Tuesday, March 24, 2015

Say Hello To My Little Claptrap!!

He's done!

 "HELLOOOOO, TRAVELER!"

I probably should have set up a better photo backdrop, but I was so excited I just had John wheel Claptrap out to the back deck for some quick photos.

Behold our marvelous creation! MWUAH-HA-HAA!

"Oooh, check me out!"

We worked off of our own screen shots from Borderlands and this excellent reference art by Keith Schaffer:
 

We made Claptrap as screen accurate as we possibly could, right down to the screw heads. The only major differences are a few tweaks in the arm structure:


Claptrap definitely puts the "pain" in painting; we spend a solid 4 or 5 nights getting all those layers on. I was in charge of all the detail work, outlining and highlighting. And for the record: I am NOT an artist, so that was some scary stuff. 0.o Good thing my screw-ups can be chalked up to battle damage!
 

 John came up with a genius way of constructing the hands; they're pose-able and can even hold things!

I'm still deciding on things Claptrap might hold - the funnier the better. Any suggestions?

We originally planned to put one arm on a puppet-rod so I could make Claptrap wave, but the arm turned out too heavy for me. So instead John attached both arms at an angle, which we can easily change.

Unfortunately Claptrap does require someone to move him; he rolls on one wheel, and has a small handlebar on the back. (It's pretty short, so I'll probably be the one "driving.") He also has a magnetic kickstand, so we can step away for pictures.

We painted the kickstand so it blends in to Claptrap's body when it's up, but now that I've realized it's more important to blend in when it's DOWN, I'll be repainting that black soon.

 
 I think I should also paint the push bar black. Right? Or yellow?

The kickstand uses extremely strong magnets to hold it in place both when it's up and down. It could still be kicked out, of course, but it's the best compromise we could find between stability and ease-of-use. We'll just have to stick close-by at cons and make sure no one gives him a hearty back-slap.

 
 Note to self: next time move the deck chairs.

 
These daylight pics don't show it, but Claptrap IS lit up inside in four places: his eye, warning sign, bottom window, and antennae.

I'm most proud of the window below the Warning sign: I hand painted everything on there, and then we used a blue LED ribbon to match the light from the game. Here's a comparison shot:




And here are some shots in our darkened back room to give you a better idea of the lights:


We tried to make the lights relatively dim so they wouldn't blow out anyone's photos - although the green antennae light is a lot brighter IRL. We also shortened the antenna, both so it would fit better in photos, and so it won't whack me in the face while I'm pushing him around. :D

We used screen shots for the name plaque - which, oddly enough, does NOT match the letters Claptrap gives you in-game. (He calls himself the CL4P-TP.)


Here's our screen shot. The C looks a lot like a B, but that'd be just crazy-pants, so we stuck with C.


Claptrap has a hinged top and is almost completely hollow inside, so we can use him for storing our gear while at cons. (Handy, right?)

The one feature I *haven't* shown you yet is the audio; Claptrap is wired to say four different things from the game, using small push buttons on the back. (We cut open this keychain and just wired it to a bigger speaker.) Here's his most famous line:

(Watch your volume; he's pretty loud!)

And that's our Claptrap!
Those of you going to MegaCon will get to see his big debut, so be sure to say hi if you see/hear him coming your way!

(I don't expect we'll be in costume with Claptrap for MegaCon, but John and I brainstorming options for Dragon Con in August.)

 And finally, since I know most of you haven't played Borderlands, here's a compilation I found of some of Claptrap's best lines, to better help you appreciate his comedic genius/annoyingness.


Hope this made you guys smile! 

Oh, and this week John and I drive to Williamsburg, VA to help my parents with some remodeling, so I hope you'll bear with me if it gets a little quiet over here. Lots of stuff to share; just gotta find the time to do it!

64 comments:

  1. Holy Claptrap, that's gorgeous work! VERY impressive.

    Everyone will be drooling over him at MegaCon!

    Have fun in Williamsburg. Wishing you a safe, easy, and anxiety-free drive.

    KW

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  2. Claptrap is the best/worst part of Borderlands, I love him so much. And this build is SPECTACULAR - it makes me want to do a Borderlands cosplay just to get a photo with him...

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  3. He looks fantastic! (And hello from fellow Williamsburghers!)

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  4. Say hi to my brother in Williamsburg!

    And beautiful job, as always. I've never played the game, but I can definitely appreciate all your hard work!

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  5. Ohmigosh, Claptrap is absolutely amazing. DAT PAINTJOB.

    I'm in awe. For serious.

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  6. See, I see your Claptrap and now I'm thinking maybe I could make an R2-D2! :) LOVE the paint job! He looks very realistically aged and grimy.

    Plus, I happen to live about 45 minutes east of Williamsburg. If you get up there and need a change of scenery, put the word out! You and John are more than welcome to come to the big city of Norfolk, VA! :)

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  7. >>I'm still deciding on things Claptrap might hold - the funnier the better. Any suggestions?

    Stuffed animals! MLP or Staypuft! Kermit? the Epbot robot stuffie?

    Excellent work you two. When the blogging market collapses, you can build custom stuff for MILLIONS!!

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  8. It's amazing how much he looks like a 3-D animation that jumped straight off the screen. SO cool!

    Are you going to be at Megacon all weekend? I think I'm only going to be able to go on Sunday, but I'm super excited for my first big convention! I just hope I can finish my new Merida costume on time. :)

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    1. We'll definitely be there all 3 days, but Claptrap will only be out for some of that. Probably Friday and Sunday? I think? Saturday is so crazy busy, it'd be harder to maneuver him in the crowds.

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  9. So, now that you've done Claptrap, what about Wheatley from "Portal 2"? Because that would be awesome as well...
    BTW, I completely disagree with you claiming you "aren't an artist." Art comes in many forms. I would consider this as valid as any other.

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    1. Oh, man, I LOVE Wheatley. And how great would they be together? Two wise-cracking 'bots? Must brainstorm now...

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  10. Could he hold John's My Little Pony (was it Pinkie Pie? I can't remember...) - I think that would be fun! :)

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  11. That is beyond amazing. The detail is incredible. You guys did a fantastic job and should be so proud!

    I don't know why, but when you asked what he should hold, this is what popped into my head: Jose Jalapeño on a stick. It's been a long day.

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  12. I know nothing about Borderlands but I still went "OH YAY!" out loud when I saw that you finished him. He is awesome and I'm amazed by the detail!

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  13. Love him!!! And Borderlands. Great job!!!

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  14. I've never played Borderlands (should look into it when I finish some of the games on my eternal to-be-played pile) but even so, I can see the dedication and detail that went into making him. And all the little extras like voice and lighting? So cool! Well done both of you :D (and I second the Wheatley suggestion above!)

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  15. That is completely AWESOME!

    Hubby suggests that Claptrap could be holding an engagement ring. He says there's a video online of someone using a Claptrap to propose. My only other thought on what Claptrap could be holding is a (fake) banana. Because bananas are inherently funny. (I think I heard a comedian say that once somewhere...)

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  16. Hmmm, *pretty* good. But with the post title like that, I feel like he should have a cutie mark... ;) Never played the game, but wow, he looks amazing, you captured the style perfectly. I don't even want to imagine how many hours of work went into him! I love how you you two work so well as a team and complement each other too :)

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  17. This is amazing! I agree that you are most definitely a very talented artist. (Go look back at all your other project posts...see, that snuck up on you, didn't it!?)

    Have a great time in Williamsburg, I've lived here for about a year and a half now and it's a great place. If you guys are going to go out I'd highly recommend D.O.G. St Pub for a terrific beer selection and awesome upscale pub food (or you can go to their little bottle shop next door and grab a growler or two). Or, if you're looking for something a little more low key, Food for Thought is a bit more budget friendly and the food is wonderful (breakfast on the weekend is also spectacular).

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    1. Oooh, thanks for the suggestions! I'll definitely look 'em up!

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  18. You could buy a bowtie, stick some double sided tape on it, slap it on him, then make him hold a screwdriver so he can cosplay too.

    Or you could buy/make a faux game controller, so it would look like he plays the game too.

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  19. Replies
    1. LOVE. Now I want to make a whole bunch of Claptrap costumes...

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  20. This is absolutely amazing!! He came out so perfectly!

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  21. How can you say you're not an artist? That paint job is amazing! That took some serious skill.
    And it has LIGHTS and SOUND? You two are awesome! Thanks for sharing!

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  22. Safe Travels to you! Enjoy Williamsburg ! Clap trap is awesome.. even though i've never played the game it looks fun well... fun in the sense that i would be completely happy watching someone else play it because when i play video games i get frustrated and throw things like controllers... there is a sad graveyard of N64 controllers in my past... it is a crime against video games and i will stand trial one day for my crimes.

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  23. Oh man. I really need to get off my butt and see if it's too late to plan a DragonCon trip this year - I had all the best intentions before Christmas and then things got so insane we never got to it!

    He's totally amazing; you guys should consider doing prop design professionally!

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  24. Perhaps he could be holding a selfie stick. That's pretty obnoxious.

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    1. This made me LOL. Living in tourist town, we've learned to LOATHE the selfie-stick. Ha!

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  25. You're coming to Williamsburg! Any interest in going to Busch Gardens? It opens this weekend.

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    1. We plan to be doing construction work the whole time, but who knows? Given how fast John works, maybe we'll have it done the first day and get to goof-off the rest of the trip. ;)

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  26. OOH! OOH! Claptrap should hold one of those little hand clapper noisemaker thingies!

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  27. really nice! and even more because of the hollow inside.
    for what clap-trap can hold, I've 2 ideas : a string of sausages, or a bright (maybe pink?) feather duster!!

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  28. I want to take him home, he's adorable! He should hold a "party horn" blow thing... you know what I mean? I feel like we all know but what is the actual name of those things? Well, regardless, in the second game he has a birthday party and obviously can't blow one because no lungs :-P Photo here-

    http://borderlands.wikia.com/wiki/Claptrap's_Birthday_Bash!?file=CLPTRP_b-day01.png

    PS- I love when I'm commenting on your ClapTrap posts and then I have to confirm that I am not a robot. Appropriate.

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  29. And I've been thinking about it for a bit and would love to see you do a Gaige cosplay if you decide to pick someone! I think she's a good fit :-)

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  30. Fabulous! You two get on with your bad selves! :)

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  31. Looks amaaaazing! All that thoughtfulness is awesome. Can't wait to see him in action!

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  32. Never played the game, but he looks gorgeous regardless!

    For the push bar, I think it would look pretty good painted with bands of color to match what is directly behind the bar. Yellow sides, black middle, red, black, and white stripes in between. Solid black would also look good, and I think that wouldn't jump out as much as solid yellow.

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  33. I was watching The Sound of Music this weekend and the Baroness's line came to mind when I saw your finished Claptrap. "My dear, is there anything you can't do?" He is seriously amazing! And that's coming from someone who has never seen the game. As I was looking at the pics, I was going to ask if he's going to make an appearance at Dragoncon as I actually get to go this year for the first time! Woot woot! So glad he's going to be there with you (btw, it's actually in Sept, not August this year). Major kudos to you both for a job fantastically done!

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  34. Really, really stunning work, you two. You should seriously consider starting a custom prop shop for cosplayers and/or movie houses. Your attention to detail is amazing, and it really is all about the details. Nobody will notice if the fabric isn't exactly the right shade or that the hem is a little crooked when you've nailed those iconic prop details! Many costumers/cosplayers are only really good at one or the other--sewing or fabricating--and look for outside help.

    Also, I second the vote to let Claptrap cosplay! I used to keep a piggy bank at work for employees to pay for snacks/drinks, and that little guy got holiday-specific costumes year-round!

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  35. I keep seeing him holding a wand and saying "it's levi-OH-sah, not levio-SAH." ^_^

    Beautiful build!

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  36. Great job! He looks fantastic! I'd like to see photos of him wearing Mickey ears or holding something super cutesy, like a pretty pink parasol or a teddy bear.

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  37. That is amazing! Excellent job!

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  38. You two never cease to amaze me! Cpaptrap is fantastic!

    I agree that the push bar might look best if painted to match what is behind it on Claptrap, as Anonymous said. Otherwise, black or the dark grey to match the other metal parts.

    Would it be just too self serving to have Claptrap holding a carrot riding Mohawk baby? Or perhaps an Epbot plushie? Maybe he should carry a towel. ;- )

    - Just Andrea

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  39. Paint the kickstand seal-style, or bird-style if you prefer... The bottom (in this case the side that shows when folded) stays the same, to match clap trap. the "top" (the side you see when it is down) paint grey/black. He looks totally awesome!

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    1. Just what I was going to say - one side matches him when it's up, the other side is a generic charcoal / green / blue / brown camouflage-y melange that will blend into a variety of different floorings when it's down.
      Ab fab job, by the way - art is something you do because you love it and YOU like how it turns out, not something 'art snobs' judge you by, but I agree with the others that say you do create art - tangible, wearable, exciting, ENJOYABLE art. You've got a bigger following than many 'real artists' out there :-)
      As for what he holds - I'd love to see something that accessorises with your own costume, if you're wearing one, or as someone else suggested, he could have his own costume :-). Hmmmm, what would Claptrap cos-play as - C3PO? R2D2? ....

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  40. I wonder how many of these projects you'll have to do before you'll consider yourself an artist. :D

    Your (and John's of course!) is amazing!

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  41. I look at those little hands and think - sock puppet!

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  42. He's soooo beautiful! My brother and I *just* finished playing Borderlands 1 in co-op mode a few days ago. I hadn't actually played it when you first posted about him however many months ago, so it means a lot more to me now that I've come to know and love the little guy.

    Hopefully I'll get to meet him in person at MegaCon! I'm not from the area but happen to be making a Disney trip with my mom that week. Still some details to iron out, but it seems like I may be able to get there. Fingers crossed!

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  43. I've never played Borderlands, but I have to say, your Claptrap is amazingly well done. :)
    Oh, and he should totally be holding a teacup. With the saucer in the other hand.

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  44. He is amazing! Fantastic job, Jen & John!
    You're going to have to make a functional Epbot Bot next! :) How fun would that be??!
    Have a great time in Williamsburg! I think I can speak for everyone when I say, "WE EXPECT PICTURES!" :)

    -- Piper P from Washington State

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  45. Cake — Claptrap should definitely be holding a cake!

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  46. AMAAAAZING!!!! Quick idea on the kickstand...leave the yellow blending in paint on one side and paint black on the other side which will show when kicked down? Such a small detail in the long run. Everyone will just be in awe for sure!

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  47. He's PHENOMENAL, guys (that paint job is gorgeous)! Be proud... and prepare to be swarmed at cons!

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  48. That is beyond amazing! At first glance I thought you had bought The Handsome Collection Claptrap because it looks so authentic!

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  49. Wow he looks like he's wheeled himself right out of the game, he is so stunning and perfect, such a professional looking job, I just want to give him a hug and introduce him to my claptrap backpack

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  50. Wow. Also, did anyone suggest a pineapple? Pineapples are hilarious.

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  51. As an homage to The Bloggess, he should hold a roll of twine!

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  52. Really need help with the posable arms. If you could tell me how to do that I would be beyond grateful.

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    1. The elbow joints are just held in place by friction from the visible screws, so it's relatively easy to adjust the arm's position: just pull or push to make the arm go up/down. Same goes for the hands: both the top and bottom hand flaps have a flat metal bar curled around a plastic T-tube, and that friction holds them tightly enough that it takes a little effort to open or close the hand.

      The hardest joint to change is at the "shoulder," which has two long bolts each that pierce the body. John made two or three different sets of holes for those bolts to go through, so we can change the arm's angle; but that requires unscrewing the nuts on the bolts & physically removing & replacing the arm.

      I hope that was clear enough! Take a look at some of the arm and hand close-ups, and I *think* you'll be able to see how they fit together.

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  53. From one artist to another: Awesome Work!

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    1. Ooh, thanks, Keith! Your art was a huge help!

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