FACTS 2016 G(h)ent.

Discussion in 'European Regiment' started by kaween, Apr 2, 2016.

  1. kaween

    kaween

    Hellowwwww !

    Just came back from my first run in the MKVI suit at FACTS 2016 and it was a blast.

    Most importantly : a BIG HELLO and High-Five to B;Carter and Johans' Noble Six for being there and the face-to-face with you both. Vous-etes SUPER SYMPA tous les deux !!
    I'm really looking forward to bump into you guys in the future. And Johan : FIX that Visor man ! :D If you need help with it, I can come with some ideas and help to make it work better ! What I mean to say is : At first, 100% visability for the wearer of the suit was primordial out of pure self-interest, as I didn't want to miss out on stuff to see which I would not have because of the physical limitations of the armor we're wearing.

    But today I've seen that a big part of the fun of this stuff is actually SEEING the other people's reactions to yourself. That's a totally new concept to me as in my work/professional life, my actions are mostly invisable (techs tend to stay invisable while keeping stuff running, we're supposed to be invisable in the ideal world) so I tend to stay below the radar on a daily basis. But having kids come up to you, some of them little higher than my MA5C asking for a picture .... the look in those eyes? Priceless ! Up till today, that thought never even crossed my mind.

    Missing out on that is missing out on a lot.

    Your suit looked AWESOME and fits your .... impressive frame. (I felt very, very small next to you !). And GET SOME AIRFLOW ! I was walking around in a 2x5cm Fan cooled helmet and had no issues with heat, but I switched of the fans just for a test and after 5 minutes just standing there became really uncomfortable, let alone the idea of walking in such conditions.

    While I never thought my armor is that much to look at -and I still don't as there's SO much room for imporovement-, I stopped counting the times I was asked for a picture or video once I hit the 100 mark, which was in the very early afternoon after just 2 hours at the Con.
    My daughter was so nice to take a crapload of pictures of the meet&greets with other cosplayers, I'll make sure to post of couple of them sometime tomorrow..

    While it was a lot of fun, it was also a learning experience for me. A lot of things worked really well. Others didn't quite work mainly because of easy-fixable issues which I didn't think about when preparing the suit for the Con. I'll make sure to make a little list of the stuff that caused issues and could have been prevented some frustration during the cosplay.

    But for tonight, I'll sign off and I'll put some extra info and pictures in the thread.

    PS : my sweet daughter tells me some pictures will be blurry as "her photo taking skills s*ck big time", but I'm grateful she did her best.
    PPS : mounting an action camera on the helmet worked out sweet. The thing filmed for 8 hours in one stretch without failing, after I jerry-rigged the camera lens module just before the con started (lens module fell OFF just prior to entering the building, had to Macguiver it on the spot. :D
     
  2. kaween

    kaween

    Okay, As promised, Pictures and Tips.

    1) The suit did survive the first con pretty well. Foam made as it is, there's no problem with temperature except for the helmet, but that too was no issue as my helmet has a forced airflow using 2 x 5cm 12V fans which are running at 4,5 V : that way, they are nearly totally quiet while still giving the wearer the air he needs. It's also the only place where I use non-rechargables as the used battery pack was a 3xAA pack. Using reachargables would only have resulted in 3,6V to start with and that just wasn't enough. The batteries kept going for a full day, no issue there.
    But for the next con, that pack will be exchanged for a 4xAA pack so I can use rechargables there too.

    2) Extra-reinforce bended/arced foam when it is put under strength. I was afraid the suit would fall apart after a couple of hours but I only had one suit malfunction at the later part of the day, just prior to meeting up with Johan and Carter : the inside of the upper-arm part that goes around the arm tore in two.

    3) ... there's a lot of space in these suits. Hence a "suit first aid kit" was incorperated prior to the con : some very strong double sided tape, some duct tape (of course), some padding foam. And yes, I was able to field-repair the defective part that way within a couple of minutes. It felt a bit loose after the repair but it did hold together for the remainder of the day without any issues.

    4) Here's the thing with high-power leds : yes they look fab. There was even one guy asking me if the helmet was a "Halo'ed" firemans helmet as he said he was a fireman himself, and the LED design on the helmet was really bright enough to give that idea of "search lights". BUT : focused LED's (with the extra led lenses I used) also wreck havoc on anyone trying to take a picture. I'm thinking of incorperating a "hi/lo" switch to the leds so I can still keep them on when people try to take a picture preventing their camera's to go goofy. You'll see this problem too in the pictures I posted which my daughter made.

    5) I'll need some kind of feedback on the helmet camera I made. Prior to the con, I had mounted the lens system of the action camera and I had made a little visual indicator in the visor to know where "the camera actually looks at", as the image is tilted slightly downward to prevent fiming the upper inside of the helmet. Sadly, the camera lens group fell off (grrrrr ....) and broke of the extender cable while on the way to the con. I fixed the camera hoping it would still function, but I had no idea IF and WHAT I was filming and while at the end of the day I found the camera had been filming all day, the angle of the recording was far too low.
    So I'll need some kind of direct feedback/monitor system to prevent that from happening again.
    On the bright side : the images that came out of the cheap Mobius camera are very, very good. And if you change the internal battery of the Mobius for an external 3,7V LiPo 3800mAh battery, the camera fims 8 hours in continuous mode at 1080p@30fps, taking about 30GB in space.

    6) I had attached the 2 upper arm pieces to each other with a strap over my back. Not a good idea. The result is these parts had the tendancy to "rotate outwards" and they needed to be repositioned every 15 minutes or so. I'll change this for a "direct connect to the armor" type of setup next time to prevent this.

    7) One of the first things I tried to light up the light points of the suit was these finger/reading lights. Personally I knew they were pretty crap, but I hoped they would still make it through the day.
    Well, they didn't. I didn't have enough time to replace them with a better solution and sure enough, the light ports I used to light up with these things gave out after 5 hours. They still light up, but far, far weaker then they're supposed to do. I still went ahead with them because several 405th members stated they have had good experiences with them so I gave them those lights a go and hoped for the best.

    So if you're looking to stay in suit for a full day : DO NOT USE THESE THINGS. THEY ARE CRAP. YOU HAVE BEEN WARNED.

    You can use them if you're only walking around for an hour or 3 if they're running from these typical 3xAR13 cell type of setup. They will still light up, but not nearly bright enough to make the visual impact you need. Just to compare : the 4 helmet lights that are "so bright they pose problems to a camera" run from a single reachargable 9V block. After a full day of working, they show no sign of dimming what so ever.

    8) My suit is actually a bit too big. I knew this, but the suit was made along the "make it as big a humanly possible" axiom. As a result, I had to add quite a lot of padding which I did using light cell foam, to avoid "letting the suit dance around me" all the time. This was probably the smartest move I could have made ! Not only did this keep all the suit parts seem like they were glued into place, they do "work" with you and never "strangle" you. For example, the complete legs (upper and lower parts) did not need any harness/fixation/clips to keep them in place. On a whole day, I only had to re-allign the upper and the lower parts of the legs one time after sitting down for something to eat. I still have these part connected to a waist belt, but they will stay in place without doing so.
    However, I neglected doing this to the body part of the armor. As a result, the backside of the armor tended to pull-up the front side quite a lot. Need to fix that for the next time.

    9) A good undersuit is priceless. I used a pretty cheap compression suit used by cyclists and such which was recommended to me by a track runner, and it felt great all of the day. I've worn a cheap Morph Suit once, and I was glad to get out of it after only an hour or two. This compression suit ? You can keep it on for 24 hours and it still feels like a second skin. It only costed me 25€ or so but I'm glad I had it on me.

    10) What ever you do or design, make sure you have an optimum view through the visor. To stay in character, keeping the hemet on at all times is important I've noticed. But in the ideal world, your vision should NEVER be impaired by your headgear, otherwise a big part of the "being there" experiences is lost. And the idea is to have fun yourself, no ?
    To prevent the visor from fogging up, I cleaned the inside of the visor with foam cleaner and I put in a couple of bags of silica gel inside the helmet liner. I had my helmet on for 8 hours straight and together with the fans they kept my helmet absolutly fog-free for that entire time.


    As said, I had a great time and it was a great experience. I'm hooked. Damn you (aimed at my daughter for dragging me into this) ! :)
    And as far as the pictures lack of quality : my son did break my AND her mobile phone just 2 days before the Con -not really his fault, it's just one of these "Murphy's law" things- and the only older phone I still had around was used. The quality is only so-and-so but it still is usable.

    Johan and Me (Medium).jpg Fair trade (Medium).jpg Bling ! (Medium).jpg Green and greener (Medium).jpg Minime (Medium).jpg Ouch (Medium).jpg Sweet (Medium).jpg These guys were awesome too (Medium).jpg This guy looked awesome (Medium).jpg Putting things to perspective (Medium).jpg
     
  3. B Carter

    B Carter

  4. kaween

    kaween

    Hi !

    The pleasure was all mine, I assure you. :)
    Oh, you can count on us being there on the 22th (saturday), that was always a given even if my suit would have melted, exploded, desintegrated or whatever. :)

    Facebook request made, thanks for the headsup.

    PPS : somewhat off-topic. Our family must be cursed in terms of using smartphones.
    As I wrote, last week my son accidently caused 2 smartphones to go belly-up. He jump-scared his big sister who inadvertedly dropped her phone. The phone still started up, but no sim card was detected. So we presumed the sim card holder was probably defective : I put my sim into her phone : no sim detected. Just to be sure, I took HER sim and placed in my phone : "no sim detected" in my phone.
    And here's the killer : I put in back MY sim in MY phone : "no sim detected". Another sim that was prior tested working in another phone : same thing.

    So I buy 2 new phones for me and my daughter. First one I test : power up, battery 75%. Configure it. Take ONE picture with flash. Flash does NOT work. Phone dies immideatly after taking the picture, starts smelling like burning electronics and the lens unit of the phone feels burnin hot. AAAARGH.

    *bangs head against the wall*¨. Ah well, ***** happens I suppose.
     
  5. Mesh

    Mesh

    I love the pictures, hopefully I'll be able to do the EU cons soon!
     
  6. kaween

    kaween

    Thanks ! And yes, I hope we'll all get together someday, be it on this side of the channel or the other ! (extends virtual hand to Mesh).
    My daughters' friend has taken some pictures too, I'll see if there's something nice there too and I'll add them if I think they're worth it.

    What might be interesting to know : I've seen Peter/Peterthethinker commenting about how strickt the gun laws on a convention he wanted to attend had become, allowing next to nothing anymore, and I could feel he was understandably frustrated about this.
    I did read the weapons check on that convention : it was mind boggling. They even went so far as to stipulate that a water gun would not be allowed "when beeing able to shoot water".

    FACTS 2016 was predicted to be the "most strickt weapons check in a long time", but it wasn't half as problematic as I thought/was led to believe. Their gun control rules stated that "anything that remotely resembles a real gun would not be allowed", more or less limiting weapons to a light saber/star trek phaser/minecraft sword kind of thing.

    But my MA5C (foam) passed without issues, so did my metal-look Boomco M6H. I came across commando/black ops cosplayers toting realisticly looking seriously heavy weaponary too. No red tips nowhere by the way. The only thing they didn't allow was metal blade/stabbing weapons, airsoft weapons and full metal replica or demilitarised models of existing weapons, although you could BUY stuff like that at FACTS without any issue, go figure. My son came back with an excellent, heavy full metal reproduction of LOTR's "Stinger" which I could use to really harm somebody without any problem as-is .... odd.

    I've seen that the weapon control at Gamescom is roughly the same : no metal replica's, metal blades, airsofts. If the stuff is made of foam I don't think there's a problem.

    ONE last piece of advise : if you need to pack stuff, use transparant plastic bags, avoid backpacks. The entrance-check goes so much faster using transparant bags at FACTS, I wouldn't be surprised it's similar at other conventions too.
     
  7. Mesh

    Mesh

    My only problem is costs by far, I'm 17 with a terrible job, a train from Cardiff to Belgium would kill me tbh, and if the UK does up and out, it'd only make it 10x worse :/
     
  8. B Carter

    B Carter

  9. kaween

    kaween

    Last edited by a moderator: Aug 3, 2017
  10. B Carter

    B Carter

    Thank for the link :)
     
  11. m073

    m073

    Hey,

    nice to read and see you perhaps next time on another con.
     
  12. TheEternalDream

    TheEternalDream

    Wow so many tips and experiences, thanks for posting them all and I will keep them in mind while building my suit.
    Glad you had fun at the con!!
     
  13. kaween

    kaween

    Glad you found them of use. I'm 100% sure 99% of the guys on this forum all know these (and a crap load more) tips as they've all gone through the ropes years ago. I'm also quite sure nearly all these tips have passed the revue years ago here too and nearly everybody here takes them as "a given". Finding such tips if you don not know what you're looking for however is just a needle in a haystack kind of thing.

    Hence I hoped/thought that passing a "first timers' point of view" could help new Spartans from making the same errors over and over again. :)

    - - - Updated - - -

    Well unless something terrible happens, I'll be there on the 20th at Gamescom. :) Tickets are bought anyway.
     
    m073 likes this.
  14. CommanderPalmer

    CommanderPalmer Membership Officer

    Wow! Awesome post-action or rather post-con report! :D

    Love to read it! :D

    I'm very happy to hear your costume held the whole con and it came back undamaged! \o/
    You got me thinking and even if I try to avoid any fans, I think a little of installing a very small 2,5cm fan inside of my helmet... if it works out... but about the silica gel! OH WOWOW! I'm totally going to try the SILICA GEL! *_* THANK YOU SO MUCH FOR THE TIP!

    About the leds on the helmet - as cool as the idea of "search-light" on the helmet sounds, I also kinda agree - they are pain in the ass to take photos or even look at if you're the guy looking at the awesome costume as they make you blind. x_X
    But it looks so cool xD

    Also, so sorry for your camera ;_; but the good thing is that it filmed! :D

    As for attaching the shoulder pieces - I agree, this is how I also thought that the pieces would rotate. Did you think of doing a harness underneath to keep the shoulder pieces from sliding? or something like that?

    I actually disagree with you. After looking at the many photos I can only say NONE of the armor pieces is too big. They all look perfectly. None is over- or undersized. If you mean the back of the chest piece - you can always cut the torso to make less wide or just hide the gap with foam or something, but looking from the front - the chest piece is perfect.


    As for the Germany - they have pretty strict gun laws, not particularly for cons, but talking overall. Airsofts are bad, over 0.5J there is NO auto-fire allowed and you have to get them with special "F" sign or they count as illegal.
    I've heard some things about Gamescom and wanted to read about the rules, especially for props, etc.
    They will check your props - so if your guns are either foam or plastic and NON-functional, it's cool. For example, I have the BoomCos, I don't play with them so I remove their mechanism anyway - it also takes away the weight, which is good.
    I'm not sure, but someone COULD go with an airsoft replica - you have to remove ALL the mechanism inside making it basically a non-functional prop. I'm not sure though.

    BUT, they always check your props - if you have no metal - plastic or foam props, it's ok. As for knives - I totally understand, no convention would allow a sharp metal knife... o.o'
    As for the props - even if you bought the Stinger, you did it after you came in. :D Also, the props are never sharpened - they are bit sharp, but it's a lot harder to slice or stab someone.


    Transparent bags, hahaha. xD I myself won't carry anything, I'm just thinking WHERE can I put my wallet and phone actually, as I'll be alone and I don't want to stray away from the Spartan look, carrying like some bags, etc.O_O So I was thinking of hiding it in my armor - butt piece, of all places seems to me like a best fit, LOL.

    Really, amazing read. Thank you for writing it all up and I'm very happy to hear you had fun. :)
    I seriously can't wait to see you at the gamescom! :D
     
    kaween likes this.
  15. Mesh

    Mesh

    I hope you don't mind, but I'm totally stealing the whole Post-Con thing for when I go to Optimus Bristol this weekend :D
     
    kaween likes this.
  16. kaween

    kaween

    No of course not. These kinds of "post mortems" are something I myself would love to read, not only for the tips and such, but actually to have an idea how stuff works at other cons.
    So don't you dare coming back with a simple "went there, was fine, had a blast, bye" kind of report ODST ! :)
    I'm looking forward to it, and I'm sure others will too.
     
    Mesh likes this.
  17. kaween

    kaween

    I hid my wallet&stuff in a zip bag which was glued into the chest piece. Worked well, but had 2 disadvantages :
    1) no phyical feeback. No way of telling if the thing was still there. Not a nice situation
    2) I did have to remove my glove to be able to reach inside the armor and get it out.

    Other than that, it worked out fine.

    And believe-you-me, the feeling is mutual. I'm really looking forward to meeting you and the whole gang there ! It will be SO cool it will be cold in August that day. :D
     
  18. CommanderPalmer

    CommanderPalmer Membership Officer

    I *was* thinking first of keeping my stuff in the chest piece, but the problem is that it isn't as big as it may look. o.o There is way less space than I thought, especially when I'll build in the lights and straps and everything - there will be no room for any bags... especially not one that'll fit a Nokia (which looks like a brig XD). Yes, I want a REAL ARMOR, so I have to use a NOKIA in order for it to become real, LOL. :D (MJOLNIR is in reality NOKIA)

    But even if I would have make it fit, I'd still have to take off at least my gloves in order to be able to open my armor at sides and then I could reach it. All armor parts actually haven't got enough place for storage, while the butt-piece is quite big... Also, I was thinking of storing stuff in my shoulder pieces as they are big and hollow inside, but in order to get to them would be a pain in the butt. Literally. I'd have to take off the chest armor and most likely forearm even in order to be able to reach it. v_v

    So, I think your costume is more practical! :D

    I'm actually very afraid of August and Gamescom. I hate summer, and last summer made me literally melt while doing NOTHING. I was sitting inside of my cave like a vampire and I was melting just by sitting and breathing. x_X Please please please, make the weather cold...
     
  19. kaween

    kaween

    I somehow get a vision of one of the first episodes of "The IT crowd". :D The sys-adimin was allergic to sunlight too. :D

    I don't think you've got that much to fear. I've been at Köln for several events over the years (first time was going back to times of the Commodore Amiga, that's what, 30 years ago ?) and I can't remember having issues with temperatures over there.

    However, wearing something like an armor on top potentially changes everything. Take it from me : airflow around the head and mouth is essential. Forget about forced airflow/cooling inside the suit : most suits are open enough to allow some kind of airflow. A human head is effectivly a very large temperature exchange body, as our bodies do pump an enormous amount of blood/energy up there.
    So if there's ONE body part you can use to regulate temperature that has the best surface/effect ratio, do not look further than your head.

    Compared to a Halo4 armor, the H3 armor looks more closed and even only cooling my head, I never had issues with termperature around my body.

    I've seen you are THINKING about putting in 2.5cm fans. My respons to this is :

    1) do not think about using fans, JUST.DO.IT. (insert Shia Lebeouf's meme !)I would even dare to say : If need be, make comprimisses on the rest of the design of the helmet but DO incorperate fans.
    And not ONE fan. TWO ! Just trust me on this, you'll never regret it, I promise.
    2) put in the BIGGEST fans you can fit. 2.5cm is very, very small. Too small even.

    I've done a crapload of tests of different fan designs, speeds and positioning. Here's what I learned :

    a) I started out with one single 4cm fan in front of my mouth running at 4.5 V, rated at 5V. Worthless. Airflow was there, but the thing was far too loud and even at high speeds, the airflow was only so and so. You could feel "something" but I tested this in a very simply way : helmet on and 20 times up and down the stairs. Effect ? Marginal. Not enough air. Also, when I exhaled, the airflow of the fan would get disrupted big time, and it would take a couple of seconds to restore it into something that you could notice. Mind you, that's just with a "naked head". Most people will use some kind of balaclava to keep the underside of the chin and neck black, so if I hardly could feel it without that, this would certainly be to feeble to be of use suited up.

    b) I moved the fan to the side (approx where the rebreather tubes are on a MKVI&co), and added a second one at the other side. This as a clear improvement. I was good with this until ..... the first generation of rebreather tubes I used were bulging very wide outside the surface of the helmet. So I replaced with a flatter design and ... my cooling went out of the window. Reason : my helmet has holes underneath the rebreather position. The bulged tubes didn't completly seal of this position, so I had a direct air entrance with them. The flatter design closed off these holes. Byebye airflow.
    Needed a better solution.

    c) long story short : I ended with 2x 12V 5cm fans in the end, both still positioned at the rebreather position. Although rated for 12V, they run at 4,5V (actually they start at 4V already, but according to specs they're guaranteed to run startin 4,5V). With these fans, the effect is a "constant light breeze" in the helmet, in a quiet room you can't hear anything running, and inside the helmet you only notice a very faint humming. Another advantage of these bigger, lower speed running fans is the lack of the gyroscopic effect. No, I'm not saying I can't turn my head with the smaller, high speed fans, but what you get is a "whiiiirrrrrr" inside the helmet each time you turn your head. The SpartanCan even with the microphone outside the helmet picked this up very clearly, and inside the helmet this became annoying to hear that sound each and every time I turned my head.
    The lower speed, bigger 5 cm fans do not have that problem.

    Thus my advise : unless your helmet provides some kind of air-duct like I had prior to altering the rebreather situation on mine, go for 2 x 12V 5cm fans, and run them from either 3xAAA alkalines or 4xAAA rechargables. The AAA format is good enough to keep those fans running a full day without slowing down. If you have the room, you can use AA's.
    Do NOT use a 9V for this type of stuff : while you can get away with powering leds for a day with 9V blocks, the battery will fail after 4 to 5 hours of operation at best if you'd use them as power source for a fan. (yep, I didn't just calculate this, I actually tested this stuff under operational conditions).

    Hope this info can help you a bit in avoiding a melt-down in august.

    PS : Nokia Rocks. I've never been too much interested in owning and having the "latest and greatest" phone, I'm a "low to medium budget" kind of guy. But the phone that sticked to me the longest and which still works in spite of hunderds of falls and small accidents is my Nokia E71. If I throw my android or my daughters old Iphone against the wall, I'll have to clean up the broken parts.
    If I do that with me E71, I'll have to replaster the wall and dust off the E71. :D These Nokia's were designed to take some serious punishment and still keep running.
    Sadly, I never got my head around using the Lumias as Windows Phones ..... nope. Just can't cope with them.
     
    BradSparten235 likes this.

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