Big Sister final orthographics

Big Sister final orthographics
Photograph by Drew Crozier. Model Lindsey Lewis.

Bleep Bloop interview

Thursday, February 11, 2010

Holy Crap. Sleep? Nah.

The days have been blurring together. I missed a few days of posting.

For the past week we've been working almost nonstop. Day and night. Occasionally naps are taken in the afternoons. Sometimes not.

My collector's edition of Bioshock 2 came yesterday, but I didn't even have time to play it. So sad!

Fabric and Leather
Turns out Miracole didn't have the equipment to get the leather done the way I wanted, so Lab 604 recommended Cathy Jones of God Save The Queen Fashions to come in at the last minute. Cathy has access to automotive upholstery machines that can handle the heavy leather stitching. Cathy and Upholstery Joe (owner of said machines) came the past two nights for fittings. Me walking around the shop in a corset and hot pants seemed to be amusing to everyone. I can't imagine why. I think they're jealous of my sexiness. Last night Cathy came in again to fit the jumpsuit and stab me with pins. They'll have the cloth and leather done by Saturday. Fricking ridiculous. I can't wait.

Danny brought in two of his Outland Armor guys, Joe and Adam. I had already worked up the design templates and Chris and I had sussed out the engineering, so when they got there they were able to crank out the structure of the tank pretty quickly. The sono tube had to be cut down in diameter (the boys accidentally cut it too short, but we made a quick patch and all is well), and plywood rings and 2x4 reinforced on the inside. They fit removable end caps so in the future we can add a subwoofer. They also cut plywood patterns for the Dow Board rings on the outside, since we still had to get back to the hardware store to get more foam.

Duncan is just about finished with the braces. They're fricking sweet. All aluminum, custom machined disc joints. I tied some to my legs to walk around in and they're spot on, no vertical shifting at all, they're right on the joints. I had the sizing worked out and gave him all the measurements for the joint spacing and he went to town. Not really. Pretty much he stayed in the shop all night.

The steel toes came yesterday. I really really wanted to get a wax mold done to pour the toes in actual bronze metal, but the bronze pour is Friday and there just isn't enough time to get the silica shell done. However, I did make a wax of the dive weight, and I'll cast that in iron on Saturday, just because it's awesome. Chris and Riki already cast an aluminum composite-resin weight from my wood pattern to make the suit lighter, though depending on who's wearing the suit, maybe I'll swap in the iron weight. Mwahaha.

Head and Shoulders
Chris has been working on the helmet sculpt, which has a little more detailing then it's ready for molding. Danny jumped in to help out for a bit. It's coming along very nicely. Chris suggested Danny make a little wooden gadget for sculpting weld lines, which works brilliantly. [In the end, due to a technical-oversight issue, Chris had to resculpt most of what Danny and I did on the helmet. I don't remember what the issue was, but I believe it was a molding thing, not a sculpting thing. -N]

Duncan also made the little widget on top of the helmet which seems like it would have housed a speaker, but has a blue clear dome on top of it. I was going to pattern it out of MDF but I seemed to always be pulled away to answer questions or check on progress or solve some problem, so I figured out the dimensions and Duncan turned it on the lathe. Yes, MDF on a lathe. Don't try it at home. He almost died. True story.

Riki has been sculpting the trim on the breastplate, which looked awesome. We've done a lot of research into old diving helmets so we can ground the costume as much as possible. I even harassed Elizabeth at 2K for some Big Sister functionality questions since there are so many discrepancies between different references. She was generous enough to reply and send me an updated concept art ortho even though she was completely swamped, because of course I asked on the day the game actually came out. She rules.

The shoulder pauldrons are done and getting molded.

We had a bit of a setback when a support structure broke on the torso mannequin that held the breastplate sculpt when Chris was transporting it to the storage cage. Basically, we heard a pop, a thud, and an incredibly emphatic and high pitched "FUCK." I actually thought it was a girl screaming, but no, it was Chris. We went back to check on the yelping and I almost had a heart attack. Not only was the breastplate and backplate mushed in a pile on the floor, but all the excellent trim work Riki had been doing for hours on end was flattened.

That sucked.

A couple of things lined up for the perfect storm: 1, the torso hadn't been properly mounted to the plywood base, it was just sitting in the original vintage wooden mounting bracket. 2, there was about 60 pounds of raw clay on the torso, sitting only on saran wrap without any plates screwed in underneath for grip, 3, Chris decided to transport the torso himself, when two people should have been carrying it, and 4, Chris had been up for three or four days straight, with the occasional cat nap. This is what happens when you're exhausted, you make mistakes you normally wouldn't had you been well-rested and thinking clearly. Luckily, Chris redid the whole thing from scratch, this time using bracing, metal plates screwed into the torso to hold the clay vertically, and gave it a foam armature to reduce the raw clay weight. All in like, a couple hours or something.

Blinky Things
The electronics came from Daniel yesterday so I brought them to shop last night to unpack and test them out. This guy is on point. Everything is beautifully wired, labeled, heat-shrinked and completely jacked up. LED ring for the eye, and individual LEDs for the other helmet portholes, blue and green LED clusters for the arm test tubes, and a larger red LED cluster for the ADAM bottle. All of it plugs into 3 ethernet jacksHe even made me a fan control on a potentiometer so I can adjust the speed of the computer fans we're going to mount in the helmet for circulation.


Riki came up with a cool idea for the shoot that I sent over to the client, who thought it would be great if we could schedule it properly. So we'll see how that turns out. No spoiling the surprise.

That's all I can remember for now.

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