Down with this sort of thing - Tactical Ninja
Jul. 29th, 2013
09:48 am - Down with this sort of thing
I'm pretty sure this week is the last week of the YoT's 30 day trial period in his job. He's been getting a reasonable amount of work and this week he has 30 hours of shifts. He seems to regularly get offered extra time too, and so far he's taken it. He's been diligently washing his work clothes every day (because they don't give you very much when you're only on trial - if he's taken on permanently he'll get more), and being all shower-all-the-time and responsible worker and stuff. And yesterday he thanked me for doing the groceries and vacuuming the floor. I was all "Are you sure you're not an alien?" Teenage young men are not supposed to be so.. biddable. Then, he was like that as a baby too, so maybe I just got super lucky. Anyway, go him. He's on his way and doing quite well at it. ;-)
Batching is a Dargaville term. At least, that's where I learned it. Dargaville being the backward sort of hole that it is, it's generally used when the wife half of a couple is away and the husband is on his own. There's nobody to look after him and he's free to do whatever he wants - I think it's a shortening of 'bacheloring' or something. Anyway, I think the idea that women look after men and their absence means freedom is a load of gender-normative shite, so I've usurped the term and now I'm using it. Fuck you, Dargaville and your smallmindedness.
Anyway, Dr Wheel flew out for Amsterdam at lunchtime on Saturday, leaving me to my own devices for two weeks. It seems unlikely there'll be hookers and blow and I'm perfectly capable of taking care of myself, so I use the term 'batching' very loosely. The first thing I did was finish the shaping of the plate armour:
I only had to repeat one plate because I put the thermoplastic on backwards, and now it's done I can put the heat gun away and focus on the rest of the stuff. One thing I should point out though - this armour is the mage set, but the rogue set is very similar, right? And if you're wearing this stuff with all that leather, there's no way you're sneaking up on anybody. It creaks like whoah. Maybe if you were surrounded by creaky floorboards or a mob of baaaing sheep you could stealth up behind folks, but otherwise, this is the Armour of Certain Death for rogues. Come to think of it, rogues normally wear leather, what's up with that?
Anyway, I made myself a Gantt chart for this project, because there are so many prerequisite steps and I was starting to lose track of them. Also, I used software for it. *gasp* Happy, you may now feel smug and say "I told you so."
So then I went to the GCSB protest. There was a good turnout. Estimates put it at between 800 and 2000 people, which is a pretty big lump of people for Apathetic Aotearoa. I'm in here somewhere, as are quite a few of my friends.
Whether the government will take note of just how many people object to this bullshit remains to be seen. My guess is no, but hopefully the opposition will, eh?
And then after that there was dyeing. I'm going for a colour somewhere between 'tobacco' and 'russet'. It involved dampening the leather and using emery paper to scuff up the sealed surface on the older stuff (so the dye can soak in, otherwise it just runs off), then smearing the dye all over the piece with a sponge. Here's the first batch:
The gloves ended up taking three coats to get the right colour. Here you can see the original colour with the freshly-dyed colour side by side. You can also see my work surface and the various dyeing paraphernalia.
The gloves were really old from an op shop and had been well sealed. The emery paper managed to open up the surface, but it was still pretty resistant, and when it dried it was patchy and almost back to the original colour. Three coats later it's not bad, still a bit patchy but at least the right shade, and I figure gloves would be patchy what with blood and other things you'd be handling with them right? Right?
Actually I like that about the old leather, even though it's harder to dye. It already has weathering so I won't have to work so hard to make it look old. Win! In not-so-win, I discovered that one layer of latex between me and this stuff is not enough, and now I have stains on my fingertips that make it look like I smoke about 20 packs a day. Ah well...
On Sunday I pulled out the Brainfart and worked out how I would put it all together to run off the battery. The thing is, I want to make it so that I can still run it off the mains for testing, and the simplest way to do that is to have a connection that I can plug into either the mains adapter or the battery. While I was at it, I wanted to make the whole thing as modular as possible so that it's easy to plug parts in and out, for easy swapping since I'm still in the prototyping stage. The upshot of this is that I needed four pairs of very specific DC connectors, and do you think anyone in NZ actually has them in stock right now? So off to Adafruit I went, and now I'm doing the Wait For Stuff From America dance again. However, I have a much better idea of how it's all going to fit together, and more confidence about making it work.
Then I painted gryphons! As you do.
The above is a test, in that I'm trying two different methods to get the embossed finish that the gryphons on the armour have. The black on the breastplate is a mix of heavy artist's gel medium and black paint so I could see what I was doing, and the white on the arm badge is Mod Podge (which is kind of like PVA but thicker). The Mod Podge was much easier to paint on, but it's a bit runny and I'll have to do many coats to get the effect I want. The medium was harder - I had to spread it on like paste and then carve the indentations with a pointy stick - but I think I like the effect better and ultimately it'll be faster. I will have to go over it with Mod Podge to round it off, but I suspect it's the better option so I'll do the badge with it tonight.
And then I cut out all the pieces to make the jacket, so that I can start getting on with putting those metal studs on the quilting, which has to happen before I sew it together. Because repetitive tedious tasks are what I live for.
Hookers and blow? Nope, rivets and studs. And not in the fun way. Ah well, I guess this is part of reclaiming batching, right?
My rivets arrived this morning. This means I can put some buckles on and start dubbining the leather to make it soft. Why do I have to work again?
Meanwhile, today I have an appointment with the dental hygienist. Hands up who loves visiting the hygienist!
Yeah. I love how my mouth feels afterwards, but I could live without the process. The day they invent a non-invasive teeth-cleaning process, I'll be first in line. Eep.