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Fat white man in TRON outfit.

Discussion in 'Channel Zero' started by Poop Man Bob, Apr 19, 2004.

  1. Poop Man Bob

    Poop Man Bob Dirty Dozen Crew

    Joined: Nov 16, 2000 Messages: 10,259 Likes Received: 18
    from Fark: source.

    Jay Maynard's TRON costume

    I saw my first Masquerade at Penguicon 1.0, in April 2003. I decided that that looked like fun, and I wanted to do something like it. I'd idly pondered a TRON costume in the past, and this seemed like the perfect venue for it, being a cross between a Linux and SF con.

    I saw lots of TRON costumes on the net, and wasn't satisfied with any of them. The biggest deficiency was that none of them attempted to capture the green tint of the characters' outfits in the computer world. Yes, I know that was added in the digital animation process, but, still, a white costume just doesn't look right. Many of them also used black for the circuit patterns, one more step away from the costumes the viewer saw in the movie.

    I decided I could do better, at least to my own way of thinking. This is not a slam on those who have gone before by any means, just an observation that I could resolve what I saw as deficiencies.

    The pieces
    I picked up this set of armor pieces in an eBay auction in December 2003:

    Note the thin blue lines...that's electroluminescent wire, or el-wire.

    I fumbled around for a while trying to figure out how to make this stuff green, and finally ran across Krylon's Fusion paint, in the shade of light green they call Honeydew (color 2355). I painted up the Frisbee that came with the armor (not shown here, because it'd already been painted when I took the picture), and sent it off to Renaissance Dancewear, who I buy all of my tights for Renfaire clothing from. They matched the color perfectly, and made me a custom unitard. It's really comfortable to wear, and fits perfectly except for the arms, which are just a little too long, leading to wrinkles.

    I got lots of helpful advice from Avril "Bronxelf" Korman, who is working as an interior designer (NOT decorator), and knows a lot about art. She helped me pick out fabric paint and regular acrylic paint, and gave me some instruction on how to use both, since I'd never done anything of the sort before.

    [b][SIZE=2]Design decisions[/SIZE][/b]
    I made a few compromises. I wanted to be as close to the original as possible, but let's face it: I'm not the same shape as either Bruce Boxleitner or Jeff Bridges (the actors who played Tron and Flynn, respectively). I'm somewhat overweight, as you see (one drawback of wearing spandex is that it does nothing to hide one's obesity). Therefore, I decided to make myself a character in the same universe, but not one of the known characters, which gave me much more latitude in what I could do with paint and other design items.

    I decided not to use the chest/back armor, both because I did not like the strap arrangement that it used, and because it did not fit me well (see the preceding paragraph). This left me with no place to attach the Frisbee, a problem which I managed to solve, but not without difficulty.

    I did away with the character's belt because I could see no way to keep it up if I were to, say, stretch my arms overhead. I also did away with the drape that some (but not all) characters had, and the fabric boot tops, because I could see no way to get plain fabric dyed to match the unitard and armor. I may go back and revisit some of these decisions, but not all; the drape, in particular, will not be added, as it hides the pretty circuit work and makes attaching the Frisbee harder.

    I simplified the circuitry patterns in acknowledgement of the fact that my skill with a brush is not equal to that of Disney's costume designers. This was, indeed, borne out by the facts.

    I debated whether to leave the el-wire in place (or, more correctly, to re-add it after repainting the armor). I finally decided that the coolness factor outweighed the consistency considerations. There was simply no way to attach the el-wire to the unitard and have it survive being washed, so I could not make all of the patterns that way.

    [SIZE=2][b]The construction[/b][/SIZE]
    I stripped all of the electroluminescent wire off of the armor. The guy must have used some sort of clear thick epoxy or superglue, because I had to use a knife to remove it, and wound up sacrificing the el-wire. I finally got to bare plastic, though:


    Next, I started painting the circuit lines on the unitard:
  2. Poop Man Bob

    Poop Man Bob Dirty Dozen Crew

    Joined: Nov 16, 2000 Messages: 10,259 Likes Received: 18
    The next morning, I wound up having to do some work on other things that paid money. I did manage to order more el-wire and inverters from the folks the guy I'd bought the armor from originally used, Being Seen Technologies. They're nice folks and helpful on the phone.

    After lunch, I got back to the costume. First, I painted the armor pieces, and a pair of white canvas boat shoes, green:

    Here's where I ran out of the first of two bottles of fabric paint. The edges of the upper part are ragged because I haven't removed the masking tape:

    This is the finished back design, and where I knocked off for the night. The Frisbee and shoe are there to show the color match - which, unfortunately, didn't quite look exact to me, but it was far too late to do anything about it then (and has since proven to be unnecessary; see below).

    Wednesday morning, after allowing it to dry overnight, I tried it on to see what problems needed fixing:
    [b][PMB note: check out the camel toe.][/b]


    The biggest problem is that the paint didn't work down into the midline seam on the front and back. (On the back, that's only a problem on the diamond and line below it; the rest is the zipper, which I'm not trying to paint anyway.) Some of the lines on the front needed another coat, too.

    Once I'd gotten all of the el-wire attached, and the arm guards reassembled (the lining reinstalled and glued in place), I was ready to depart for Penguicon. The following picture was taken with the armor in this state:

    Once at the hotel, I started painting the armor. It turned out to be easier than I thought, largely because acrylic paint is easy to work with. It went exactly where I told it to go. The learning curve was in figuring out how to tell it. Here are the upper arm guards after painting:

    That completed the costume. The following pictures were taken by Rob Landley...first, with the el-wire turned off:

    And, finally, in the full glory of things, with the el-wire turned on. These pictures are a bit blurry because they had to be taken with the flash off, which led to a very slow shutter speed.

    One change has been made since these pictures. I used four rare earth magnets from Radio Shack to hold the Frisbee to the back. I had to move them up and inward so the stretch of the fabric would not pull them out of contact with the washer glued to the lining on the inside of the Frisbee. This made it easier (read possible) for me to put the disc on my back without having to look at it, as well as giving them more ability to hold it on in the first place.

    I've changed my mind about the color match: It's as good as it gets, I think, and how well it matches varies widely with the light in which things are seen. I doubt it could be improved, certainly not by me.

    One note: Splicing el-wire is possible, but not something I'd recommend doing if there's any alternative. In retrospect, I should have bought longer kits for the arm guards and Frisbee.

    [b][SIZE=2]The Masquerade and public comments[/b][/SIZE]
    The universal reaction was "cool!". I submitted the costume for judging in the workmanship category, thinking I'd get some really constructive comments from the judges. After that, we went out, one by one, and showed off to the audience, and optionally gave a presentation; I spoke for a few moments about how I wasn't Tron, but a simple payroll withholding calculation program that had gotten overweight by changes in the laws. The judges went off and decided while the MC entertained us and the audience.

    The awards were by area (things like presentation, theme, and so on). I won an award for workmanship - and the judges said, afterward, that it wasn't even close. I got a free membership to next year's Penguicon.

    The following pictures were taken by Leland Kesler, the Penguicon photographer. At the Masquerade:

    Lessons learned[list=1]
    [*]Fabric paint is a pain in the ass to deal with, and must be applied with a heavy hand if sharp edges on lines are desired. It would have probably helped if I had not worn and washed the unitard before painting, as that caused the fabric to pill somewhat, making it much harder to get the paint down into the fabric.
    [*]If you superglue something to a painted surface, you're not gluing to the item itself, but to the paint. I should have waited the specified 7 days for maximum chip resistance (which means maximum hardness and curing) before trying to glue the el-wire to it.
    [*]No matter how hard you try, the colors will never match exactly. Don't obsess about it; do the very best you can and quit worrying.
    [*]I got some slack cut because this was my first masquerade. It'll be tougher to win something next year...and it was suggested that, while I could re-enter this costume, doing so very many times would not be wise. Now, all I have to do is come up with another idea... [/list]
  3. !@#$%

    [email protected]#$% Moderator Crew

    Joined: Oct 1, 2002 Messages: 18,517 Likes Received: 623

    that's one ugly body.

    the camel toe.


    poop you're killin me.
  4. !@#$%

    [email protected]#$% Moderator Crew

    Joined: Oct 1, 2002 Messages: 18,517 Likes Received: 623
    "I spoke for a few moments about how I wasn't Tron, but a simple payroll withholding calculation program that had gotten overweight by changes in the laws."



    :lol: :lol: :lol:
  5. Once again, the Poopz comes through with record-shattering levels of funk.

    I can't help but feel some sort of respect for the man... but it's probably out of pity.

    Also, he has serious physical problems with his ass:

  6. EyeforAnEYE

    EyeforAnEYE Elite Member

    Joined: Sep 29, 2003 Messages: 4,199 Likes Received: 3
  7. !@#$%

    [email protected]#$% Moderator Crew

    Joined: Oct 1, 2002 Messages: 18,517 Likes Received: 623
    the asscheeks!

    i'm gonna have nightmares about this:lol:
  8. WebsterUno

    WebsterUno Guest


    no, the camel toe is worse...

    the suit is dope, but... :nope:
  9. <KEY3>

    <KEY3> Veteran Member

    Joined: Mar 24, 2004 Messages: 6,878 Likes Received: 2
    reminds me of last night's Simpsons with the Sci-Fi conference and Comic Book Guy.

    Edna K: I cant be with you
    Comic Book Guy: I dont understand.
    Edna K: Look, I'm like Marvel comics and you're DC.
    Comic Book Guy: I understand perfectly.

    please excuse this misquotes... too many blender drinks.
  10. Overtime

    Overtime Dirty Dozen Crew

    Joined: Apr 22, 2003 Messages: 13,989 Likes Received: 313
    that one rocked, i love the simpsons
  11. «DÉFL£PPÄRD»

    «DÉFL£PPÄRD» Member

    Joined: Aug 6, 2003 Messages: 331 Likes Received: 0
  12. CAPiTA

    CAPiTA Member

    Joined: Apr 13, 2003 Messages: 667 Likes Received: 0
    The man has demon asscheeks
  13. SteveAustin

    SteveAustin Veteran Member

    Joined: Mar 12, 2002 Messages: 7,042 Likes Received: 2
    holy shit....that guy kinda reminds me of the dude in the fed ex commerical.

    ...and we all remember when Frank won the workmanship award at the nerdcon...
  14. GnomeToys

    GnomeToys Elite Member

    Joined: Jun 24, 2003 Messages: 2,616 Likes Received: 4
    There are 2 kids in the computer lab right now, that both sound strangely like homosexuals with horrible lisps and down's syndrome who are trying to speak english as a second language.
  15. Dr. Dazzle

    Dr. Dazzle Veteran Member

    Joined: Nov 19, 2001 Messages: 8,147 Likes Received: 3
    And I thought I had too much time on my hands......