Subject Delta builds always have a lot of pieces and parts. Typically just when I think I’m done, I look and see that I have more to do.
Helmet – Check
Drill – Check
Backpack with tanks – No-Check
Suit Patched and Weathered – No-Check
Weight Belt – Are you kidding me! I completely forgot! ARGH!
After I got over my fear from the failed Night Guard build, I tackled the backpack and tanks.
The 2011 model had the tanks and pack were bolted directly to the frame inside the helmet. This added bulk and weight and made traveling with it a pain. Since the new goals were easier and lighter, I decided to make a real pack that could be bolted directly to the helmet and removed for transport. Given the helmet is fiberglass and Bondo, it should take the weight, as long as I keep it as low as possible.
Two of these battery powered LED strips I got on sale at Home Depot will be mounted behind the lid and provide backlighting for the Eve and health tanks.
The other tanks simply needed to be tubes. If I could store things in them, like water bottles or spare batteries, that would be a plus. I tried a couple of different methods before settling on:
Two Folger’s coffee cans glued together. Light and provide storage. I used a little fiberglass and Bondo to smooth out some seams and details, but mostly it was glue and paint.
The smaller tank is just a piece of poster board that I soaked in resin and then added a band of fiberglass to reinforce the area where the nozzle would be.
These tanks are on my back. Very few will actually even see this. I’m not going to waste a lot of time on these kind of details, unless I was doing this for a contest. This is for fun. I’m going to keep it fun.
Results after painting. I used my same technique from last year in painting these. Age and rust effects are fun.
Now for the Even and health. Again, I went through a couple of tests before getting to the final version. Mainly leak tests.
Most people use hair gel for the fluid. I’ve talked to one person that used Gator-Aid in his build (brilliant!), but I’m kind of hung up on corn syrup and food dye.
Now time to mount the backpack. This I couldn’t get wrong. I had to plan it out carefully and execute it once. There's not a lot of weight, but enough to make me a little nervous. I epoxied a piece of 3/4” MDF to the helmet to make up the hollow in the lid and provide a little more support. The method I chose for the actual attaching was spring hollow wall anchors and washers. Works great.
Oh, and I did have to cut the bottom off of the PVC frame so it would all fit in the trunk. I added two PVC couplings so I can attach it and remove it as needed.
Backlighting looks too cool.
Now for the suit and weight belt. The 2011 suit was a bit small. I ordered a Tall, but got a regular. The 2012 is a Tall, thank heavens. Still, I was able to recycle a lot of the bits and details for the 2011 suit to the 2012 suit, like the patches, elbow and knee pads.
One piece I really wanted to upgrade was the Eve tube that runs down Delta’s left arm. I had it last year, but you couldn’t see it. Blue tube on blue suit. It should have glowed, so let’s make the 2012 upgrade glow.
Now the belt was going to be easy. Foam rectangles glued to a belt and weathered with shoe polish.
There was one more piece to add. Something to the inside shoulders of the suit:
These are two pieces of foam rounded over my shoulders. I call it the “Notman Device” after my friend Megan Notman. She was concerned about the weight of the helmet on my shoulders and recommended some sort of frame or padding. This also helps raise my shoulders and takes some of the weight off my head. Turns out using a hard hat for the base causes the weight to be transferred right to your head and neck. Joy.
Weathering by coffee grounds and shoe polish. It’s subtle, but just what I was after.
All I have to do now is pack it up, travel it to Dragon*Con, and have so much fun wearing it. If you see me, come up and say “Hi”!