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Darth Nihl: CAndy-coated WIP


Guest CAndyman
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Guest CAndyman

Well I finally have enough progress made to post some pictures of my first Troop in my Beta-version Darth Nihl. This is my first scratch-build of any kind and though I have done some research into various prop/costume building techniques over the years, this is the first chance I've had to put any of it to practical use outside of my TK build and ongoing modifications.

 

Being my first build I used as many found-objects as I could so I could concentrate on the details, though I did not put any less effort into it by doing that as I raided every thift store, pawn shop, yard sale, hardware store, craft store, hobby shop and the few costume shops around to find parts that were at least a good starting point for the shapes I wanted.

 

In the first pictures you can see some the main parts I started with, most of them will be easy enough to see how they were implemented as I go along.

 

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In the next picture you see the brave dinosaurs who sacrificed their butts to become the spikes on my chest armor. After cutting the rears off I carved them with an Xacto knife to give them a more horn or bone-like texture before I filled them half-way with hot glue and inserted a bolt then filled the rest up with more hot glue (Extra Strength High-temp glue) to bolt them into the armor.

 

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Next you can see the mounted dino-butts and the armor before I began to bondo it all together. The blue plastic is from an old abdominal rocker that looks like a child's snow-sled and the white parts are from a new Hefty heavy duty trash can I got for a good deal because they couldn't find me the lid and I insisted that I needed it and demanded a discount when they didn't. :twisted:

 

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Next you can see the assembled armor after it had been bondo-ed, primer-ed, painted and then I decided that I needed more bondo because the shape just wasn't right yet. The crystals are already installed and covered in masking medium to protect them, though I wish I had gotten some pictures throughout that process too but that's what happens when you get obsessed. :lol:

 

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Next is the skirt/kilt and early saber-staff...

 

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Here's the early version of the belt and cod-piece, I ended up ditching the codpiece because it only seemed to be consistent with one of the many images I was working from and seemed too small and both the belt and cod-piece seemed too bright at this point so I reworked them later.

 

The belt began as a leather weight belt that I evened out with some thick craft-foam and then wrapped it all in vinyl. Then I drew out the pattern for the silver-grey stripe details on the belt and cut the pieces out of 1/4 inch thick craft foam and glued the pieces together with some E-6000 and attached them with hot glue to hold the position and E-6000 to do most of bonding.

 

Then I painted the stripes with some silver acrylic paint and then coated it with a layer of E-6000. After it had dried and cured I coated the whole thing with black shoe polish and let it partially dry and rubbed most of it out and did it again and again to get a nice patina-ed look. I added several layers of this process when I re-worked the belt to darken it up some.

 

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Here's the almost-finished Saberstaff, I still have to install the lightsaber components into it though I'm considering making a new version for that and just using this one as a hilt of sorts.

 

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Here's the first run at the gauntlet, it looked cool but I noticed it seemed like it was missing a layer and the color of the crystals wasn't nearly rich enough so I reworked it...

 

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I was much happier with this version of the gauntlet. I started off with two shin-guards and cut them up to match a pattern I had drawn out. Again I wish I had taken some mid-process pictures. Oh well. Anyway I drew out patterns for what I had determined would need to be three separate layers and cut layers of the 1/4 inch foam for each and using hot glue to hold positions and keep tension in the layers while the E-6000 set to add the strength to the bond. Once all the layers were in place I used the same hot glue - E-600 process to apply the vinyl skin to the gauntlet using the heat from the glue to help shape the vinyl. Then I panted the silver-grey parts and applied the same shoe polish process that I did to the belt to darken it.

 

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The ab section was fairly simple, I took a length of black vinyl and folded it many times to created the overlapping sections and did the sliver paint and shoe polish routine on it too.

 

The rib-cage was a HUGE pain in the butt, I started off by making a simple body-form of myself using a jumpsuit, LOTS of packing and duct tape and packing foam peanuts and used that to shape and size the foam-sheet vest 9very thin foam sheets) that I formed the ribs on as well as determine the size and contour of the ribs which I made from 1/4 inch foam wrapped in white vinyl and given a coat of white acrylic paint.

 

The ab section and the rib-cage vest were then glued together to make suiting up easier and grommets added to the ab section to allow it to be tied in the back like a corset. And suspenders were attached to the foam vest of the rib cage to keep the whole thing from slipping down during wear.

 

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After these test shots to see how things looked through a lens I painted the foam-vest, especially between the ribs, because the contrast between the shine on everything else and the matte of the foam was too noticeable.

 

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I finally did the silver detailing on the armor and then I coated the entire thing with a layer of E-6000 to help keep the bondo-ed sections from cracking or separating from the plastic in places where stress might be applied or where the bondo might not have attached as well as I would like.

 

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Next is my very first test-fit of all the parts together and it was the night before my test-run at a small local comicbook convention, happily most of it worked out well enough that I was able to go forward with the beta-run debut.

 

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Test-run, ICON in Des Moines....

 

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My first time doing make-up or wearing make-up like this and when I got there I found out I had 40 minutes to get the make-up on and get suited up before they were using our dressing room for a panel. :? All-in-all I was fairly pleased with my first attempt and I learned a lot about make-up application that will serve me well next time out.

 

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The biggest failure of all was the arm and leg "tattooed" sections, I tried to cobble together some spandex onto some under-armor and the result was pretty less than desirable. The arms were at least passable enough to wear for the event but the legs were so bad that I just left them at home. I still like the idea of using spandex instead of make-up, even though I know it won't look quite as good, because it will be easier to do and make it more plausible to wear the costume more often. However, I see that working with spandex is currently not my strong suit so I'm having a costumer who is well known for her master-level costumes do the spandex parts for me on commission.

 

I welcome any and all input and feedback including and especially ideas as to how my designs might be improved upon in future revisions.

 

Thank you my friends, for reading my thread, and Long live the Empire.

 

 

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Guest CAndyman
Great post! I really really you idea with the dinosaur tails. Very clever. :)

 

 

Thanks Bro, I had a lot of fun building it and I can't wait to make some upgrades and get back out in this costume, it was such a great time playing the Character. I love my TK but this is such a different experience to play a non-helmeted character. :D

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I think using the dino tails is one of the most clever costuming solutions I've seen in a very long time. That really made me giggle; I never would have considered it possible! And then I kept looking at the photos with the hair but no makeup, and I couldn't figure out who it reminded me of... then it clicked. Those photos remind me of Alan Rickman as the Sheriff of Nottingham. "I'll cut his heart out... with a spoon!" I loved his take on that character!

 

Remember, while spandex in place of body paint is always more convenient, it's not approvable for a 501st character. Like Darth Maul and Talon, if you want to get your costume approved, you'll need to paint your arms.

 

Pam :-)

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Guest CAndyman
I think using the dino tails is one of the most clever costuming solutions I've seen in a very long time. That really made me giggle; I never would have considered it possible! And then I kept looking at the photos with the hair but no makeup, and I couldn't figure out who it reminded me of... then it clicked. Those photos remind me of Alan Rickman as the Sheriff of Nottingham. "I'll cut his heart out... with a spoon!" I loved his take on that character!

 

Remember, while spandex in place of body paint is always more convenient, it's not approvable for a 501st character. Like Darth Maul and Talon, if you want to get your costume approved, you'll need to paint your arms.

 

Pam :-)

 

I still smirk every time I tell someone my spikes are Dino-butts too. :lol:

 

And now that you mention it...

nottingham.jpg

 

....I can see the resemblance. :lol::lol:

 

 

The spandex advice is MUCH appreciated! I didn't know that the spandex would be a deal-breaker, as I thought there were Darth Talon's that had been approved with spandex tattoo torso-sections but I may have been seeing the daily-wear version of a costume as opposed to their approval version. Which I might consider doing that as well so I have my "Legion" version and my "Casual" version for low-key gigs.

 

Perhaps I should be looking into a decent body-paint airbrush and paints, any thoughts, advice or leads on any of that? I think I could probably manage an airbrush with enough ease to make the costume do-able in a reasonable amount of time and effort. I just can't even imagine doing all of it by hand-brush and that's got to be fairly messy.

 

Also any other thoughts on what parts might not make the cut for 501st approval, or any ideas for improvement for that matter, would be much appreciated. There are no two people I respect more on matters of EU-costuming than you Pam, and of course Thomas.

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Guest Daritha

As far as I know, there aren't any Darth Talons in the Legion yet. But we have a "hot" candidate from Scandinavia who might be the first Legion-approved Lady Talon. :)

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Guest Anonymous

Hey Candyman!

 

Hey my friend :)!

 

I can give you advices concerning the bodypainting and it's process. I made my Nihl bodypainting completely by hand, everything- face, legs and arms, with a professional airbrush and very good bodypainting colour (I can tell you about the brands I use). I made patterns for the tattoos, so that the whole painting process gets faster. With the right colours and the right technique you can avoid a mess ;).... but for a fine result you'll need 2 or 3 hours, each time you make it.

 

Concerning the 501st- nearly two weeks ago I sent our clone emperor a mail with all details of my Nihl, now I'm waiting for is assessment. When I got his answer, I could convey his mail also to you, so that you could also get the infos.

 

Many greetings

 

Neinel :)

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Guest CAndyman
Hey Candyman!

 

Hey my friend :)!

 

I can give you advices concerning the bodypainting and it's process. I made my Nihl bodypainting completely by hand, everything- face, legs and arms, with a professional airbrush and very good bodypainting colour (I can tell you about the brands I use). I made patterns for the tattoos, so that the whole painting process gets faster. With the right colours and the right technique you can avoid a mess ;).... but for a fine result you'll need 2 or 3 hours, each time you make it.

 

Concerning the 501st- nearly two weeks ago I sent our clone emperor a mail with all details of my Nihl, now I'm waiting for is assessment. When I got his answer, I could convey his mail also to you, so that you could also get the infos.

 

Many greetings

 

Neinel :)

 

You are beyond Awesome Neinel! Thank you, I greatly look forward to you message! :D:D8)

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Concerning the 501st- nearly two weeks ago I sent our clone emperor a mail with all details of my Nihl, now I'm waiting for is assessment.

Not quite two weeks ago;

November 16 at 9:30am Report

November 16 at 9:30am

Dear Thomas,

 

I have a question: The EU-Sith-costumes of me and my girlfriend went through version 2.0 now. I'm wondering what you think about them. I would be pleased to get an assessment from a professional like you.

Our wish is to get these costumes 501st suitable one day in the future. On the last event we made some better pictures than the older ones.

May I send you some photos? And if it's okay: to which emailadress may I send them?

Thanks for your attention!

 

Regards,

Neinel

 

November 16 at 10:47am

thecloneemperor@gmail.com

 

Ribs, pointed fingertips, solid looking bracers, a lovingly crafted pike, all things I would look to improve.

 

I like the chest and shoulders, make up is fine. I'll need to see clear images of the whole concoction for an indepth review, but I am glad to be of service.

 

Your Maladi, I am interested in seeing what reference you have gathered for the back of the outfit.

 

Be well,

Thomas

 

Still awaiting that e-mail. When you do send it, please be sure to supply reference for front and back. I am especially looking for images of the back and footware. Cover image by Adam Hughes from Legacy 1 will not be necessary.

 

Be well,

Thomas

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Guest Anonymous

Hey Thomas!

 

Sorry, I didn't realize it earlier that my mail didn't arrive. I'll try it again right know. I got the feedback that the mail was sent by my mail account. Thank you for the information!

 

Regards

 

Neinel

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  • 1 month later...
Guest CAndyman

I just got an airbrush for Xmas but I'm not sure if it is what I need or not. It's a Badger 250

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Does this look like it would be adequate for my needs?

 

I'm also completely new to airbrush make-up, or airbrush painting at all, so any tips would be greatly welcome.

 

I've heard the REEL Creations body ink and paints are good but I have no personal experience. Also I don't know if there are other things I will need such as some type of base-coat of finishing coat other than sealer. I do have some Ben Nye sealer already that seems quite good.

 

So any tips on ink or paint, techniques, etc... would be very much appreciated. Thank you!

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Guest Daritha

Although I'm not an expert I picked um some information from my fellow air-brushing costumers:

 

Keep your equipment ALWAYS clean. It's a pain in the back to clean up the little nozzles once the paint dried in them.

Practice. A lot. When you think, you can paint yourself in an hour, the first time you do it at a Con, you'll need four hours. But you get better with time.

 

Also: Scrub yourself behind the ears afterwards. Otherwise, you get comments. (E.g. someone at a Con here who did a green paintjob on himself was afterwards called green behind his ears ... which is the German equivalent for wet behind the ears aka greenhorn.)

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That airbrush is very similar to the brushes that I use for doing Twi'lek body paint. I have an expensive double action brush that I use for painting props, but I use a lower priced single-action for painting myself. Not only is it easier to use the single action button when you're twisting around trying to paint odd places like the back of your arm, it's also easier for helpers to use if they're not familiar with airbrushes. I always keep two single action brushes on hand, so if one of them clogs up in the middle of a painting session, I don't have to stop and clean it. I just switch over and keep going. When you have alcohol based inks I find that clogs are rare because the inks are thin and they tend to reactivate any dry patches in the brush... but it's always better to be safe than sorry!

 

I highly recommend Reel Creations. I used Ben Nye paint for the first couple years, and then tried Reel Creations... and I'll NEVER go back to water based paint! I don't bother with sealants; the alcohol based inks stay on just fine without it, and it's easier to clean up when the paint hasn't been sealed.

 

If it might help, here's a bit of info about body painting that I've put together:

 

http://chucrew.com/Twilek/bodypaint.html

 

Pam :-)

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Guest CAndyman

Thanks guys that's exactly the kind of info I'm looking for!

 

Pam, I've got a couple of questions for you after having read through your site a little bit. I plan on going with the alcohol based ink and probably the Reel Creations brand as it sounds like it's worth the extra money which doesn't seem that much more than the other reputable brands.

 

My first question is that I have fairly sensitive skin so I'm trying to figure out the least damaging way to do this with the best over-all look. I read something you wrote about using a lotion before application of the ink, any tips on what kind of lotion?

 

Also I considered using water-based on my face with sealer and then the alcohol-based everywhere else but then I'm not sure how well the colors/texture/consistency will match or how much difference I will have in the longevity of the one vs. the other. Have you tried mixing/matching like this or have you always done one or the other?

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Hi,

 

The best thing to do is to get a little bit of each kind of makeup, and take 'em for a test drive. It'll give you the best idea of how the different types last, how to apply them, and how they will affect your skin.

 

As for the Reel Creations, you can't put lotion on before you use it. In fact, you really should wash your skin with an alcohol wipe before painting, to remove any oils on your skin. I seldom bother with it, but it does make the paint last longer. It is good to put lotion on after removing the paint, though... not because of the paint itself, but because the heavy lather of soap you use to remove the greasy paint remover dries out your skin.

 

Pam :-)

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Guest CAndyman
Hi,

 

The best thing to do is to get a little bit of each kind of makeup, and take 'em for a test drive. It'll give you the best idea of how the different types last, how to apply them, and how they will affect your skin.

 

As for the Reel Creations, you can't put lotion on before you use it. In fact, you really should wash your skin with an alcohol wipe before painting, to remove any oils on your skin. I seldom bother with it, but it does make the paint last longer. It is good to put lotion on after removing the paint, though... not because of the paint itself, but because the heavy lather of soap you use to remove the greasy paint remover dries out your skin.

 

Pam :-)

 

So maybe the thing to do is use lots of lotion on the days preceding an event so the skin is in good shape when I paint it. What kind of remover do you use for the alcohol based paints?

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Hi,

 

Rubbing alcohol works, as do most oil based cleansers, with varying amounts of scrubbing time needed. Baby oil works, if you don't mind the smell. I prefer the remover sold by Reel Creations, because it works really well, it works really fast, and has no scent.

 

Pam :-)

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Guest CAndyman
Hi,

 

Rubbing alcohol works, as do most oil based cleansers, with varying amounts of scrubbing time needed. Baby oil works, if you don't mind the smell. I prefer the remover sold by Reel Creations, because it works really well, it works really fast, and has no scent.

 

Pam :-)

 

If baby oil works I wonder if that "Skin So Soft" stuff would do the trick it doesn't smell too bad (and if I remember right someone once told me it keeps away mosquitoes). :lol:

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  • 3 months later...
Guest CAndyman

Not much in the way of upgrades yet, though I am getting better with the make-up, but I got some new shots by Bryan Humphrey...what a difference a skilled photographer makes eh? 8):D

 

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I still need to get some body paint and a compressor for my airbrush so I can get rid of my spandex-suit and I need to get my contacts. I'm hoping to have it ready for Contagion Outbreak in Omaha Nebraska this June but we'll see how things go with the wedding-planning to see if I can afford to do the upgrades by then. :D

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  • 3 weeks later...
  • 10 months later...
Guest Anonymous

Hey Chris,

I hit you up on facebook and now I'm finally starting the adventure. Wow! A ton of great info between you, Neinel, and Pam that's really going to help. It's great getting to see your build and your final pic is simply stellar!

Later Brother,

Matt

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Guest CAndyman
Hey Chris,

I hit you up on facebook and now I'm finally starting the adventure. Wow! A ton of great info between you, Neinel, and Pam that's really going to help. It's great getting to see your build and your final pic is simply stellar!

Later Brother,

Matt

 

Thanks Brother, good to see you in here, I will be glad to help and offer any ideas I have. :D

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  • 2 months later...
Guest Anonymous

Hi there CAndyman, just wanted to stop by and have a look as another person starting down the Darth Nihl path of approval, and... wow! That is looking amazing man. Also, dino tails for the armour? You are some kinda genius good sir. :P Keep up the good work, can't wait to see it once it's all approved. :D

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