Friday, 24 February 2012

The Final Assembly!

Do do doo-doo!  Etc...

Of course, claiming that there was any such thing as a "final" assembly would be a lie.  Due to the fact that I could only part-assemble the costume at home there was also going to have to be some assembly when we got to the Weekender venue.  And then of course various touch ups during the night.  And so on.  But we did what we could at home.

Vorlon Vorlon, burning bright...

The first thing to do was to re-attach the eye-piece LEDs (which had been removed for painting).  And then the simple task of temporarily re-assembling the legs, hanging the fabric again, attaching the fabric "permanently" (or so we thought) with heavy duty staples, adding the detail, and then taking the legs off again.  Low maintenance costumes?  I have them not.

What a world, what a world...

And that there is the fruits of my labour.  The only other thing I forgot to picture was the attachment of the... scallops either side of the speech-board.  You can see one in the bottom left of the picture.  Basically these were just shoulder pads of the right size covered in the same fabric as the speech-lights were.  They were, of course, attached with staples...

With that done, the one thing left was to get it in the car and take it to Prestatyn, home of Pontins, home of the SFX Weekender.  Luckily, that contraption, pictured above, does indeed fit into the boot of a Puma.  Just.  I was so lucky with that.

Of course, the drama doesn't end there.  But it's drama that I was busy being a part of, so didn't get to document, so you'll have to bear with me as I related it textually.  Or just skip ahead.  I won't blame you.  I've already skipped ahead in my mind.  (To the bottle of wine I have waiting for me in the fridge as a reward for doing that, that is.)

Naturally I had to keep the costume secret all weekend.  As luck would have it the sun was setting as we arrived at Pontins, and by the time we got to our chalets it was dark, so we were able to move the costume from the car to our chalet under cover of darkness (and a blanket - to protect it from the British weather).  Which was when we hit our first problem.

As already stated previously, I'd very carefully ensured that the encounter suit would fit through a single door, and adjusted the costume to ensure that it did.  Well, you see, the thing about Pontins chalets, is... that they don't adhere to the norms.  Of the late 20th century, at any rate.  The chalet door was too narrow.  Disaster!

Thankfully, however, our friends the lovely JJ and the almost-as-lovely Dave had stumped up the money for a VIP chalet.  A VIP chalet with a patio door - a patio door wide enough to accommodate a Vorlon encounter suit.  JJ was joining us in costume, too - she'd decided to go as Ambassador Delenn (and made herself an awesome bone ridge), and so the three of us (myself as Kosh, the Empress as Lyta Alexander/random Psi-Corp hotty, and JJ as Delenn) were going to be one mobile diorama.  So after much furtive and secretive measuring (mostly based on the length of my arm) we decided that the final final assembly would take place in their VIP chalet.  Despite it being on the 1st floor.  Yes, even with stairs and a balcony, it was still more convenient than our own ground-floor chalet.  Go figure.

On the night of the costume contest then, having spent the previous two days attempting to memorise all the main and wide routes in preparation for my mostly blind in-costume walk, we moved the encounter suit and all the bits to JJ and Dave's chalet, and assembled.

The main addition we made at this stage was twine.  Yes, twine.  We'd also hit on the idea of using twine to basically prevent the legs from splaying out too much.  This kinda worked, but the costume was a lot less stable on the night itself.  But ce la vie, lessons learned for next time (ha!).

So we assembled the encounter suit (with much patient help from Dave), got into costumes (including my angel costume), and carried the encounter suit as far as we could without being spotted.  Once we were in danger of being seen, I climbed inside, and slowly we made our way to the pub, where the initial costume judging was taking place...

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