About a month ago a tweet went out from BBC asking for cosplayers to send in pictures and tell of their experiences cosplaying Doctor Who. So I typed up a few paragraphs and sent in six different photos. I didn’t hear anything and then…
My daughter came home from college with her fancy camera and I asked her do do a photo shoot with me in my Sanctuary Base Space Suit. So we drove to a spot not far from our home that I thought might pass as a moon scape. The clouds rolled in and thunder and lighting lit the sky, by the end of our shoot it had started to rain. I asked my other teenage girl to photoshop the backgrounds so they were black and white and these photos were the result. Please do not repost my photos without permission.
The morning dawns early on day three of FanX. The night before I had put rainX on the inside of the helmet so it would not fog up*. I also had laid out my motorcycle gloves and black snow boots. Everything is ready to go.
This morning the first panel is Billie Piper, so my daughter and I get in line with thousands of other con hopefuls an hour and twenty minutes early. Continue reading
Our water softener went out a few months ago, and my husband, being the handy guy that he is, replaced it. As he was tossing out the old softener I spotted some pieces on it that I thought I might be able to use for this build.
It took 4 cotes of black gloss spray paint. Then I added some more gunmetal highlights to give it that worn look. When It was all finished the paint still chipped easily, so I added a coat of Mod Podge. Oh, and I glued on a hose just for effect.
For the suit I bought this pair of orange coveralls off eBay for $15.00. When they came they had a patch that said “NYC Thruway”. I took of the patch as well as all the pockets. I took out the zipper and sewed up the front.
I put a black zipper in the back.
I walked around Joanne Fabric store with my jumpsuit and was lucky enough to find a orange fabric that matched almost perfectly. I took the collar off the jump suit and sewed on a cone collar, blue on the inside, orange on the out. Then I hand sewed in the wooden ring at the top.
I also sewed on this strapping on the front and the Velcro straps on the legs. The last day I sewed on the orange patches and pocket on the arms, the shoulder straps and one pouch on the leg. I’m afraid I didn’t take any pictures of those because it was the eleventh hour and I was rushing to finish.
I looked at a lot of screencaps from Kill the Moon to get the details.
With the painting complete it’s time to put in my LED lights. I have a LED flashlight on the front, it’s 5 bulbs, and then three on the top and three in the front chin.
Here is the battery pack and switch. I had designed it to go in the back but made my wires too short so it has to go on the side. It still fits fine. I didn’t glue any of the electronics in because I anticipate that I may have to replace them eventually.
The rubber gasket that connects the helmet to the suit has given me the most trouble. I’ve done tones of research to see if I could buy something like this with no luck. I’ve only seen one other person online attempt to make this helmet and they didn’t have a good gasket either. So I put my creative mind to work and decided to make it out of 2 sheets of 12×18 inch 3 mm black craft foam.
At first I just hot glued them together, but when I started to apply heat to make them accordion the hot glue melted and they pulled apart. So I tried sewing them. I have never sewn craft foam together so I sewed a practice piece first and then pulled and tugged on it to see if it would rip; it didn’t. After sewing using the heat gun I molded it into an accordion shape. It was a lot of patient work, and I am lucky that I have what I call “mommy hands”, meaning I can tolerate a lot of heat (a byproduct of years of cooking and doing dishes). After molding it into an accordion I tied it with cloth ties and let it sit overnight. The next morning much to my surprise and pleasure it stayed in place.
Before I went to put in the ring, I measured again, and I’m glad I did because all that melting and stretching had made the neck ring too large. So I cut out a couple of inches, resewed, retied and let it sit again. This time it was even better and tighter than the first. Meanwhile I took the outer ring of my embroidery hoop and expanded it by a couple inches by gluing a bent (with heat) popsicle stick. Then I wrapped the whole thing in duct tape. More heating and stretching to get the ring to fit into the foam. Then I hotglued it in.
Then I cut the top of my foam ring to fit the contours of the helmet and hot glued it in place. It fit really well which, frankly, was a miracle. In this picture you can also see the finished outer ring with the crochet hoop installed. I’m just amazed by how versatile foam is and how easy to work it. The outer ring turned out smooth and perfect. I decided not to paint this. I melted black foam really was exactly the rubber type look I wanted.
Now with the rubber neck ring installed it was time to put on those last finishing details. Here you can see the small black foam strips I installed to smooth out the connection between the helmet and the neck piece. Like all other foam pieces, these were hand fit, sanded and heat sealed before placement.
And here it is.
It’s winter here and temperatures are in the teens, so I have to paint in the garage. I moved out the cars, covered some things with towels and put up a large box behind my helmet to catch the spray. Plasti Dip is not bad with over spray, as it is rather thick, but the smell is very powerful.
It took three coats to cover it all. I confess that this was my first experience using the stuff. I had hoped it would fill in more of the small pits and cracks in the foam than it did, but what it did give me is a nice consistent surface that would take the paint evenly.
I decided to leave the front visor area with just the plasti dip. I liked the texture it gave, and didn’t think paint would look as good. The rest I painted with high gloss yellow spray paint. It took a good seven coats. And while the plasti dip wasn’t a problem in the garage, the yellow spraypaint, even with the box and other measures, left a fine yellow dusting over everything.
After letting it dry 24 hours I hand painted in details with acrylic paint. I used a black wash to fill in shadows. It took several coats of paint to get my screw heads silver, then I accented them with gunmetal and white.
It still didn’t have the greasy sort of look I wanted to I went in and dry brushed it.
Lastly, to give the impression of wearing, I painted edges and ridges with gunmetal. I even gave it a few scratches here and there. I kept thinking about what surfaces would be getting rubbed or abused and tried to paint accordingly.
One tricky part was how to attach the large back hose to the helmet. I wanted to be able to unattach the hose at will, and also to have it pull away if snagged or pulled rather than ripping the helmet apart.
For the main hose I used a washing machine drain hose. I’m guessing it’s about 1 1/2 inches in diameter. The hose is hard plastic but the top part is rubber, which was good luck for me. I cut down the rubber top but left a ridge that I could compress and slide into a smaller hole, then it expands again and holds the hose in place. I was also able to drill a hole into the rubber to attach the smaller hose.
All the details in place, this helmet is ready for Plasti Dip.
So here is an accounting of what I’ve spent so far on this project:
- 1/2 inch EVA foam pads from Harbor Freight $10.00
- Heat gun from Harbor Freight $14.00
- 1/4 inch EVA foam mat from Harbor Freight $8.00
- SAS Deluxe Face Shield from Harbor Freight $12.00
- Google eyes $2.00
- 12 inch embroidery hoop from Hobby Lobby $3.00
- 2 large sheets of 2mm craft foam $2.00
- Decorative gears from Hobby Lobby $3.00
- 1/4 inch flex tubing $4.00
- PVC washing machine drain hose from Lowes $10.00
- Plasti-Dip from Lowes $6.00
- Yellow spray paint $4.00
- Tree Stand Safety Harness from eBay $15.00
- Used NYC Thruway orange coveralls from eBay $15.00