How Steve made the Gipsy Danger costume

A few of you have asked how Steve made our son’s costume from the movie Pacific Rim – I asked him to write down an overview of the process.

Disclaimer 1 – he’s not a newbie. He’s been making costumes for a few years now and while some of the techniques were new to him, he’s always been good at putting things together. There is no way I could make something like this. I can sew and knit and make jewelry, but I’ve never made stuff like this.

Disclaimer 2 – he’ll be traveling for work in the upcoming days and won’t be available for any further or more detailed explanation. There are a lot of good tutorials on YouTube for building armor like this out of foam, and some cosplayers are very good at sharing their techniques as well.

Here it goes:

I started the build using a program called pepakura that ‘unwraps’ 3D images into their component sections. There is an artist on http://www.therpf.com which is the Replica Props Forum – a home for cosplay and movie prop reproductions. He ‘built’ the model for Gypsy Danger and I used this to print out the helmet. I printed it on cardstock and assembly was pretty easy with hot glue.

Once I had a basic shape and size for the helmet, I then used EVA foam mats which are the anti-fatigue floor mats that you can buy at Home Depot or Lowes or other home-improvement stores. If you find these on sale, STOCK UP! They aren’t cheap and you will go through them… I cut the foam mats into parts and bits and used hot glue to bond them. Almost all of this was done by eye. I wasn’t going for an EXACT duplicate of the movie, but a close approximation.

Here is someone that did a complete screen-accurate build – http://www.therpf.com/showthread.php?t=191528&p=3267895&viewfull=1#post3267895

I followed many of the online tutorials for cosplay armor of Master Chef (Halo), Iron Man, and a few others. The real key is using a heat gun (not a blow dryer or embossing tool but the actual ~$30 one you buy at the hardware store) to heat mold parts into curves.

For the lights, I bought some very cheap book-lights from a Dollar Store. I glued these in place with hot-glue.

I sealed the foam with a glue wash (50% white glue / 50% water) for some sections and spray rubber (FlexiSeal or equivalent) for other spots that I needed to cover some bad seams with filler. Then I painted the entire thing in a base coat of exterior latex paint. This gives the armor a consistent and smooth coating. Over that, I used auto-body spray paint that had a slight metallic reflection. The movie Gypsy Danger was more of a naval battleship blue, but my son wanted it more metallic.

The visor was a bit of yellow plastic sheeting from the old-school notebook dividers that one uses in primary school – Like these – http://www.staples-3p.com/s7/is/image/Staples/s0204755_sc7?$splssku$

Under the entire suit, he wore a black turtleneck and black stretchpants that I picked up at the sporting goods store. While I was there, I spotted some Lacrosse gloves that were close to Gypsy Danger’s gauntlets, so I grabbed them (most expensive part of this build) and painted them the same way as the rest of the costume.

Also for the chest, I used an old CPU fan and powered it with a 9V battery so it would spin. πŸ™‚

The build took me about 50 hours over the course of 2 weeks and I didn’t finish until the Halloween Morning. But I was learning through trial and error and that cost me a lot of time.

All the best!!!

Steve

My husband’s walk-in closet

I know. How fricking lucky are we, right? We get two walk-in closets in our master suite. Mine is still a mess because I haven’t figured out exactly how I want it configured, but Steve did a great job organizing his space, all on his own.


There is a place for everything, so it’s super easy for us to put his laundry away. He also has a dresser, for shorts and t-shirts, socks, etc.

Work shirts and ties:

Heavier shirts and hoodies:

Work trousers:

There is even room for beloved childhood toys, along with sweatpants.

Toiletries and clothing accessories.

Shoes are neatly housed in IKEA shoe racks.

The back of the door is the perfect place for his collection of caps.

Steve also did a purge of his clothes before organizing them, which is exactly as it should be. We do keep heavy winter coats in the closet by the garage, and I am sure some more winter gear will be added to his wardrobe.

Didn’t he do a great job?

Hello Wisconsin

I had the chance of visiting the Milwaukee area a couple of weeks ago, to make a decision on a house along with my husband. Apparently, we arrived on the day of a really bad snowstorm.

I took this as we were readying to land

My husband, who has been working there (he came back for the holidays) and was familiar with the weather, kept looking at me as we stepped outside — I felt the chill, looked back at him, and said, “I am home!”. Well, it was really cold. But I like the cold.

One house had what we called the “Captain America” shower, because seriously, it looked like you might come out looking totally different.

Given my clumsiness, though, I think I’d have hit the wrong combination of buttons and I’d have accessed the nuclear codes or something.

I was a little too excited about my meal to take my time and focus properly, so I apologize.

Deb’s Main Street Cafe in Dousman has the best fried chicken ever! It was so good. Light, crisp fry, yummy insides, great seasoning, these folks know what they’re doing.

Everyone recommended the frozen custard.

Kopps has delicious frozen goodness, different extra flavors every day, but I went with vanilla. Because the best test of any sweet shop’s products is whatever vanilla product they have. If they get THAT right, you know they can get anything else right. It tasted like creme brulee but frozen, so uh, creme glacee, I guess? The same consistency and texture, so rich and good. Steve got the Oreo flavor which was that day’s special. We went back and again I got the vanilla because it really is that delicious.

As far as houses go, we had two favorites in mind before I flew out there. And guess what? We decided on neither! Ha.

This is just a peek because we’re still in the middle of the process. Rather, we’re at the beginning of the process, so I will share more when it’s more of a sure thing.

Now I am in California, and my darling is back in Wisconsin. He’s amassing quite the collection of gloves and hats, I tell you πŸ˜€

Right in the “feels”!

Okay, so I’ve shared plenty of my husband’s amazing creations for our boys – be it cakes, costumes, or piΓ±atas. Something completely unexpected happened recently and I can finally share it with you all – one of our boys’ homemade costumes will be making its debut on the big screen!!!

This is the costume our youngest wore 3 years ago – he was obsessed with Godzilla and daddy obliged. Alex had some sensory issues at the time and didn’t want his hands covered, and he loved being able to see out of his costume:

A couple of weeks ago, my husband was contacted by a lady on behalf of Make a Wish Illinois – a young boy’s wish was to be Godzilla, and a movie would be made with him starring as “Madzilla”. She had found his costume and inquired about getting it for the movie. We donated it and have been waiting to see some pics of sweet Maddex wearing the costume. Now, you can see a series of pictures at the Chicago Tribune. People like Chicago Mayor Rahm Emmanuel and football legend Mike Ditka will also be appearing in the movie.

To say that we are beyond happy is a complete understatement. It’s so gratifying to see the looks of wonder and the smiles on our boys’ faces once Steve completes a costume, but to have helped make this sweet boy’s wish come true? Indescribable.

Have a wonderful week!

Brain Dump

It’s been a while since I posted – life has gotten super busy but also, there was a bit of news I was dreading to share. Our sweet Willie-Boo, our Egyptian Mau, passed away a few weeks ago. We had the pleasure of his company for over a decade, and will always remember him as the most loving kitty we’ve met.
willie1

He brought so much joy to our home and is sorely missed. Our other cat, Bernie, also misses his buddy of 11 years, and has become a lot more active in wanting attention and love.

In happier news, I threw a small party for Steve’s 40th birthday – he’s a voracious reader, so the party was book-themed. If you follow me on Instagram, then you got to see various shots of the party prep:

I had Steve create a list of books he wanted to read in case anyone asked what to get him for his birthday. He got a bunch of new books and our friends were kind and generous in other ways as well. It was a fun afternoon with lots of good food and even better conversation.

The boys are almost done with school. Part of me wishes they would bundle all the no-school days at the end so they could be done a couple of weeks early, mostly because of Alexander. Autistic kids, especially, rely on routine, even more than regular kids, and having days off here and there really mess with him and make it harder to go back to school. We have been lucky with a group of teachers and therapists that have worked with us to help Alex get the most he can out of school.

Last weekend we had a wonderful time with Steve’s sweet cousin, she is an amazing riding instructor and was great with both boys, getting them to ride and trot, and do pre- and post- ride work on the horse:

Thank you so much, cousin T.!!!!

I will be bringing a “virtual swag bag” post next Monday, sharing with you some ideas for cool gift items.

Hope the rest of your week is amazing!

Star Wars at the Tech!

We are super happy that the Tech Museum exhibition on Star Wars was extended because we have been so busy that we would have missed it otherwise.

There were lots of props and costumes used in the actual films:




My three men:

Something that caught my little ones’ attention was the interactive sound/visual stations. You moved your fingers across a small screen and your movements became bright patterns of color and sound.

It caught my attention as well, because I have something called synaesthesia. I’ve always perceived that letters have specific colors, that pain has not only color but taste as well, and that something too bright can leave me feeling like I’m deaf. In plain English, it’s a condition where all your senses run together and, for example, instead of perceiving something visual just with your sense of sight, you perceive it with one or more of your other senses as well.

The highlight of our museum trip for our oldest was the robot-building area:


Lastly, the boys had fun figuring out where we live πŸ˜€

It was a super fun trip, and it’s only on for sic more days, so if you’re a local and have wanted to see this, this is your chance!

Lazytown

No, not the show. More like, our lives.

My husband, bless his heart, has been working long, hard hours at his new job. The boys and I have been sick, on-and-off, for the past 3 weeks. We’ve decided to spend Saturday as a family, not going anywhere, not “accomplishing” anything other than good times spent together, which to me is the greatest accomplishment we can have.

Plans are flexible but include:

– Finishing the chocolate chip cookies I made last night. I blame my best friend for this new addiction!
– Dumping ALL the Legos on a blanket in the middle of the living room and building whatever we want.
– Making pretzels and experimenting with toppings and dipping sauces.
– Starting a new crochet project (thanks, Lisa!!!)
– Catching up on Supernatural (I’m about midway through season 2)

Or we may do none of this and just lay on the couch and pet Foxy all day long. She’d like that.

A WOOT and a Radiant Orchid

My awesome husband’s fabulous idea of adding color to our backyard by making redwood frames for flowers won this:
Visit thecsiproject.com

for the whole of 2013!

I love The CSI Project and it was pretty surreal to see they chose our project as their favorite of the year.

So that was the WOOT! and now for my first take on Radiant Orchid.

My friend Carina and I went to a new (to me) beauty supply place and holy moly it was awesome. There I found a color I thought would be a good fit for Radiant Orchid and guess what, the name of it is Foxy Roxy. Named after my sweet puppers, how could I resist?

I got a few pale colors and a very pretty tomato red. Then I got out of there before I could spend the grocery money.

Does anyone else need like 5 more hours to the day? Because I totally do.

Weekend Bloggy Reading

Our Christmas Village

Steve took something that we had for years and brought it to the next level. I woke up at 2 in the morning to let Foxy out to do her doggie business and found this loveliness:

Isn’t it magical?

Some close up shots:





We absolutely love it. He had been wanting to create the shadow effect of the line of trees in the background with lights behind them for ages, and finally did it a few days ago. He painstakingly cut out the tree line and also built the mountains and snow banks. Just a few additions but they’ve made the little village so much more charming.

Hope you enjoy our miniature wonderland!

Weekend Bloggy Reading

Labor of Love

Because, in the end, that’s what it was.

My husband Steve has been making costumes, piΓ±atas, and cakes for his boys for the past few years. I figure we are close to the time when our kids, or at least our oldest, won’t want a homemade costume any more. Maybe that won’t happen, but I will always remind my kids that the endless hours spent in the garage, the numerous trips to Home Depot or Lowe’s to replace a dead part or buy more X-Acto blades, was all worth it the moment they saw their costume and the smile reached all the way up to their eyes.

Credit goes mostly to Steve, of course, who is given a challenge and decides to knock it out of the park, but to the people that help in different ways – Gran, who came over and painted and glued and kept Steve company until 4 in the morning one night. Grandpa, who goes to every school parade to cheer on his grandsons, and who helps them get ready in the classroom.

Yeah. By the way, those are penlights πŸ˜€

Our boy at his school parade:

Side and back views of Gipsy Danger:

(by the way, our son’s sweetheart is somewhere on these pics, but I didn’t tell you that – sshhhhhh!)

Steve also made the call to go to Aidan’s karate studio party in the afternoon. He was desperately wanting sleep but Aidan was very excited about going, so daddy went, too:

My friend J’s daughter and Gipsy Danger had a lot to discuss:

There was a costume contest, and my boy posed and flexed for the judges.

There was a little drama around trick-o-treating time, but all was well in the end, and now my dining room table is full of Gipsy Danger parts. We’ll save the head, of course, for our (someday) Hall of Fame. Aidan loves the gloves he wore as part of the costume so those are being worn today πŸ˜€

My husband’s dedication to making our boys’ lives magical is definitely something I am thankful for.