I've shared this with few outside the Toy Soldiers - until now. Because the dream is nearing reality.
I have absolutely no "Maker" skills. Zero. Zip. Nada. I stand in awe of my friends in the League of STEAM and all the amazing things they craft.
But I do have a brilliant designer mind. Not bragging, just saying. :P About a year ago, I watched The Lion King being performed on stage. From the comfort of my own home, I will admit - I think it was on Oprah or something - but still, I was amazed at how they puppeteered the animals.
I got the idea then to make a puppet of one of Dr. Steel's iconic robots, manipulated by an operator standing behind it. But not having any skills, or any funds for that matter, I set the idea aside.
Shortly thereafter, I led the Toy Soldiers in marching in the 33rd Occasional Doo Dah Parade in Pasadena. And saw so many wonderful "Maker" creations there - one of which was a giant pink cat "robot" float. And I thought to myself, "my creation must live. But I'm thinking too small. Life-size won't do, it must be GIANT!" I wanted to see giant robots marching down Colorado Blvd like a scene out of Sky Captain. And at that time, I drew the plans for such a construction. It would stand 11 feet tall, with a 2 foot diameter head and 6 foot long arms and legs. It would get attention.
But alas, I still had neither the skills nor the funds, so once again, I set the idea aside.
Then a few months ago, Doo Dah was coming around again. And a fellow Toy Soldier, one of my recruits, heard my grand plans for giant robots to march in the parade, and at other Southern California events, and he said, "I know a guy you need to get in contact with. He's a retired puppet builder from Jim Henson Studios, I think he could make this thing."
So the past couple of months, I've been talking to him about design, construction and materials. He said my original idea was sound, but we've added some structural stability and other adjustments to make it easier for an operator to wear it. And he's bringing in another former Henson associate to assist him. I was also able to obtain Dr. Steel's original blueprints and a 3DS Max file for the robot, to aide in construction and make it look perfect. But then came the sticker shock when he told me how much it would cost.
Actually, not all that much, but more than I, being recently unemployed, had.
Then another Toy Soldier told me about Kickstarter, and said I should see if they'd approve my project for funding. So I applied, and a day later I was approved!
I am now working on a profile for the project, and a video. Sometime in the next week or so, it should all be up and I will post it here, so that if you are in the US, and wish to donate to this grandiose project, you may. (Unfortunately, they can't accept donations from abroad at this time, alas.) I would love to have you share in my grand dream. Hopefully, it can be fully funded and constructed by next month, and I can get it to Comic Con in the last weekend of July.
The Robot, as it would look at the entrance to Comic Con, approximately actual size:
After some technical difficulties, I have officially launched the Giant Robot Project! Do visit the project page, and do contribute if you can! And help me spread the word: Repost this on your Facebook, and reTweet it, etc.! And thank you all!
Project page is here: http://www.kickstarter.com/projects/jonnybgoode/giant-robot-puppet