We had an informal Star Wars photoshoot this weekend with members of our local Rebel Legion group and one of the Carolina Garrison. Technically, I was in my Garrison version of Mara, since I have the purple lightsaber here that I picked up from SaberForge last year, as a gift from my husband for an anniversary present. This is the second lightsaber I’ve gotten as a present, and I got him one last year too for the Corran Horn Jedi Robes I’m making him. Eventually, I’ll make him a CorSec flight suit/uniform as well.
I made my original Mara cat/jump suit based off Twi’lek Pam’s information and instructions here: Mara Jade suit
I’m wearing a brand new suit made of 4-way stretch material. I broke down and bought the good quality vinyl/spandex for from Spandex World, after ordering some samples. I ordered from the ‘fake leather’ line, which is a 4-way stretch fabric that sewed surprisingly well. The suit is also extremely comfortable – I fully expected to sweat it in, but I didn’t. I’m not saying it’s breathable, but I could wear this thing all day with no problems. I haven’t added the piping yet – my serger worked fine on the fabric, but the regular machine that I was borrowing did not. I had finished up some details before crashing at her house before the shoot, and was unable to add the front or back piping using her machine. My first suit was a lighter, ‘dancer’ type material, and looked good in photos, but it did not hold up. The original material was so stretchy that I kept getting various lines of bunching when I stitched it together. This new fabric is much hardier and easier to sew.
We collected out at the Fayetteville Botanical Gardens and had permission to take photos an hour before the regular crowds started showing up. I got a few photos that I was more or less happy with, and so did everyone else, so I’m calling the event was a success.
I’ll be adding Mara Jumpsuits to my list of things I’ll do on commission, now that I’ve done a few and have figured out the little tricks to it.
It probably would have been easier to just remake this damn thing. And I still might end up doing that.
I downloaded a free 3D print R2 and imported it into Lightwave. It was pretty good to begin with, but it was not 3D printer ready. I cut off one of the projector knob things and it had some free edges inside of it, which would not have printed. And I’m not talking about the part I cut off either. I filled into some spots, then realized the entire (now) pink area of polys were also free floating with no thickness, so I had to use the Thicken tool on it. Except it didn’t quite work because of all the funky triangles. It also had a free floating cylinder inside that didn’t intersect with anything for no apparent reason.
A couple of months ago, my husband got the bug to build his own R2 unit, specifically, Whistler, who is Corran Horn’s droid in the Star Wars Expanded Universe. Whistler is green and grey but otherwise is built the same as Artoo, Luke’s famous companion with a bright shiny silver dome and catapults and whatnot. The biggest difficulty so far has been obtaining a proper dome – as an R2 dome isn’t quite a half sphere, but is slightly extended, almost egg-shaped. My hubby has managed to collect motors, wheels and has even programmed the R2 brain in a Raspberry pi. Whistler has a projector, sheets of styrene set aside for body and feel paneling and even piles of MDF that will be CNC cut out for the legs. The dome has been nearly impossible to find or have made – it is 300 mm high and 465 mm across, but 45 cm is acceptable, as are true half-spheres for the purpose of the approval of the many droid building communities – many of which share around free information and are happy to discuss building methods, parts and their own solutions to the myriad problems of re-inventing the sci-fi astromech that is so universally well loved.
Since we’re going to the trouble to build and modify 3D printable parts ourselves, I’m making it to those oblong proportions. The free model that I found has a true half-sphere dome and I can’t quite use it. So the plan is that I’m going to cut off or duplicate all the pieces on the dome, then stretch the dome, cut out the new panels and doors, then cut the dome up into printable pieces. That’s going to be a lot of chopping.
The 3D printer we’ll be using can only handle a 9 inch wide by 13 inch tall area, so the dome must be broken up into at least 8 pieces.
My biggest gripe with the free model (besides sizing) is that it isn’t smooth. If someone printed it as is, it would require a lot of smoothing, which would remove some of the outer shape, which might make pieces too small. But they couldn’t print it, because it has random floating cylinders in it. Gr.
3D printing requires some smoothing process as it is, so that’s not a huge issue. but the dome is very complicated, and having to remove too much could have serious consequences for the fitting back together stages.
I’m working on a couple of new commissions, so that’s exciting. I’ll have new photos to add to my cosplay section, including a Snowtrooper, Jinora from Avatar: Legend of Korra, and 2 Mara Jades. Oh, and Luke Skywalker.
I have a busy busy schedule, but I feel like I’m getting faster every time I make something. Panicy moments aside, and the time I stall to get started on. oh.. ANYTHING, I’m getting better. Having a serger really helps a lot too.
I’m looking into possibly getting a Cricut machine. If nothing else, it’d be really freaking useful for cutting out stencils. I could potentially add my Journey costume as an option for commissions – as of right now, there’s just no way. I’d have to charge $700 for it, as I made mine, and I seriously doubt anyone would pay that. Additionally, that means I’d have to make it again. Which I am SO not ready to do anytime soon. I’m going to replace the tights, since my attempt at tight-making more or less failed. I popped a number of stitches on photoshoot day, but was able to arrange myself so none of them show up in the final shots.
There’s a future potential of doing a Tangled/Rapunzel dress, which the cricut machine would basically make manageable. Otherwise, I don’t think she’ll be happy with the quote that I have in my mind.
I need to order more skin paint too.
I’m working on an idea for Mara Jade’s lightsaber, as a hilt prop only. I haven’t gotten around to really attempting to work with metal yet, but I am managing plastic pretty well. I picked up some PVC pipe and am looking into making something that can eventually be shipped off and chromed, then adding final details. I also picked up screw covers for the rivets, and a handful of fittings to try out. I may get a blank blade from ultra sabers, and try rigging an LED blade myself. The basic one will be just a hanging hilt though. If it turns out satisfactory, I might be able to add custom PVC sabers to my shop, which would be pretty cool.