Gluing and Bondo’ing the First Pieces
I’ve done quite a bit of work since my last post!
I finished gluing the other half of the helmet together with the front, which was an ordeal all on its own. I mentioned previously that the two back pieces didn’t match up with the front at all. I ended up having to grind off a wedge down the center seam on each back half, meaning I had to grind a new seam as well. It went better than expected, although I did ruin a few dremel bits (I won’t be using those again on the printed material – it just melts, even on the lowest speed).
I then applied bondo to all the seams and any other problem areas, and sanded the whole thing. I also sanded the arm pieces and the elbow cap.
I sanded them as smooth as I could (it’s difficult to see the tiny rough areas when the material is still white), then sprayed them with a coat of primer. I had heard this was useful to do even though I was pretty sure the sanding wasn’t perfect. It allows you to better see the tiny rough parts and then when you sand it back down you can see where you’ve sanded. I think the primer was soaking into the material so next time I’m going to have to find a way to better seal it. Overall the pieces were pretty smooth, but there were some very rough patches on the helmet. I applied a super thin coat of bondo to both the arm pieces, just enough to press it into the little divots and then sanded it back down. The result isn’t pretty but it is soooo smooth! I’m currently doing the same to the helmet (or trying – Seattle weather isn’t exactly forgiving this time of year…or ever).
I was worried that the primer might fill in the grooves around the edge of the ear bulges but it didn’t at all. In fact, the primer left even the tiniest imperfections clearly visible! Once I do the coat of bondo and new primer and the helmet is super smooth I’ll re-apply the primer, check for any other rough parts, then paint!
I’ve also started constructing the glove. Previously I had been struggling to think of the best way to keep the glove flexible but make it accurate. Samus doesn’t have black gaps between the pieces of armor on her hand. It’s the same color of orange that the armor is, just slightly darker since they’re recessed. I need to use EVA foam to make the armor pieces that go on the glove, but they need to be able to move around when I flex my hand. I toyed with the idea of latex but decided that wasn’t the way to go. What I’m going to do is cut out the shapes of armor in EVA foam, shape them with heat if necessary, coat them in plastidip and paint them, THEN apply them to the glove. I’ll mask off the parts of the glove that won’t be visible in the gaps between the armor, and spray the unmasked areas with plastidip and paint that as well. That way, the armor can flex around independently from the glove, but the gaps are still orange. I haven’t tested plastidip on the glove but from everything I’ve read it should work. Hopefully the paint doesn’t crack, but I came across this video that eases my worries.
I’m currently searching for the right paint colors too. I think I’ve found the right color of orange and red won’t be hard, but I’m still struggling with the yellow. It’s a light metallic yellow. No one makes that. I’m going to do a few tests, including doing a coat of silver and then a super thin coat of yellow, but I worry about the consistency of the yellow and if it will even look right. Maybe I can find a light yellow and spray a clear metallic paint over it. I think that exists.
Lastly, I’ve completed the 3d models for the shoulders, chest, and arm cannon, which leaves the outer thighs and lower legs to do (I’ve already started sizing the lower legs – the pep file is now available for download on my pepakura page!) The first shoulder should be printed very soon, but I’m a little worried that the weight of the two shoulders combined with the chest will be too much. I won’t have time to do anything about it before PAX, but maybe at some point I’ll recast the shoulders in resin. Although, I’m not even sure resin would be any lighter than this 3d print material.