Hello again everyone.
Back in September my son and I sat down to discuss a "quick" costume I could make for an upcoming toycon. We thought it would be fun to replicate my Kenner Power Droid for something a little more unique. I have a soft spot for some of the Star Wars "B" characters from the films. The underdogs, if you will.
Due to my hectic schedule at the time, I only allowed myself a weekend to actually build the costume. I must have been delusional at the time because I was convinced I could do it. Prior to starting the build, I created the working paper templates earlier that week. I began construction on a Friday evening and worked until 4am. Slept for 4 hours and continued straight through until Sunday at noon. In that time, I managed to construct the body but fell short of my goal. The unfinished costume sat idle in the basement until last week. Wanting to get it finished, I was motivated by another toycon held this past Sunday.
I started by creating a linear illustration of all views of the action figure. From there, I scaled each drawing in Illustrator, tiled and printed each side. I decided to construct the Power Droid out of pink insulation foam in order to keep the costume as light as possible for my son to wear. It also allowed my to sculpt the soft edges quite easily.
Next I began transferring the templates to the insulation foam and cutting out panels. I concentrated on one half at a time. (Later this was the smartest decision I made)
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I used 3M spray adhesive to join each panel together. Some pieces were layered in order to create the proper indentations seen in the Power Droids design.
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Once the top half was constructed I carved the the corners and sanded everything smooth. I then built the frame that separates top and bottom and features the white pin stripe on the character.
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I repeated the prcess for the bottom half but this time I carved and sanded each panel prior to gluing together. After building the top half first, I realized how awkward it was to carve and sand as one unit. The costume is quite large and my work space is not.
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After assembling the bottom half it occurred to me that I should ensure that this costume will fit through the basement door before gluing both halves together. We have a 27" basement doorway and this would not fit as one piece. I concluded that I would leave the costume in two pieces and use magnets to attach top and bottom.
I initially planned on using a foam primer by montana, to keep the costume light and to meet my strict deadline. Unfortunately, the primer wasn't compatible with the Krylon paint I was using and perhaps I didn't have enough of it to properly coat the surface. Remember, I was running against the clock and trying to find a fast and effective solution. Its at this point the project was shelved until last week.
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With that said, I would have to coat the costume with a PVA glue in order to achieve a barrier that can be spray painted. I like to use flexbond, but was unable to get it at the time. I took the opportunity to also correct some flawed areas that I was initially going to leave. Over time the spray glue popped in a few spots and so I had to also re-glue some seams but used "no more nails" instead of the spray glue.
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After applying the glue, I was able to fill some gaps and rough spots with a little aqua resin and BONDO glazing putty.
Some spot primer, a little sanding and I was ready for paint.
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The sticker was recreated as a complete vision screen. I created the graphics in illustrator and had them printed on see thru fabric. I metal screen is cut and painted black, with a layer of pet screening hot glued to it. THe printed fabric is stretched and glued over that. The screen fits inside the opening and is hot glued to the inside. I layer of PVC foambaord was spray glued to the inside in order to prevent the hot glue from melting the foam.
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I wanted my son to be as comfortable as possible, so I scaled the Power Droid proportionally allowing him to stand upright. He stands just over 4 feet tall, making this costume a giant walking toy. I created a shoulder brace that attached at both ends of the lower half of the body. He stands in the center of the costume and keeps the Droid balanced, and helps to distribute the weight. The brace was created using some insulation foam that was reinforced with PVC foamboard to avoid breaking. I padded the curved area to help cushion his shoulders.
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Magnets were embedded in each corner of the 2 halves and the costume snapped together.
According to my dimensions the legs needed to be 8" in diameter. Unfortunately I had difficulty finding a hose that I was happy with. I ended up salvaging the hose from our portable air conditioner. I got in a little trouble for that, but, you know. The hose is only 6" in diameter but had the right weight and look I was after. I painted the hose black using brush on acrylic paint hoping that the elasticity would minimize any cracking while flexing.
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Because the legs were slightly smaller than I wanted, I also scaled the feet a few inched smaller. I was also concerned that my son may have trouble walking and therefore I decided to air on the side of caution. In the end, he had very little trouble getting around.
The legs and feet were created the evening before my deadline. Once again, I pulled an all nighter to get them completed. I built the feet out of insulation foam, and PVC foamboard. The exposed foam was coated in PVA glue prior to painting. I created a kind of down and dirty flip-flop with elastic straps that my son's foot slipped into. This keep the leg and foot moving with him. It worked fine.
I hot glued the legs onto the feet using the plate of foam attached to the bottom of the leg hose. Feet were painted and strapping attached.
The antenna was a simple construction. I cut 3 pieces of plastazote foam, spray glued it together and carved the angled edges. To create the cylinder, I glued and carved the foam. The antenna was covered with 6 coats of flexi-grip, which is a rubber spray, to give the antenna an authentic look. The action figures antenna is rubber.
Finished Power Droid
Here are final pics taken at Burlington Toycon and a video of my son walking in costume for the first time. After a few seconds he found his groove.