I had to come back home and spend the rest of the night building my Steampunk costume between 7pm - 12am. (Eventually I made it to Fanime Day 2, 1am.

On Day 2 of the con around 1pm, we had a crisis, first it was our fault for not testing this at home, but when she put the armor on, it was fine. However, when sheathing the sword, the armor slide down her back. NO!!!!!! I was devistated for a few minutes until I realized, I brought some straps, 15 feet of it. I took a dremel to the armor, and drilled some new (hidden) holes into parts of the armor covered, and screwed in the straps. We put them under her shirt, and tied them up to her belt. It worked! Quick mod saved the day. Although, the end result is that it made my GF look bigger than she actually is and she hated it, but she was too excited to worry about it, she still went out.

Took it out to the con, the compliments were outstanding. I was happy to finally see the armor in action, and people's reaction to it. Months of work which caused so many gray hairs on my head, ended up being worth it. We had a few things to repair along the way, but they were minor. Because my GF was having comfort issues with the boots, her feet started getting soar, so she ended up wearing the alternate costume I made for her, Steampunk Girlfriend, since she could wear her normal shoes under the skirt. It took 2 hours to build her Alt costume to keep her in cosplay mode. On Day 1 of Friday, I had finished up 3 costumes, at the same time.

The last few weeks were the most stressful weeks ever for me. I don't know if I can do it again, however I'd appreciate feedback on the work I did pull off. Thanks!

Here is my FB Page with the beginning to end of building the Claymore Teresa Costume (yes you can publicly access it): http://www.facebook.com/media/set/?set=a.10150184505426679.375688.657926678&l=3a9565de95

Random Images:


After priming on Day 0, I did the first pauldron in Chrome. I was so happy it came out smooth and reflected in the way I wanted. I left a lot of dents and warps in the pauldron, to capture the darker reflections, in an attempt to create a real-life version of the chrome shadows in the anime/manga armor.



This $10 Walmart shoe got converted into a boot later on, but every piece of armor on it is individual and moves individually to her steps.



Here are the leg and arm cuffs and paudrons, but you can see the sword I made. I spent more of Day 0 early AM creating the guard and painting the sword, it was the last major piece of the costume I made. The sword guard didn't come out like I wanted, so I had to go cheap and off the original design just to make it work (to support the sword when sheathed).






I took pics of the top armor in different lighting to show how it reflects it's environment. I was so happy it came out awesome in pictures in any kind of lighting.




Those $10 Walmart shoes above became boots. The boot cuffs are actually 3 pieces, the smaller back piece can't be seen here. The two you see at the top are layered. To create the boot effect, she wore some cut up chromed leggings found off ebay for $5. She stuffed them in the armored shoes to make it look like a boot. Since the anime/manga boots are skin tight, I was able to get the same effect here.





Sorry for the lack of full pics, I'm not good at picture taking. But you can see some of her in the armor in the hotel room and at the convention, many other people took pics of her so hopefully we'll find them online!




And the last pics is of her alternative costume, Steampunk Girlfriend, I was her Steampunk Boyfriend I might post later. I worked on her smaller gun piece for about an hour, I created her hair flower piece, painted it, even added bolts on it (not seen here). The larger gun piece she is holding is then one I used for my own cosplay, but on Day 1, as I remained in the room in the morning to work on the Claymore costume some more, she went out with my gun and had some fun!

Thanks for viewing!

4
Ideas and Suggestions / Elevator Staff...
« on: March 22, 2011, 02:44:29 PM »
Just a con suggestion.

I was wondering if this year Fanime would consider posting staff at 1st/2nd floor elevators during peak activity hours (at the Hotels connected to the con). Someone who can regulate the flow of convention traffic and keep count on how many people fill the elevators, would also be helpful to have someone coordinate people just arriving or leaving that have carts and luggage. Separating them from others to make use of elevator space a lot more efficiently.

Last year was pretty bad with the elevators from people being too inconsiderate to the parties (literally) going on IN the elevators. All of this could have been solved with some simple management.

I'm sure this is more of a hotel issue, but I thought maybe if Fanime has some extra hands, and they were able to, they could help with this.

5
General Anime Chat / Looking for more Claymore-like Anime
« on: January 11, 2011, 03:27:05 PM »
My GF and I are just getting into Anime after she discovered Claymore on Netflix and just decided to take a chance on watching it (randomly). It was so awesome even I got into it as well, and we plowed through it in a couple of days. Now we're sad because we haven't been able to find anything else like it. :'(

We're relatively new to Anime viewing (I have some experience) and we're looking for something similar to Claymore. Anyone have any recommendations?

If this helps, she's into vampires (not the sparkly alternate-dietary needs wimp-pires), werewolves and generally anything where females are the lead roles with unreal powers that destroy everything.

I'm more into Sci-fi. I'm thinking space battles, Star Trek/Wars style.

And we're both not into the too-exaggerated slapstick anime (but funny is good), more into the darker serious stuff like Claymore and Vampire Hunter D).

Thanks. :)

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Or anyone who lives close by...

I currently live in Pleasant Hill, CA. I am wondering who else lives around here that will be going to Fanime 2010.

I know nothing of anime and wondering if anyone would be interested in crash coursing me through some so I can actually attend Fanime for what it's intended to do, for the first time. Ironically, I've been going to Fanime since it started at Chabot, but I always went with friends for the sake of hanging out, not actually paying attention to the con itself. I kinda wanna try some of the anime stuff but I'd like to go in with some knowledge of it. I would like to perhaps organize an anime-gathering once a week (or every two weeks) if someone has the DVD's to bring. I have zero Anime movies myself. I do however had an awesome entertainment center in which to play these DVD's.

Don't worry I'm not creepy, don't have a criminal record, don't do drugs, have a spotless driving record and work a full-time job and all my friends love me. I also have a cute cat that plays fetch, eats noodles, peanut-butter and olives.

Willing to pick up and drop off as I have a car.

7
Hotel and Facilities / Crown Plaza?
« on: December 24, 2009, 12:09:50 AM »
I stay at the Crowne every year, I purposefully choose it too. It's usually cheaper than the others, but I found the quality to be better, the HDTV is nice and the staff are awesome. It DOES get crowded but not as much as the others, at least you CAN get on the elevator here.

Mod Edit: see mod post at the bottom
I probed fanime's site, the URL scheme is pretty non-deterrent from snooping.

2010 Hotel Prices they have listed so far show:

(quote)
Crowne Plaza Hotel San Jose - Downtown - (NON-SMOKING 2 BEDDED ROOM (NO ROLLAWAY AVAILABLE)  102.00) - Convention Center
Crowne Plaza Hotel San Jose - Downtown - (NON-SMOKING KING BEDDED ROOM W/ SOFABED (NO ROLLAWAY AVAILABLE)  102.00) - Convention Center
Hilton San Jose - (1 BEDDED ROOM (ROLLAWAY BED SUBJECT TO AVAILABILITY)  83.00) - Convention Center
Hilton San Jose - (2 BEDDED ROOM (NO ROLLAWAY AVAILABLE)  115.00) - Convention Center
Hilton San Jose - (KING BEDDED ROOM W/ROLLAWAY BED  115.00) - Convention Center
San Jose Marriott - (NON-SMOKING DOUBLE/DOUBLE BEDDED ROOM (NO ROLLAWAY AVAILABLE)  122.00) - Convention Center
The Fairmont San Jose - (NON-SMOKING 2 BEDDED ROOM (NO ROLLAWAY AVAILABLE)  105.00) - Convention Center
The Sainte Claire Hotel - (NON-SMOKING 2 BEDDED ROOM (NO ROLLAWAY AVAILABLE)  105.00) - Convention Center
(/quote)

It looks like prices have gone up from last year for some of the places. Personally I think the 2-bedded Crowne room is the best. Beds are huge. Fits 4 people easily. Toilets are noisy, like supernova noisy.

8
I honestly don't know which section of the board this should go on, so for now I'll leave it here.

One of the things that bothers me most about FanimeCon is that roughly about than half the Staff or Volunteers lack etiquette. By nature I'm a cool trouble-free guy -- as in I don't ever seek trouble (but I do respond in kind when pushed). However every year I seem to get a staffer's face up in mine about something I did wrong and it's usually walking into or on some imaginary border. Mind you I'm no punk so I will snap back and go as far as physical is that came to be.

Last year as I was trying to register a badge, a friend and I walked through one of the main gates in the convention lobby. There were no signs on the gate, it was wide open, there were no lines or anything to tell us which gate we should enter upon. As soon as we walked in, a Fanime staffer comes yelling (yes yelling) at us about walking through the gate. "You can't go through there!!" in a nasty loud tone. In turn we both stopped, walked up to his face and told him to piss off and we continued to walk through regardless (oh yeah he was shaking in his boots then, we're not exactly friendly looking). All the gates went into the SAME lobby area anyway, so why did we get barked at for going through a specific gate (that was wide open) that went into the same area as the others? I believe this person felt like he had some kind of status or power that we should automatically respect. I do respect authority, rules and regulations, but not uncalled for attitude.

Now in all honesty, if he had approached us and told us that section of the lobby was off limits and pointed us to the right gate to enter, we would have thanked him, apologized and have absolutely no problems with him. Ever. But it didn't happen that way and it put me in a pretty cranky mood for awhile. I DID report this to Con Ops, not sure if anything ever came from it.

We also have problems sometimes with badge registration people. Attitudes to being unhelpful. Not ALL of them are like that, but there are some which do ruin the con experience. I can understand this being a somewhat high pressure job (we once ran console gaming back in 2000 @ Santa Clara), but it doesn't take much effort to show some respect to your customers. And also showing some respect to your customers will prevent conflicts. (Because you never know who's a ninja).

This isn't a roast topic, and I don't despise fanime staff & volunteers, but you guys do have some bad apples which I think should be looked into. I don't know if your meetings include them, but I think etiquette should be a topic of discussion for staff. There are just as many cool staffers that I got along with at fanime throughout the years, some I've even become friends with outside the con.

Thanks.

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Live Programming and Events / More J-Pop-ness for 2009 please...
« on: May 29, 2008, 01:38:52 AM »
I was a bit disappointed in the lack of J-pop video'ing going on. The little bits that I did see was great (and the ladies running it were great too). But the limited time slot for this wasn't appealing. From 12am - Noon? Not exactly a great schedule and no fair to the people who put in time and effort to make this a part of FanimeCon.

I would have (and I am sure others) would have filled the room more had it played during a more available time frame. Hopefully next year it would be more of a 24-hour video room and not some 12-hour thing during odd hours. For the first time since I started going to Fanime (back when it started in Hayward), I actually watched some J-pop for more than 2 hours straight. These ladies musta done something right.

More J-pop video please.

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