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Guest Anonymous

Stand At Attention When I Address You...

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Guest Anonymous

It was recommended that I post this build up over here after the reception it received on the main Legion boards. Still more I want to do with it before it goes anywhere though... I'd love feedback, comments, or questions though.

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Like many ideas around here, this one too started in Brian Anderson’s basement.

 

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Last December, right after the four episode “Umbara” Arc aired, Brian Anderson, Bob Gouveia, my wife and I were in the basement pulling X-Wing helmets for the Alderaan Base build and discussing the latest Clone Wars episodes. Brian was working on another piece for his Season Four clone molds. “It would be awesome to have a Pong Krell,” he said. “Especially with all the armor we’ll have up here.”

 

“Armor I’ll never fit into,” I said. After a moment of thinking about it, words I didn’t realize the impact of came out of my mouth. “I’d do a Krell.”

 

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Bob, probably thinking I wasn’t entirely serious about the project, spoke up next. “I’d love to sculpt the mask. If you do a Krell, I’ll sculpt it.”

 

Months passed, work got busy. But Krell never went away.

 

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I went through a number of design sketches, mostly focused on the stilts. Krell had to be over eight feet tall, of course. I settled on drywall stilts, tearing off the rubber grips on the bottom and bolting a 13” sheet of 1” MDF to the bottom. For initial traction, I sprayed the bottom of the “foot” with Plasti-Dip. I took a couple headers while practicing, and learned one very important lesson… when doing something stupid, make sure someone’s around to call the paramedics.

 

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The next step (ha HA! Horrible pun!) was to create a frame for the leg. I initially thought that Krell had almost elephant-type feet, so I created a framework from strips of HIPS, riveting them together to create an hourglass shape that I would eventually place pieces of foam over to sculpt the musculature of the feet. Lengths of chicken wire were attached to the HIPS with a heavy duty staple gun and E-6000.

 

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Hot glue was used to attach the foam to the framework, but I ran into the issue of the foam not attaching to the curvature of the sculpt. I had to attach the foam to something on the interior, so I made 3” foam squares that I applied hot glue to, reaching into the chicken wire and pressing them up against the foam, both burning the palms of my hands and shredding my wrists with the chicken wire.

 

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In the meantime, I had commissioned Randy (http://www.aofcustomsabers.com) to create Pong Krell’s distinctive double-double-bladed lightsabers.

 

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A custom machined piece was necessary to make it possible for the lightsabers to fold and clip to the belt like in the television show, and Randy more than rose to the challenge. The folding mechanism locks the center into place with a pair of thumb screws, making it very easy to go from folded to extended in a matter of seconds. A pair of magnets were installed on the inside to keep the hilt from detaching while in folded position.

 

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But Pong Krell isn’t Pong Krell without his bullfrog-jowls and crested forehead. Bob Gouveia created an amazing mask, sculpted entirely from clay over a bust of my head in a matter of weeks.

 

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The entire mask is made of latex, with a pair of craft foam and jet-set “ear wings” and a jet-set pony-knob on the back of his head. The interior is filled with expanding nerf-type foam, which gives the crest it’s solid appearance but is light enough to wear for long periods of time. There were actually stretches where I forgot that I had the prosthesis on…

 

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The arms were a combination of fabric, plastic and steel, and I unfortunately was in such a rush that I didn’t take photos of the assembly process. A leather strap is held up along my ribcage by a set of suspenders, and a pair of custom brackets were attached to the strap by rivets. The brackets were made to fit a pair of inexpensive lamps from a Target back-to-school sale which had the proper “elbow” armature. The interior hands were garden gloves with a sewn together middle and ring fingers, coated in jet-set. The “forearm” area wasn’t as long as I’d like it to be, so I attached a piece of 1” thin-wall PVC pipe to elongate it, and attached the sculpting wire from inside the glove to the makeshift “wrist.” The forearms and handplates are Season 4 WCA armor. To create the illusion of defined muscles, I ripped apart a pair of Spider-Man Halloween costumes, attaching jet-set to the arms with spray adhesive.

 

Of course, I had forgotten to cover the hands with the under-armor like material I was planning on using for gloves, so the night before the debut, I ran downstairs with the arms to the Rosen parking lot, taped off the fingers, and sprayed the palms and wrist down with black Plasti-Dip.

 

Whatever works. :)

 

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The leather belt was actually a pair of 2” leather belts glued together edgewise and covered with more leather, folded to give the illusion of Krell’s stacked belts. The upper forearm wraps were cut from the same length, with sections of 1.5” belt glued underneath and Chicago screws set inside to keep the two sides together.

 

The robes were sewn by Ann Marie. I do not pretend to understand them, only to give credit where credit is due. :)

 

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The costume, though rolled out for CVI, is still incomplete. Where I mentioned before thinking that Krell had elephant-like feet? He has four long, articulated toes on each foot, ending in a toenail. My attempts at creating foam toes were futile, and had to be skipped for the convention. Krell’s fingernails as well were left from the debut for lack of time. And his belt is missing a tiny metal detail piece… one that I didn’t finish in time to attach to the belt.

 

I don’t think anyone was paying *that* much attention to those details, though.

 

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There are a number of people I need to thank for all of their help with this costume. Bob Gouveia spent more time than a rational person should, making, molding, and painting this mask. The amount of detail he put into this piece is amazing, and I’m thankful for all of his help on this project. Randy Smith truly outdid himself making these lightsabers. He’s a fantastic craftsman, and a top-notch engineer. We should all be so lucky to have an eighth of his talent. Brian Anderson, thank you for allowing me into your basement to make armor when it was woefully inconvenient to do so. A lesser man would have told me exactly where to stick my handplates, but you did not, and I thank you for it. Thanks to Sean and Krista Carmichael for being around when I was about to attempt walking on my stilts. Your insight into what was and wasn't connected properly and willingness to catch me before I faceplanted is greatly appreciated. Phil Maiewski, thank you for foregoing food to help organize the clones in not only appearing in Brian’s “Costuming the Clone Wars” panel, but helping us crash Dave Filoni’s panel. If only there were a way to make “My God, is that a Krell!?!” my ringtone…

 

To everyone who helped dress me at Celebration, and was subjected to the sight of me in a skin-tight orange stretch suit, I both thank you for your help and apologize profusely.

 

But this project wouldn’t have happened without my wife’s help. She stuck pins in me at 2 AM, sprayed adhesive to my legs, and dipped me in latex, and she was still able to not only finish her own fantastic Mother Talzin, but refrain from killing me in my sleep. Happy anniversary, dear. :)

 

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