Monday, 21 May 2018

The Road to Comic-Con: The Building Begins

Hey everyone, I know it's been a while. It's been a long month, to say the least. But, in the interest of getting things back to normal and getting back in the groove, I've been working on Comic-Con costume stuff. Today we're going to go over the initial parts of building the pauldrons and upper arm pieces as well as what will hopefully become a Black Soulstone. So let's get to it!  I'm just going to go through the steps I took for the build. It's probably not the only way and might not even be the best way, but it's what I did.


Okay, so for reference, here is what we are looking at today:

1. So, to start off, the first thing I did was get lots of screenshots in game from as many angles as possible. Then we have an idea of what we need things to look like then we start to plan. I was initially going to draft a rough sketch of what they would look like so I could figure out what pieces I would need but I ended up not doing that and just starting on patterning. 

2. Patterns. Okay, I'm not the best pattern-maker. Mostly because I tend to eyeball them with only superficial measurements. I like to think I've improved since my first attempt and am getting better at it. Once I took measurements of how big the pauldron should be, I drew out half the pattern on a folded piece of paper. This way, when you cut it out, it's actually symmetrical. I did this for all base pieces I would need.

3. The next thing was to transfer it to the foam. I bought a big roll of EVA foam in the form of an anti-fatigue mat for this. I believe it's 1/4 inch thick. I got mine at Giant Tiger, but you can get them from lots of places. I just used a light colored pencil crayon to trace it out and that worked well.

4. Now we cut! A sharp blade is a must to keep the edges from getting ragged. I used my fancy-pants exacto knife. Also, cardboard underneath to protect both your floor and your blade. Otherwise, it's pretty self-explanatory.

5. Shaping! If you have such a thing as a heat gun you can use it for this. If you're like me and you don't, then your stove works just as well (either way I like to open the windows and turn on the fan when I do). Turn on the element and let it get hot then you just hold the foam over. You can feel once it gets hot enough because it starts to feel softer and more pliable. Bend it and work it as you hold it over the heat and once it's ready you can either put it into shape with your hands or an object. Once I'd gotten the shoulders into more or less the right shape I stuck them over the back of a kitchen chair to cool. If the shape isn't right, just heat them back up and try again. Foam is a rather awesome and forgiving medium in that respect. Either way, once it cools it will hold that shape.

6. Additions! I cut out the pieces that would be used to build up the pauldrons so that I could shape all this together. For this, I used some other leftover foam I had from last year's Wonder Woman build as I needed some pieces to be thicker than the base pieces and some to be thinner, so it worked out well. To make sure they would fit with the base pieces, I used the paper pattern I had already made and cut that instead of making new patterns.      

7. Seal! There are a lot of different options for sealing your foam. My sealer of choice is Mod Podge. I used the spray stuff last year but I've gone back to the liquid version. I just like it better. I also use a sponge brush instead a bristle brush. I find it goes on smoother that way. I did three coats on the outside and two on the underside. On my first set of armor (Storm Trooper) I think I did five coats but I didn't seem to need it here. Use your own discretion. As long as you don't have any bubbles and pits in the foam from it soaking it, you should be good.

8. Primer! This is as far as I've gotten. In fact, I primed these pieces earlier tonight. I used black Rustoleum paint and primer. That's my base. After this, hopefully tomorrow, I'll look at starting to paint. And we'll go over all the steps for paint, weathering, and finishing, don't worry!

Black Soulstone 

One prop that we wanted for our costumes, especially my daughter's Leah costume, was a Black Soulstone. It's a game item that becomes quite important and ties into her character and her eventual fate. So the idea we had was to get a crystal growing kit, which the kids like anyway, and essentially grow our own. The problem with this is that these kits come in fun colors, not black. A quick internet search gave us the idea to try and add dye to a regular white crystal. So we've attempted an experiment. We bought a glowing crystal kit from Toy Masters (an awesome local toy store) and a packet of black dye (food coloring won't work here). We mixed up the solution as instructed and added a little of the dye to it. Will it work? We don't know. But it'll be interesting to see how things progress and we'll keep you posted.

Well, there you have it! This post actually ended up being a lot longer than I anticipated so if you've made it here to the end, thank you! And, of course, as things continue I will be keeping you up-to-date on our progress. Until next time!

Oh, and my other half will also be doing his own Road to Comic-Con posts with his own costume! You can find him here:  He also does writeups for his custom painted dinosaur figures which are super cool, as well as other, mainly Jurassic Park-centered stuff. He's also on YouTube.

Monday, 30 April 2018

Avengers Infinity War Spoiler-Free Review

Well, folks, it’s finally arrived. One of the most anticipated movies of 2018. And we’re going to talk about it. Well, we’re going to try to. No spoilers. 

Well, let’s start by summing up how I felt after walking out of Avengers: Infinity War, the culmination of ten years of the Marvel Cinematic Universe:

If it’s all the same to you, I’ll have that drink now

I don’t even know where to begin with this one. Okay, the first thing I will say is this: go in knowing nothing. If you can avoid spoilers, do so. You really need to see this movie fresh without knowing what’s coming. At least the first time. I’m interested to see it again at some point to see what I pick up on the second time. If my feels can handle the second viewing, that is. 
I won’t lie to you, this is a rough movie to watch. Especially if you’ve been there since the beginning and you’ve gotten to know and love these characters. There are some definite moments of levity, but it’s a dark one. Even the opening Marvel logo was subdued, as were all the credits. There were several parts that hit you right in the heart and they hurt. This movie also doesn’t hold your hand. It assumes you’ve done your homework and you’re up to speed on who’s who and where the major locations are. So it’s good to at least have a working knowledge of the MCU before you see this one.

Since we’re not going to talk about the story in any way, let’s talk about the cast. Everyone brings their A-game here and even if it’s been a little while since we’ve seen that character, you can understand and get a sense of where they’re at. And, we finally get to see Josh Brolin’s Thanos in action. And he was amazing. Marvel gets a lot of flack for their villains being one-note or underused or whatever, but Thanos is not one of those. Good on Marvel for being 2/2 on villains in 2018. Between him and Killmonger, they’re really hitting their stride on badguys. And like Killmonger, Thanos was more than moustache-twirling-villain. He had a reason that you could understand, even if he was going about it in horrific ways. I actually compared him to a villain from another franchise in regards to motive (sort of) but I don’t want to say for fear of spoilers. But the payoff they’ve been building to really did pay off. 

And can I just say that teenage Groot is probably my favorite Groot

 Finally, I just want to talk real quick about the visuals. They are fantastic. There was one tiny moment where Thanos was walking up some stairs and like Snoke from The Last Jedi, it looked a little stiff and fake. But that was two seconds. The rest was gorgeous and you forget that you’re looking at computer-generated characters and locations. So kudos to all the folks that worked on the visuals, because the quality of that work shows.   

So, in conclusion, Avengers: Infinity War was a heck of a ride. Not always a fun ride, but I expected that going in. All I can say is, I can’t wait to see what they do next and it sucks we have to wait until next year to see how this plays out going forward. If you haven’t seen it (and the insane box office numbers suggest you probably already did), go now. Go see it.

Friday, 20 April 2018

Weekly News Roundup!

Hey everyone, we’re back with a roundup of the latest news around the web. Let’s dig in!


-The first trailer for the second installment of the Netflix Godzilla anime dropped! The next film, titled Godzilla: The City Mechanized for Final Battle, will continue the story of humanity and their allies trying to fight a super-massive, ancient Godzilla. I’d love to break the down the trailer for you, but it’s only in Japanese and since I don’t speak that language, I can’t tell you what’s going on. Some really neat visuals, though, and apparently there will be an appearance by some form of MechaGodzilla. We’ll have to hit when it comes to Netflix, hopefully later this year.

-This poster for the Halloween reboot. Simple, effective, gorgeous. No idea how the movie will be, but I will give props to a good poster. 

-Jurassic World: Fallen Kingdom released its final trailer. I think this one’s gonna be pretty dark. They're giving the Indoraptor such an Alien-esque feel, and I don't know how I feel about that. Possibly less optimistic than my other half. On a related note, Mattel has begun rolling out the toys for the movie, and from what I’ve seen so far, they are nice. Quite the step up in variety and quality from the Hasbro line for the first film.

Its three feet long. And there may be one heading to our house even now.

-A final trailer for Deadpool 2 was also released. It’s really just a run of the mill superhero movie trailer, not much to talk about. Trailer HERE (language NSFW)

-Annihilation hits Blu-Ray May 29th! Mark your calendars! I know I’m going to.

-Finally saw Thor: Ragnarok. It’s really fun and really weird and I really dug it. I happen to like the other two Thor movies, so it’s not like I’m sitting here going ‘finally, a good Thor movie!’. Everyone fits nicely back into their roles, the brotherly banter is so spot on for how siblings act, Jeff Goldblum is Jeff Goldblum and we love him for it, and Hela was a great villain. I recommend it.


-Xbox One added some new backwards compatible titles to its library, including some more games from the original X Box. So guess what I’m playing though again, but on a new console? A list of all backwards compatible titles can be found HERE


 Well, that's what I've got for now. I'm hoping to have a new Road to Comic-Con soon, as I've gotten a whole bunch of materials and am itching to start working! See you all next time!