PS2J Blog

From the hearts and minds of those involved

So, for the past little while a lot of people have been asking me about how I practice the sorcery of foam. As a rank and file newbie I will show all you fine folks out there just how I work a little foam magic, through a metric tonne of pictures. I’m doing this as a how to esque sort of deal. So sit back and relax, this is gonna be another long one. Above all else though before we begin, change blades often. Sharp is best.

Tools:

Olfa Knife

Hot Glue Gun (high temp preferable)

Pen Knife ( # 11 blade hobby knife)

 

Fine tip pencil (Mechanical)

Pen, any will do.

Conduit cutter (A saw works too)

A bevel cutter (Good for cutting corners. get it?)

Heat gun. Necessity for all foam work right here.

Contact cement(the other glue I use)

Dap acryllic. ACRYLLIC. This is important

Dremel, well loved

Not shown:

metal ruler

super glue

80/150/220/600 grit sand paper

small scissors

…woops.

 

Build Materials:

12mm Eva foam

7mm eva foam ( this piece is sanded smooth on the diamond side)

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

2mm Craft/fun foam

2mm thick plasticard (Thickness is Important)

1/2 inch conduit

Gap Fill Primer

Plastidip.

 

ON TO THE SHOW!

I began this build by making a set of templates using a computer illustrating program and then printing them out onto 110lb card stock. This process is not being shown for the reason that I forgot to document it… woops. I then opened a bunch of reference images to map how thick and such this build would need to be in order for me to get the best feel for it. Having built a magnum just prior I was able to guess based on that information what I would like this new pistol to look like. From there I cut out this shape. (As a note I will be posting multiple images as I work my way through the steps.)

I started construction with the larger 12mm foam.  I traced out this template twice, and then cut it out using the Olfa knife.. Using my hot glue gun I secured the 2 pieces together, and used the hot tip to smooth down the excess glue.

Little hard to see. 2 pistola bodies.

  

Using a pencil, the conduit cutter and the olfa knife I began by measuring the barrel. Using the conduit cutter, I cut it to the desired length.

 

From here I used the slide of the template, drew down the notches and details along the side and cut out the notches. Next I drew out where the barrel goes. Using the olfa knife again I cut out the hole for the barrel and then secured it with hot glue. Don’t worry about a glue seam here, it will get covered up later.

     

Next up I began to draw out the mag well and work on layering the magnum. I cut out the template for the magazine and then positioned it. Drawing out the position that it would rest in I made sure to leave space on either side. From here I started to plot out the layers on the pistol. I then traced out the lower body onto 2mm foam and cut it out.  After that I set to cutting out the mag well.  Not shown is the mag well post removing what I will refer to now as the blank. I used fresh blades for this and I did not document this as it was very unstable and chose to immediately prevent damage to the build thus far by attaching the craft foam. It’s a matter of rinse repeat for both sides. For all craft foam cuts I used the hobby knife. It’s crazy sharp.

    

After attaching some of the craft foam using the contact cement to keep the build flush at this point I set out to make the pistol more stable. In it’s current state it was very squishy with the blank removed and was not sound enough structurally for my liking. I used the plasticard to make the rear of the grip a point of solid structure. I also secured this into the grip using contact cement. to keep pressure on as it dried I set the blank back into the well. In the back there, the ever illusive tiny scissors.

    

Once the mag well rear wall was secured in place I used a piece of craft foam to help brace a thin spot in the front of the grip where the trigger will eventually go.

Up next was finalizing detail on the grip. Swapping foam colours I kept to the 2mm craft foam and layered on a the grip contouring. I used lepage to glue this down again.  Also a fresh blade. Cutting apart the template further on this one. I used the rear slot template to also pencil down some details.

  

Next up I started on the slide. Hot glue for this one again. I began by cutting out the templates and removing some negative areas. Paying attention you’ll see in the dry fit below that since I wasn’t as careful as I should have been, I developed a slight warp. Using the bevel cutter I trimmed and fit the sides of the slide.

   

From here I used reference images and began to tune the body. It has a long gentle slope. Measuring out what I could see as the correct thickness of the pistols bottom I then took my olfa knife (Fresh blade, always a fresh blade) and scored the slopes. Once satisfied, I trimmed them down. It didn’t come out quite as clean as I wanted but it worked for what it was.

   

Using some sand paper and my dremel I cleaned it up a little. Yes…you can sand EVA. No I don’t recommend it. Yes a dremel is faster. NO I didn’t do this as clean as I would have liked and YES if I had it would not have needed clean up… my bad. Moving right along. If it’s not super clean don’t fret. We’ll be covering it up shortly.

So next up I dug back into the template and began on the next section. Keeping with the craft foam I cut out the cover parts for the front of this little guy. It’s another rinse repeat step. Using contact cement as always.

   

From there, let’s clean up that grip! Change the blade on your bevel cutter or knife. Seriously guys. Keep swapping. I beveled the lead and trail edge of the grip.

  

Much nicer. Actually fit in my hand now.

From here I added in the trigger. I just used craft foam and 12mm eva to make it smooth on both sides. A nice even width big ol squishy trigger. I did craft foam on both sides because I’m a stickler for symmetry. feels good on the hand and is non threatening to the eye. Looks kinda derpy. On my battle rifles I didn’t include a trigger for extra con safe-ness. you can choose to opt in or out. I used hot glue to glue it down.

  

Next I did some detail work. Using the pen I pressed really REALLY hard into those little pencil circles to indent my craft foam without creating a crevice. Just needed that nice little crease.

And viola. We’re cookin with gas. You can really see it coming together.

 

Next up was the guard. To do so I took some 12 mm and like the trigger just double sided it. Lepage cement for the thin foam. And then secured it in place with some hot glue for extra sturdiness. Freshen that blade as always folks.

 

Next up was a little choice detailing. Adding the center dot to that circular recess. I used the other side of the template and cut out the very middle dot, from there I just 2mm foamed it up. It’s all in the details folks. Also by now you’ll start to notice some funky lookin white junk. That’s the dap slowly creeping into the build. I’ll cover it in greater depth in a little bit. Essentially I use it to hide seams and try to round out bad edges.

 

Stepping up, time to get rid of that ugly magazine blank. Taking the mag template and drawing it out on 12mm foam, I took serious care and compensated for the plastic backing. I then cut it out twice, and used hot glue to affix it together. Using the hot nozzle to smooth excess glue again. Do what I forgot to do. Freshen that blade. Either snap or swap.

 

She aint too pretty, but she’ll do for now.

Keeping the pace I decided to craft foam the top of the magnum to cover up that huge ugly seam. Lepage and 2mm again. Once dry I applied some dap along the seams to help hide them. This is what I use dap for. Hiding seams, and helping smooth over some messy areas. It can also spot fill low areas and crevices, but is not structural. It is still squishy so use with care. Taking my pen knife I scored in the details and waited for the dap to fully cure. Once that was done I took my heat gun and used it on the score lines. As eva is what’s known as a closed cell foam, it pulled away from all the cut lines and ended up creating these nice recesses. This is good for adding any panel lines or small detail.

 

This next step is to make the little angle side vents on the back. Measuring and cutting out a rectangle of foam, I used my bevel cutter for those nice 45 degree angles that it has. A lot of geometry on this stuff is 45 degree angles and bevels. Gives it a more sleek look. Trimming the edges I then hot glued it into place. Then I used craft foam to make the rear sight of the pistol.

 

Next I did the back cap to cover up all the ugly seams by simply cutting out and gluing down a square of craft foam, then trimming it with scissors. To detail it I drew on the lines with that handy dandy mechanical pencil, then scored them with the hobby knife. I later hit this with a heat gun to have the foam pull open the score lines. Using a sphereical dremel grinding bit, I dug out the small circular details by the sight.

   

I get a little excited here as I get closer to finishing the build. It all starts to come together so I sort of sped up and took less images. From here I take one of the templates and cut out every other slat on the back vent section. Following that up I took my dremel and used it with a thin grinding bit to carve out the rear vents.

   

Changing directions again I began to finish the chassis of the pistol by covering all the seams in a thin strip of foam. I measured the width of the pistol and began to apply craft foam all around it. Contact cement here again with the thinner foam. I also added a small detail to the magazine to bring out the base just a bit more. From there I used dap on all the seam lines and covered as much as I could to try and blend it all together. This first big apply of dap will get covered by plastidip, and from there I use it about twice more.

     

Next up comes the…mag release? I’m not gonna lie. This weapon has a lot of neat stuff on it. Some of which I just straight forgot (Woopsie). Like a slide lock(Oops) and a safety(mega oops). BUT HEY! I remembered the mag…release? I think.

I can only confirm that the it’s not either of the other 2 things. ANYWAY! So first I cut out a small rectangle of craft foam, and rounded 2 corners on the long side. I used contact cement, glued it in place, then I took my hobby knife and just cut some score lines it and heat gunned it. Quick, easy, and effective. The last thing I do is I reat gun the whole pistol and magazine to seal and heat treat the foam. It should look slightly wet at this stage.

  

After everything was all done I hit it with plastidip. 3 Coats. Thorough. Then…DAP! You’ll get why later.

Looks like chocolate.

From there It’s the first primer coat.

Then Dap.

After this is done, I used the varying grits of sand paper to smooth down a lot of the rough garbage. It also helps to shape the DAP. Yes you can sand dap, No I don’t recommend it. Dap is a last resort. I use it like it’s going out of style. Learn from my mistakes.

Then Prime and Paint…. woah. Done already? Oh yeah. Nice. I seem to have forgotten one last image of this pistol primed, sorry about that. I kind of forgot. Next time I think I’ll show off a wip of painting stuff. I do not know much, but I do know just enough. the paint scheme for this little guy for instance took me about 10 different colours of paint in various combinations. I hope that you all found this helpful, I’ll be posting the templates of this online so you can take a crack at fabricating your own. So for now, SO LONG FOLKS! Enjoy some gratuitous pistol images.

    

 

Miitomo is here! It’s finally here! Seriously, I’ve been waiting for this for over a week. Completely out of proportion for a free-to-play mobile game, but that’s just the kind of guy I am

 

What is it?

In case you’ve been living under a rock (and from a certain point of view you have been. I’m looking at you, Australia) Miitomo is Nintendo’s app-based attempt at a social network, a sort of hybrid of Twitter and Tomodachi Life. You make a Mii, you add friends, and then your Mii will ask you questions and disseminate the info around to your friends-list piece by piece. It doesn’t really seem like a lot, but they finally cracked the mobile app code- micro-transactions and pseudo-currency! You earn currency by answering questions, commenting on answers, adding friends, and changing your clothing.

Yes. You get currency for changing your clothes once a day. This is truly next-level social networking.

 

What can you spend it all on? Clothes! Not for you, silly, for your Mii! It also integrates with the new MyNintendo website (the slightly shittier version of the old Club Nintendo, where you only get points for buying games digitally) to get some currency on there that you can spend on, you guessed it, digital clothes! Also some games and discounts. All digital rewards nowadays, which really begs the question- why do they keep talking about how “availability may vary”? I mean, this is data. If you run out of MarioHat.png, I think you can just copy/paste a few more onto the server.

 

Oh, and before I forget, there is already a thriving community on /r/miitomo of people just adding the heck out of random strangers in order to see what their favourite breads are. No joke, that is an actual question. You can also link in your Twitter and Facebook in order to get friend suggestions or be alerted when people you went to high school with join you in this strangely-compelling social experiment. One thing to note here is that although Nintendo brags about their 1000-friend limit, the rewards stop after you’ve added 20 people. Just to make certain, I personally made the sacrifice of tracking down 100+ randos online and adding them all. Nothing.

 

There’s also Miifoto, where you can take your painstakingly-crafted Mii and put them in a variety of poses/backgrounds/situations with other Miis. It’s entertaining, especially with the fact that you can use those pictures in comments on other people’s posts. You have an array of expressions, animated poses, backgrounds, stamps, etc that you can really let loose with. You can even just throw Miis onto a photo you took with your phone, so that’s pretty slick as well.

 

Last but not least, there’s pachinko! Kind of. Not really. As a way to get certain promotional outfits like pancake breakfast or crazy cat lady (seriously, I’m not even kidding here) you can play a pachinko-esque Mii Drop, in which you drop you and your friends into a machine, bounce around a little, and try to land on platforms with hotdog costumes on them. If you miss all the platforms, you get candy! What’s the candy for? Forcing your friends to tell you their answers, of course! Why would you do that? For more currency! Which you can spend to play Mii Drop! To get more candy! The fun never ends!

 

What does it mean?

At the end of the day, I’ll probably keep poking at it occasionally but I see my time with it slowly lessening in the near future unless I find some really compelling people to friend or they manage to keep the general audience engaged. It’s just enough like Twitter to want some funny/interesting people to follow, but it’s a full Facebook-style friend system so you’ll need to find people that care about seeing your stuff as well.

 

Pros:

  • Crisp, high-resolution Miis
  • Club Nintendo is back (kind of)
  • Custom instant meme-replies to anything with Miifoto

Cons:

  • Adding friends is a pain (Twitter, Facebook, face-to-face, or friends of friends)
  • April Fools, it was just MyNintendo wearing a Club Nintendo skin-mask all along!
  • Mii Drop’s bullshit physics

Verdict:

It’s free, so if you have a little spare time and at least one friend, why not?

There is a exclusive amiibo for Twilight Princess HD, I got it, so let’s review it!

 

First Impression

The box looks epic. Reflective background with all the important characters portrayed on the front. The left side has a diagram of the game disc and amiibo, a simple description of the box contents. The back has more about game features such as the GamePad being a live map and the Wolf Link amiibo unlocking a challenge mode called the Cave of Shadows. It also has a collage of gameplay screen shots. Finally the right side has an explanation of the amiibo features, and includes Legend of Zelda amiibo from the Super Smash Bros collection.

 

Playing the Game

My experience was with the Gamecube, and this update feels just as awesome as when it first came out. It controls on the gamepad very well, the touchscreen can act as a map or inventory screen. The map proves very handy for navigating, as it live updates and shows objectives. With the inventory screen, you can drag equipment right into the eqip slots. The game can also be played with the Pro Controller. I can understand the switch for comfort. You can use the Pro Controller and reference the Game Pad, I find it easier to just use the Game Pad.

 

Combat feels intense at times, and makes you think. You are taught how to do different strikes, such as horizontal, vertical and a stab attack. And enemies you encounter will have different blocking styles or stances that make your different attacks more effective or even useless. As Wolf Link, combat is very different. When fighting Twilight Beasts, more strategy is involved than combating regular enemies. When you are fighting the usual mobs, Wolf Link, can bite, lunge and spin attack, until all enemies are defeated. The Twilight Beasts put Wolf Link into an arena and while you’re trapped with these monsters you have to use Midna’s help to quickly defeat enemies simultaneously, or the last beast standing will revive his comrades. So in addition to attacking and dodging these beasts, you have to position them close enough to use Midna’s Dark Energy Attack. Once all the beasts are tagged by dark energy, Wolf Link lunges and defeats selected enemies.

 

Some of the levels can feel large, although Link starts with Epona and Wolf Link has a full sprint, which makes these levels easier to traverse. While riding Epona, this game introduces mounted combat to the Zelda franchise. Sometimes it feels like wildly swinging at opponents, but it really gives an epic feeling to charging into battle.

 

Items in the game range from new and awesome to adventurer standard. A quick list of standard hero equipment are: Bombs, Bottles, Fishing Rod, Bow, Lantern and Slingshot. Pretty standard fare for the adventure gamer. This LoZ installment has many awesome new items, some are my even my favourite. First of all, there are some neat bombs: Bomblings, bombs with bug legs, they run straight when set and chase enemies, and Water Bombs can be used underwater. Ball and Chain is exactly as it sounds- as a replacement for the standard hammer Link has a gigantic ball which he can use to smash into breakable obstacles and swing into enemies for massive damage. Clawshot is a cool change to the hookshot, even better is that you eventually get a second one, and can sort of Spider Man between latchable points. The Dominion Rod is used to animate statues to complete puzzles. The Gale Boomerang is the boomerang for this game, with the added bonus of a tornado that can move items and effect the environment. The Hawkeye is a mask that can let Link see further and can also be a scope for the bow. The Spinner, a large top Link can ride, it gives a short boost of speed and can travel at high speeds on rails. And finally, just for the HD remake, there is a Ghost Lantern. It glows when a poe is nearby to make collection easier. There are other small items that will make the game easier, but don’t have a huge benefit to gameplay.

 

Another addition to this edition is Hero Mode. It is a homage to the Wii release of Twilight Princess, where the entire game is mirrored. Also this will be a challenge to any Zelda veteran. The stakes are raised with enemies dealing double damage and hearts not naturally occurring in the game.

 

Amiibo

Besides the new Wolf Link amiibo, the past LoZ amiibo from the Smash Bros collection work with this game. Wolf Link is a great figure, the fur has a good texture and paint job, and the rock he is standing on brings this amiibo one step above. Giving it an epic pose without compromise of the default amiibo pedestal.

 

The additional content of the Cave of Shadows, unlocked by the Wolf Link amiibo, is definitely worth it for the fan looking for a challenge. It has a second small feature which I like. You can associate the Wolf Link amiibo to a save file. Then when you are on the title screen you can tap the amiibo and it will load your save, which will save literally seconds. Not a selling feature, but neat nonetheless.

 

As a bonus; Link, Toon Link, Zelda, Shiek, and Ganondorf amiibos have effects that can be used once every 24 hrs. The Link amiibo refill your arrows, Zelda and Shiek will refill your health, and Ganondorf will cause you double damage.

 

TL;DR

A good game with better graphics for a new generation of gamers. Great exclusive amiibo, and a nice use of existing LoZ amiibo. Game Pad is used effectively. Combat is engaging and fun. Extra modes such as Hero’s Mode and the Cave of Shadows proves a challenge to any gamer.

 

Verdict

If you are a fan of the game from its original release, it is great to pick up and play again. The amiibo bundle is worth it for additional challenge, and the figure itself is well made. This will be a great addition to your Wii U library, a must buy for fans of adventure games.

 

If you never have played a Legend of Zelda game, this is a great way to get into it.

 

The only reason I can think of for not buying this game is if you do not own a Wii U. But I hope you can find a way to play it.

Twilight Princess HD Review

Here we go again- another game exclusive amiibo to try and justify my purchase. For context in this review, my experience with the Mega Man franchise is exclusively from Mega Man 3, and that’s from when it came out in the 90’s.

 

First Impression

I see a window with an amiibo and buy it,then I realise the box can contain a 3DS game by its size- bonus! Inspecting the box I look at its contents: the amiibo (obviously), 6 postcards, and the game. The game also has extras included.

 

The game contains Mega Man 1 through 6, an added a challenge mode that is a remix of levels, and a museum mode that showcases concept art, sketches, etc. The 3DS version has a lot of sweet extras packaged in the game as well. Two theme downloads for your 3DS (Vs Dr. Wily and Level Select), four stickers (you get Mega Man, Protoman, the Dr. Wily logo and Met), 18 songs from the six Mega Man games, a bonus 100 pictures in the museum feature, and the Mega Man amiibo unlocks 11 challenges.

 

Playing the Game

The main menu looks like it’s right from the game. The first thing I did was go straight to the music player and listen to the Mega Man 3 intro and the Gemini theme. Then I navigated to the first game.

 

Curious, I checked out the museum, and it is far more thorough than I imagined. It started off with box art both front and back, cartridge, advertisement, and it was for Japan, Europe and North American editions. And by box art, it is literally a flattened out box scanned front and back, and a high res photo for the game cart. Then it’s followed by production art, character files (which have colour palette and reference model), and concept art for the game. I’m not a big Mega Man fan, but I found this feature really interesting and a neat insight to the creation of the series.

 

Not that I am avoiding playing the game, I checked out more features that are available for each game. The database menu has a profile that includes name, picture, health, attack power, and attack type for Mega Man and each enemy you will encounter. The options and controls menu did surprise me. Controls I expected, but there were options to add a themed border to the gameplay, as well as an option to switch between english Mega Man, and japanese Rockman. I decided to try out Rockman for an authentic experience.

 

Playing the game is exactly what I remember from the original release. I feel there is not much I can say about that other than the basic Mega Man experience. It is really hard, the enemy have set rules they follow, Mega Man controls are really tight, the bosses have their order for fighting them effectively, and you will die a lot. It is part of the reason why people called Nintendo games “Nintendo Hard”.

 

Amiibo

The same with other games bundled with amiibo, it comes in a box similar to what you would find on the shelf. Although this one has an eerie blank cardboard back. Fairly disappointed that it has the Smash Bros base. It would have been neat to see a gear or, to make no sense at all, the Dr. Wily logo.

 

TL;DR

This collection has the first 6 Mega Man games in one. A perfect road trip through gaming nostalgia. Includes a lot of great physical and digital extras.

 

Verdict

If you are fan of the NES Mega Man games, this is worth your time. The games feel exactly as they did when they first came out. If you are a fan of Mega Man, and haven’t bought all the games on virtual console, this will definitely be a great addition to your collection.

 

Say you never played a Mega Man, but you like the new retro style games like Shovel Knight. Then this will be an exciting adventure for you, getting to play the roots of these kind of games. You’ll find challenge in learning the limitations of Mega Man and the limited software. The game actually slows when it hits object limit. And it doesn’t feel like it’s due to emulation. I say you should buy it, or try it at least.

 

Not a fan of retro games? Don’t fair well with side scrollers? The amiibo may be cool, but the game is not your cup of tea. The game can be extremely challenging. Near pixel precision and constant repetition needed to throw bodies at the game to figure out some parts. I bought it for the amiibo and for merely the fact that I want to beat it, I have been trying to complete Mega Man 1.

MegaMan Legacy Packaging

So where do I begin? I guess the beginning works. My name is Mike of PS2J, I’m also Mike of Foam Forge Props. Bear in mind, I’m a fairly rook cosplay/prop maker who does this as strictly as a hobby. It can’t occupy a ton of my time normally, thanks to a full time job along with other commitments. I may only do this for about an hour a day, even then I take weekends or other time to my self.

This all started when I decided I wanted to make a suit of armor for the Halo 5 Midnight Launch Party, put on by my local games retailer. Obviously if you’re going to make a suit for a Midnight Launch, you’re gonna go big and make the man himself. No. Not Locke, the Chief aka Master. But how to start this undertaking? A crazy dream is only that until you start, and I started this one in the same spot I started when I chased the crazy right into making an ODST, this one though, took me about 10 months.

Of course a write up is not complete without images. Just a note, the images will be built pieces and won’t detail how I cut or worked with the foam.As a note there will be images, though they will be of built pieces and I will not detail how to cut and work with foam in this write up. This is not an official WIP of how I did everything, more a review of what I did. If you want to work with foam and want tips and tricks I can can offer some basic advise. There are also many many youtube videos to help you get that skill down pat, but I recommend honestly just getting your feet wet. I will include what I used to make my suit though just below here.

First up, all the stuff I used for the build! This will cover about 90% of it as I may have forgotten some stuff along the way.

Tools
Heat Gun.
Soldering Iron.
Dremel.
Pen Knife With #11 Hobby Blades.(angled like a scalpel)
9mm Olfa Hobby Knife.
45 Degree Angle Cutting Knife.
Actual Razor Blades.
Mechanical Pencil.
Hot Glue Gun
Power Drill.
Hand Grill.
Scissors.
Small Craft Scissors.
Foam Brushes.
Cheap Paint brushes.
Nice Paint brushes.
Chip Brushes.
Bondo Rubber applicators.

Sand Paper
60 Grit
120 Grit
220 Grit
600 Grit

Adhesives
Lepage Contact Cement.
Hot Glue.
Modge Podge.
Super Glue
DAP Acrylic Caulking (this stuff can be sanded… kind of)
Tacky Glue (fabric grade white glue)

Paint
Dupli Colour Gap filling Gray Primer
Krylon Ultra Flat Olive
Black Acrylic
Bolt Gun Metal Citadel Paint
Silver Sharpie
Purity Seal Matte Acrylic Clear Coat

Foam
12mm floor mats
6mm floor mats
2mm craft foam

Paper
110lb card stock

Programs
Adobe Reader
Pepakura Designer (free)

Web Sites For Resources
www.405th.com
www.therpf.com
https://www.facebook.com/groups/528738863837600/ (Halo Props)
https://www.facebook.com/groups/PepakuraLibrary/ (Pepakura Library)

Now that all that is out of the way, on to the actual project.

NOVEMBER 2014(Late)

As I said up top, I started out on this build the same way I did with my ODST. I could have made my own templates, and started from scratch, but I have the luck of being average size and shape. Halo has a massive and diverse costuming community and along the way numerous people have already created files for exactly what I’m doing. So I decided to seek out their work, available for use by the community at large and posted on line. Setting out to the 405th.com, Halo Props on facebook, Pepakura Library on facebook, and so on I began to trawl for files.

Downloading not one but three full sets of armor I weighed my options and chose to try a foam build. I selected the files I deemed best to work with, separating the chaff from the wheat by looking for those most accurate. I named the folder in front of me; Foam Chief Project. With that out of the way the thought hit me that I had no clue what I was doing.

Luckily for me, Iron Man along with some gauntlets allowed me to practice before tackling the MC. Smashing out those quick foam builds, I learned the ins and outs of working with foam. So I took my first steps into the real build. I will try and explain how I did in depth. But this bit of running around was what lead up to the actual building. It’s going to go quick so brace yourselves… that’s a joke because I started with the, you know what. Never mind.

    

DECEMBER 2014 (Late) – The journey of a thousand armor parts…

Sitting down at my desk I learned how to handle cut and even bevel foam edges. Using a naked gauntlet file and some custom templates made by yours truly I was able to whip up some fore arms. Learning what to cut, what to score, and how to hide seams with these was a big help. I also learned that regular blade snapping with the olfa knife and swapping on my detail cutting #11 was a necessity.

As you can see with some of the images there are parts here glued on angles, for this I used my 45 degree angle knife and made sure to line up the parts and test all fits before finalizing and gluing. This was a necessity. By the time it was all said and done I had made six gauntlets. Four ended up in the garbage due to bad seam work, exposed cuts, and at times breaks in the foam. The two that I deemed salvageable were what eventually became the arms of my chief. This only required some basic cutting, scoring for bending and gluing. Later on I would learn to better hide my seam work.

Ta-DA! I used lepage cement to join the cut edges of the foam and then on the inside I added hot glue along the seams to increase the strength of the join. This would be time consuming but worth it in the end. It would allow my suit some much needed durability.

From here some serious real life junk happens and my suit goes on hold. I basically only spent this month learning foam and ended up with some okay pieces. The next moth would start yielding results.

      

 

 

JANUARY 2015 – The real building begins.

From there I moved up my arms. Biceps and shoulders were up next with files provided by Evakura armor to the 405/ Halo Props. Love this guys work, and the advice and tips he gave me. Were it not for him I probably would have thrown in the towel early on, due to some issues fitting a certain body part. Namely the torso. However, back on track. With the bicep pieces and shoulders there was some difficulty.

On the 405 there are instructions provided by Evakura for building his files as they were only templates and not full fledged pep files. They required some work with the heat gun to create compound curves. This is when a surface has 2 distinct curvatures that cut across 2 axis of a plane. That sounds like a mouth full but picture the top of a ball. If you were to draw a + on it you would see that it has 2 lines of curve. The shoulders have this feature. To get it, I used my heat gun and got my cut base shape to be nice and super malleable, and then from there I bent it very harshly on one axis, then the I repeated it bending it along the other axis. This gave the pauldron its rounded shape. I unfortunately do not have an image of them in progress. Good times.

Testing it out, sans shoulders at this point. I did not want to glue them down as they would need to be glued down. I waited until it was ready to paint to do that.

Nearing the end of the month I scaled (Incorrectly, unbeknownst to me) the torso file that I had based on some posts.

 

FEBRUARY – Picking up speed!

Plugging away on the torso file it rapidly began to assemble. Testing the fit at some stages things seemed to be moving quickly and my excitement for the project began to grow, as did my foam cutting and gluing skills. Using a method of scoring a trench in the back of the armor to help bend and shape corners. With skill this in hand I was able to rapidly hit the following brick wall.

     

Using the wrong side of your shoulders. This sounds like something that isn’t that big a deal, measuring across your back from shoulder to shoulder, as opposed to your collar bones. If you do it though, you end up with 2 radically different measurements as the shape and bone structure of your trapezius and deltoid muscle region and your pectoral muscle region causes a difference in a few cm. That doesn’t sound like a big deal. But if you check the image above, it goes drastically wrong. The reason I tried scaling like this is on the RPF I found a couple of Work In progress threads to check how some other people had scaled their suit parts. I followed suit not understanding which part to check when their simple diagram said measure your shoulders.

I had burned a lot of time on this piece. Over half a month. That might not seem like a lot but my job is seasonal and the summer is now rapidly approaching. I also had other projects on the go so this was a costly error.

During this time with the help of one of the PS2J Trio, Josh, I would hammer out a quick gift for a friend. This cost me some time, but it was worth it to get to finally hand this baby off to it’s rightful owner. This would consume the remainder of February however.

MARCH – The month of new beginnings.

Using my new found experience, and advice from Evakura (Cannot thank this guy enough) I would take the next 2 weeks to get back to here. In total on the torso I had now burned about a month just starting and restarting. I know this because this photo on my phone is dated for March the 10th.

  

The issue with this, is that I also had other work to do along side chief. Namely getting my ODST back up and running for the Calgary Comic Expo that was approaching in April. I made a knife holder and added better lights to the interior of my helmet. Quick pics below.

  

I also would wear the suit to my first ever Edmonton Cosplay Photo shoot meet up and from here I would meet some amazing and talented people. Photographers and cosplayers alike. It’s almost like I’m crazy busy all the time…. The rest of March and half of April was basically a wash for work. I hate to say that I did too much stuff, but I did too much stuff and ended up back benching my project.

APRIL – Cosplay Cosplay Cosplay!
Well the first chunk of this month was prep and set for Calgary Expo. I met some of the most awesome people and something truly amazing. Quick pic here of Purple Rogue Cosplay, Spartan Longshot and a couple other gents whose facebook names I don’t want to post, as they are their personal profiles. PS2J Even did a day around the hall. Our album is on our face book page.

LINK!

However! Back to the project, no time for nostalgia. That stuff can really kill you.

Still working on the torso. The white lines that you see are DAP. It comes in a tube, you just apply it along the seam. Keeping your finger damp with water, you run it along the seam to help smooth it over. This is good for hiding your joins and seam work and can be sanded so long as you’re careful about it. I know it looks like a bit of a mess but this is what allowed me to save my gauntlets.

  

I applied DAP to all completed parts thus far but my focus then was finishing up this little guy. I left the middle section blank as I would need to make a filler plate and I would debate how to do that for a little while.

This would occupy the remainder of my April.

MAY Summer is coming.
During this month about the second week in I would see a drastic increase in hours at work. My normally seven hour days all too soon became nine and ten hours long. I also began to hit the Gym, something I would do all summer until an injury in September. Then my hours would do the old fall dip and the gym would take a back seat. By the end of May I would have my torso section done and fitted. This would take a while. This is everything fitted so far.

  

You can see me using more DAP and once again. I really didn’t want to show my seam work.

JUNE – The month that barely was.

During the month of June our ramp up was in full effect but I was not deterred. Needing to strike a good work/life/hobby balance I began to take time to simply relax. I also attended a small expo called EEK fest and got an honorable mention in a cosplay contest. Not a win, but for my ODST being my first ever suit It made my weekend. Picture of my dumb face included.

Jumping into my project I was able to build the butt plate and the cod piece. This cod piece though due to a lack of in game accuracy would be scrapped a few months later. I held on to it as a fall back in case I couldn’t get the replacement done. Looking back, I’m so glad I slagged this.

    

By the end of the month I was really stepping it up in regards to assembly.

On the thigh piece above you can see a mix of different foams. The black/gray is all 6mm, the red and yellow is 12, and the blue that you see for detail parts is 2mm craft foam. A lot of time was lost on these parts as many sections required I make more of my own templates. Custom geometry doesn’t sound like that big of a deal but when you have to do it for everything it gets to be a pain. Both thigh plates would be done by months end.

Also, if it’s leg armor, why does it fit my head so well? Space pope. Am I rite?

JULY- Shins and stuff.

This month would bring about some serious trouble. I would spend the greater portion of the month doing just this.

That’s right. Making the shins. You might think I’m joking but for some reason these parts are the bane, of my cosplay career. Seven shin builds on my ODST before I found the right ones. I still wear these to this day. I scaled them four times, made four of them just to find the size that fit right. Wore numbers four and five. Hated them, and redid them. Numbers six and seven are my current shins and I love them. For chief? It took three tries. More garbage and such but these things fit. They actually fit.

The difficult part of this is that there are compound curves attaching at odd angles to other compound curves. This would be the large green section attaching to the blue side walls. I over came this through sheer force of determination and using some scrap foam to practice doing this insane procedure. My patience would be tested time and again.

Success. The knee plates? They just kind of magically flew together so quickly this is my only image.

 

July would also see a family emergency. I returned home and lost some drive after this. Tough times. Production became spotty until later. Another big hit to my build morale.

AUGUST- Difficult decisions, accelerating work.

Faced with a tough choice of either a fancy under suit or not having to build a helmet I chose the former. This meant I would need to build a helmet. Crap. Time to knuckle down. Work hours here began to ease so I could invest more time on this. I found a file that while missing some important stuff would not be too time consuming or draining to build. I would still need to make custom geometry but it would not be as stressful, and since I’ve done pepakura helmets before this was a breeze.

Beginnings. When all your cosplay dreams are ashes you then have my permission to cry.

Nearly there.

Done. Testing to make sure it’s not too small and still jives with the torso.

Done the pep build after about one and a half weeks. I took my time to remain as accurate as possible. I also had to add cardboard extras to the front and sides to really make the helmet as bang on as I could.

While I was making the helmet I was coating parts of my suit in coats of modge podge. Each piece would get 5 coats exterior and 3 interior to stop the aerosol accelerant from eating it when sprayed. This would take a couple of weeks in and of it self.. While doing this I was also priming and preparing other stuff, sanding down the uneven bits and hating it. Pro tip, if you start to go bonkers doing this, eventually you need to step up and move forward. It will change your out look. Below are some primed pieces I’m sanding.

   

I also during this period took some quick videos on how I harden a helmet and how I apply bondo to it.
Would love to call them tutorial videos but it’s really more of a quick answer to a question.

I Unfortunately did not take any images of the boot parts being built, but rest assured it was a lot of heat gun work. They will show up later on with more work on them. From there I did the resin work on the helmet. You can tell because it has that strange sort of yellow brown too it.

Lastly, a quick video of my bucket. The slush casting is done.

 

SEPTEMBER- Work like you’ve never worked before.

It’s around this time that my work was falling back to sane and easily charted hours. In the evenings I would knuckle down hard as with the fall now approaching falling temperatures would begin to stifle my build efforts. I made my new and current cod piece and ab plate. I also bought a vacuum formed visor from a gent on the Halo Props page, and I began bondo work like an addict on my chief helmet. Weekend time would start to shift here to focusing on getting this build done. I had skirted my personal responsibility to myself enough. It was time to kick it in to high gear. Edmonton expo was approaching fast and I knew I would lose some serious time there.

      

Testing the fit and weight. You’ll have noticed by this point I test and fit stuff a lot. Armor is complex in how it all comes together and works in unison. Ill fitted pieces do not jive and damage each other, as well as reduce flexibility and range of motion.

During this time I also did up a couple of quick props for an agent 47 build as I went as him first day. Good ol silver ballers. Large image to see all the details on them.

I spent the last 10 days prepping and attending the Edmonton Expo. It was beyond awesome. We have an album for this baby up on our face book page as well!

 

Expo album

Click here for Album!

 

The suit thus far. You can see the shoulders still aren’t attached to the bicep pieces, and the old cod piece is still there.

OCTOBER – The Wire

Due date for armor, October 27th. Kicking it into over drive. If I wasn’t sleeping, eating, or taking care of hygiene stuff. I was suit work. The building was all but done. I purchased some hand plates a couple weeks back (Still waiting Canada post) and I began to paint everything. I also finished up the fine details on my helmet and cranked out a hex patterned visor. This is where the flood of images start back up, super exciting! As a note these steps all sort of happen at once and are in no real particular order. So some of the break downs. The primed and detailed helmet as seen below.

 

The painting was done by reapplying the base layer of gray gap filler primer. This smooths out the colour and makes for a nice flat base to paint on. The flat armor all resembled the helmet seen above, as well as this shot of the torso.

The next step was to base green all my parts. Which as you can see, there are a lot of them.

The next step was to wash all the green with a mix of black and water. This heavily dilutes the paint and lets it settle in odd patterns and low spots to create shading and low lighting. I then misted green back over it gently. Also I may mess around while some of this is drying. I took more images here as I began conversing with a fellow Halo cosplayer named Phil. We kept in touch as we were going to meet up for the midnight launch for Halo 5.

I painted the base black on to a bunch of the armor parts and let that sit. Once it was dry I mixed up some deep gray colored paint and did a dry brushing technique to all the black parts to bring them back to life. In real life flat black is not something we see unless the item is brand new. Chiefs armor is not brand new.

      

I may or may not have messed around while this was drying. it also allowed me to test fit the shoulders after I attached them to the bicep pieces. It was starting to feel really good at this point. After the parts had the green and base black down I dry brushed all the black with a dark gray. This added further grit and brought the black back to life as it was far too flat. Lastly I used a silver sharpie to do edge highlighting and minor wear and tear. I also fit everything some more as it came together to show what it looks like. I was starting to really feel it.

  

To make the visor have the signature hex pattern that chief has I took to the computer yet again. I whipped up an easily repeating properly scaled hexagon pattern and sent this to a decal cutter. They made itty bitty vinyl stickers that I painstakingly applied to the visor over the course of about three hours in total over two days. One at a time. Then after spraying it with three coats of sealer to kill the chrome shine between all the hexes, I peeled them off, one at a time. The result was phenomenal.

      

You can see the matte green helmet with gap filling around the visor cut out next to this last one. I reiterate, no particular order.

I also during this period added the final details to the helmet. I made a small mold of some sockets to make the bolts in chief helmet, and I also drilled out and glued in all the missing bits. And then painted it up.

    

Little more messing around. I mean fitting. Yeah. That’s what I mean.

All done the fabrication. This is after I attached the visor and added padding. Electronics will come later.

    

Torso central piece was done by printing a scaled up version of my pattern and then scoring it out in 6mm foam. Using my heat gun I hit the foam until it pulled away from itself revealing the hex pattern. (This piece changed for halo 5…and I was so proud.) and I then sealed and painted it all black. I then dry brushed it gray and glued it into place with hot glue to keep it secure. I cut some slits in it to accommodate my talky box. On the back of it I made a small pocket to fit my speaker into. Good stuff.

      

For the boots which in the end got a teeny tiny bit. completely destroyed I used a metric ton of hot glue to secure everything, save for the part over the laces, for that I secured magnets to the shoes and then magnetized everything. I will be tweaking the parts and fit over the winter a little. Should have used plasti dip on these as it would have been more flexible. Ah well.

  

For all the straps and fitting I made a waist belt, putting snaps on the front and magnets in the back I attached the same pieces to the cod and butt plate so I could do things like use the washroom. I then made side straps to hold my thigh plates up. This belt suspender mechanism is how I did my ODST stuff.

  

From there I put velcro on my knees of my under suit and an elastic around the knee pad. Holds the knees in place. I also attached some velcro around where my shin pieces fit to help hold it all together. The cod piece was later tuned to sit better against the belt but not before I tried it all on. First images of the preliminary fitting! Still needing some tuning at this point but it’s almost there!

  

Going back and adding electronics to the bucket there was nothing that could stop me now.

  

Last pieces, the hand plates. They never arrived in time, nor did the under suit unfortunately. But I was undeterred. I raced through a set of hand plates from template to final fit. I finished it all on the 25th at about 3pm.

      

The next evening, I was Dressed to the nines and rolling with my pod cast to what would be an amazing evening. So, there it is. 10 months of solid work, learning and creating. Now pardon me while I jam out this sweet guitar riff.

Cosplayers above are Phil and Ethan, not seen here is Tom. He’s the other green guy. Full album here!

Halo 5!

If you’re not already familiar with The Room games, they’re a series of creepy puzzle games just dripping with atmosphere. The premise is similar to Myst- you’re in a strange environment, and through investigation and puzzle-solving you try to figure out just what’s going on. The controls are intuitive (if sometimes imprecise on a smaller device) and if you have the opportunity to play them in a dark room with headphones they’ll suck you in and immerse you in its rich blend of “Ah-HA!” and “What the hell…?”

 

Playing the game

The Room Three is a more than worthy successor to the franchise, adding more polish to an already very shiny series and giving you even more content than its predecessors. Not only are there more areas than in previous games, there are also different endings involving extra hidden puzzles. There are a couple of moments where it’s hard to see how to proceed, but they’ve used just the right mix of sneaky cues and the occasional (and completely optional) hint popups to keep the game flowing smoothly.

The visuals keep up the established atmosphere wonderfully and look amazing on the Retina display. There can be a lot going on at times but my phone handled it with no problems or loss of frame-rate.

I said earlier that the controls are intuitive, and that’s really the best word for them. The double-tap to zoom in and pinch to zoom out are the only gestures that aren’t 1:1 analogs for what you’re actually doing- turning cranks and opening doors is as easy as using your finger as if it were your character’s hand.

I found that I had a little trouble tapping on the exact bit that I wanted to work with once or twice, but that may just be because I played the previous games on my iPad Mini (2nd gen) and this one was all on my iPhone (6s Plus). It was a slight annoyance and distraction, but very quickly forgotten as I focused on yet another piece of pseudo-eldritch mechanisms to proceed to the next area.

 

TL;DR

A dark, Myst-esque puzzle game full of atmosphere and intriguing devices. Begs to be played in one sitting, regardless of how late it is. Check out the developers at http://www.fireproofgames.com/

 

Verdict

I love this series, and if you haven’t played the others I highly recommend you pick up all three. The first two are on both iOS and Android, and the third is currently iOS only with an Android version coming soon. The Room Three is a universal app (it works on iPhone and iPad) and cost me about $6 including tax. I completed it with all endings in about 5 hours.

Buy it if you are looking for a challenging puzzle game with some Lovecraftian pseudo-alchemy thrown in for good measure.

Skip it if you are looking for high-action gaming, or if you plan on doing anything else for the next few hours.