(Also known as "How I made a spectacle of myself in front of hundreds of people".)

Armored Fighting Unit (1982)

This outfit was inspired by the Heinlein novel "Starship Troopers" and by various John Byrne characters in X-Men. It's made from fiberglass and a lot of surplus parts (The weapon is a stripped-down vaccum cleaner glued to plastic sewer pipe). Probably the heaviest costume I've ever done, though not the most uncomfortable.

I first displayed this costume at Denvention II (The 1983 World Science Fiction Convention in Denver). I'd been waiting backstage for several hours, and the costume was hot, heavy, and my arms were falling off from lugging the weapon around. Then my turn came to go on-stage -- All of a sudden I found myself in front of several thousand applauding people. Suddenly I was light as a feather, and the costume didn't weigh anything at all.

Kron, the Conquerer (1983)

The idea behind this costume was to make a character whose face was a one-way mirror, with no obvious holes for eyes, mouth, etc. I figured that while I was doing this, I might as well make the entire character mirrored. The face plate was created using vaccuum formed transparent plastic (this was one of my earliest attempts at making a home-brew vaccuum forming setup), and then later painstakingly covered with strips of semi-mirrored mylar film, with a glue carefully selected not to ruin the optical properties of the plastic. The body suit is about 1000 mylar "scales" stiched onto lycra fabric.

I had a lot of free time in those days.

Kahiri (1984)

There have been lots of insect-like races in science fiction literature, but I had seldom seen them portrayed "right" in costume. I wanted to see how far I could push the limits of vaccuum-forming to create the illusion of a creature with chitinous skin. The shapes were initially carved from styrofoam using a hot wire and sandpaper, and then cast into forms that could withstand the heat of the vaccuum form.

The styrofoam carving was messy, so I built myself an inside-out "clean-room" (i.e. the dirt is on the inside) in the back yard out of a light wooden scaffolding and a bunch of clear plastic tarps. The tarps were taped together so that the little foam particles wouldn't leak all over the back yard.

The vaccuum form machine was constructed out of surplus oven parts, particle board, and iron rails. The oven chamber was about 3' x 4' x 3' tall, and could form a plastic sheet up to 2' x 3' in size.

This costume was first shown at LACON (The World Science Fiction Convention in Los Angeles) in 1984. A year later, I entered it into a halloween costume contest being sponsored by a local radio station and won a free "moped". (I was cheated, friends -- that moped never did work for more than a week and I sunk more money into it trying to keep it running than it was worth in the first place).

Talin, the Warrior of the Dream Plane (1985)

This was done in 1985, and was my last "armored" costume (I have done a couple of minor, sewn costumes since then). I quit because my career in computer games was finally taking off, and because of health concerns (my home-brew vaccuum-forming setup, built for a total cost of about 30 dollars, was not adequately ventilated). The inspiration for this costume was to create a abstract "dream" character. I originally came up with the name "Talin" for this character, and I liked it so I adopted it as my own, on the (somewhat dubious) theory that game designers ought be flamboyant.

New! You can find more recent pictures of the Dream Knight here

Last updated: Saturday, September 16, 1995

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